EXPOSED: HOW THE STATE PROTECTED SOLIDARITY
In June 2009 the conflict within the Solidarity Trade Union finally ended after a two year battle that saw one faction (led by President Clive Potter and Vice-President Tim Hawke) attempt to see off the coup d’etat that had been engineered by its General Secretary, Patrick Harrington, and driven by the Chairman of the BNP, Nick Griffin.
A two-day hearing at the Certification Office for Trade Unions on 25/26 June 2009 was attended by Clive Potter, who presented the case against the de facto takeover of the Union by Harrington and Griffin on behalf of Solidarity ‘A’; and David Kerr, of Third Way and the Solidarity ‘B’, who acted for Patrick Harrington and Nick Griffin. Solidarity ‘B’ was supported by members of the Spennymoor BNP group including the Walker brothers (who had been elected on to the Solidarity ‘B’ Executive) and Amanda Foster. Mr Potter was supported by Mike Easter who attended the first day. According to Mr Potter Mr Harrington was in regular contact with who he claims was Nick Griffin throughout the proceedings.
On 22 July 2009 the Certification Office published its decision on the outcome of who should run the Solidarity Trade Union. It had decided that an unconstitutional coup by a faction led by an expelled Executive member (Patrick Harrington) and run by the leader of a political party (the BNP’s Nick Griffin) should be the legitimate controlling force of the Union.
Griffinwatch has been able to piece together the story of how the leader of the BNP conspired with one of his former National Front colleagues to hijack the legitimate power of a new nationalist trade union, against members of his own political party, and how the State conspired with them.
Griffinwatch has spoken with former Solidarity President and founder, Clive Potter, and former Vice-President, Tim Hawke and others to reveal how the Solidarity piece fits in to the overall picture of the State controlled jigsaw of the BNP.
Some of the background to the Solidarity story has already been published at North West Nationalists (May 2008), see the page at:
The Union was founded as an independent Trade Union and the goals of its founder, Clive Potter was to create a mass nationalist Trade Union that could take on the mass TUC internationalist trade unions. The idea to create a nationalist trade union had originally come from former BNP Legal Advisor, Lee Barnes, who appointed Clive Potter to put the idea into action. However, it would seem that the genesis of the idea may have originated from Sean Hadley who had come up with the concept whilst employed as a steel worker in Humberside and saw the potential of an independent trade union amongst the workers there. Since he had already spoken of the concept it is feasible that Lee Barnes had already heard of it. But the idea was already in the nationalist ether and in 2006 sufficient work had been done to set the Union up (although due to a Red mole in the Certification Office Searchlight had been informed and so the project had to be launched without the necessary infrastructure in place).
Nick Griffin played little role in its formation, save for some ideas regarding its nature and its choice of logo. Griffin wanted a logo of red and black, fitting in with his cultist continental leanings from his involvement in the ‘Political Soldiers’ faction during the ‘political masturbation’ period that split the National Front in the 1980s. Potter decided to base the Union on the Polish Solidarity model of the 1970s, which had been opposed to the totalitarianism of the Polish communist state. The opposition to the growing totalitarianism of the British liberal State by nationalists would seem to be a fitting concept for the new British nationalist trade union.
Interestingly, Griffin and Harrington were not in agreement with the logo as it displayed a British Union Jack. Membership cards designed and produced by Potter and Hawke were considered unacceptable by the pair as it was too ‘British’ and may repel potential Irish members. This in itself reveals in stark terms the anti-British agenda of both Griffin and Harrington, and their sectarian leanings towards the Irish Catholics. Potter and Hawke had always agreed (and ratified in the original Solidarity constitution created by Potter) that Eire was to have its own Irish Solidarity Union using the Irish flag as its emblem. But what Solidarity was not to become was a sectarian trade union that was on one side or the other of the Ulster divide. The emphasis of Solidarity was on uniting the indigenous white communities of Ulster against the common enemy which was mass immigration, off-shoring and of global capital.
