The Party I Want
John Tyndall sets out his vision for the future of the BNP
As reported in these pages last month, I have decided to throw down a challenge to Nick Griffin for the leadership of the British National Party. This challenge will probably be made in the summer of 2005, though a final decision on the timing will be made later.
The challenge will be made in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the BNP Constitution.
Many factors have brought me to this decision. I never had confidence that Nick Griffin would lead the BNP in the direction desired by its founders, nor that he would exercise prudent judgement in the making of decisions affecting the party, nor that he would be able to hold the party together as a unified force free of factions and internal quarrelling. His entire record prior to his assumption of the BNP leadership in 1999 made this very clear. The only question was how long it would take for these realities to become obvious to the membership of the party as a whole. I believe that this is beginning to happen. Hence my decision to stand against Mr. Griffin in a leadership election.
Whether people support my challenge or whether they support Mr Griffin, they have to admit one thing to be glaringly obvious. The BNP at the present time is a deeply divided party, with a great deal of controversy raging over leadership and policy. It is time for this controversy to be put to the vote of the whole membership. Which way do the members want the party to go? I want to give them the opportunity to decide.
Two things in particular have illustrated failures of leadership which portend disaster for the party if the situation is allowed to drift on unchanged.
First, there was the fiasco of the June elections. After months in which Mr. Griffin was repeatedly telling the party that we were on course to get four or five MEPs into the European Parliament, the final result was that not one single one was elected. In an election analysis in our July issue I condemned this failure, not because on the day we were faced, in UKIP, with a rival anti-EU party with far greater resources and with considerable media backing and we were therefore unable to compete, but because, knowing of this probability long beforehand, Mr Griffin made the decision to make a flat-out bid for seats in Europe in the first place. The correct strategy would have been to concentrate efforts on winnable seats in local government elections up and down the country, so many of which were up for grabs this year, and on the one winnable seat on the Greater London Assembly. The result of Mr. Griffin's decision to give overriding priority to his and others' campaigns to win unwinnable seats in Europe was that these other elections were grossly neglected in terms of active and financial input and leadership focus.
In other words, Mr. Griffin stands condemned, not for the party failing to win seats in Europe, but for targeting the impossible and wasting huge resources in so doing.
Aside from my own critique of this election strategy, an excellent analysis of the same shambles was provided in an article by Peter Rushmore in the Autumn issue of Heritage and Destiny magazine, obtainable for £2.50 post-free from PO Box 331, Blackburn BB1 2WU.
Then when the ink was hardly dry on the June election ballot papers Mr. Griffin put forward a proposal that was certain, had it been carried through, to split the BNP in two. This was his crazy scheme to alter the party constitution to let in non-white members. He only backtracked after massive grass-roots opposition to the scheme had made itself manifest. In a declaration on the BNP website on the 23rd July he announced a complete about-turn, saying that the plan had been abandoned and that the membership rules would stay as they were, employing arguments in support of this that were an almost exact replica of those that I and several others had put forward against the change only a few days previously! This was not leadership; it amounted to a pathetic blowing with the wind.
Notwithstanding this volte face by Mr. Griffin, I am not convinced that we have seen the end of his ambition to bring non-Whites into our party. In statements to journalists he has been confessing his support for the idea for at least two years. I fear that we will witness a replay of the project before very long, albeit perhaps by means of different tactics.
These two recent developments have convinced me that a change of leadership in the BNP has become a matter of urgency.
What are my own qualifications for the job? I was founder of the party and, together with a solid core of colleagues (now mostly sidelined by Mr. Griffin), built it up gradually to the point at which, in 1993, it won its first council election seat in East London. From 1994 to 1996 the party's progress slowed, mainly due to internal subversion carried out by agents of Scotland Yard's Special Branch (a diagnosis incidentally concurred with by Nick Griffin in Patriot magazine, Issue No. 4, Spring 1999). After 1996 our progress picked up again, and in 1997 we fielded 54 candidates in the general election of that year, earning TV time. During the final two years of my time as leader BNP membership increased by nearly 90 per cent - and this before riots in certain northern towns in 2001 substantially changed the political climate in Britain to the advantage of the BNP.
