ITN News 21 DecITN web site - Updated 17.32 Fri Dec 21 2007
Independent Television News - 21st December 2007
BNP fined by Electoral Commission
The far-right British National Party (BNP) has been fined by the elections watchdog for failing to declare its accounts on time. The Electoral Commission issued the £1,000 penalty after the party filed its figures for 2006 - almost six months late. Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the BNP was required to submit the statement of accounts by July 7.
The blow comes amid internal rows in the controversial right-wing party and calls for a police investigation into claims of "illegal spying" on its members.
Labour MP Jon Cruddas used Parliamentary privilege this week to highlight the alleged bugging, which he had reported to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. The claims follow the resignation from the party of a series of members, including Broxtowe councillor Sadie Graham, over the BNP's leadership.
In the Commons, Mr Cruddas also raised allegations of "financial irregularities" by the BNP which had been researched by the anti-fascist Searchlight Information Services. © Limited 2007. All rights reserved.
From: ENRonn [deleted]
Cc: 'Martin Webster' firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, December 21, 2007 4:00 PM
I will be writing a detailed review, but in the meanwhile, note the balance sheet shows a carried forward deficit that still exceeds £35,000, so that the party remains balance sheet insolvent, while membership did not increase in 2006, despite the result in Barking.
Immediate conclusions: these accounts, now of course almost a year out of date, show an improvement on 2005. They indicate an organisation that was flat lining after its best year in terms of electoral gains.
The danger of collapse has been staved off for the time being, but growth has ceased. The key to the Griffin leadership's survival will now be the rate of renewals in early 2008 and whether first a breakthrough in the GLA elections is attainable, but secondly, whether it makes a real difference to membership, since Barking didn't.
More to follow.
From: Sharon Ebanks
To: martin Webster
Date: Friday, December 21, 2007 3:40
PMSubject: Emailing: bnp_accounts_2006_web[Attachment: bnp_accounts_2006_web.pdf]Lecomber is down as nominating officer...
To: Martin Webster
Date: Saturday, December 22, 2007 1:08 PMSubject:
FW; BNP Still Insolvent (Searchlight Web-Site 22nd December) Searchlight web site - 22 December 2007
BNP still insolvent
by Sonia Gable
The BNP finally published its 2006 accounts days before the fine for their late submission to the Electoral Commission would have doubled to £2,000. They make interesting reading, not only for the figures, and the failure to solve the mystery of the printing equipment, but also for the names of party activists listed in their various roles.
For a start the BNP's nominating officer and campaigns officer throughout the year was none other than Tony "Mad Bomber" Lecomber, despite his claim to have left the BNP 18 months ago after he was found out trying to hire a hit man to murder a leading politician and was sacked as the party's group development officer.
A full list of the party's Advisory Council will prove useful to those BNP members trying to establish the identity of the Searchlight mole that the BNP claims is present in that select group.
It is also interesting to compare the list with the names of those who have signed up to Sadie Graham's and Kenny Smith's dissident group. History is rewritten too.
According to the chairman's introduction to the accounts Simon Darby "gave a very good account of himself in difficult circumstances" in a Channel Five studio discussion.
In fact Darby was verbally slaughtered by Lord Lester QC.
The account of the trial on race hate charges of Nick Griffin, the party leader, and Mark Collett, the BNP's former director of publicity, recently demoted to graphic designer, is also heavily embellished. Seven "key permanent members of staff" are shown: Nick Griffin, Sadie Graham, John Walker, Dave Hannam, Martin Wingfield, Tina Wingfield and Steve Blake.
Some have proved a good deal less than permanent and Hannam's position as assistant treasurer has recently been abolished, although it is unclear whether he has been made redundant.
Membership is stated as 6,281, down from the 6,502 shown in the 2005 accounts and a far cry from the 10,000 figure currently being bandied around by the BNP leadership. At the time of the BNP leadership election the voting figures indicated that the party had 8,604 members but this was widely thought to be an exaggeration.
The treasurer's and audit reports reveal that the party had not yet completed the task of setting up proper internal controls, which it started early in 2005, and so the auditors, Silver & Co of Cannock, had "to rely upon assurances and explanations given us by officers of the party". This is not an unusual let out for small organisations and gives the lie to the claim that the auditors would not sign the accounts until Kenny Smith was sacked for failing to provide receipts for administration expenditure.
When asked about this allegation Frank Hogarth, a partner in Silver & Co, refused to comment. Announcing the accounts on its website the BNP highlighted the increase in income and the surplus for the year. Income from donations and membership fees has indeed gone up, although income from commercial activities is down, something that will no doubt be blamed on the dissidents.
