The following statement, purporting to be by Andrew Brons MEP, was recently published on the BNP sub-section of the British Democracy Forum, by Sharon Ebanks. Eddy Butler has stated on his blog that it is authentic. Both its style and content, moreover, would tend to suggest that it is indeed genuine.
The first thing that needs to be stated, unequivocally, is that Mr Brons has let the British National Party down very badly. He was the first British ethno-nationalist MEP ever to have been elected, in June 2009, and carried an historic burden of responsibility in that role.
Has he shown the kind of leadership one is entitled to expect from a man in his position, as one of only two BNP MEPs? Sadly, and it gives me no pleasure to have to say this, he has not.
Whatever the private thoughts and feelings of Mr Brons may have been regarding the problems which have beset the party over the last nine months, and whatever he may have said about them in private conversations with colleagues, publicly he has said nothing. This policy of abstentionism has been, in effect, an abdication of responsibility, and a gross dereliction of duty, however much Mr Brons may seek to gloss over it with sanctimonious phrases about being above the fray, or not taking sides.
In English common law silence implies consent. If one sees wrongdoing and injustice being perpetrated, and one says, and does nothing, then one is tacitly approving the evil. This, in effect, has been the policy of Mr Brons: to look the other way, to bury his head in the sand, to turn a blind eye, while the party was raped and plundered by a gang of vicious pirates.
As for Mr Brons' argument that Eddy should have removed his blog, last September, because it stood, in Brons' considered opinion, no chance of achieving its objective of inducing the resignation of Mr Griffin from the leadership of the party: on what did, and does, he base that opinion? Is Mr Brons unaware of the moral force of people power? Is Brons ignorant of the very many instances in which the dissidence of the exploited and oppressed many, have wrested regime change from the corrupt and oppressing few, from ancient times to the present day?
Has this man supposedly both studied, and taught, history, politics, and law, and yet drawn so little from these disciplines?
Party morale has not been impaired by those, such as Eddy and myself, who have publicized the deadly serious problems facing the party, and explained the causes of those problems, unless Mr Brons subscribes to the notion that ignorance is bliss, and 'tis folly to be wise. Would Brons have BNP members live in a Fool's Paradise, or exist in a surreal, nightmarish, Kafkaesque world, in which the awful truth is dimly apprehended, as through a glass, darkly, by an inevitably growing number, but publicly denied by the leadership? Does he not see the striking similarity between Mr Griffin, of the BNP, with his adulatory meetings, in which all critical faculties are meant to be suspended, and 1984's Big Brother? The one has "party central", the other has "the Inner Party". The one has dishonest, and misleading reports on its web site and Voice of Freedom newspaper, the other has its "memory hole", in which history is re-written, with "non-persons" written, and airbrushed into oblivion.
Regarding Mr Brons' analysis of the causes of the "civil war" within the party, again he is hopelessly (and intentionally?) wide of the mark. The "civil war", as he puts it, did not start with anyone losing their job. Employers are entitled to dispense with the services of employees, for good cause, or by mutual agreement, provided they honour their contractual, and statutory, obligations. Mr Griffin's botched dismissal of Eddy from his MEP payroll was an aggravating factor but was not the casus belli, per se.
Fort Sumter was fired on when Mr Griffin chose to flout the party constitution by rigging the nominations' process for a leadership election, in his own favour. One cannot simply "devise", at the last minute, and without any consultation, rules which are grossly unfair to one's challengers. A court may well yet confirm this self-evident fact, for those with a less sure grip on reality.
The man cheated, in other words. Not only did he cheat, but he then proceeded unjustly to victimize his main challenger's supporters, such as myself, and his main challenger himself; abusing his position of trust, and perverting the constitution, in order corruptly to suspend, without tribunal, or reasons given, and in some cases, putatively to expel, again without due process of natural justice, those individuals from the BNP.
Mr Brons misleadingly posits an entirely spurious moral equivalence between on the one hand the vicious slanders of anonymous attack blogs that attempted to assassinate the character of Eddy Butler, and his supporters, and which Mr Griffin, scandalously, but very revealingly, failed to condemn, as he was morally obliged to condemn, and on the other hand, Eddy's entirely professional blog, which was critical of Griffin's faulty leadership, but which refrained from wicked lies, and scurrilous denigration of Griffin, members of his family, and his supporters.
"There is a very real danger that elements of the media will argue that the way in which we treat each other might provide an insight into how a BNP Government would treat its opponents and the population at large."
This is perhaps the most telling of Mr Brons' sentences. The media may well do just that, but here is the most damning aspect of all: who can say that the media, "the controlled media" as the party web site calls them, would be unjustified in making such an argument? Indeed, who could, in all good conscience, gainsay such an argument? Mr Griffin has demonstrated through his actions, over the last nine months, that not only he, but the party which he leads, is unfit for office. Naturally, this is a grave disincentive for anyone who might, under more favourable circumstances, consider joining the party, or voting for it, as the Oldham and Barnsley by-elections have demonstrated.
The proposals of "reform" by which Mr Brons appears to set great store, are a superficial sop to dissent. They would leave Mr Griffin's stranglehold on the party, and its finances, essentially unchanged, and are consequently worse than useless. Their sole purpose is to delude the gullible, the less intelligent, and the weaker brethren with no stomach for a fight, into believing that something is being done to address the concerns of the reformers, while in fact the corruption and maladministration continue unabated.
There can be only one solution to the problems bedevilling the BNP, and that is for the devil to depart, post-haste.
Sic semper tyrannis.
Mr Brons' disingenuous and tendentious statement now follows.
