The following article was published yesterday on the British National Party web site.
The first point to note is that Mr Griffin's comments, as reported in the article, fairly reek of desperation.
Mr Griffin must be seriously rattled, seriously worried, to refer to an alleged attempt to '...destroy the party from "within"...' in the middle of a leadership challenge by Richard Edmonds. Is Griffin insinuating that Richard Edmonds, a founder member of the BNP, and its deputy chairman for longer than Griffin has been a member of the party, is part of a plot to destroy the BNP? I suggest that, as the dismayed grass roots saw for themselves on Monday afternoon when Mr Griffin made an exhibition of himself with his churlishness in the European 'parliament', the only plot is the one that he has lost.
As regards Griffin's announcement of an EGM: it is now six months since the party's annual conference called for such a meeting; six months during which such a meeting could have been held relatively uncontentiously. However, that time has now passed. We are now in the middle of a leadership election campaign, which begins, as Mr Griffin must surely be aware, as soon as a candidate publicly declares their candidature, as Richard Edmonds did several weeks ago. For Mr Griffin to seek to alter the constitution at this juncture is akin to seeking to move the goal posts after the match has begun.
This is, of course, similar to Griffin's modus operandi during Eddy Butler's leadership campaign last summer. Griffin waited until Eddy and his supporters had started campaigning, in complete accordance with both the constitution and established custom and practice and then sought to impose new rules which were grossly unfair, abusing the party's disciplinary procedure in order unjustly to victimize anyone who allegedly fell foul of them.
None of the problems to which Eddy drew attention during his leadership campaign last year were exaggerated, or fictitious, contrary to Griffin's false assertion, as reported in the article below. Once the campaign was safely over Griffin finally acknowledged the truth of Eddy's claims about the scale of the BNP's debt, but that did not prevent Griffin from continuing to victimize, through unlawful suspensions and expulsions, those best and bravest of the party's activists who had dared to enlighten the members about the failure of Griffin's stewardship of the party's financial affairs.
Griffin's gerrymandering is, of course, tantamount to cheating, as well as being a corrupt practice and contrary to natural justice. Griffin may retort that the constitution specifically disclaims natural justice. While shamefully this is true it is of no effect, since any court asked to rule on the matter would interpret the constitution in the light of natural justice and might well even strike out the clause which states that it does not apply. In effect, one cannot sign away one's protection under the law by joining the BNP - which is just as well with a creature like Griffin in charge.
No. There shall be a leadership election this summer but it shall be held under the existing constitution; the difference from last year being that should Griffin again attempt to cheat by imposing his own unfair rules of procedure on his challenger(s) there would in all probability be a legal challenge to him at the time.
Griffin's sole motive in wishing to change the constitution is to secure for himself a four or five year term of office. This is an utter abomination and is obviously completely unacceptable. The provision within the constitution for an annual leadership election is the sole democratic safeguard the constitution possesses. Or, to be more precise, it was the sole democratic safeguard until Griffin subverted it last year.
Even now, it remains the best way for the members to hold the party leader to account for his performance and management of the party, which is precisely why Griffin cannot rest content with having subverted the process but seeks to remove it in toto. Griffin seeks a four or five year period during which he is guaranteed not to have to seek re-election by the members. He does not seem to like elections much any more, does he? Perhaps he is beginning to appreciate just how deservedly unpopular he has made himself.
There can be no justification for holding an EGM on constitutional reform during a leadership challenge, particularly when it could have been held at any time during the previous six months. The fact that it was not held during the previous six months suggests that, were it not for Richard Edmonds' leadership challenge, the EGM would probably have been quietly shelved. It has only been resurrected as a means of providing a bolt-hole, or panic-room, of four or five years, for a chairman who is at war with the party's grass roots and is too frightened to face them, if not this year, then certainly next year, in view of what may happen to him and the party in the meantime.
The unlawful EGM (Egotistic Griffin Meeting) should be boycotted by every BNP member who has the best interests of the party at heart. Let Griffin show his professed commitment to democracy by postponing the proposed EGM till after the outcome of Richard Edmonds' leadership challenge is known, one way or the other. Until then let him and every other member of the BNP abide by the existing constitution of the party, both letter and spirit, insofar as it is lawful.
The BNP web site article now follows.
Let’s have a leadership election this summer, and may the best man (or woman) win!”
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 16:27
Nick Griffin uses meeting “banned” by police to unveil plans for rapid constitutional reform through Extraordinary General Meeting.
“Millions of British people are coming to view the British National Party as a sort of insurance policy, or like the fire brigade: they don't think they need us right now, but they're really pleased to have us around, just in case.
“And the way things are going, with the steady toppling of financial dominoes, the Chinese growth bubble about to burst, energy scarcity, and the political elite's meddling in the Middle East guaranteeing future Islamic terrorist bombs in Bluewater and other British shopping centres, they'll be calling for the political fire brigade and claiming on the insurance policy quicker than anyone thinks.”
