BREAKING NEWS – CHRIS BEVERLEY SACKED!
Chris Beverley has been sacked as Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Organiser and replaced by Ian Kitchen. To many readers of this blog, Ian Kitchen will need no introduction. He is well qualified to be a member of Nick Griffin’s inner circle.
Chris Beverley was one of the last remaining competent Regional Organisers, one of the last capable election campaigners and one of the last independent voices left on the Advisory Council. As such his replacement was inevitable and long overdue.
Chris’s replacement at the outset of the Barnsley by-election is very ill-timed and is sure to harm the party’s ability to run a decent campaign. However, it is certainly the case that the reason Nick Griffin and Clive Jefferson decided to get rid of Chris at this juncture was precisely because of the Barnsley by-election. They were desperate for him not to have anything to do with the running of the campaign. This is because they feared that he would run a good campaign and obtain an improved result compared to the General Election. This would contrast badly, from their narrow, selfish and factional point of view with their disastrous showing in Oldham.
That quite simply is why Chris Beverley was sacked now. He had to go so that Clive Jefferson could interfere in the Barnsley campaign just as he interfered in the Oldham campaign. The result is secondary to making sure no one can get any credit for doing well. A distinct pattern is forming. Exactly the same reasoning motivated Clive Jefferson to come down to London and screw up the Goresbrook ward by-election in June.
MORE ON THE BNP ACCOUNTS
I have had time to take another look at the BNP central and regional accounting unit accounts.
I will repeat the link for the central, head office accounts:
And here is the link for the Regional Accounting unit (the consolidated accounts for all the branches and regions):
It is naive to think that the accounts could show direct corruption. They never would. However I will point out various massive holes that could be caused by any reason at all. I will leave the readers to think up their own explanations.
It must also be realised that the accounts are only prepared to conform to the requirements of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and the need to file accounts with the Electoral Commission. Hence there is no breakdown of many of the globular figures which could hide any amount of potential wrong doing. The Auditor was given what were clearly very incomplete financial records and has taken at face value whatever explanations have been given as to how and on what the BNP‘s money has been spent.
It is clear that no explanation has been given to the Auditor for many items and it is equally clear that in the absence of any such information he has guessed. The very fact that I can immediately clear up some of the guess work strongly implies that the new National Treasurer responded with dumb ignorance to any queries in order clearly to deflect any further probing. This is confirmed by his statement that: ‘Both I and the Party Chairman are frankly at a loss to understand why’ the accounts were a mess and that he ‘can provide no information of any value regarding the accounts’.
COULD NO ONE TELL THEM ANYTHING?
One strange thing is that Dave Hannam the previous National Treasurer is still an employee of the BNP. I do not suppose it would have been too difficult to ask him to tie up any loose ends. I will discount the alleged Treasurer Mr Reddall, the previous National Treasurer was Simon Darby who is still regularly seen at Nick Griffin’s side even though he has resigned from the BNP. I am certain he would have answered any questions promptly and helpfully if asked. Before Simon Darby was Jenny Noble. She was National Treasurer for the first four months of 2009. I am equally sure that she would be more than keen to clear up any misunderstandings, not least because her partner Brian Mahoney currently sits on what Nick Griffin, showing a rare sense of humour, has called the Finance Scrutiny Committee.
In fairness the Auditor is ill equipped to spy out wrong doing, and if the accounts are submitted it is not the Electoral Commission’s concern. Neither are familiar with what goes on in the BNP. The people who should be concerned are the members of the Advisory Council and the membership at large. They should take a great interest. It is their money and the future of the party that they invest their time and energy on that is at stake.
Will the Advisory Council do anything? The previous Regional Organiser for the North East, Ken Booth was sacked for asking to see the accounts. He was one of the best R.O.s judged on results, which is all that you can really judge on. Nick Griffin made up the excuse for his sacking that some of the units in his region were late in handing in their petty cash books. Given that the BNP’s books are six months late that is a little strange isn’t it? It also tells you not to expect much from the Advisory Council.
Some people might say ‘so what, why should we tell this state agency about our finances?’
In other words, who cares if they are a work of fiction so long as it gets the Electoral Commission off our back.