Campaign expenditure is a mere £19,016, almost all on leaflets. Even this tiny figure for a national organisation is an improvement on 2005 when nothing was spent on campaigning leaflets. Presumably party branches have to pay for everything themselves. Staff costs are down £20,000 to £227,732 of which £145,447 is for employees and £104,764 on "professional fees" payments outside the compulsory PAYE system of accounting for tax and national insurance contributions on employees' wages.
One of the allegations Searchlight made based on the 2005 accounts is that the wages figure was impossibly low for the number of employees declared, suggesting that some employees were paid outside PAYE. The position has hardly improved. The accounts state that the total number of staff has increased from nine in 2005 to 13, which means that the average wage per staff member is still only around £11,000.
Remember Ian Dawson, the former group support officer, recently stated that he worked for the party earning £14,400 and this was "probably the lowest full-time wage in the party".
Collett is not listed as a key staff member, although he clearly spends a considerable amount of his time working for the party. Either he is one of those still paid as a self employed person or his remuneration comes in another way.
Perhaps some of the BNP's £30,000 of expenditure on commercial printing and reproduction goes his way, or the similar sums spent on producing The Voice of Freedom and Identity.
Quite what Collett did as director of publicity is unclear seeing as the party spends so little on leaflets and only £1,410 on "promotional expenditure". Income from tickets to the BNP's Red White Blue summer festival fell from £15,808 in 2005 to £9,242 but the cost of putting the event on also fell by £4,000. Perhaps BNP members have started getting bored with it. Trafalgar Club income and expenditure is not separately itemised, an example of the lack of transparency about which the dissidents have complained.
What does the party have to hide here?
Although the BNP made a surplus of nearly £19,000 compared to a deficit of nearly £95,000 in 2005, it was not enough to take the party out of insolvency.
A £35,000 surplus of liabilities over assets was financed partly by running up a debt of nearly £22,000 to the regional accounting unit (party branches and groups), although this was paid off in January 2007 out of the £46,000 cash it had in the bank at 31 December 2006. The amount owed to HM Revenue and Customs for PAYE and value added tax was half the sum at the start of the year, suggesting that HMRC became less tolerant of the BNP's attempts to borrow from the taxpayer. The largest liability is "subscriptions in advance".
This would normally cover the proportion after 31 December 2006 of annual subscriptions to publications paid in the course of the year. In this case it is probably membership subscriptions because it is way too large for subscriptions to Freedom and Identity. That this sum has doubled to £67,548 may be because the BNP made a big effort to get people to pay their 2007 membership fees at the end of 2006 rather than at the beginning of 2007. This would be consistent with the large cash balance at the end of the year, much of which was spent in January 2007 on paying off the party's debt to the branches. In other words, much of 2007's membership income has been spent in 2006.
A note to the accounts takes a swipe at Kenny Smith, though not by name, for failing to provide receipts for £14,000 of funds "transferred to the B N Publications account so as to allow the printing department to funding [sic]". The party first accused him of failing to account for "up to £17,000" and rapidly dropped the "up to". The fact that it is now £14,000 will undoubtedly get overlooked by the Griffin loyalists.
And why the B N Publications account should be off balance sheet is unclear, as it would appear to be part of the party's administration. Another note explains that the Excalibur stock held at the year end has not been included in the accounts. Its omission would depress the commercial (and therefore taxable) profit (though as in 2005 there is no sign that any corporation tax is paid). It is the reason for the omission that is interesting, namely that "the very nature of the stock raises questions as to it's [sic] realisable value". Well we certainly wouldn't buy it.
"Certain party officials are involved and hold positions with 'Great White Records'", the accounts state, revealing that the party buys CDs at commercial rates from the company, owned by Hannam, and resells them. Great White Records also supplied "sound assistance at venues" amounting to £9,618, another means of transferring money to Hannam. As we expected, the accounts do not show the rumoured investment by the party of £50,000 in Great White Records, which is therefore either a myth or another "off balance sheet" transaction.
And finally, there is no solution to the mystery of the BNP's printing equipment. In 2005 the party claimed to have spent variously £75,000 or £70,000 on printing equipment, but the 2005 accounts only showed acquisitions of equipment (of any sort) of £51,671.
In June 2007 when Chris Jackson challenged Griffin for the party leadership, some people asked questions about why Collett was always late in producing leaflets for the BNP after the party had spent "£70,000" on printing equipment. The BNP's reply was that the party had bought four high quality digital duplicators, three folding machines and power guillotine for £70,000 but that after the 2005 general election they were "given to the regions" and no longer kept for head office jobs.
