Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

The following article was recently published on the Lancaster Unity blog.

May 18, 2011

It's still the accounts, stupid

Posted by Denise

Getting on for three weeks ago all links from the BNP main website to Andrew Brons's blog were removed, an overt signal that in the eyes of Nick Griffin and Patrick Harrington the Yorkshire BNP MEP had become far too dangerous for comfort and was uttering heresies good BNP members and their wallets should not witness.

In late March, ostensibly preserving his alleged neutrality in the BNP's civil war by taking swipes at both sides in an article lumpily entitled "The Unacknowledged Complementarity That Is Destroying The British National Party", Brons decried the litany of expulsions, suspensions, demotions and sackings of the last year and scathingly rounded on old enemy Harrington:

The person who was the architect of using the disciplinary machinery as a weapon of mass destruction in 1986 re-emerged in the middle of 2010 to become a favoured adviser of our Chairman. He is rightly admired as a no-nonsense man who does not waste valuable time learning from his own mistakes. [Our emphasis].

Shortly before the recent round of local and assembly elections Brons again underscored his antipathy to Griffin's continued leadership, claiming that the BNP was "quite deliberately" being dismantled. Brons, all too well acquainted with the machinations of Griffin and Harrington from his 1980s days as sometime chairman and directorate member of the National Front, alluded to a number of points of deep concern, but particularly to

** the constitution;

** the finances of the Party;

** the leadership and/or advisers to the leadership;

all of which were matters of pressing concern a quarter of a century ago, when Griffin and Harrington were trialling their destructive methods in the National Front.

Brons has never liked serial failure, fake trade union boss and renowned fantasist Harrington, never respected his pretensions, despises his vanity and has never trusted him. In that much he is a member of a very large club.

Coincidental with the removal of Brons's links on the BNP website was the appearance, in the "Resources" section, of the single option "Opposition". This contains several articles that are claimed to be a "dossier" (a favourite Griffin/Harrington word) on the external and - more importantly - the internal opposition faced by the BNP. Dubbed by some "Attempted Murder 2" in memory of that gloriously insane Griffin/Harrington original of yore, "Attempted Murder: the State/Reactionary Plot Against the National Front", AM2 bears more the stamp of Harrington than of Griffin.

A melange of fiction and derangement from the borderlands of nuttiness, the "dossier" is mostly an attack on the English Democrats and Eddy Butler, written largely in the groaning but comically quasi-Stalinist style of Harrington, who - despite the decades long evidence that he just isn't very good at it - has always rather fancied himself as a propagandist. Happily smearing the memory of the recently deceased former NF leader Ian Anderson, AM2 accuses Anderson of "incompetence, petty theft and habitual lying" while neglecting to mention the numerous occasions on which the same charges have been made against the living bodies of Griffin and Harrington.

Reaching into the dim and distant National Front past to attack Butler, AM2 is in part a justification and apologia for the terminal ructions Griffin and Harrington visited upon that party in the 1980s, and in that much it demonstrates that the mindsets of its authors have changed little in the twenty five years since the original "Attempted Murder" shrieked its way into far-right history. Indeed, in his March article Andrew Brons charged that "the movements and language of one side seem to come from a script that was written in 1986".

Brons has emphatically stated that he has no ambition to lead the BNP or even to fight for a second term as an MEP, the fact of which leaves him three clear years to continue as a thorn in the side of Griffin and Harrington, neutral on the surface but knowing that every time he kicks the ball Griffin and Harrington reach for their codpieces.

For the majority of what remains of the BNP membership, including many who continue to support Nick Griffin more out of antipathy towards Butler and his reformers than out of love for Griffin, Andrew Brons would be the dream leadership candidate, perhaps the only person of stature remaining in the BNP who retains sufficient goodwill and enough cross-party support to end Griffin's reign.

Ignoring Brons's stated lack of ambition (as we are quite sure Griffin and Harrington do not and cannot), Brons, more than anybody else, knows what he would be up against if he ever were to launch a challenge. He knows that Griffin would destroy the BNP much as he did the old National Front rather than step aside; and he must know, in his heart, that Griffin will never allow the access to the BNP's historical accounts that a handover of power would entail.

That, as always, is the bottom line. The accounts.

And that is why BNP founder member Richard Edmond's leadership bid is doomed.

Whereas Richard Edmonds, a close friend of founding leader John Tyndall, could once be looked upon as a fairly typical Nazi-leaning, anti-Semitic Holocaust-denying BNP member, the large intake of unideological "Nu Nats" in recent years has rendered Edmonds and his kind an increasingly rare species. Even so, the fact that he is a founder member, can lay claim to near 40 years of far-right activity, is the keeper of the keys of hardline Tyndallism and is fairly well known makes him the next best prospect as a leadership candidate capable of toppling Griffin.

The problem is that Edmonds's past does not endear him to all Nu Nats and he is eminently smearable. The most unlikely thing about Edmonds's prospective challenge is the fulsome support given him by self-proclaimed "sleazebuster" Michael Barnbrook, who has mixed-race grandchildren and who holds views that a Richard Edmonds must consider well beyond the nationalist pale. I have read Barnbrook's writings and listened to his outpourings at length, and even I cannot think of him as anything other than the same kind of animal I used to meet on the dottier fringes of the Tory Party, the kind you would quietly stifle when sane people came too close.

Regardless of that, assuming this strange alliance of hardliners and Nu Nats does hold togther for the next two months, what are its prospects of success - and by "success" I mean the minimum position of forcing a leadership ballot?

Well, things have moved on a bit since last year's abortive leadership challenge. There has been almost unremitting bad news for Nick Griffin, a continuing exodus of members, the abject failure of the recent elections, former Griffinites defecting to the Butler and non-Butler reform camps or leaving altogether, Andrew Brons's increasingly belligerent disaffection and contempt... all these things are making Griffin and Harrington jittery, knowing that support has ebbed away substantially. They suspect that the jiggery-pokery that worked last summer won't work this, and that even if it did, this time threats of legal action may not be as hollow as those uttered by Butler. They are also nagged about Brons and the slight possibility that he may step in at the last moment while Edmonds pulls out - the very worst of the possibilities running through their minds.

It is no coincidence that this week Griffin is holding a series of "Way Forward" meetings, allegedly for activists but effectively for a chosen few. Dressed up as being to "discuss ways of moving the party forward", the real motive appears to be to guage support for Griffin and to win approval for an early EGM to discuss (if that is the word for something that will be pre-planned down to the last detail) new constitutional arrangements.

Under current arrangements, the period for leadership nominations opens on July 20th, but - crucially - Griffin plans to hold the all-important EGM six days earlier, on July 14th. Any variation in the BNP's constitution would apply from that date.

Exactly what changes Griffin plans are unclear. What we may be certain of is that they will be geared solely to saving his skin. To that end he may risk the continuance of the current nominations process but increase the percentage required to trigger a leadership contest to something he believes cannot be obtained. He may do this in conjunction with a proposal to extend a chairman's term of office to four years.

Another possibility is that he will press for his current term be extended to four or five years, perhaps in return for the "concession" that the existing Byzantine challenge process be ditched or modified.

Whatever, Griffin and Harrington and their inner circle will strive mightily to ensure that no challenge can be mounted on July 20th. Their control of the BNP and their ability to (shall we say?) "influence" vital meetings is the last weapon they have, all that stands between them and defeat.

And all that stands between Griffin and an open analysis of those mysterious BNP accounts - the core and locus of it all.

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