Is this the end of the BNP?
Nick Griffin has been re-elected as the party leader of the British National Party by the skin of his teeth – receiving 1,157 votes compared to his rival, fellow MEP Andrew Brons who secured 1,148.
The nine votes between the two demonstrates deep tensions within the party, which have been going on for some time.
In 2008 Matthew Single – the man who later leaked documents containing the names and addresses of BNP members – along with other dissident members of the far right party Steve Blake, Sadie Graham and Kenny Smith, attempted to challenge the leadership of Nick Griffin. The campaign fell flat, and Griffin acted, but tension was brewing in the ranks of the party, compounded by mounting financial difficulties, low support in elections – despite achieving two MEPs – and the infamous marmite incident.
Since then, the anti-Griffin contingent of the BNP have needed someone who they felt was a little more stable, had a decent support base, and was not going to go “soft” – as, for some strange reason, many on the extreme right of the far right party, seem to think Griffin is, opposed to the supposed moderate, suits instead of jackbooted Griffinites.
Andrew Brons has for some time been the candidate of choice for the anti-Griffinites. The British Resistance blog – formerly The Green Arrow – held Brons as the “unity candidate”. In a supportive blog post, they noted:
Nick Griffin must be replaced. He has totally betrayed the trust of all the party’s activists and thrown away the results of their years of hard work. Why he did this, I really do not know but have my suspicions. I could list and document a dozen pages of the lies he has told. Those still supporting him, remind me of the black people in America who despite all the evidence continued to scream out that O.J. Simpson was innocent. They are in total denial as I once was.
While the divide in the party became better known, the spat between Griffin and Brons went public. Earlier this year some BNP members in Brussels went to listen to Brons speak while uninvited, Nick Griffin sat next to his colleague to offer his concerns about Brons’ conduct, and the friends he kept – including the now suspended member Eddy Butler (video below h/t Political Scrapbook).
I asked Eddy Butler ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) – using an anonymous email address:
why didn’t you ask Solidarity [the odd trade union funded and paid for by the BNP to represent fascists in court, led by that odd chap Pat Harrington] to represent you when you’d been expelled? If you dislike them so much, their subsequent refusal to represent you could’ve acted as political capital for you in your quest against Griffin.
[To which he replied]
I did consider it for my dosmissal [sic] as a member of staff as the action against me was taken by by Adam Walker and Pat Harrington and they breached several basic codes of practice but I coluldn’t be bothered as it isn’t in my nature. I joked with them that I could have and they squirmed when I said it.
Last night, as the result came in, Nick Griffin’s Facebook page has attracted supporters wishing him well, and requesting he bring unity to the party, examples of which include:
Janek On Hiatus Łestelski: Congratulations Nick, now the real hard work starts. WE CAN DO THIS!
Thomas Matthews: Let’s take the fight 2 our pathetic weak government now and put a stop 2 all the in-fighting!!
Uther Aurelius: I hope those that voiced their support for Andrew Brons won’t be shunned from the party and this can be seen as a fresh start with all the senior members pulling together in the same direction!
Ian Dempsey: Now get your arse in gear and reunite the party Nick………..Please!
Mary White: Excellent, well done Nick, hope all those nasty plotters who conspired the smear booklet will be expelled, named and shamed ! God Bless xx
But other forums have shown just how much Griffin is loathed within the party, and how many in the BNP are getting so tired that they either want to leave, or form a new party, with Brons at the head.
In a blog post last night on the Brons-supporting BNP Ideas website, comments included:
Caractacus says: Stuff it Andrew, I cannot now work or serve under NG, so lets get going with a new party? We have most of the brains and activists on our side, the old bnp is now finished under NG and Britain NEEDS a real Nationalist Party. You had half the votes of the remaining 2 year plys members, add to those ALL those NG as expelled, driven out or those who left in dispair and with YOU as the unifier WE will be the voice of Nationalism in Britian before Christmas.
French Mike says: I agree with Caractacus. Strike now while the iron is hot. Before too long disenchanted Nationalists will never return to the fold. This is the moment of opportunity otherwise all is lost.
Jan says: Well done Mr Brons.9 votes, pity not everyone received their ballot papers, I’m certain if they had the outcome would have been you as leader.
James says: I am deeply saddened to hear that Andrew Brons has lost the leadership vote. This result means not only a loss for Andrew but also a loss for the Party and the future hopes of our children.This is not a Victory for The Party, this is not a victory for our people, nor is it a victory for reason, justice or Patriotism; this is a Victory only for Nick griffin.This result will only add to the long list of our best people who have already left the Party.
dave says: Andrew you must form a new party the BNP are going nowhere with Griffin, its not as if you would be starting from scratch,you would be taking almost all of the membership activist that voted for you and more to come later when Griffin is found out for what he is, hundreds more nationalist who have either been expelled or have left the party are just waiting to ralley to the banner.
pam says: Andrew please, please,give us a chance we need a new party supported by those that supported you.
TheBNPrenaissance says: This was a golden opportunity for the party to go forward with a professional and articulate chairman who would have done more than just smirk and squirm on a platform like Question Time. I really have to consider my support for the BNP while the current chairman is in place.
Graham Wakefield says: Well then that is the end of the BNP.
The split in the party is deep and public, and I’ll be surprised if it survives this tense public display.