M.W. File Note: A slightly edited version of a report of the BNP Yorkshire Regional meeting held in Leeds last night.]===========================================
From: [deleted]To: Martin Webster
Subject: Regional BNP Meeting in Leeds
I am sorry that I missed you last night but I went to Leeds for a BNP regional meeting.The meeting was at the Dog and Gun pub on York Road at a big estate in East Leeds. I travelled there with [deleted - 3 BNP branch officials specified]This meeting was high security with 'heavies' outside the pub, at the door of the meeting room upstairs, inside the room and next to Nick Griffin at the top table.
It was a full house with between eighty to one hundred people present, mostly from Yorkshire units. The meeting was chaired by Simon Darby with Mark Collett to his left and Nick Griffin on the other side of him. Next to Griffin, in the corner near a door to a flat roof was Martin Reynolds, Head of Security. On Darby's right sat Griffin's opponents, Ian Dawson (formerly of Group Support) and Chris Beverley, a Leeds city councillor who used to run the Excalibur merchandising operation. Griffin entered the meeting with Collett and the 'heavies' after the room was filled.
He was very rudely and aggressively ordered Dawson and Beverley to move along the table. It set the tone for a bad tempered and aggressive meeting.Griffin spoke first with the usual lurid accusations against anyone who crosses him.
He attacked Kenny Smith and Sadie Graham, whom he has expelled, Steve Blake, his former web site editor - none of whom were present. He attacked Dawson and Beverley who were present.
They and others were by turns incompetents, thieves, conspirators to take over the Party, Searchlight moles, collaborators with the far-Left, neo-Nazi cranks, traitors and any other insult that sprang to Griffin's fertile imagination.
This was received by the audience in a mood of sullen defiance.
When Griffin came in, Bradford councillors, Paul Cromie and his wife, sitting on the front row tried to get applause going by clapping loudly. Very few applauded.
After Griffin had finished speaking there was very little applause.
The 'impartial' meeting chairman, Darby, looked worried.
During the speech Griffin kept glaring down the table at Dawson and Beverley and referring to 'those people'. Poor Ian Dawson seemed rather intimidated. Towards the end of his speech Nick Griffin called his opponents 'vermin'.When Griffin finished and Darby stood up somebody stood up Darby tried to shut him up - "Questions at the end please!"The questioner persisted: "A point of information Mr Chairman, I thought we were having a civilised meeting here - so why have you allowed Nick Griffin to call these two 'vermin'?"
Griffin scowled as several loud voices agreed with that point.
I heard one very loud and aggressive voice from someone standing at the back agreeing with the question - it was Tony MacDonnell.
A silly prat with a video camera on a stand, filming the meeting, swung his camera round to film MacDonnell.
A 'heavy' by the entrance tried in vain to restrain Tony Mac who told him very firmly "Get your fucking hand off me!" MacDonnell ran forward saying to the camera man "Don't you point your camera at me!". The camera man ran down the side of the audience to get away.
MacDonnell, now in front of the top table, turned his anger on Mark Collett, whom had made the mistake of looking at him.
Collett tried to move past chief heavy, Reynolds, to escape through the other door onto the flat roof. Reynolds shouted at MacDonnell as other stewards rushed forward. MacDonnell shouted at Nick Griffin: "Call your gorillas off or I'll take the fucking lot out!"
The gorillas didn't seem too keen to put this idea to the test!
The audience was on its feet as various friends of MacDonell's tried to calm him down.
A minor skirmish broke out with the top table being knocked over.
MacDonnell walked to the back of the meeting, shouted some abuse at Griffin who tried to ignore him and then pretended he hadn't a clue what he was talking about. Tony Mac then appealed to all those who supported his mate, Chris Beverley, to walk out with him.
A handful did but Beverley himself stayed at the top table.I had to laugh!
What started with somebody asking Darby for a "civilised meeting" erupted into a mini riot. Perhaps things were a little too civilised for Tony MacDonnell's taste.The meeting continued.
Dawson spoke to defend himself against Griffin. He was out of his depth against Griffin's greater confidence (now a little shaken) and Griffin's superior speaking skills. Beverley spoke. He was conciliatory. He had nothing to do with the rebel website and hadn't been expelled. He appealed for calm and everyone to try to work together.After this Griffin softened his line. Beverley wasn't too bad after all! There might even be hope for Dawson if he behaved himself! Sadie Graham had already caved in last night in Leicester! Kenny Smith and Steve Blake were the real villains.
Neither was present to defend their reputation. It was probably Steve Blake who was the Searchlight mole, on reflection, not poor Ian Dawson!Darby insisted that Mark Collett be allowed to speak.
The audience booed.
Personally I wanted to hear all sides of the argument. Collett shouted "Where is Dave Hannam? Come forward Dave!" Hannam, sitting in the audience with National Treasurer, Jon Walker, reluctantly rose to his feet. I think Collett wanted Hannam to back him up and share some of the animosity emanating from the mob. Hannam said nothing and stood between Griffin and 'chief gorilla', Martin Reynolds sitting in the corner. If little Hannam had moved any closer to Reynolds he would have been sitting on his knee!
Finally the audience demanded its say.
Darby insisted: "No speeches or statements - only questions!" The first questioner stood up and asked Griffin: "Will you tell us how many people you have expelled or otherwise driven out of nationalism, currently as leader of the BNP but also in the NF?"Griffin muttered something about respecting the questioner for being loyal to John Tyndall's memory.
But Tyndall refused to expel Searchlight moles such as Peter Rushton.
"Yes, I have expelled a lot more people than Tyndall but it was necessary. Frankly, I am damned if I do and damned if I don't! It is a bloody miserable job being the leader - especially at meetings like these!"
The Branch Organiser asked Griffin why he was dragging his heels over Mike Easter's appeal against expulsion - it has gone on for months.
Griffin replied that sorting out this rebellion had taken precedence but to be fair to Easter, Griffin will rescind his expulsion.Later, Griffin apologised to the meeting for being aggressive and rude - but he had had very little sleep, rushing around the country to meetings, trying to save the Party.
He made a weak joke about the "scrap" earlier on.
Nick Griffin said "This little rebellion is over, one way or another. If you all walk away then you leave Yorkshire without British Nationalism. But quite frankly within eighteen months we will have replaced you - just like happened in the Midlands with the rebellion there with the Edwards.After three hours of non-stop talking Darby tentatively asked permission from the audience to close the meeting. The main protagonists stayed in the meeting to talk privately with some of the stewards staying too. Most of the audience drifted away.Best wishes,[deleted]