I owe it to the members of the party whose support I am seeking to set out a vision of the future BNP as I see it and desire it. In what ways will I change the party and in what ways will I keep things as they are? Below I shall take the issues one by one and explain how I view them.
Articles of faith
I am pledged to maintain the BNP as a party of 100 per cent racial nationalism. That is to say that our aim must be an all-white Britain, with a population of British stock, varied only by the mingling of people of compatible and assimilable European ethnic groups.
This, it will not need stating, will involve a massive transfer of non-European populations to their ethnic homelands in the Third World. As far as possible, this should be achieved by negotiation, including the provision of generous financial aid and incentives to resettlement. This means that the process would start on a voluntary basis. However, it would be essential to hold in reserve the option of alternative means of resettlement, employing the force of law, should the first policy prove inadequate. This is in accordance with the terms on which I agreed to a change in the BNP's repatriation programme in 1999, and which were set out in Chapter 15 of my book The Eleventh Hour. In effect, and despite all protestations to the contrary, the change was merely one of presentation, not of substance.
Contrary to what Mr. Griffin has claimed, I do not believe that the distinction between voluntary or obligatory repatriation is of concern to the average voter. My experience of doorstep canvassing certainly confirms me in this view. For this very reason I do not believe that the party should go out of its way to 'talk up' the repatriation issue, either to emphasise the first (voluntary) phase or the contingency policy of enforcement by law if this fails. There will be times when we will be obliged by media questioning to address the issue, in which case we should stress the first as the first option, while not denying the second if asked but stressing it as being, at the moment, hypothetical.
What we must certainly not do is speak, as Mr. Griffin has done, of an all-white Britain being an unrealistic 'utopia' or of non-white immigration being "the salt in the soup", in other words a little is OK but not too much. This wins no friends in the media or among the public, while it demoralises many in our own party.
This principle of a White Britain is laid down as the core belief of our party entirely without hatred. We would continue, as in the past, to express our racial convictions reasonably, moderately and with strict avoidance of insults or abuse towards other ethnic groups, though maintaining the right to speak critically of these groups, or sections thereof, where called for and within the law.
This question aside, I see no reason for any substantial change in the party's political objectives as defined in Section 1 of the present Constitution, though I believe that some modifications of wording should be made in Sub-section (b) so as to make clear the objectives of an all-white Britain as previously outlined; and in Sub-section (c) so as to avoid the impression that the party is fully committed to a programme of Distributism, as defined in the doctrines of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.
I am pledged to maintain the present rules of party membership as defined in Section 2 of the BNP Constitution. This means that membership would continue to be restricted to persons of British or kindred European ethnic origin.
The only event in which I would consent to an alteration of these rules would be if it were forced upon us by an act of law. This has not yet happened and unless and until it happens the rules should remain as they are.
I give this pledge concerning rules of membership confident that the members of the party will believe it to be a firm one. Unlike Mr Griffin, I do not change position politically from week to week according to the requirements of expediency.
The BNP should be willing to consider schemes of co-operation with non-white ethnic groups towards the achievement of our repatriation programme, but this should not involve granting them any special status with regard to the BNP, whether as party members or in any kind of formal association. I therefore would immediately dissociate the BNP from any groups that have been formed over the past five years which grant such association. This would include the so-called 'Ethnic Liaison Committee' and any others of its kind. If those comprising such groups wish to maintain them in operation, that is their affair. However, they would no longer be permitted any association with our party.
The party image
Contrary to widespread belief, fostered within the party by Mr. Griffin and his allies and outside it by some sections of the mass media, I am every bit as concerned and committed as he claims to be to maintain the best possible public image for the BNP, so as to achieve for it the maximum electability.
