GRIFFIN’S MELTING POT:
DECONSTRUCTING THE PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE BNP CONSTITUTION
This years Red White and Blue Festival will be witnessing some profound changes within the Constitution of the BNP which will have significant effects on the leadership of the BNP and is relationship with the membership and, indeed, its future within British politics.
It is well-known that the BNP’s current incumbent Chairman, Nick Griffin, is concerned solely with personal power and the financial benefits accrued from the part.
Griffin’s strategy involves securing the long-term investment of his leadership whatever the cost. He has also made it clear that even if the party split he would be content with taking one-third of the membership with him, what he would consider a leaner BNP with a more compliant membership with the BNP image and name and machinery secured under his control. This shows how Griffin is disinterested in the agenda of British nationalism and is aiming for ‘planned failure’ rather than securing real and permanent changes to the British political system for the benefit of the indigenous British peoples. The BNP has become converted into a fascist-style party machinery based on a personality cult – the Cult of Nick Griffin.
Before we examine the proposed changes in the BNP Constitution let us remind ourselves of the Three Laws of Griffinism:
The First Law is that any change will ALWAYS be at the advantage of Nick Griffin and his power-base.
And secondly to provide any real test of real democracy within the party you have to invoke the Second Law, which is that those advantages currently accrued are preserved. That is, to see if there is any real democracy you have to examine those areas of the Constitution that provide total power for the Chairman but which are not being altered in the name of democratic reform.
The Third Law states that one must always avoid looking into the smoke and mirrors of the hype that is promoted by Griffin and his henchmen and see beyond the vaporous words. That is, the essence of any change in substance is always concealed behind false words and distortions.
The Third Law is easily invoked in his third paragraph where he launches into an attack on the ‘Usual Suspects’, trying to cover-up his tracks by sowing scare stories to mislead and intimidate the softer membership. He cites the nationalist opposition to himself by speaking of them in the same breath as the far-Left, deliberately forgetting that the far-Left are even bigger enemies to the Real Nationalists of the anti-Griffin camp. But Griffin does not allow inconvenient facts to get in the way of his lies and distortion, his real goal is to ensure that the soft underbelly of the BNP’s membership, particularly the more recent ‘March Violets’ are hardened up in support of him, seeing enemies and Reds everywhere. If the truth were to be told Griffin’s old game of ‘Reds under the Bed’ scenario may have worked when he operated the Front as a personal franchise and in the early years of the BNP, but the Decembrist Failed Plot has had the Law of Unintended Consequences. Because Griffin exposed it publicly many BNP members got to hear of the dissidents and the reason why they acted they did. The Jackson leadership challenge in the summer of 2007 and the abortive leadership challenges of 2008 have also made members acutely aware of the Griffin Problem and the reasons for it. Griffin may have escaped the immediate consequences of the Decembrist Plot through sheer verve, but the fall-out is now continuing to settle. Many officials and senior figures are questioning and are waiting, waiting for a challenge or an opportunity to remove Griffin. Unfortunately, whether intentionally or through unpredicted consequences, many good BNP members and activists have either resigned or lost all energy for the BNP and it is a disconcerting factor whether their voluntary removal from BNP activism – itself a result of the Griffin Factor (the total demoralisation of members) – may play a role in handing the crowning of Griffin’s dictatorship on a plate.
Griffin suggests that the move to create new changes to the Constitution was driven by the membership. Clearly, another one of Griffin’s lies to give the illusion that he is somehow concerned about how the membership may feel when faced by a barrage of cyber-activity raising criticisms of the leadership during any leadership challenge period.
“It is hoped that the proposed commitment to a clearly fair and democratic debate will not only be appreciated by our members but will also reinforce the party's democratic credentials to a wider audience.”
Clearly we must apply the Third Law and view this as yet another of Griffin’s cynical stunts, trying to soft-soap the membership and claiming that the further destruction of BNP internal democracy is in fact a democratic revolution! It is yet again further evidence of Double Speak yet again from the man who, within a microcosm, is turning a political party into an Orwellian nightmare.
Griffin talks about ‘no-hope’ candidates yet who is to determine whether any candidate is a ‘no-hoper’, least not the current incumbent of the BNP. If any candidate is denied the right to equal access to the BNP’s membership, or has obstacles placed in front of him/her, or they or their agents are threatened with disciplinary, how can any candidate present themselves as a strong and credible contender on an equal footing with the current incumbent? Such Double-Speak is reminiscent of Stalin and the Purges within the Soviet Communist Party. Nick Griffin is simply the British equivalent of Josef Stalin.