Yet neither the 2005 accounts nor the 2006 accounts show any disposal of equipment, which if by means of a gift would have turned the small 2006 surplus into a loss.
Was the equipment ever in the accounts?
Who owns it now?
Was the BNP lying in 2005, in 2007 or both?
We think party members have a right to know.
E-Mail from Martin Webster to a BNP Regional Organiser
From: Martin Webster
Date: Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:33 PM
Subject: Griffin and his coterie
Thank you for your e-mail concerning the last 'Electronic Loose Cannon' (#22).....[snip]....At the moment, as Mr. Davies' report made clear, Griffin is using the funds of local Branches of the BNP, which are held in trust by him at Head Office, to reconcile and balance the Head Office accounts.
He is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
You can't play those kinds of accountancy games for too long.Griffin has surrounded himself with petty crooks because he feels comfortable and safe in such company. He protects them and they, in turn, reciprocate the favour. It's a simple application of the Causa Nostra "Made Man" formula. Not all of these people are terribly bright and they think they are untouchable.
Because of that delusion they put themselves about in an arrogant, corrupt and bullying way.It is the unreasonable and suspicion-arousing protection which Griffin has given to his young friend Mark Collett and another youngster, the former supermarket shelf-filler and petty embezzler Hannam, that has made the worm turn in many BNP hearts in Yorkshire.
One thing I have been told about by BNP officials is the great resentment which local branches feel about the prices BNP Head Office is charging for leaflets. The prices for these have shot up in the last year or so.I am told that the reason for this is that not only does Collett do the graphical design for these leaflets (which is not a big cost element in long-run productions) but he has also been allowed to set up his own private "printing" company through which the printing of the leaflets is managed.
His company does not print a thing, but it does take a healthy mark-up simply for putting in the order to the company which does do the printing.
I am told a similar set-up applies with the production of 'Identity'. People point to Collett's very prosperous life-style.Why could not the party's administration arrange for the printing of the leaflets, as was done previously -- and as was done in the old National Front in my days.
In the old NF, our aim was to provide literature as cheaply as possible so that branches would buy and distribute the greatest possible quantity. The NF did take a modest profit from literature sales, but there wasn't a parasitical middle-man adding his lump as well.
Mind you, the NF's very small number of paid staff subsidised the party's entire operation by taking chicken-food wages. I don't think I was receiving above £40 a week when I was given the heave-ho in 1983.
In the Griffin BNP of today, the functions of the party get "privatised" or "out-sourced" so that Griffin and his little coterie of pals can take a private profit.But this literature mark-up scam is, I have no doubt, only one of many such schemes. BNP members, not all of whom are rich, sacrifice to subsidise these operations.
There are some good folk in the BNP (albeit many of them are politically ignorant and naive newcomers to the cause of British Nationalism) but the senior administration increasingly resembles a gang of crooks.
P.S.: By the way, I have replied to you via your [deleted] address (the one I usually use) rather than the BNP address because I hear many BNP folk say that all the traffic to/from "BNP.org.uk" e-mail addresses is (or can easily be) monitored by Griffin's "security" set-up.
From: Matt Single
Last Saturday 15th December, was for me a day I had hoped I would never have to come to terms with. I attended a meeting of the British National Party with a range of questions and emotions coiled like a spring in my head, that the prospect of airing in public left me feeling frustrated, anxious but still hopeful.
This hope for me revolved around the prospect that Mr Griffin could finally find the decency to somehow stop his resentful inflexibility that is souring his reasoning, and making him so bitter.
Sadie and I, plus two other councillors and several Party members from Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, drove down to the meeting venue in Leicester.
The hall was full, the usual mixture of faces, young and old drinking tea soothed me on the surface, but the businesslike, although not unfriendly atmosphere, masked the irritations and hard questioning that was to come. This was going to be a heated but not juvenile or disrespectful meeting; we were all going to afford one another the chance to speak and listen. The meeting hall rental slot was not long, which made me question the validity of Mr Griffin's lengthy delay and whether or not he regarded a shorter meeting an additional bonus with less time to address difficult questions from the audience at the end. Nick finally entered flanked by Party Security and sat at the top table next to Sadie. Mark Collett, Dave Hannam and John Walker, who had walked in with Nick stood nearby with their backs to the wall with security next to them near to where I was sitting.
