Wednesday, May 02, 2007

SPEARHEAD article by John Tyndall (2005) bears a re-read

As can be seen from the report on page 4 of Spearhead magazine(2005), last month I was expelled from the British National Party for the second time in 16 months. The charges were as ludicrous this time as they were the previous time.
Then I took legal action to obtain reinstatement, and I was successful: to avoid the matter going to court and very big costs being incurred, party chairman Nick Griffin agreed to an out-of-court settlement whereby the expulsion was annulled and my membership restored. As it was, the action was expensive: due to a procedural error by my solicitors in notifying Mr. Griffin of the application for judicial review of the case, the judge hearing the costs application ruled that each party to the dispute pay its own costs. A total bill of over £12,000 resulted from this fiasco, which was split roughly equally. The cause of Nationalism in Britain, never abounding in affluence, was that much the poorer for Mr. Griffin's folly.

Just what the costs will amount to in the new action which I have been forced to institute over this latest expulsion remains to be seen, but the affair will not be dealt with cheaply. No one regrets more than I do the fact that loyal nationalists will again be asked to dig into their pockets to pay, but the dispute has not been of my making. I never had Mr. Griffin expelled; he has had me expelled – twice!

A study of the history of Nick Griffin's involvement in nationalist politics indicates that he gets rather a kick out of expelling people – or, if not that, proscribing them – which amounts to almost the same thing. In our October 2003 issue we took a look at a document titled Attempted Murder, of which Mr. Griffin was the main author. This chronicled the internal quarrels that convulsed the National Front in 1986, in which he (Griffin) stood right at the centre. As a sample of paranoia it takes some beating; and it should be studied by everyone who wants to arrive at some understanding of the troubles now besetting the BNP. Attempted Murder can be read online at

But this would only touch at the surface of these troubles. There is much more that is needed to explain what is now going on in our party than the personality of Chairman Nick. We need to step back for a moment and focus on the bigger picture. This is important because, from the many letters and e-mails that I receive from nationalists around the country, I sense that an awful lot of people are utterly confused. The political climate in Britain is now more favourable to us than it has ever been. Despite the disappointments of last June's round of elections, both European and municipal, we are still getting some hugely encouraging votes. We should be on the crest of a wave of high morale and optimism, with our ranks united and our tails up. Yet the BNP is racked with internal division and widespread demoralisation – a truth which is only superficially concealed by the upbeat 'spin' that comes from official publications and bulletins.

Suspensions and expulsions
Right now, one of the party's best organisers in the South of England is under suspension, with his branch virtually in a state of limbo – only a probable five months from a vital general election. Another excellent organiser, in the East Midlands, has just been expelled (welcome to the club!). A leading activist in the London area only reported to me just before Christmas the alarming state of dissatisfaction among members throughout the capital and its suburbs. Just what is happening?

I will endeavour to give my own up-to-date 'take' on the situation. It is one which necessarily requires a certain amount of repetition, over which I hope readers will bear with me. The repetition must begin with some words quoted in these pages in our March 1999 issue. They come from a report in The Express newspaper published on 18th February of that year, and they read:-

'Scotland Yard and MI5 are planning a huge covert operation to break up violent racist organizations. The Express has learned that intelligence officers will infiltrate far Right groups such as the British National Party.
'Other officers will tap telephones, open mail and scrutinise bank accounts and medical records. "We plan to close down these organizations by using every administrative device available to us," said a Yard source.'

I believe that we must constantly keep these words in the forefront of our minds if we are to make sense of what has been happening to our party in the near six years that have followed. And it is perhaps the right place and moment for a further quote:-

'More recently, as the National Front declined to a mere rump, the British National Party (BNP) has been seen as more dangerous. By the early 1990s MI5 had successfully recruited or turned several agents inside the BNP.'

These words come from a book Defending the Realm, by Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, published by Andre Deutsch in 1999. I have no way of ascertaining the sources of the writers' information, but I have to presume that they carried out considerable research into the workings of MI5, the establishment's main internal security service, and would have had no reason to invent their claim. They are almost certainly no friends of the BNP and would not have made it to do us any favours.