Firstly, it is the law and it would be unwise if the BNP wishes to operate as a political party to flout the law.
Secondly, there are no other checks and balances on how the party leadership manages the party’s finances. The party leadership is not even capable of accounting to the minimal levels required by the Electoral Commission. What sort of organisation effectively gives its leadership literally a blank cheque to do with as it pleases? What sort of leadership expects the membership to give it a blank cheque? This is the situation in the BNP.
THE REGIONAL ACCOUNTING UNIT
The Auditor reported the following:
“Bank reconciliations have not been maintained, and as a significant amount of party/Unit transactions have gone through in the year which has significantly complicated the situation. As no reconciliations have been prepared it is difficult to ascertain the full impact of these… In addition not all branches have submitted their records for inclusion in these financial statements.”
“they cannot be classed as ‘true and fair’, under the usual definition of that term’.
“we have to accept that we cannot form an opinion as to the completeness of the financial statements, as we have to base them on the information submitted, and controls were not in place to ensure the information on which these statements is complete.”
“we cannot confirm if the Region has complied with Section 41 of the act, as there have been deficiencies within that respect.”
(I quoted the relevant parts of Section 41 in the previous article.)
We see that the units paid Head Office £26,446 for Voice of Freedom. Head Office sells many others direct to subscribers. This figure gives an indication of the missing VoF sales figure from the Head Office income figures. I will spell out the significance of this in a later article.
I find the following statement difficult to understand. Branches do not have bank accounts. Any statements they have are issues by the BNP Treasury Department.
“As the auditor cannot circulate the banks due to the problems the party has had with banks in the past, and certain branches do not send in their bank statements, there is always a problem in identifying the year end bank position.
In 2009 this was significant, and the details are as follows:
Scottish Heritage 4,258
If there was a discrepancy of £4,258 with the Scottish Heritage bank account for example, then I can see no possible problem with asking the bank for copies of statements. If the auditor was told there would be a problem in asking for copy statements, then clearly someone was lying to him. A £8,863 discrepancy on £400,000 in expenditure is an unacceptable figure to report.
NICK GRIFFIN’S PREAMBLE
Back to the central party accounts.
The party has the opportunity to write its own preliminary report which is also published on the Electoral Commission’s website along with the standard financial report.
The Conservative Chairman (not Cameron!) gave a one page review of the year in their report, and their Treasurer another page.
For the Greens, their leader is clearly a busy lady (Dr Caroline Lucas) and she restricted her report to four lines. The heads of all their departments also give brief reports that totalled four pages.
The Lib Dems deadly dry report ran to four pages, and Labour just provided a one page Treasurer’s report.
For the sake of completeness, UKIP had a one page report from their Chairman and a few extra pages with brief notes on them.
Nick Griffin always puts exaggerated store in this and takes great care and time to write his piece. I am sure he thinks it is message to destiny. This year’s report is a veritable ‘tour de force’. Nick Griffin provides no less than eleven pages of self justificatory propaganda, and Clive Jefferson takes two extra pages to admit he hasn’t got a clue what’s going on.
NICK GRIFFIN’S STRANGE CLAIMS
On the first page Nick Griffin declares that a two day conference was held at the end of 2008 to establish the BNP’s European election strategy. I remember it well as I organised it. It was actually a five day conference and was held in Windermere. Perhaps Nick Griffin was sleeping for three of the days. One of the most notable things about this conference is that virtually everyone in attendance is no longer working with Nick Griffin for one reason or another. The only person who still occupies a central role is Nick Griffin. Absolutely everyone else has quit, been fired, expelled, dropped out, been pushed out, or whatever. That is the entire hierarchy that took us into the European Election (I’m talking about myself, Mark Collett, Jim Dowson, Simon Bennett, Michaela McKenzie, Jennie Noble and a few others).
Most of the report consists of tedious, semi-paranoid recounting of how the state is out to get Nick Griffin MEP. Such as his Question Time fiasco, his College Green debacle and his mishandling of the Equality Commission case.
Much of the rest is made up of what can only be a cut and paste job from old reports. Nick Griffin mistakenly says that the Advisory Council was supposed to meet three times a year (it was four), and that amongst others, it consists of the Regional Organisers of the party’s four regions. There are twelve regions. Some years ago it was the case that only the four biggest regions were represented and the AC only met three times a year. But we must move with the times, and the constitution!
