I received the following account from Nick Cass of a recent meeting of officials and activists in Kirklees in Yorkshire. The meeting was unexpectedly also attended by the new Regional Organiser Ian Kitchen and his deputy Simon Goodricke. Nick Cass asked me to publish this account on this blog, which I am very pleased to do.
Two new Yorkshire officials asked if I could have a word with Eddy Butler about his blog. I explained that Eddy is very much his own man and will do or say what he believes to be the truth, regardless of whether they like it or not. His blog has nothing to do with me and if I comment on it I do so in my own name. That does not mean I do not agree with the majority of its content because I do.
When initially contacted by Mr Butler and asked if I would write an article on the meeting, I refused. I felt it would be a breach of the two new Yorkshire officials trust. I also and still do believe them to be sincere but misguided over many of the issues we discussed at the meeting. They are pretty new to the BNP and are unaware of the issues we have had in the past and how they keep reoccurring under Nick Griffin’s leadership.
After reading my emails the morning after the meeting I changed my mind.
BRINGING BACK FORMER MEMBERS
One of the many things discussed at the meeting was how to bring back on board former members: people who had left due to fall outs etc. The two new officials said that no members, myself included would be barred from meetings even if we had some awkward questions to put to the Chairman. It was said that if the questions were not awkward, they were not relevant, given the party’s troubles. And I believe that they meant it. The trouble is Nick changes his mind at every given situation. Saying that, I do not believe the Yorkshire security would want to bar me from attending meetings but who can say what instructions they would be given by Mr Griffin if the occasion arose.
Imagine my shock when I opened my emails after the meeting, and they explained that at least three members had been barred from attending a meeting in London where Nick Griffin was speaking. One of them Michael Barnbrook is responsible for giving the party its recent election opportunity in Barnsley with his exposé of yet another corrupt politician. So much for solidarity.
THE COLLPASE OF THE BNP IN KIRKLEES
Which brings me to our meeting. It was really sad to see that the once proud Kirklees branch had been reduced to half a dozen people. A couple of years ago we had to split the branch into two it was so big. We had a full slate of candidates, packed meetings, a committee made up of quality people, three councillors and a thriving branch. Now sadly most have left in South Kirklees due to their lack of support for Nick Griffin, and North Kirklees is a shadow of its former self.
Things didn’t start well as the two new officials began trying to impose their rules on who should attend and who shouldn’t attend our informal get together. They were not happy that ex-BNP Councillor David Exley, who is sadly no longer a member, was invited to attend. You may remember David. He was elected due to a big effort from teams of locals and members nationwide. He was then re-elected and named BNP councillor of the year some years back. The two new officials were quickly reminded that this was our local internal meeting and if they were going to begin proceedings in such a manner we would find another venue and not include them. Whilst agreeing that David was wrong to speak to the papers about what he saw as the problem in the party, we understood he felt badly let down by the way it has been managed and is a key player in the area. We wanted him back on board.
What is strange is how it is deemed to be important to be a member, but only when it suits the leadership. Is Simon Darby a member yet? Didn’t he speak at the recent Barnsley meeting and hasn’t he been on the party payroll in Brussels for a year or so? What about Pat Harrington, leader of a rival party, another on the party payroll who no doubt would be welcomed to speak at meetings?
Yet I, a long standing member was questioned about my right to speak in Hull as they had heard on the grapevine I may have quit! And on top of that they wanted to refuse entry to one of the party’s former councillors, who may want get back involved!
We discussed at length the party’s lack of meaningful accounts, the lack of financial transparency and the party’s massive debt. And the two new officials promised to take our concerns to Mr Griffin and I am sure they will.
What shocked me was that the two new officials argued that Mr Griffin was innocent in all of this. It wasn’t his fault that the party hadn’t got its accounts in on time again, or that the party was in massive debt, or that there were huge holes in the accounts with large amounts of money unaccounted for. It was supposedly all the fault of the treasurers (which must include Simon Darby) and Jim Dowson. They also argued that the Marmite case was all the work of Paul Golding and had nothing to do with Nick Griffin.