This aside, the claim gives all the appearance of fitting logically into the picture of what has been happening in the party. Taken in conjunction with the words of the Scotland Yard spokesman reported in The Express newspaper, they present a scenario that should at once sound loud warning bells and enlighten us as to what our enemies are doing. For myself, I can see no rhyme nor reason in the conflicts we have had in the BNP without such forces at work – and this applies not only to our party but to other nationalist organizations, past and present, where similar internal trouble has been constantly visible.

In one case, in the National Front in the 1970s, I was able to observe the same pattern: recurring internecine quarrels and splits, which seemed to break out not when there was organisational and political failure but at the moments of greatest success, when in theory morale should have been high and unity at its strongest.

Internal subversion
These experiences of years ago led me to give a good deal of study and thought to the question of internal subversion of dissident political groups carried out by the state and other hostile agencies. The phenomenon is not new, and it is not confined to Britain; in fact it has been a recognised technique of political warfare for centuries. Neither should we imagine that it targets only our side of the political spectrum. The writers of Defending the Realm affirm that it is practised also against radical left-wing organisations, most notably of all the IRA but also cranky fringe groups like the Socialist Workers' Party.

The infiltrator is an animal of which most nationalists are aware, but many have only the sketchiest idea of his chief function. There is often talk of 'enemy plants' working to get inside information, but where this occurs it is only for the purpose of that information being used in much more destructive designs.

At the end of the day, nationalist political parties like the BNP are absolutely legal: unlike terrorist groups, they have nothing to hide. Not a single one of their activities is secret. The infiltrator, whether state or other, can obtain no information about these activities that his controllers do not already know about because of their completely open nature.

The principal function of the infiltrator in a nationalist political group that operates within the law (and nearly all do) is to promote internal sabotage. This can best be done by encouraging the formation of rival factions, in conflict with one another over matters of leadership or policy. Here there is almost always ready-made fuel for the saboteur.

Radical organisations tend by their nature to be fractious. They attract individuals with strong opinions, sometimes amounting to obsessions. This fractiousness is most common on the left, where ideological arguments that would appear to us ridiculously nit-picking in their proportions can become the subject of passionate and raging quarrels. On our side of politics conflicts of this kind are less common, though far from unknown. In the early to mid-1980s a group gained ascendancy in the National Front which pushed hard and persistently for the adoption of what came to be known as 'Strasserite' policies. This appellation was taken from a rebel faction in Hitler's National Socialist Party in Germany led by the brothers Otto and Gregor Strasser, which sought to combine a kind of civic Nationalism with social and economic doctrines that were little short of Bolshevism.

At the time all this was happening, I and people of like mind to me had parted company with the official Front over matters in no way connected with it, but we were still hoping for the fractured marriage to be repaired and the party united again. I noted that those most vociferous in their advocacy of the 'Strasser' line of thought were the most obdurately resistant to such a reunification, resorting to ideological pettifogging as an excuse for their self-entrenchment rather than focusing on the bigger picture. At the time I thought of them, politically speaking, as immature schoolboys who had a lot of growing up to do: their political ideas were shallow, sloppily thought out and very easy to demolish in debate. What I did not consider seriously enough then – though I did later – was that there could be some method in their evident silliness, and that 'Strasserite' politics could well have been some skilfully conceived wedge driven into the remnants of the former NF in order to ensure its continued division.

Unnecessary divide
However, a more obvious and easily available pretext for division within nationalism has always been the disagreement between what, for simplification, we might call the 'hard-liners' and the 'modernisers' within the movement. I have always regarded this conflict as grossly exaggerated in substance and wholly unnecessary when measured beside the strategic imperatives confronting us.

In all politics there is the ever-present debate as to ways and means: whether to present objectives in strident, uncompromising tones or to employ the 'soft sell', the soothing, moderately worded approach that will encounter the fewest objectors. To a great extent, divisions over these matters are rooted in the differing personal characters of those who argue them. There are those of the born warrior outlook, who will tend naturally towards the fighting approach which brooks no compromise; and there are the natural conciliators, who will forever be seeking gentler methods because their temperaments can conceive no other way.