Harrington’s pro-IRA and Catholic leanings have been documented in the Solidarity Truth blogs spot:
(See also Figure 9)
The role of Solidarity was that of a parallel nationalist structure that could assist the BNP in its role of raising the political consciousness of workers and in creating the necessary machinery to put into practice nationalist ideas, values and goals. The path towards nationalism, it was envisaged, was considered utopian without the social, cultural and industrial structures in place which could engage the State and its Marxist and Globalist strategically and with the support of the masses, who would gradually become awakened by a process of political osmosis into supporting nationalism as a natural reaction.
Solidarity was viewed as an embryonic experiment to test the potential of a mass independent nationalist trade union that could combine a cheap subscription with industrial protection and standing up for the British workers against employers, the Government, the Trans-national Corporations and the left-wing TUC unions. In line with this the ethos and values within the Union were to be nationalist and driven by an anti-corruption ethos that was set within its constitution. This was to set it apart from the corruption of the TUC internationalist unions. By maintaining this image and actuality Solidarity could attack the TUC unions from the moral high ground and weaken them.
The BNP did not inject any funds into the project, except for a loan of £150 paid by John Walker, the then BNP Treasurer, for the registration of Solidarity with the Certification Office.
The project was dogged by the continual disruptive behaviour of its General Secretary/Treasurer, Patrick Harrington who refused to work as a team member and failed to submit to the principles and goals of the Union. Harrington was appointed on the recommendation of Lee Barnes who had, according to Mr Barnes, been advised to do so by Nick Griffin. Harrington had been waiting to re-enter nationalist politics since splitting the National Front with Griffin in the 1980s and had since remained in the political wilderness. Griffin saw this as an opportunity to appoint one of his cronies who he knew could be trusted to follow the corrupt and factional manouverings of Griffin.
Soon after the first Executive elections in 2007 Harrington began to factionalise, building up support within the Union and placing his own people into positions of influence. He began to treat Solidarity as an extension of his own left-wing National Liberal Party and, unknown to the rest of the Executive, seemed to have been conspiring with Griffin who was later realised to have been interested in the Union simply to make money from the Union’s members and to form another power-base for himself (through Harrington and the BNP’s Walker brothers). The primary principle behind Solidarity for it to work effectively was, according to Mr Potter, that it remained independent of any political party and that no-one, including Griffin, was to interfere with the running of the Union. This was ratified within Union’s constitution. Solidarity, however, would co-operate with the primary goals of the BNP and other nationalist parties to ensure that the wider nationalist goals could be achieved. This would include, according to Mr Potter, creating the templates for mass civil disobedience and non-violent resistance in the case of a state crackdown on either the civil population or to act as a parallel organisation if the BNP was outlawed.
Pat Harrington’s refusal to work as a team member and his action in approaching Griffin to put pressure upon Potter and Hawke in his demands for a laptop and a regular wage led to his suspension from the Union in May 2007 whilst he was investigated by the Union’s National Executive Committee.
Griffin attempted to pressurise Potter and Hawke on two occasions. One was at Shrewsbury when he tried to persuade them to give in to Harrington’s material demands. His argument was that he needed Harrington and his National Liberal Party to join with the BNP so that it would give the BNP a better public image if it looked as if the party was being supported by a coalition. The second argument was that in the event of the BNP being closed down by the State he envisaged the National Liberal Party (NLP) would act as the nucleus for members of the BNP who would then have a new political home. Either Griffin was crazy or he thought that his lies would be acceptable to the Solidarity Executive. There must have been a grain of truth in Griffin’s fantasy proposals as we have now seen how the BNP has evolved into a kind of multi-cult liberal party which is effectively being run by Griffin and his National Liberal Party cronies. Griffin expected Potter and Hawke to pay off Harrington from Solidarity funds to ensure that Harrington and his NLP cronies remained in the “coalition” and so that Harrington could “save face” and work with the BNP through writing material. This scenario seems to have come to fruition with Harrington becoming virtual BNP No 2 supremo. The BNP could maintain its new direction by legitimising Griffin’s intended multicultural makeover and collaboration with Zionism through Harrington and the NLP. This was first seen in Essex in 2008 when the NLP supported a black candidate against the BNP candidate:
The second occasion was in Northamptonshire just prior to a BNP Advisory Council meeting when Griffin and Darby made an effort to intimidate Potter and Hawke into not taking any action into disciplining Harrington. Griffin’s words at that time were very interesting it would seem as it spoke of how Potter and Hawke could manipulate the Solidarity constitution to protect Harrington and keep him on board as, he claimed, all constitutions can be manipulated. He also spoke of how it was not important if “small amounts” of money were used to keep people “happy” and that it happens within the BNP.