This was my policy before Mr. Griffin took over the party and it will be my policy in the future.
I am as strongly opposed as is anyone to the use of language, slogans, visual images or campaign tactics that connect the party with movements and ideologies rightly or wrongly considered alien by the majority of the British public. At the same time, I do not think it sensible or right to try to dictate to members what their private opinions should be on such matters.
I want to do more than has been done in the past to project for the BNP an image of smartness, tidiness, cleanliness, good behaviour and overall efficiency. I am committed never to permit again the appalling public relations failures that occurred in the making of the TV documentary Young, Nazi and Proud, broadcast in November 2002 - some of which could have been avoided by stricter supervision of interviewers and camera teams. I would introduce more rigid rules as to which members should be permitted to speak to media reporters, whether of press, TV or radio.
At the same time, I am opposed to the numerous gimmicks that have been employed by the Griffin leadership to convey an image of 'liberalisation' in the party. I include here: the selection of Jewish election candidates (who would not be permitted membership anyway); the featuring of ethnic minority group members on TV broadcasts and as writers of regular columns in party publications; and news items in these publications which might be taken to glorify racial intermarriage and cross-breeding. I oppose these things because they are utterly contrary to our principles as a party of racial nationalism; but I also oppose them for essentially practical reasons. I do not believe that they make an iota of difference to our support among the voters, while at the same time they cause a great deal of internal division, demoralisation and unrest. It seems that Mr. Griffin has yet to understand that a party's internal solidarity and morale are every bit as important as its external popularity.
The BNP and Islam
I have always been opposed to the current policy of Mr. Griffin of singling out Islam as a special enemy of Britain and concentrating most of the party's fire on that religious creed, rather than dealing with the overall threat of multi-racialism to our country, of which immigrant groups happening to adhere to the Islamic faith are only a part.
If the Middle Eastern and Asian ethnic communities which have brought organised Islam to Britain are repatriated to their ethnic homelands, the problems posed to the country by Islam will disappear. Putting it another way, these problems are not primarily religious but racial.
As long as the Islamic communities are confined to their native continents and countries and do not attempt to impose their religious customs on the people of the United Kingdom, we have no quarrel with them.
The Islamic terrorist threat is another matter. Obviously, as long as Britain contains large Muslim communities there is a large sea in this country in which would-be Islamic terrorists can swim. But what we also need to do is withdraw British support from the Zionist-inspired policy of President Bush leading to the occupation of Iraq and the incurring of the hatred of the Islamic world against the United States and Britain. The threat of Islamic terrorist attacks on Britain will be removed if the reasons for them are removed.
Mr. Griffin claims that we are menaced by a militant Islamic imperialism. I content that by far the greatest menace is the imperialism of Zionism. I intend that in the future the BNP will focus its attention on this much more and on Islam much less.
As stated previously, the decision to make a major commitment of party resources to the contesting of Euro elections proved a disaster. I do not believe that the BNP should involve itself anymore in elections of this type for the foreseeable future.
Instead, our main focus should be on elections to local government, where up and down the country there are, as demonstrated, winnable seats. Here our branches should receive, much more than in the past, assistance and encouragement from the party leadership.
At times in the recent past, the party has been careless in its selection of council candidates, resulting in one or two of inferior calibre becoming elected. In the future we need to be much more rigid in our selection process, particularly in those areas where there is a good chance of the candidates winning.
And even where our elected councillors have comprised sound human material, they have often lacked guidance from above in the carrying out of their council duties. There must be much greater effort, not only to get councillors elected, but to assist them to become better councillors when elected. This an area where there needs to be close liaison and collaboration between branch, regional and national leadership.
Apart from local government elections, the party should of course participate in parliamentary elections, which offer the facility of free distribution of party literature through the postal service and are thus an excellent aid to recruitment. It should go without saying that where there has been intensive activity in local government elections in a particular area, with good results, that obviously enhances our prospects in a parliamentary election in the same area. Constituencies should, as far as possible, be selected in areas where this has been the case.