I have long believed that the course of practical politics demands a fusion of the two instincts: that of the fighter and that of the diplomat, wisdom lying in recognising the moments and situations in which one or the other is called for, and deciding accordingly. A movement with an excess of warrior qualities over the qualities of the conciliator will rush blindly into political action that is often ill-conceived and self-destructive, while one in which these attributes exist in reverse measure will atrophy and wither on the vine because of a shortage of courage, motivation and will.

When all is said and done, I believe that it has to be the code and approach of the fighter that must prevail over that of the conciliator; but the fighter must be one with the discernment to accept the need for conciliatory methods when the situation calls for them. Here we who like to think of ourselves as fighters must be aware of instincts within us which sometimes need curbing, and to curb them when required. Here we have the fusion that makes for the soldier-politician, of whom Caesar, Napoleon and Marlborough were outstanding examples.

On the other hand, human nature being what it is, it is only rarely that life's born conciliators can overcome their innermost instincts and face a real fight when fighting is the only option.
And as with individuals, it is the same with ideologies, which tend to conform to individual bent. An ideology of firmness and strength should be able to incorporate the gentler virtues and practise them when needs demand. But an ideology rooted in weakness can never summon firmness and strength that simply are not there.

Recipe for splits
This is a bit of a diversion but, I hope, a useful one in identifying potential sources of conflict in a political movement. Between people of goodwill there is reasoned thought and discussion over the respective tactical viewpoints; but to the would-be wrecker these viewpoints, instead of being reconciled in synthesis, present a perfect recipe for internal quarrels resulting in factions and splits.
Again and again, I have seen this happen in nationalist organisations; and again and again I have come to the conclusion that somewhere, in each case, there is an external agency stoking the fires of conflict where common sense, and a focus on the greater common good, could have avoided it. I believe that just such an external agency – indeed more than just one – has been present in the divisions which over recent years have convulsed the British National Party.
It is at this point that we should focus on a third type that is to be found in organisations. This type has instincts neither towards the 'hard-line' nor gentler approach but is in the struggle for essentially egotistical reasons – and sometimes also mercenary ones. To this type, arguments about 'hard-line' or 'soft-line' politics have only one utility and criterion: do they advance or retard his own personal ambitions and personal faction? He can be at one moment the hard-line fundamentalist and the very next moment the soft-line 'moderniser' according to tactical requirements – the tactical requirements being not those of the party but purely his own.

This type, again, is putty in the hands of the would-be wrecker. His ego and ambition can be so easily exploited by cunning manipulation which sets him against others with whom he should be working in dedication to a common cause.

Mysterious new arrivals
Many of us noticed that shortly before or shortly after the leadership change that took place in the BNP in 1999 a number of new figures emerged in the party, little or nothing of whom had been known previously; and many of these graduated quickly to senior positions. Where were they coming from? What was their motivation? Were they with us to help or hinder?

Absolutely certain answers to these questions cannot be supplied, but it was noticeable that virtually all of these people aligned themselves decisively with the so-called 'modernising' faction in the party which had gained the ascendancy through the leadership change.

In what limited contact I had with these people one thing struck me vividly.

Their arrogance and conviction in the rightness of their attitudes was astounding. Most of them were young enough to be my children and some even my grandchildren. Their practical experience of the nationalist struggle was at an apprentice level. Yet they spoke to me about political ideology and tactics as if they were experienced achievers with battle honours under their belts and I a young lad just out of school. Just where had they learned all this stuff? At an MI5 training college perhaps? Or were they just wired up that way? One of these explanations is not necessarily exclusive of the other.

In previous articles I have focused on the various policy and presentational gimmicks that have been employed allegedly with the object of making the BNP more 'electable': a Sikh newspaper columnist; a Jewish candidate (and later councillor); a Asian spokesman on a TV party political broadcast; declarations that the party would be satisfied with the permanent presence of ethnic minorities in Britain, providing there were not too many of them. I could go on.
I have never believed that these innovations make more than 0.01 per cent difference either to our election results or to our recruitment. On the other hand, they have been hugely divisive to the party internally, with large numbers of members, including some of our best activists, quitting it in disgust. Is this just folly – the lack of intelligent political calculation of gain and loss? Or is it deliberate – a quite cynical manoeuvre aimed at alienating the genuine nationalists within and without and turning the BNP into nothing better than a neutered Tory pressure group?