Potter and Hawke continued with carrying through the disciplinary process of Harrington but it was during this period that the accounts of Solidarity needed to be presented to the Certification Office. This was the responsibility of Harrington as the Treasurer which he failed to do in time. Therefore the accounts could not be completed which would have meant that the Union would be liable for their non-disclosure and be de-registered.
Harrington was suspended and eventually expelled , during which time a Special Investigator and new Acting General Secretary was set up to investigate (see Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4). The Executive produced an Investigations document, the summary of which is shown in Figure 5.
During this period around June 2007 Griffin placed extraordinary pressure on both Tim Hawke and Clive Potter by threatening them, calling them “sociopaths” and claiming that their reputations and membership would be destroyed within the BNP. Hawke was criticised by some officials within his Cambridgeshire branch – who had been set up by Griffin – even though Hawke was recognised as one of their best activists and had donated sums of money to the branch. Griffin effectively blackened his name and accused him of being a “Red” and a “Marxist infiltrator”. Potter’s position was far stronger as he had been a member for far longer and had stood in numerous elections on behalf of the Leicestershire branch. The branch backed him but when he was expelled by Griffin later in the year, the branch, run by arch-Griffinite Geoff Dickens, essentially ignored what had happened and its implications and continued to support Griffin. In 2011 this former active branch stood virtually no candidates in the city and county local elections under the moribund and sycophantic leadership of Geoff Dickens.
Meanwhile, the lack of full receipts and financial documentation from Patrick Harrington meant that the accounts could not be signed off. Mr Hawke refused to sign off the accounts. Harrington’s payment of £75 per month to cover the costs of stationery expenses on behalf of the Union was never shown in receipts from Harrington as he refused to submit them to the Executive. Griffinwatch is unable to verify whether these payments to Harrington were spent on Union expenses or for private purposes. Harrington’s letter that accompanied his mandate for the Union’s account shows that he used his married name of Sharp. This is obviously very irregular and suggests that Harrington may not have been disclosing all payments for official purposes (Figure 6).
But when some receipts were finally received through John Walker Mr Potter decided that rather than jeopardise the Union, the Executive retain the interests of the project and submit the financial information to the Certification Office so that the accounts could be settled.
In an act that has become so typical of his sociopathic nature Griffin began an attack on the legitimate authority of Solidarity, which included the spiteful and personal expulsion of Potter from the BNP.
This was followed by the hijacking of the Union, with Steve Blake being forced to change the domain to Patrick Harrington whilst the designer and host of the website, Lambertius Nieuwof (“Bep”), a former South African terrorist, went along with Griffin’s orders.
The complicity of “Bep” was apparent. Despite claiming not to have had anything to do with the hijacking and trying to appease the Executive, Nieuwof’s wife Lyndsey later went on to stand for the new and hijacked Solidarity Executive. Having lied to the South African authorities and engaged in potential terrorist atrocities it can be considered that duplicity is no stranger to this man and his wife.