I'm not entirely sure what Nick expected to happen, but the sight of several rather handy looking security ex-colleagues of mine lined up along the wall of the hall didn't help to ease the atmosphere and really made one ask oneself; is Griffin really a man that truly has the confidence of the people?
Sadie spoke first and asked a series of straight and honest questions, the questions that so many people have been asking up and down the country.
"Why did you illegally record conversations in my home without my permission?
Why did you order Party Security to enter my home through deception and steal my property?
Why, although you have broken several very serious laws, are you still refusing to return my property?
Why have you totally ignored, abused or ridden roughshod over the very foundations and constitution of this Party?"
It's an interesting point, that during the development of this whole situation, Mr Griffin has been assuming somehow that the law of this land is on your side if you shout the loudest to the most people.
Well sorry Nick, you are sadly mistaken and regardless to your tantrums the fact remains that you have unashamedly broken several laws and you are going to be made accountable for your actions. Further to this blatant display of conceit, Nick's answers during the meeting were quite honestly the most perfect example of a stereotypical politician lying through his back teeth, that I have ever witnessed.
He manoeuvred to turn the questions around on Sadie as he tried to defend the utter mess he has created through the decisions he has and is continuing to make. How a person, even a well-tuned politician, can try and defend what is clearly indefensible still amazes me.
The level of inflexibility displayed was mind-boggling, yet Sadie maintained throughout a very high degree of composure and out and out sheer courage and wrestled with a politician that had once flattened Jeremy Paxman on national television.
This was truly a David and Goliath situation, and as the tale goes, Goliath got just a little more than he bargained for. Sadie handled herself with an assertiveness and professionalism that far outweighed her experience. Sadie used the simple truth of the matter sticking to the facts and was met with a concoction of mistruths and pre-packaged / pre-prepared answers from Griffin which were then backed up by Collett, whose slippery and sycophantic persona was rather like listening to nails being dragged down a chalkboard.
Anyone who had ever spent any time in close proximity to Collett will be able to relate to this I'm sure.
By the end of the meeting Griffin had, by using a well-honed browbeating method, managed to control a grossly unfair share of platform time. I timed that Griffin had forty-five minutes of floor time compared with Sadie's twenty. Even with all his guns blazing away and the wind on his side, he still by the end of the meeting looked as though he had just seen a ghost. Sadie carried the meeting with unanimous support because she has, put simply, the truth on her side with the full support of the majority of the people of this Party.
This was a basic but very valuable lesson for us all in how strong a Party like ours can be in solidarity; and a reminder of how dangerous it is when one person is allowed to nestle themselves into a position of dictator by rewriting or ignoring the rules to suit their own personal agenda.
Since that meeting the situation has turned and twisted as more and more desperation has seeped into Mr Griffin's deeply flawed position with the cold light of day about to break on the horizon.
I cannot help feel a degree of discomfort as he resorts to asking others to lie for him such as Simon Darby. Simon was quoted on BBC Newsnight 18th December as saying that the Party had rid itself of hard-line "neo-Nazi" elements.
The fact that Sadie, Kenny and Steve have been instrumental in modernising our Party and speaking out against such elements that have held us back through the years had strangely appeared to have slipped his memory. This of course came in the same week that Mr Darby also said on Radio 4 that all us "malcontents" were actually in fact all left-wing state agents! It is apparent that Mr Darby decides whether we are all "Nazis" or "working for Searchlight magazine" / New-Labour, depending which lie the interviewer is more likely to believe.
To make matters worse, no less than Lee Barnes himself has now also been pulled into the fold at the behest of Mr Griffin to attack those that have dared to question his authority. Mr Barnes's bizarre, foul-mouthed and semi-coherent ramblings have in the past caused a great many of us some degree of embarrassment.
Considering that he is never to be seen actually helping with a Party activity, or at a conference or in a meeting, it is not surprising that he is now widely regarded as little more than a mere satellite of the Party proper. He is dusted off once in a while by Griffin and drought back down to planet Earth to apply the incomplete law degree that he pulled out of a Kinder-Egg.
Even more significant is the fact that until last week, he has never actually ever been a member of our Party; how convenient that he suddenly now feels in necessary to join us.
This serves us all with an example of the type of people that Mr Griffin surrounds himself with. Non-members, an assortment of little known nationalist 'personalities' from around the globe and various other 'Griffin flavours of the month', all of which clearly appear far more important to him than the very stalwart lifeblood activists of this Party that make it tick from one week to the next, that often work ridiculously long hours for little more than the gift of hope for our children's future. [Barnes claimed on his blog that he had now joined, but quoted the wrong membership fee, so whether he has actually joined is debatable - Ed).]
