We are no longer bound by confidence to John Tyndall. We have a great many posts from the great man. We are posting this one, as it gives us a real feel for what has gone on , and helps us to this day on what needs to be done. This post needs to be studied and acted upon. John Tyndall is no longer with us; but he is still with us in his spirit and his works.
The Augean stables must be cleaned out !
The Battle for the BNP
Some tactical thoughts by JOHN TYNDALL
From the debacle in 1999, when Nick Griffin took over the party as I was preoccupied with organising it for the Euro Elections of that year, my allies and I learned a number of lessons which we intend to put into practice in the coming bid to wrest the party back.The Griffin campaign in 1999 gave evidence of considerable organisation, thoroughness and planning, which were not matched by my own counter-campaign. It bore the mark of brains not obviously visible in either Mr. Griffin or his main lieutenant, Tony Lecomber – which suggested to me other forces at work, of much higher sophistication, most probably in the background.
One clear fact was that the campaign disposed of financial resources far greater than any likely to be at the disposal of Griffin, Lecomber & Co. unless made available from outside and unnamed individuals, parties or agencies.
Another manifestation was the intensive lobbying of members carried out by Griffin supporters, largely by means of the telephone, in which Tony Lecomber was especially active. This lobbying reached its peak in the final week or two of the run-up to the leadership ballot, and must have cost a small fortune in telephone bills.
Then in the last day or two before the ballot took place almost every member received a Griffin ‘info pack’, comprising high-quality promotional literature, with full-colour printing, together with a cassette sound-recording which included a pro-Griffin talk by Simon Darby. I went through part of this recording and without getting to the end counted at least thirty demonstrable lies. This mail-out itself must have involved no small expense.
A team of supporters gathered at my home to pack and post a very hasty reply to this poison, with particular attention to the blatant untruths which it contained. This reply was sent out on the same day, giving what we believed was just enough time for at least some members to receive it before sending off their ballot papers. All packages had first-class stamps. Very strangely, not one person among some 20-30 I questioned received theirs the next day. This suggested state interference.
Apart from the expense involved in producing these special packs, there was also Patriot magazine, which must have incurred considerable printing costs (a subject I know something about). Tony Lecomber tried to give me the laughable explanation that it was all done on his credit card!
All this is water under the bridge but it is well to remember it and draw the lessons. I am not in the slightest doubt, from overwhelming circumstantial evidence, that the Griffin takeover was engineered by external forces operating probably as a security arm of the Government, but no doubt assisted by known political enemies such as the Searchlight organisation. These same forces have operated to protect the Griffin régime since that time, though not necessarily with Griffin’s personal knowledge. It would explain how money has been available to finance the grossly excessive BNP payroll, which is undoubtedly intended to keep key party officials subservient and compliant.
All of this should tell us very clearly that we are up against a powerful and well-oiled machinery of subversion of the party. It is well that we should know this, so that we understand that the task of turning the party round will not be easy.
CURRENT STATE OF PLAY
I have held back for some considerable time from challenging Griffin & Co. because I have not believed up till very recently that conditions were ripe. I knew that from the beginning there would be gradual disillusionment with Griffin, even among people who were his strongest supporters to begin with. However, this had to be balanced by the fairly large (though I suspect exaggerated at times) numbers of new people joining the party, who would take time to arrive at such a position – and many of whom may indeed never do so by reason of being on the fringe of activity, if active at all, and thereby little informed as to what is going on.
Also, for as long as the party was seen to be enjoying a run of success there would be a perception, however unfounded, that this was to the credit of the leadership and in some way connected with its methods, in particular the various stunts aimed at giving it a more ‘liberal’ image – stunts which have completely failed in terms of the party’s actual public standing, as TV programmes like Secret Agent have demonstrated, but have nevertheless been seen as ‘clever’ by a great many members not given to deep and serious thought about such matters.
I know many in the party who take the view that, although they are not great admirers of the Griffin gang, one should not change a winning team, least of all dismiss its captain. This is not an unreasonable view, though there are great dangers in carrying it to extremes. If there is something deeply rotten at the top of an organisation, that rottenness will manifest itself sooner or later by infecting the whole, with the result that success will not be permanent, the winning streak will not last, and internal divisions will come to the surface and eventually cause an implosion.