Meanwhile, Patrick Harrington froze the Union’s accounts preventing the Executive from communicating with its members or taking action against the coup organisers, or even from running the Union for the benefit of its members. The Union had become the personal plaything for political purposes for a group of power-greedy individuals, Nick Griffin and Patrick Harrington. Harrington, however, retained the Union’s PayPal account
A campaign of black propaganda and smears ensued from Patrick Harrington and Nick Griffin as they sought to legitimise their hostile takeover of the Union. On the BNP website itself news items appeared that smeared the Executive and claimed that the Union had been the ‘target’ of a ‘Marxist plot’ and that action was needed by the BNP/Third Way to prevent the plot. It was unfortunate that so many BNP members accepted this nonsense and delusionary propaganda. Some of them who had been in the Movement for many years should have known better. They had already experienced the infantile factionalism of Griffin and Harrington during the Front years when members were ousted on false pretences, and smears and abuse directed at those who opposed them. The warped minds of Griffin and Harrington have been exposed for all intelligent minds to see in such articles as ‘The Griffin File’ (http://www.aryanunity.com/griffinfile.html) and ‘Attempted Murder,’ by Nick Griffin himself (http://www.aryanunity.com/attempted_murder.html). Griffin and Harrington created smears and innuendos against the original Solidarity Executive by claiming that there was an imaginary ‘left-wing plot’ against the BNP to somehow destabilise the Union, despite the fact that Potter had created the Union in the first place and built it up, and Hawke had spent hundreds of pounds of his own money in helping to build it up.
Griffin promoted the line that Harrington had ‘saved’ the Union from this illusionary plot. A call for an ‘Extraordinary General Meeting’ was launched by Harrington and promoted by Griffin. Since most of Solidarity members are BNP members (a situation that prevails to this day) it was relatively easy for Griffin to manipulate them to accept his line and persuade them to support Harrington. Harrington, despite having been expelled from the Union, initiated a call to the membership using membership data that he had no right to use. The actual mechanics of the call for an ‘EGM’ were utterly bogus, having no independent scrutineer, and all of the unnumbered and unstamped ‘notifications’ were returned to Harrington’s personal home address.
The ‘EGM’ was held in an Essex location where a prominent Third Way official was based and even the Chairman of the BNP, Nick Griffin, himself attended, presumably to ensure that BNP members of the Union would vote the right way.
Meanwhile, the Executive could not access its own constitutional funds held with the bank, which had been frozen by Harrington just after he had been suspended. However, despite the account being frozen and the official Executive having placed an inhibitor against Harrington on the account, Patrick Harrington managed to persuade the bank to allow him to remove £2600 from the account. To date the bank has failed to provide an explanation for this act of negligence. This money was eventually released to Solidarity after the decision of the Certification Office made it lawful for the bank to release it.
In November 2007 Solidarity ‘B’ staged elections for its Executive which was now intended to be larger and with all of its members to be either BNP or Third Way appointed, an action apparently contrary to the 1992 Trade Union and Labour Relations Act that governs trade unions since election candidates should not have to be members of a political party.
The Executive elections were held in November and overseen by a firm of accountants – Silver & Co. Silver & Co are the accountants who are responsible for BNP accounts. One of its partners, Peter Silver, is a leading local Freemason who has links with Griffin’s father, Edgar, a leading Freemason himself. Silver & Co are also the accountants who dealt with the ‘Truth Truck’ BNP purchase from Dowson’s organisation, Christian Youth Fellowship.
By this simple act of setting up of elections that by their nature could not produce a fair result, Griffin and Harrington legitimised their joint takeover of the Solidarity Trade Union. It had become a BNP trade union which instead of following an independent and revolutionary path, had now become simply a BNP members’ protection agency, whose financial situation was now symbiotically linked in with that of the BNP and Griffin’s centralised hold over all aspects of the party and associated groups. Solidarity had become fossilised, redundant and a relic of the 1980s Front-style factionalism that had helped kill off the National Front.