It was staggering!
A FAILURE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Never before have I come across a leader so willing to lay the law down yet so unwilling to take any responsibility.
This reminds me of the politicians running this country and yet we are supposed to be different. But as a branch we were not surprised as we have been here before. So the reassurances that they would get to the bottom of the issues that were raised by us were difficult to take seriously.
Around four years ago Yorkshire was once again in up roar, but this time it was Ian Dawson, Kenny Smith and Chris Beverley who were in trouble. Yorkshire officials and members gathered to hear the damning evidence of their crimes by leader Nick Griffin. We had to sit through a meeting were our Chairman called these hard-working people every name under the sun and vowed that the ‘vermin’ would never be allowed at another BNP meeting.
This resulted in the audience kicking off and the meeting ending up in an open brawl. Kirklees Councillor Colin Auty was so disgusted with it all that he fell out with the party and resigned sometime later.
After this display the branch wrote a four page letter to Mr Griffin explaining how we felt. We received a letter from him with none of our questions answered. So as I said we have been here before!
THE SACKING OF CHRIS BEVERLEY
We then went on to discuss the removal of Chris Beverley as Yorkshire organiser. It was claimed that Chris was unable to be effective due to his EU commitments and local activities, so by having Ian Kitchen as RO and Simon Goodricke his deputy things would be more beneficial. This would be fine, if they had thought to explain it to the Yorkshire members first, and then replaced Chris with someone equally as capable as RO.
Now that is not having a go at Ian Kitchen. Ian Kitchen as I have stated in the past has been a stalwart for the party and very loyal and hard-working over the years. He has helped me personally on numerous occasions with party business and I thank him for that from the bottom of my heart. Ian is a very useful asset when used in the right area. But considering he is suffering from a brain injury and has accumulated so much baggage over the years, to be thrust into the limelight as Yorkshire’s top official is political suicide. But it’s not Ian’s fault, this is yet another crazy decision by Nick Griffin. What planet is he on?
It was then discussed, who else would have been capable of doing the job of RO in Yorkshire if Mr Kitchen was not available? It was suggested by some members that it should be me. I have previously done the job but was pointed out by the two new officials that it would have been unwise to select me for the role as I was Nick Griffin’s enemy and had stood against him. I reminded them that I was no personal enemy of Nick Griffin’s and explained that this paranoia was part of the problem. I explained that Mr Griffin should embrace other peoples qualities not be frightened of them. Because I stood against him in a so called democratic party I am the enemy! I apparently burned my bridges when I stood with Eddy. They couldn’t see the irony when they said later that it would be terrible if the party lost good people like me!
OUT OF TOUCH AND OUT IN EUROPE
Finally we discussed the way the party treats its members. I had been called that lunchtime by a very concerned South Yorks official who felt very despondent. For years now this party has taken its members and activists for granted. There is a gap between those at the top who swan around Brussels and those who do the foot work. We feel the party is like a rudderless ship. Our leader is away in Brussels four days a week and cannot possibly run the BNP as well. If Chris Beverley is supposedly not able to be an effective RO due to his work commitment as a PA then how can Nick believe he is an effective leader as well as a Euro MP?
We have an informal meeting booked for next week to discuss where we go from here. It was said that we should have a vote of no confidence in our ‘leader’, but instead decided it would do know good as Nick Griffin looks like he will stay on at all costs.
This is an accurate picture minus the finicky details of the meeting. Basically all our local members have lost faith in Nick Griffin’s ability to lead this party. We agreed he would be far better off concentrating on his European work which he seems to enjoy and leave the everyday running of the party to a new leader with more time and who is more with the times.”
We will no longer carry a direct link to the Butler blog, however Nick Cass’s words are always welcome on here.