I am in no doubt myself as to the answer to these questions. I hope that what is written here will lead others to think about them seriously. Let us remember the words of the 'Yard source' back in 1999. "We plan to close down these organisations..." One way to close down an organisation is to divide it into fragments which, separately, exert almost zero influence in national politics.

This was what happened to the National Front at the end of the 1970s. Is it the strategy now being pursued with regard to the BNP?
There is a great deal of evidence – albeit admittedly circumstantial – that it is.

I have spoken earlier of the sacking and suspension of excellent organisers and branches. If this is not intended as a deliberate act of sabotage of the party, it most certainly is operating to that effect. The pretext for this orgy of purges is the need to maintain internal party discipline. Well, there is no one more firmly committed to the principle of internal party discipline than I. But in an organisation of volunteers – very different from a branch of the armed forces – discipline cannot be imposed by bullying and coercion; it must be maintained with prudence and must begin with its ultimate arbiter – the top party leadership – winning respect and being seen to apply it disinterestedly and with a view solely to the party's welfare. This simply has not been happening in the BNP.
Certain people have been 'chopped' on purported disciplinary grounds, while others much more deserving of disciplinary action have been allowed to get away with almost anything they like – providing they show loyalty and willing subservience to the people currently in control. This is not a recipe for order in the party; it is one for self-destruction.

Financial gravy train
It is the time now to take another look at the BNP's quite ludicrously inflated wage bill. I have asked the questions before: Who is being paid and how much? And whence is coming the money to keep this gravy train on the rails? The people bidding to take over the party in 1999 made one of their main campaigning issues a demand for transparency and accountability in the handling of party finances. Yet these present questions continue to be shrouded in secrecy. Why?

I would suggest that the overriding reason for the payments that are being doled out to so many party functionaries is that they are intended to keep them subservient and acquiescent in the numerous outrageous policy decisions that have been made over the past few years and a few examples of which I have highlighted. In any other circumstances there would have been a palace revolt at the top of the party, with numerous senior officers simply not being willing to accept what has been going on. Yet there has been an almost indecent compliance. Could it be that when promptings of rebellion come from the inner conscience a self-reminder about bread-and-butter dependency stiffle the urge. Thoughts about the mortgage or instalments on the motor car act as a brake on protest.

I would strongly urge those in receipt of these emoluments to examine their consciences again. Can they reconcile their positions with personal honour and self-respect? Can they with sincerity condemn the 'bought' politicians of the established parties when they have their feet planted on the same path?
And I ask again: where is the money coming from? I remind those in control of their previous clamour for transparency. Where is the transparency here?

No to new party!
As I write these words, many still urge me to take the lead in forming a new party. As has happened in the past, I refuse to take that step. All previous experience counsels against it. Indeed I am convinced that it has been the intention and hope that I would launch and lead a breakaway movement from the BNP that explains so much of what has been happening – both to the party itself and to me personally. But I simply do not intend to play these people's game. The name of the game is divide-and-conquer. It made Nationalism in Britain impotent for so many years. It is the hope and prayer of those who seek to keep things this way.

And just as I would be playing our enemies' game by consenting to the setting up of a breakaway party, so also are those who on grounds of principle and protest have let their party subscriptions lapse, and have thus disenfranchised themselves with regard to action for internal change. If you aren't a member you can't vote. And if you can't vote you're going to leave things as they are.

Here I risk offending some of my staunchest friends and allies by saying that this kind of abstention boils down to a form of self-indulgence. It is precisely what is wanted by the people who are steering the BNP – whether by intention or under manipulative forces of which they have no knowledge – to self-destruction.

You may not like sending these people money at renewal time. Nor do I. But it is an utterly necessary procedure if the BNP is to be saved.

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