This was Nick Griffin's message of hope to the determined and enthusiastic audience of more than forty who came despite the inconvenience and uncertainty caused by the police attack on freedom of assembly in Dagenham and the consequent hasty move to a new venue several miles away.
Both the meeting chairman, defiant and dynamic Barking & Dagenham Organiser Paul Sterdy, and Mr. Griffin explained in different ways how this kind of pressure shows increasing desperation by the Powers That Be as they realise that their earlier attempt to use personal grievances, manipulated ambitions and black propaganda to destroy the party from “within” has failed.
At the end of his informative and well-received political speech, Mr. Griffin turned to a matter of great importance to the staunch activists present and to our wider audience of British National Party members and supporters.
The whole meeting applauded when he told them that, now that the election is over and the dust has settled, the date will shortly be announced for the EGM which will vote on constitutional changes fleshed out from the principles agreed by an overwhelming majority of the Voting Members at the last Annual Conference.
The aim is to bring the way the party leadership is chosen firmly within the British tradition of participation and responsible democracy.
A key motion will be proposals to have a significant part of the Advisory Council elected by Regional Councils which are in turn comprised of delegates from all groups and branches that meet simple requirements of activity and efficiency.
The other central plank of the proposed reforms and amendments is "to deal with the unfortunate unintended consequences of our desperate scramble to protect ourselves against the threat by Equality Commissioner and Operation Black Vote boss Simon Woolley to have his people swamp us and destroy our party".
"The signature hurdle that we agreed was necessary to protect us against that was a vital precaution then, but it's time move on. We've found to our cost that some people tried to get their challenger over the hurdle by exaggerating real problems and inventing fictional ones; they then had to be disciplined, which led to bad blood and suspicion among those who thought this was too harsh, and anger among those who thought the leadership was being too lenient with dishonest troublemakers. It's a flawed system, and we need to change it.
"We've beaten the CEHR's attempts to remove other key defences against their proposed takeover bid," Mr. Griffin said.
"So I believe we can now safely move to a system modelled on the familiar British parliamentary by-election. That means just ten nomination signatures, a £500 deposit (returnable to all candidates who secure five per cent or more of the vote), equal coverage as candidates from the party publicity machine and a secret postal ballot of all paid-up members.
"We intend to do away with the problem of a long campaign of divisive one-sided meetings by having a back-to-back programme of one formal hustings meeting in each region, to which all paid-up members from the region in question are invited and at which all candidates have equal time to set out their stalls.
"No other meetings will be necessary – in fact it's likely that most potential candidates wouldn't have the energy for more than the eleven formal meetings in about a fortnight. The whole thing will be demonstrably fair and quick, and then we can all get back to work."
Finally comes the bit that produced the loudest cheers: "We should replace the permanent instability and uncertainty of annual challenges by amending the present section and introducing a fixed four- or five-year term. The first election would take place early this summer. And I'll be standing with a view, if elected, to serving the full term because, regardless of my personal preferences, if that is what the members vote for, that is what they are entitled to get.
"The fantastic response I received all over the country during the recent election campaign made me realise that for me to step down before a successor has developed a degree of recognition and respect from voters would do immense damage to the public's view of our party.
"I said last year that I thought that we should make the change late in 2013, but the ever-growing sympathy I encounter every day out on the streets of our nation has made me believe – somewhat reluctantly – that it would be too soon.
"If the members disagree and think we should have a new leader earlier, this change will give them the perfect opportunity to choose a new one right away, rather than probably waiting for another two years under the present system.
"I'm looking forward to the campaign and hope that a number of candidates will come forward who will engage in constructive criticism and open debate about our perhaps differing views on the way ahead. We need to develop a culture of vigorous discussion within the bounds of civility and responsibility, where in the end the interests of the party overall come before the ambitions of any individual, and all involved agree to respect the democratically expressed wishes of the membership,” Mr. Griffin told our News Team this morning.
Contest this summer
I am of course aware that a few individuals have recently been canvassing for signatures to support a leadership challenge under the existing system. It is also clear that they are struggling to secure enough support to be able to stand. I believe that this is an unhealthy situation, which is why I am pushing for the fixed-term amendment which would automatically allow their candidate – and as many others who wish to throw their hats in the ring – to stand for election this summer.
“If the members do choose someone else, that's fine. I'll serve under them for as long as they'll have me. But I'll be fighting to win this contest, because I'm the best man for the job."
Mr. Griffin has asked for anyone with constructive proposals on details as to how to maximise fair and equal contact between all candidates and party members during the campaign to submit them in writing by June 1st to PO Box 14, Welshpool, SY21 0WE.
In order to be fair to all potential candidates in the event of the constitutional reform proposals or the present system leading to a leadership election this year, the comments section for this article has been disabled.