Furthermore, he states in a contradictory manner that at “the same time provide an important safeguard to prevent any leader, present or future, from trying to move beyond anything approved of by the majority of the Voting Members - the local officials and key activists who really make the party tick.”
That is a bit rich coming from a Chairman who has bullied, cajoled, intimidated and unilaterally forced through powers and changes to suit his dictatorial style and self-interest consistently since he attained power in 1999. It is no exaggeration to state that Nick Griffin has abused his position of authority and brought the party into disrepute many times in his career as Chairman. Why the Advisory Council ever lacked the courage and integrity to bring a charge against Griffin can only ever be explained by some of the supine members of the AC. The Decembrist Dissidents should have confronted Griffin directly as a united group rather than play games and plots against Griffin who could only win on such ground. Now they and the rest of the Real BNP have to contend with their misplaced strategies.
The Voting Members remain a contradictory entity in the scheme of the BNP Constitution. They could be a force for democracy within the BNP yet clearly Griffin sees them as a tool for his dictatorship as, applying the First Law, we can see that creating the Voting Members would be a step towards strengthening Griffin’s power.
Personally, I was always doubtful of the democratic nature of the Voting Members scheme as any scheme that is based on financial contributions is not really democratic and can be open to abuse. Surely Voting Members requirements should be based solely on the number of years of membership? The creation of an elite membership with more rights within the party seems to be reminiscent of the political cadres of the Bolsheviks and Chinese Communist Red Guards. The intention of the setting-up of an elite cadre membership has the capability of its members being indoctrinated by the leadership and being used by the leadership to support its aims as a loyalist wing of the party.
“The other particularly important change (several of them are minor, tidying up points) would be to allow future Constitutional amendments to be voted on by postal ballot.”
This point is all and well and good but its democratic credentials is dependent upon the people doing the counting. If the BNP was truly democratic its elections would be hired out to Electoral Societies whose remit is to count and deliver the votes of an organisation in an independent manner. Since we share concerns that the increased membership may not actually represent actual new members, but a creative accountancy exercise to cover-up financial discrepancies within the BNP accounts by falsely inflating the membership figures, who is to say that the ‘new members’ would not suddenly materialise from the BNP leadership at an election and whose voting slips would be cast in favour of the incumbent and his interests?
“This is why it was decided by the Advisory Council that the end of the RWB was the only time and place practical for the holding of such a debate and series of votes…”
Fair enough one might say but clearly this piece of undemocratic engineering would make a far-Left Union official blush in its audacity. By holding the EGM at the end of the day on the last day of the event means that many members and their families would be unable to remain for that debate and important vote. As a national party members obviously travel in from far and wide of the country and few would be able to stay for the debate and vote. That leaves a significant number of Griffinites and officials and other key players who would pack the meeting and organise sufficiently to drown out any oppositional arguments and votes. The presence of security personnel and Griffin minders employed in the service of the incumbent in such a small crowd would also serve to intimidate any anti-Griffin voices, particularly if the critics had any position or role in the party. Most appointments are owed to Griffin or his officials and the threat of a termination of a BNP ‘career’ may be sufficient to persuade any critic from voicing their opinions or casting their vote in the ‘wrong’ way.
“S.4.1. Elections for the post of National Chairman shall be held every four years, starting in 2009”
The question that must be asked what will be that actual circumstances for the leadership challenge in 2009? Will they be based on the current constitutional system or the new proposed one? Will any challenger will able to fight on an equal footing as the incumbent?
“S.4.2. Any member of the party may become a candidate for the post of National Chairman of the party provided that person has on or before the close of nominations is and has been a fully paid up member of the party for a minimum of five consecutive years, and has secured the signatures on his or her nomination paper of ten current Voting Members and one hundred members each with a minimum of 24 months continuous membership.”
How can we trust the Chairman who has displayed such ruthless and constitutionally abusive behaviour in the recent past to ensure that any challenger is not expelled or suspended, or threatened with such action by the Chairman? How can we be certain that any Voting Member would not be intimidated or pressurised not to nominate a candidate or to withdraw their nominations under such pressure? We have seen similar situations occur with the challenge by Cllr Colin Auty earlier this year. That candidate had to withdraw. How can we be certain a similar situation would not occur in then future?