Similarly Nick Griffin thinks that the ‘Group Development and Regulation Department’ exists. It hasn’t since Sadie Graham left. He then lists the regions, omitting Ulster and misnaming Eastern as East Anglia, as he always does.
He says there are three types of member (Full, Family and Student/OAP/Non Waged) and then lists four. The extra or new one being Life Member, but he forgot about Gold Members, so really there should be five types.
One interesting statement is: “The party also has a fund-raising body, the Trafalgar Club, which is administered by this Dept and whose income and expenditure is accounted for within these accounts.”
As has been noted, not one penny of the Trafalgar Club’s income appears to be accounted for in the BNP’s accounts. He says the Trafalgar Club is administered by volunteers which it isn’t. It is, and was, administered by paid staff.
Nick Griffin also makes claims which are obviously designed to justify the purges he initiated in March 2010. Take a look at this passage:
“Several new members of staff were brought in with the intention of avoiding this new focus leaving a management gap back at home, but by November it was becoming clear that this measure had failed and that clearing the problem up was likely to involve tough decisions and key personnel problems early in 2010.”
So it wasn’t about Mark Collett’s fake threats to kill after all then?
THE EURO ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Nick Griffin also has this to say about the European Election campaign:
“Pioneering work in this regard was carried out particularly in the North West of England, where our regional Organiser also developed a system for securing the postal votes, which… was the key to our narrow victory in the North West constituency.
“Had the BNP’s own Elections Department made an effort to roll out the pioneering postal vote work undertaken in the North West to other parts of the country, it is likely that the party’s vote in other regions would also have seen significantly higher (Yorkshire as the only other region where the techniques were applied and, interestingly, it produced what was seen as the shock British National Party victory of the night), with the West Midlands in particular only requiring an extra 10,400 BNP votes across the entire constituency to have delivered us a third seat.”
In fact Yorkshire didn’t do any extra work relating to postal votes. They did not apply any of Clive Jefferson’s techniques. This whole piece is designed to promote Clive Jefferson’s alleged abilities.
The special techniques involved delivering leaflets to postal voters and missing the other doors out. This is a highly inefficient way of leafleting. The idea that an extra 10,400 votes could be obtained in that manner across a region shows that the BNP’s chairman is dangerously detached from reality.
There were only two regions where the BNP vote actually fell between 2004 and 2009. One was the North West where this experiment took place. The North West was in fact the worst performing region in the country if you compare the relative performance between 2004 and 2009.
POOR PERFORMANCE OF NORTH WEST REGIONAL ORGANISERS
In the North West the BNP polled 134,959 (6.4%) votes in the 2004 European Election compared to 132,094 (8.0%) votes in 2009. That is 2,865 less votes, although the percentage increased by 1.6%. The percentage increase was no greater than the BNP average. The proportionate increase in the BNP percentage in the North West (20%) was considerably less than the BNP average.
The North West Region was also the worst at fund raising and was a bad drain on the rest of the party. For most of this period Nick Griffin himself was the North West Regional Organiser and so he must take the lion’s share of the blame for this disgraceful state of affairs. He was replaced part way through the year as North West Regional Organiser by Clive Jefferson who must shoulder the rest of the blame.
The incompetent manner in which the two of them ran the North West Region led to a debt of £23,254 being owed to Head Office after the European Election. They paid for virtually nothing themselves due to Nick Griffin’s total inability to organise fundraising effectively.
The North West Region is the only Region to have had their debt completely written off. What a surprise!
As an indication, Eastern Region, for which I make no special claims even though it was my region (we did not get anyone elected), may be taken as ‘average’.
The vote increased from 65,557 and 4.3% in 2004 to 97,013 votes and 6.1% in 2009. That is an increase of 31,456 votes and 1.8%. The proportionate increase in percentage was 29.6%. That was done without the benefit of Clive Jefferson’s postal vote techniques. Also Eastern Region paid its own way. It had a debt of £876 which was cleared, not written off.
I will be making an in depth analysis of the figures within the central party accounts shortly…