The BNP was heading for nemesis by reason of Griffin’s gross failure of judgement in "going for broke" in the European Elections at the expense of activity, investment and commitment in the local government field. Some of us saw this well in advance, assisted in cases by our experience of 1999. This failure of judgement was rooted in the rottenness at the top of which I have spoken; a rottenness where woeful political acumen (or lack of it) was combined with a mercenary craving to dip fingers in the lucrative Euro money trough. The blank scoresheet in the Euros, together with the failure to get even one candidate elected to the Greater London Assembly, was a disaster waiting to happen.
On top of this, Griffin has now discredited himself still more by the lunatic move to change the constitution to admit non-Whites to the party. This move was quickly blocked by massive grass-roots opposition, and Griffin retreated. We can sure, however, that this retreat is only tactical, and that the Griffin crowd will be looking for alternative ways and means to get non-Whites in.
I have used the word ‘lunatic’ above because this is what it appears. However, it is difficult to see any advantage to Griffin in such a manoeuvre. His stock in the party, already diminished by the recent election results, will have suffered a further dive in consequence of this latest stunt. This opens up the whole question of whether Griffin is really in control of the situation or is merely dancing like a marionette on strings pulled by people whose purpose is to destroy the BNP.
But whatever the answer to this riddle, there can be no doubt that now is the time for an all-out bid by the real nationalists to recapture the party. Never have conditions been so favourable; nor may they be so favourable again for some time.
In all situations of political clash, great or small, nationwide or merely between factions within a single movement or party, there is a three-way divide. There is the faction strongly committed to preserving things as they are; there is the faction strongly committed to seeking change; and there is the faction in the middle, if indeed it can be called a faction, which is inert, timid, not strongly committed one way or the other, but disposed to take sides according to who looks like winning.
It is the third element to which, however undeservedly, the power is given to decide the issue. It is this element which is the least aware and the least motivated: its strength lies in its numbers. It goes without saying that it is the faction which succeeds in harnessing this third, middle element that wins.
In 1999, the Griffin faction succeeded by skilfully exploiting this rule of conflict: by presenting to the middle element, the inert and mainly non-partisan mass, the impression of an irresistible tide that was bound to sweep all before it and emerge victorious.
Those present at the time will probably remember Tony Lecomber’s regular charts, surveys and ‘league tables’, in which he purported to give updates of the latest state of play, as he claimed it, between the rival factions. These were cleverly presented in such a way as to convey the impression that the Griffin faction was gaining more and more support and was heavy odds on to win. He would give out lists of branches and departments aligned to the Griffin camp and those aligned to the Tyndall camp, always taking care to indicate that the former were considerably more numerous. The reality may have been different to begin with, and claims of alignment may have been based on wishful thinking; but eventually the thing became a self-fulfilling prophecy: more and more units, believing in the likelihood of a Griffin victory, aligned themselves with the Griffin cause. They displayed the very human instinct of wanting to be with the winners!
Some people of high standing in the party were frank enough to admit this to me at the time: they joined the Griffin camp, not because they necessarily thought Griffin was right, but because they had been persuaded he was bound to come out on top.And of course, precisely because these people had such high standing, others took their cue from them and aligned themselves likewise with the Griffinites.
The Griffin faction made a very determined bid to secure the support of these people. They lobbied them intensively, all the while giving them updates of strength – at the time not necessarily accurate – which suggested Nick was going to be the victor. As Griffin’s support grew by use of these methods, the claim that he was leading became a true one, even if it had not been in the first place.
I was then, as I have mentioned earlier, preoccupied with the 1999 Euro elections – which, as I later learned, were far from being the top priority of my adversaries. In addition to this, I considered this kind of lobbying rather beneath my dignity and I declined to engage in it. I opted to stand on my record, a record of steady party growth over the previous three years. I later realised that I had been badly mistaken in adopting this attitude. I do not intend to make that mistake again.