The Employment of Eddy Butler
The question is sometimes asked of me: “Why do I employ Eddy Butler?” The simple answer is that he was on a list of people I was asked to employ by Nick Griffin, our Chairman, when I was elected. He was as unknown to me as most of the others were.
The following question is sometimes then asked: “Why do you continue to employ him?” The immediate answer is that he has been employed for eighteen months and there must be a reason in law to dismiss him. He completes the Euro work that I ask him to do.
I am then asked what I think of his ‘blog’ and whether or not that is a good reason for dismissing him. I do not read it, any more than I read any of the anti-Butler messages on the internet. I find them all too dispiriting to waste my time on. However, I am told about the content and I disapprove of much of it. Why do I disapprove of it? I disapprove of it because it can only reduce morale without having any chance of achieving its objective. What is its objective? It is to bring about the resignation of Nick Griffin as Party Chairman. Is it likely to achieve this objective? No! When I tried to persuade Eddy Butler to remove his blog last September, I asked him a simple question: “Would Nick Griffin resign if asked to do so by the majority of the people who made up our fourteen thousand membership last May? His answer was “No”. I replied that it was therefore having all of its negative effects without having any chance of achieving its objective.
The case against Eddy Butler and his blog seems to be cast iron. His influence is entirely negative; he is the cause of all of our ills; and those whom he attacks are his innocent victims? As with all attempts to apportion blame in disputes, it depends on the position from which you start.
The Causes of the Civil War in Our Party
Who fired the first shots? Even this apparently simple question is not so easy to answer. The ‘first shots’ could be identified as the decision of Eddy Butler and Emma Colgate to seek a vote from the Advisory Council to call an EGM and perhaps seek a leadership election. Without that decision, the rest would not have followed. However, such a vote would have been perfectly constitutional and was prevented by their removal from the Advisory Council, which was also perfectly constitutional. Our Constitution provides for the Chairman being able to manipulate, at will, the membership of the body that advises him.
The first overtly hostile act was the removal of Emma Colgate and Eddy Butler from their employment. Emma Colgate apparently agreed to her removal – after some ‘persuasion’. Eddy Butler did not, although his employer believed that he had done so. Eddy was eventually dismissed from his employment with the Party (20% of his total) and with Nick Griffin (40% of his total) for an alleged wrongdoing while employed by me – accompanying one of my coach trips to the European Parliament, several months earlier. However, little discrepancies like that were not allowed to get in the way of the required decision!
What was the result of Eddy Butler being deprived of 60% of his income? He set up his ‘blog’ on which he criticised the Chairman and the running of the Party and those associated with him. In response, our Chairman’s associates set up a blog on which personal attacks were made against Eddy Butler. Eddy Butler responded by making equally personal attacks against our Chairman and his associates.
The decision to remove Eddy Butler from his paid employment did not only serve to provoke a hostile response from Eddy Butler; it facilitated one. For as long as Eddy was employed by our Chairman, he would have had to consider the real cost of launching any damaging attacks on him. Once he was removed from that employment, he was freed from any such inhibition. It is this fatal mistake that some would like me to replicate.
In the meanwhile, the Chairman devised some rules that required nominations for the leadership election to be submitted by (twenty-four month) members individually and would-be candidates were forbidden from using membership lists to persuade members to nominate. In two regions (the North West and the South East) members seeking nominations for Eddy Butler were suspended from membership without the reason for their suspensions being given. Their suspensions had not been lifted and no disciplinary action had followed several months later. I do not know whether or not they have been lifted since.
In September, an edict was issued against factional ‘blogs’. I tried to persuade Eddy Butler to take his down. He refused. He was then told that he had been expelled. When he demanded a tribunal, he was told that he was only a probationary member and could be expelled without a tribunal. The suggestion that a member of more than a decade might be a probationary member is self-evidently absurd.
There is a very real danger that elements of the media will argue that the way in which we treat each other might provide an insight into how a BNP Government would treat its opponents and the population at large.
We are now in a situation in which significant numbers of our May 2010 activists are alienated from the present leadership and in some cases from the Party. There seems to be a campaign to remove any people suspected of such alienation from positions of authority within the Party. They are being replaced by people whose personal devotion to our Chairman is unquestioned (and unquestioning). This one quality is put before everything else including: ability; suitability; and even geographical location.
Where Do We Go From Here?
It would be tempting to reply (like the apocryphal Irishman in the joke) that, “I would not have started from here!” However, we must start from here. It would be equally tempting to reach out for something that we would like in an ideal world, regardless of its attainability.
I said, at the time of the leadership nominations, that we had fourteen thousand members and between a thousand and two thousand activists in May 2010. This enabled us to contest a credible general election campaign, as a serious minor party. It would have been impossible to do so with many fewer members and activists. It is imperative that we win back the bulk of the alienated and the disaffected, if we are to survive as a serious minor party.
Many of the disaffected are unwilling to return to activity (or even renewed membership) with our present Chairman in his position. However, our present Chairman has shown no sign of resigning voluntarily and, if he did so, there would be no obvious successor. The one possible solution would be a compromise of power-sharing. This is not complete ‘pie-in-the-sky’. The 2010 Annual Conference committed the Party to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to consider a proposal submitted by Arthur Kemp and supported by our Chairman for a constitutional change that would involve the Chairman sharing power with an indirectly elected body comprising, (mainly) regional organisers elected by branch organisers. This is not an option that the leadership might consider; it is a firm obligation created by the Annual Conference. It is also the only possibility that we might regain some degree of party unity.
In the meanwhile, I am resolved not to allow myself to be used, by either side, in a civil war of which I disapprove. I employ staff with a variety of opinions on the current party civil war. If I start dismissing factionalists on one side of the dispute, I shall end by dismissing factionalists on both sides. Where would we be then?