Personnel and discipline
Two features have characterised the BNP under Nick Griffin's leadership, which are interrelated. There have been many signs that appointments to positions of responsibility in the party have been decided not on merit but on subservience. I have seen people promoted to senior posts who bring with them very inadequate qualifications while others, more qualified, have been passed over or, as in some cases, driven out. It seems that Mr. Griffin wants to be surrounded by people who share his desire for an ideologically emasculated BNP and who will seldom, if ever, argue with him, rather than by those of strong convictions and independent minds.
A particular case in point here has been the treatment of the North West region of the party, in electoral and growth terms its most successful. A very able and well-respected organiser, Chris Jackson, suffered intolerable interference from people at party Headquarters and was driven to resign. His place was taken by a person clearly not up to the job, lacking the confidence and respect of large numbers of branch organisers and members, and prone to make decisions seemingly calculated to please the Griffin-Lecomber axis rather than to advance the party in the region. The consequence of this is that the level of morale and the rate of activity in the North West of England, which not long ago was very high, has declined depressingly over the past year.
Right now there is a very large amount of talent going to waste in the BNP, with people who could make tremendous contributions to the party being sidelined because they are not thought 'safe', whether through not having shown sufficient enthusiasm for Mr. Griffin's 'liberalisation' of the party or by demonstrating that they are strong characters who are not prepared to be lackeys.
There is much evidence that the same criteria of selectivity have been employed in the administration of party discipline. People who are thought to have 'incorrect' opinions on issues of party policy and leadership have been subjected to grossly excessive disciplinary punishments, sometimes excommunicated from the party, sometimes shunted to its margins, usually for quite trivial transgressions, if any at all. In the meantime others, apparently favourites of the ruling circle, seem to have been completely immune from any disciplinary action, though on occasions deserving it.
I am as strongly committed as anyone to the rule that a party must have discipline - perhaps the more essential in the BNP than in any other party because of the enemy trip-wires that are constantly placed in its path, as demonstrated by the recent Secret Agent TV documentary. But in an organisation of volunteers there are two essentials if discipline is to be maintained: (1) It must be enforced by people who command the necessary respect among the rank and file; (2) It must be seen at all times to be impartial and to fit the requirements of the case. Once an idea gets around that there is one law for one category of member and another law for another category, discipline is certain to collapse.
In the time when I was previously head of the BNP party finances were run in a manner that was indisputably makeshift. This was because of the unavailability of personnel able to attend to the job properly and because the law as it stood then did not make more rigid procedures a matter of urgency as they became later. Recent legislation concerning the financing of political parties renders a return to that practice out of the question. Finances must be administered in a thoroughly professional way so as to comply with the requirements of the law as overseen by the Electoral Commission. This is something on which everyone in the BNP can agree.
Nevertheless, I am not happy that the present financial administration of the party is being run as effectively as it could and should.
I intend, if elected party leader, to look into the current highly centralised accounting system to see if and where it can be improved. It would be premature at this stage to make precise commitments as to change: a closer study of the system, together with consultation with organisers and fund-holders, would be necessary first. One aspect of the system which most certainly does require looking into is the lack of any regular statements which inform branch fund-holders as to the state of their finances. I will also examine the question of whether the keeping of party funds needs to be as centralised as it is at present - though again, precise pledges of change would be premature.
One thing can be stated with fair certainty, and this is that the system as it is at the moment is not working. The very fact that the party has defaulted in getting its accounts in to the Electoral Commission on time is evidence of this. Absence of an auditor willing to do the auditing does not sound a convincing explanation. There are many thousands of such people and companies up and down the country. Has any serious effort really been made to locate them?
The accounting system as it is has been defended, against much criticism within the party, as being necessary to comply with the Electoral Commission's rulings. And yet despite all this that has not been achieved!