S.4.4 gives the impression of providing a very real basis for internal democracy with the provision of equal access to the membership of any challenger. Using the Third Law we can see the devious and cunning mind of Griffin gambling on using his dictatorial powers to ensure that any resistance to his leadership is crushed at best or diminished at best. This is illustrated in the final sentence:
“In the event that unavoidable external circumstances render any of these methods of communication impractical they may be omitted or replaced as decided by a simple majority vote of a special meeting of the Advisory Council”
Quite clearly this sentence gives emergency powers to Griffin to create any set of circumstances, whereby a fair challenge is suspended and the election is then prejudiced by recourse to a simply majority within the AC. Griffin is more than capable of creating a compliant Advisory Council, selected by him and purged of any real critics.
“S.4.5. The ballot papers shall be kept unopened until the post has arrived on the third Thursday of October, where all received ballots shall be opened and counted under the supervision of two senior officials appointed by the AC who are not candidates, together with the candidates and up to two scrutineers each.”
Again, who controls the issuing of the votes? Bearing in mind the possibility of false paper members being added to the electoral roll we must all be acutely aware of how the ballot papers are issued. Where are the ballot papers to be stored and who is going to take responsibility for them? Surely by now we need to see some sort of electoral transparency? It is a bit rich for the BNP leadership to criticise alleged and real vote rigging by the other parties yet fail to provide the kind of genuine and independent electoral services that the BNP members deserve. Are they not worthy of real democracy?
“S.4.9. If an outgoing National Chairman is a paid employee of the party and either does not wish to remain as such or is not required as such by the new incumbent, he shall receive severance pay in line with the statutory requirement, plus one month for each year served up to a total of eight years, and one week extra for each year thereafter”
This is an interesting section. Clearly Griffin is looking both ways here as, although he is assuming that he would win any leadership contest, he wants to ensure that in the event that he lost his financial situation would not be drastically altered. Griffin would have served just over eight years as pad Chairman. Conveniently is the fact that he wants to ensure that severance pay is in line of one month for each year served up to eight years. Now if that isn’t self-interest I don’t know what is! That again is the First Law being put into practice by Griffin. Or maybe Griffin is hoping that he will be elected to the European Parliament in 2009 and his severance pay will be in keeping with his overall financial empire building that he is well-known for.
“S.5.6. The only other power of the Advisory Council shall be that it may call a General Members' Meeting by a two-thirds majority of Advisory Council members voting in a properly convened meeting with a quorum of two-thirds, even if this is opposed by the National Chairman”
This is where the Second Law operates in so far as though it looks democratic on the surface and seems to offer some sort of a safe guard against tyranny, we must realise that it is Griffin who decides the composition of the Advisory Council and he can also call upon his total power and influence and power of patronage to keep the Council in line. This is therefore an illusory proposal that fails because nothing is being done to actually to restrain or reduce the power of the Chairman. Who and when is the Advisory Council to be called? We have seen how impotent the Council has been in the past and it has rarely been called for a considerable period of time. Increasingly Griffin is ruling through absolutism and assisted by a clique of unelected officials and even non-members like Patrick Harrington of the Third Way National Liberal Party – an organisation which had recently promoted a black candidate against the official BNP candidate in an Essex by-election this year.
Surely, if real democracy was being created within the BNP to make up for the democratic deficit already apparent, then the members of the Advisory Council would be elected by the members, not appointed by the incumbent Chairman. Again, this is the Second Law at work yet again within the proposed changes of the Constitution.
“S.5.7. The National Chairman may also be held to account by a motion proposed and supported in writing by twenty Voting Members and submitted to the party's registered headquarters address not later than 14 days before the date of the Annual Conference.”
Again what seems like a democratic accountability proposal may not quite how we are intended to see it by the Leadership. Again, what kind of Annual Conference composition are we expected to envisage if they are to be held at the end of the last day of the RWB? Would it be easy to pack and to manipulate?
“Add S.14.3. No proposals to change any part of Section 1 of this Constitution, or to change or adopt any major policy, are to be proposed to either a General Members' Meeting or in a postal ballot until previously passed by the Annual Conference of Voting Members”
The key to this Constitutional strategy would seem to lie in the Voting Members whose votes and loyalty Griffin presumably believes he can rely on. Surely a ‘One Man, One Vote’ (OMOV) system is by far and away the most democratic (see Law Two again).
