“On Tuesday 20th July Nick Griffin wrote a tissue of lies about me on the party website. I am now exercising my right of reply and will deal with them in the same order.
The 6000 enquiry packs he speaks of was actually less than 600. They were not dumped on a pavement, neither were they lost or destroyed. Moreover, the person responsible for this was Lee Hancock , not me. Jim ‘Industry Expert’ and ‘Staff Manager’ Dowson had failed to recognise a simple training need in that Lee had never before worked in a mass mailing environment and hadn’t received instruction on how to administer PPI. The matter was resolved simply and without issue when I visited the main sorting office in Gloucester to retrieve the mail and was told that it had actually been processed and delivered to the intended recipients and all we needed to do was docket them retrospectively. Jennie Noble was with me at the time and can confirm the truth of it.
Simon Darby did not negotiate a successful settlement with Donna and Lee Hancock. That was done by Eddy Butler.
Griffin states that “Michaela Mackenzie has a very long track record of suing for wrongful dismissal, and knew how to manipulate things to exploit our lack of experience in such matters.” My ‘very long track record’ consists of one instance when in 1989 I sued my employer, the BBC, for constructive dismissal. My boss, the then Head of the Natural History Unit, had submitted two sets of totally fraudulent expenses claims amounting to a considerable sum of money. Since I was responsible for authorising expenditure in the Natural History Unit, and since the salaries of high earning individuals were subject to independent audit, I was not going to place myself in a position whereby I could be accused of aiding and abetting theft. I refused to sign his expenses claims and he made my life hell as a result. You see, I have this strange aversion to thieves, liars and financial skullduggery. I will not, under any circumstances, condone theft or fraud. The BBC settled out of court and the Head of the Natural History Unit was quietly demoted to Producer within a few short weeks, the Head of Finance having confirmed that the expense claims in question were indeed fraudulent.
I have never made a secret of this, in fact, some of you may remember me speaking about it at the RWB in front of Nick Griffin, long before I was ever employed by the party. So when Nick Griffin claims that ‘we found out too late’ he is being, shall we say, less than honest.
With regard to his statement that I exploited ‘our lack of experience in these matters’, I can confirm that the party management were indeed woefully lacking in experience. I offered them the benefit of my advice over their proposed sacking of Donna Hancock and they chose to ignore it. Nick Griffin preferred to listen to his catering salesman rather than an experienced manager with a knowledge of employment law. He ended up in an employment tribunal court because Jim Dowson is not a professional manager and gave him unsound advice. Had Dowson ever managed staff before, he would have been aware that there is a procedure to be followed before employees of 12 months or more service can be dismissed.
As for my being a ‘disaster’ when working in an office, all I can say is that I worked for 15 years as a senior manager in a national publishing company, managing 25 staff and running a call centre, field and telesales teams and a design studio. I have a memo from the Chief Operating Officer congratulating me on making a £2 million profit in the financial year 2005-2006 and stating that I had produced ‘arguably the most successful publication of its type in Europe.’
If that’s Griffin’s idea of a disaster, then I’m at a loss to know what one must do to be deemed a ‘success’.
If that’s Griffin’s idea of a ‘disaster’ why did he, on two occasions (December 2009 and June 2010), offer to fully reinstate me?
Like the party’s accounts, it just doesn’t add up, does it?
Any further defamation from Mr. Griffin and I will be be reluctantly forced to publish, in my defence, my witness statement as submitted to the tribunal judges, in its entirety. Members will then be fully informed of the extent of the chaos in both the Belfast and Stroud offices as a result of Mr. Dowson’s ‘expertise’.”