It is reasonable to suppose that we are dealing this time with largely the same divisions among the membership as in the past, with a large mass of members in the middle not strongly partisan either way and liable to be swayed by the impression of strength conveyed by one side or the other – though new conditions in the party may have altered the proportions considerably, with a greater number partisan than in 1999. Probably the BNP has become much more sharply polarised since that time, and for this we have to thank Mr. Griffin.
ORGANISERS AND OFFICIALS
There is of course an intermediate element between the fully committed partisans of the two camps and the mass of ordinary members. This element consists of local organisers and others in the party who hold some kind of position or other which grants them ‘status’. This will be a most vital element because the mass of members, largely uninformed about the issues, tend to take their lead from it. Griffin won in 1999 because he captured this element – the element he liked to call the "movers and shakers.
"But the rule still applies that this element, the ‘movers and shakers’, is likely to be swayed largely by what it perceives to be the ‘balance of forces’; the likelihood of one side or another winning. In fact this is especially the case with this intermediate element because it consists of people who have some positions in the party which they would like to maintain. They have rather more to lose by backing the unsuccessful side than does the ordinary rank-and-file member. The latter just puts his or her cross on a ballot paper, and no more is known about it; the ‘mover and shaker’ is likely to have to stand up and be counted.
Of course, the scenario in the BNP now is somewhat different to what it was in 1999. This contest is likely to take place in a temperature much more heated than then. Extremely strong feelings have been generated by some of the recent events in the party, whereas this was not so to anything like the same extent five years ago, when the contest took place in a relatively placid atmosphere. In addition to this, Nick Griffin then was the "grass that is greener the other side of the hill." He was also the skilful presenter of a seemingly utopian vision of the BNP, which to many was highly attractive. He has now been tried and in many respects been found badly wanting. He has identified himself as the prime mover in certain deeply unpopular changes in policy, image and, more latterly, constitutional measures.
But the fact remains that we have to deal with an element in what might be called the ‘middle management’ of the party prone to align itself, not in accordance with conscience or principle, but out of considerations of self-interest. This is unquantifiable, and opinions will differ on how large it is, but we can all agree that it exists.
One part of this element we can expect with virtual certainty to support Griffin, at least to begin with, and this is the element consisting of those on the party payroll. It would be wrong to suggest that all of these people are corrupt, but it is nevertheless a truth rooted in human nature that such people are not likely to want to align themselves openly with their paymaster’s opponent – unless things reach a point where the paymaster looks very much like losing and they therefore have nothing to lose themselves.
Griffin is most certainly going to use these people as spokesmen and, as in the odd case, spokeswomen for his cause. They are going to be paraded before the party as his champions, and the message is going to be: "Look, [nearly] all the members of the advisory council (nearly all paid) support me!"
This is why I believe that the issue of payments to senior staff is going to have to be brought right out into the open and publicised prominently. This will have some unpleasant fall-out, as individuals are going to be personally in the firing line. I regret this because some of them are undoubtedly decent folk who are not in it ‘for the money’ as a prime consideration. However, we are in a state of war – a war for which Griffin & Co. were in the first place responsible – and the rules of war have to apply. If they get hurt, that is a necessary condition of cleansing the party.
At any rate, we cannot expect many, if any, of these paid people to support us. It makes it all the more vital that we win over a substantial portion of the unpaid ‘movers and shakers’, and it is necessary that we begin doing so soon. With these we must present an image of strength, which we then use to win over more.
In none of this should it be taken that I advocate that we do as the Griffin faction did in 1999 – tell lies. I do not propose that we make claims of support that are false. But what I do propose is that we induce those who are genuinely our supporters to stand up and make their support prominently known – pour encourager les autres, as the French would say.
It means that quite soon we need to make a gesture before the members of the party that amounts to an image of strength. And this needs to be followed up by further gestures of a similar kind. As to how these will take form, this is something over which I shall be in discussion with supporters in the near future. For the moment, I hope that these brief tactical thoughts will be of some help to my colleagues in focusing on the campaign ahead.
This document is being circulated to a very limited circle of people, and I would appreciate it if it were kept confidential – that is to say not passed on. This does not mean that the thoughts and ideas expressed in it should not be discussed with others; indeed it is necessary that they should be if our campaign is to be effective.
August 5th 2004