Griffin has rejected OMOV democracy within this least democratic of all political parties, dismissing as ‘Tory nationalists’ all those who call for a one-member one-vote (OMOV) system to replace the current ‘Voting Membership’ system within the BNP, which gives the vote on issues of importance only to those who can afford to pay more money for their membership. This is essentially votes for cash - exactly the phrase the BNP shouts at anyone who is accused of corruption at the ballot box. The attack on those calling for internal democracy within the party, and the inevitable result of such calls, is stated unequivocally:
‘This group must now accept that their scheme to put the destiny of the BNP in the hands of anyone who deigns to pay their membership has been comprehensively and permanently rejected, in favour of a system that gives power only to those who have earned it, and who continue to earn it. The argument is over, and anyone trying to raise it again against the repeatedly expressed will of the vast majority of the party will mark themselves out as a would-be saboteur and a candidate for expulsion.’
Griffin’s insistence in pushing forward the Voting Members can now be seen in its context. A former colleague of Griffin has stated that ‘the only thing consistent between now and then has been (Griffin’s) desire for a multi-tiered membership… something that has always seemed like an attempt to solve a problem that does not actually exist.’
So there we have it. Griffin’s Big Drive to Democracy has been a con all the time. By gradually introducing various systems of control and patronage and by manipulating the membership he has now got to the point where he can assume total dictatorial power within the BNP, based on the Voting Members and a castrated Advisory Council – all under the pretence of making the BNP look more democratic.
OMOV is common practice throughout all mainstream political parties and trade unions, yet it seems too democratic for the fascist Personality Cult of Griffin.
There is simply no justifiable and sensible reason to justify banning leadership elections from their current status to one every four, or even two, years. It is simply a recipe for further authoritarianism within the BNP. Far enough if the BNP was a party of government. An annual leadership challenge would undoubtedly present a problem and an unnecessary obstacle to an effective and functional BNP government. An annual election whilst in government would be a luxury it could ill-afford. But the mainstream parties all possess a democratic system of elections that are not restricted by the leadership.
Griffin is getting concerned. He is concerned at the first attempt at a leadership challenge against him carried out last year by Chris Jackson. The fact that over half of the BNP membership never voted has worried Griffin. This has made him even more determined to ensure that power resides not within the unreliable and largely apathetic membership, but within a trusted hard core of loyal activists – a cadre similar in goal to the Political Soldiers concept that he helped to create with Derek Holland in the International Third Positionist movement..
The Decembrist Plot by a group of senior officials along with its fall-out that nearly split the party has strengthened Griffin’s resolve to get control back before another challenge, direct or indirect, is mounted against him. Through manipulation and intimidation he was able to see off two attempts this year for a leadership challenge. This can now be considered now his last chance to centralise control further and to ensure that the Griffin Empire is consolidated and protected from any new threats.
Griffin is at heart a centralist and demands tight control over all aspects of the party’s policy and management. Witness the perceived threat to Griffin when the independent nationalist trade union Solidarity refused to cede to the demands of the centralising paranoia of Griffin. He pulled his support from his very own BNP members within the Union and actively supported a former National Front colleague, Patrick Harrington, who represents a political organisation opposed to the BNP.
It is clear that Griffin is not only seeking to totally control the BNP but is seeking to remould it in his image. To remould it he has to persuade the membership through manipulation, rigged EGMs and intimidation to give up what little remains of any internal democracy within the BNP and to centralise that power, legitimising it within an amended Constitution.
Once he has neutralised any opposition in the form of potential challenges he can pursue his manipulation and purging until he has full and unopposed authority in reshaping the BNP into a liberalised version based on the Third Way’s National Liberal Party. Through such means he thinks that he can make a legitimate broad-based appeal to some ethnic groups and Tory nationalists, removing any ‘racist’ image and presenting itself as a Tory Populist party. Like Tony Blair and the Labour Party, this will be Griffin’s ‘Clause Four moment’ when he can successfully rebrand the BNP and ditch the nationalist agenda. The liberal establishment’s agenda will have then been completed. Then will Nu-BNP be born and repackaged to serve its Puppet Masters on the electoral market.
All BNP members must attend the EGM on the Sunday afternoon following the RWB and make their voice heard. This is the ‘last chance saloon’. If Griffin gets his way he will have created a new Enabling Act that will give him sweeping new powers to remain as Chairman. Then it won’t just be democracy that will be dumped. It will be large parts of the BNP’s nationalist agenda and policies that will be quietly disbanded by a powerfully entrenched leader who can never be called to account.
DON’T LET GRIFFIN TAKE AWAY YOUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
USE YOUR VOTE AT THE EGM
REMEMBER - MAKE IT COUNT