Another area in which I am determined to see change is the presently grossly inflated payroll whereby some thirty-plus people in the party are currently receiving some kind of financial emoluments for their services. Some of these are employed on a full-time basis, while others work mainly in outside occupations but have their incomes 'topped up' in the way of hand-outs in reward for their services to the party.
This practice is bad from two viewpoints. First, it results in a crippling financial burden on a party the size of the BNP. To get an idea of comparisons, in the time of my leadership three people were paid by the party on a full-time basis, while one more was paid part-time. Even if we accept that the party and its workload have grown in the ensuring five years, I am quite sure that it has not done so to the extent that would warrant this huge increase in paid personnel.
Secondly, I believe that the tendency is not healthy. It creates the impression of a 'gravy train' which attracts people of mercenary mentality, would-be party officials lured by financial inducements rather than motivated by the desire to serve. It also fosters subservience - which I firmly believe is one of its purposes. Not least, it causes great resentment among those in the party who give up many of their spare hours entirely without payment but just out of dedication to race and nation - people who in many cases do just as much as their paid colleagues but get no remuneration because they do not belong to the 'magic circle'.
It is essential that in a party like the BNP some people are engaged full-time and paid. On this we can all be agreed. But the number currently paid has reached a quite unacceptable level. I am pledged to reform this whole system so as to reduce vastly both the number of paid personnel and the financial burden on the party resulting from this payroll.
This is a term that has been employed over many years, often more in idealism than out of a sense of sober political reality. People who are in agreement over essential principles of faith should be united in one single party. That is the way things ought to be; in the real world it is seldom that they are that way.
But I nevertheless have strong reason to believe that nationalists in Britain could be much more united than they are at present. A very strong reason - probably the main one - why they are now divided is the considerable opposition among many of them to the current BNP leadership.
I have made it a policy to keep up contacts with nationalists presently outside the BNP with a view to bringing at least some of them, eventually, into the party. Some of these were never in the BNP. Many were in it but left in disgust at what they believed to be the betrayal of nationalist principles by Mr. Griffin and his associates. A few were pushed out of the BNP in the numerous paranoid 'purges' that have taken place. One intended victim of these purges was - me! They tried to expel me last year but they were forced to back down by the promise of a court action which they most certainly would have lost. Other have been less fortunate - or perhaps just less determined!
Some of these nationalists outside the BNP are unsuitable for membership. They are of the wrong attitude and character. They lack self-discipline. They are too prone to political self-indulgence. A few are congenital misfits and trouble-makers. Some are plain loonies.
But the majority are good patriots who would be assets to the party if they were allowed to join or could be induced to join. By their joining we would have as near to a unification of nationalists in Britain as it is ever realistic to hope for.
I believe that I would be able to achieve this unification in a way that Mr. Griffin has not been able. Many nationalists now outside the BNP have declared their willingness to join if Mr. Griffin is removed and I am restored. I am pledged to work for this with all the means within my power.
A great future
Britain stands at the threshold of tremendous political events. The long-awaited popular backlash against immigration, the EU, political correctness and other evils is getting stronger every day. The mainstream parties are utterly discredited. In elections nowadays even minor nationalist parties, with a fraction of the resources of the BNP, are winning votes that would have been beyond their wildest dreams of just a few years ago. The future for nationalism is greater than ever.
Yet at this moment of supreme opportunity our own party is fragmented, beset by bitter internal quarrels and with morale low when it should be sky-high. We have a leader who has even been calling into question whether the BNP can go on existing as a political party! This need not be.
There is no doubt in my mind that our party has a great future - a future which indeed even some of the enemy media think is brighter than apparently does its own leadership!
I believe I can lead the BNP towards that great future, but I cannot do it alone. I need the help of all those who share my faith in what can and should be done. And I need it now! This means that those who support me should not just wait and quietly place a cross by my name in a coming leadership ballot; they should stand up and be counted without delay. Already I have a fine team of colleagues, ready and able to take things over when the moment comes. But we need more of you. Please contact me and pledge your support!