It was a tragedy that no BNP senior official was willing to risk their political career by standing up against Griffin and his egomaniacal misadventure. Any intelligent nationalist was aware that Griffin’s role in the Solidarity affair was not only completely disloyal (in backing an old Front colleague, Harrington, against his own members) and hence could not be trusted, but had brought the BNP into disrepute. Furthermore, Griffin’s plot to accrue further political control under his centralised autocracy and sabotage of a strategy involving Solidarity as a new instrument of nationalist influence should have been exposed by those within the Advisory Council. Lee Barnes’ role in this affair appears tragic. Initially, he appears to have confronted Griffin and argued against the hijacking of the Union and the expulsion of Potter from the BNP and was willing to represent him in any BNP tribunal hearing. After it was fait accompli however, it would seem that he continued in his role as BNP Legal Advisor and an advisor to Griffin. His failure in seeing this through and resigning, or pursuing an act of personal courage and integrity to demonstrate his support and nationalist values, shows that his convictions and moral fibre were lacking. He was more willing to see a colleague axed – the very individual whom he had encouraged to set up his own idea in the first place – than to finish his career within the BNP. His ego and his personal desire to have power and influence within the BNP clearly meant far more to him than loyalty or moral conviction. Barnes’ political ascendancy did increase though with him becoming, for example, the mouthpiece of Griffin’s Zionist and pro-Israel policy realignment and support for Israel’s war against the Palestinians. After three years serving Griffin at the top of the BNP hierarchy Barnes ultimately realised the folly of his sycophantic support of Griffin and resigned from the BNP. His resignation, however, was seemingly predicated purely from a personal point of view that saw himself having been frozen out first by Arthur Kemp on the website and then by Jim Dowson. Barnes no longer had the influence over Griffin as he once did and, seeing the trend of resignations and expulsions, decided to jump the BNP ship at the last moment on the wave of Eddy Butler’s challenge and the setting up of the Reform Group.
Owing to the failure to submit full receipts for the Union’s first-year accounts, concerns over the sole control that Harrington had over the Union’s PayPal account, the unauthorised withdrawals of monies from the bank account in September 2007 and other alleged instances of financial irregularities that had been brought to the attention of the Executive of Solidarity ‘A’, the Union submitted several demands to the Certification Office for an investigation. At first the demands were rejected by the Certification Officer who stymied an investigation but as a result of continued demands the Officer finally relented and in May 2007 began an investigation into the financial irregularities. The Executive of Solidarity ‘A’ also reported the matter to the police (Figures 7 and 8) but the police refused to take any action and instead passed the matter over to the Certification Office. Make of this what you will but on the basis of an official complaint where there have been allegations of fraud the police should reasonably have taken steps to investigate the matter. We find this to have been highly suspect and indicative of the initial stage of an official cover-up and protection of Griffin.
27 May 2008
APPOINTMENT OF INSPECTOR – SOLIDARITY
On 22 May 2008 the Certification Officer appointed Gerard Walker, Assistant Certification Officer, as an Inspector to investigate the financial affairs of the trade union Solidarity. The appointment was made under Section 37B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Inspector’s terms of reference are to investigate the financial affairs of the trade union Solidarity between 1 November 2005 and 24 November 2007; as regards;
a. the production of receipts for expenditure,
b. the operation of the Solidarity Paypal account,
c. withdrawals from the Solidarity HSBC current account on 20 and 25 September 2007 and a transfer to the Solidarity HSBC current account from the Solidarity HSBC Money Manager Account on 20 September 2007,
d. cheques cashed from the Solidarity HSBC current account between 18 January 2007 and 4 June 2007,
e. payments made to Mr Patrick Harrington from the Solidarity HSBC current account between 1 February 2007 and 1 May 2007,
f. the freezing of the Solidarity HSBC Current Account and Business Money Manager Account in 2007,
g. the opening of a Bank of Scotland account in the name of Solidarity in 2007,
h. the appointment of Accentuate PR Company by Solidarity in 2007,
i. the appointment of the auditors of Solidarity’s accounts for the years ending 31 December 2006 and 31 December 2007 and
j. any other matter, with the consent of the Certification Officer, indicating a financial irregularity within the description set out in section 37B(2) of the 1992 Act that may come to light during the investigation of (a) to (i) above.
The terms of reference exclude the Inspector from reaching any conclusion on the legal issues arising out of the unresolved dispute within Solidarity about the application of its rules to its governance, the resolution of which requires either internal agreement or judicial determination.
Meanwhile, the Executive of Solidarity ‘A’ began an internal investigation and over a period of many months submitted a case file of evidence and argument to the Certification Office.
figs. 7 & 8