The fact that Mr Griffin simply does not listen to those he should, while pandering to some of nationalism's most cranky and abnormal characters I find utterly incomprehensible, and very worrying indeed. I personally believe that he has now completely exhausted all rational thought. I am not sure how he will pull his damaged reputation from this situation intact, as he will increasingly resort to tactics more akin to an Eastern European mafia boss than a Party Chairman that is supposed to be upholding the will of the people, for the people.
This, I am in no doubt will be confirmed in the coming days or weeks as he at long last slowly comes to terms with the fact that scores of the Party's brightest and best people have dared to turn to him, look him in the eye and demand he listen to them and not be intimidated by him any longer.
This is an unfeasible situation for an authoritarian to find themselves in.
Often such a person is simply not equipped with how to deal with such a dilemma and therefore will react aggressively, contradictorily and seemingly without any end game plan in place. This can be substantiated with the way in which Mr Griffin is now hurling lies and defamatory insults at people that have for years immersed themselves in this Party's gradual and hard fought campaign for growth, often at great personal cost. Vermin, government agents, left-wing infiltrators, malcontents and hard-line neo-Nazis.
These are just a small selection of the metaphors openly voiced during meetings recently attended by Mr Griffin to describe those standing against his dogmatic inflexibility. These are quite obviously not consolatory words designed to bring this situation to a positive conclusion for the benefit of the Party, but instead words designed to scare or distress other members into turning away from those supporting us.
This all forms part of Mr Griffin's plan to hold on at all costs without giving an inch towards meeting our requests. He is hanging onto the hope that we will "run out of steam" during the Christmas Holiday leaving only a bad memory for him to wipe away during the early part of the New Year. This must not happen if we are to save this Party from any one person inside it that is unwilling to listen to others around them; because no one person is greater than the Party and The Cause itself.
This must be enshrined into a new constitution if we are to attract people that regard freedom as one of the most important components of their daily lives and futures. If we do not all act now, we risk becoming the very people that we detest, weak-willed sheep that blindly follow totalitarians. If this is allowed to happen, corruption will creep into the void once occupied by wholesome and moral people, and the vehicle for our future, the BNP will be castrated and impotent for ever more.
We have but only one chance to save it.
Very early in the morning of 20th December, in another desperate attempt to defame Mr Griffin's internal dissenters, an unlawful attack on us has been posted on the BNP website main-page. The mere fact that every single word from the emails alleged to have been taken from Sadie's stolen personal computer is an illegal act in itself, and that the posting of these alleged emails could cause the Party massive injury does not seem to bother Mr Griffin one iota.
He simply does not care if the Party suffers massive and irreparable damage, provided he can still state that he has total control of the Party; this is all he is interested in. Jon Cruddas MP, has already stood up in Parliament to pressurise the police to act against the Party because of the illegal actions of Mr Griffin, and the fact that Griffin has now compounded these crimes further, can serve us with no greater example of the true nature of Mr Griffin.
I now expect unfortunately, that other MPs will join Cruddas now after this latest attack. In all of this, I have yet to have mentioned the fact that as a serving BNP Councillor, Sadie has been temporarily but severely restricted in serving the people of her constituency due to the theft of her computer with all her council work on it.
Once again I do not suppose for a minute that Mr Griffin could really care less as to what the 44% BNP vote in her area would think about their councillor having the work she was proceeding with stolen on the orders of the Party Chairman no less! This latest attack on the BNP website is so full of hideous lies it is almost beyond belief. To write so shamelessly that Sadie Graham, Kenny Smith, Steve Blake and Ian Dawson have been plotting a 'coup d'état' would be laughable if it were not so serious.
I would also question the authenticity of these alleged emails passed between them that have been displayed on the website. Griffin's South African Intelligence Department Im sure have had all the time they would have needed to create material to look as though it was taken from Sadie's stolen machine, as an attempt to create a diversion away from the real issues we are seeking to address here.
Do they honestly expect members and supporters to believe that we have been hatching a plan to suddenly spring a takeover of the Party?
How stupid does Mr Griffin really think we are?
I'll leave that to the reader to decide for themselves.
Well, the evidence is plentiful and there for all members and supporters to see. Mr Griffin must be openly challenged now before it is too late. It is now up to all of us to stand firm and absolutely insist that the changes we want to make actually take place. Act now for this Party, do this for yourself and for your children so we can once again move forward together in 2008.