When the fossil fuels run out, leaders of Britain's far right hope to survive on a farm in the Balkans
A few miles from the historic southern Croatian town of Knin lie 1,100 hectares of farmland and a couple of abandoned buildings. A tributary from the river Krka runs through the lush countryside nestled close to the sun-drenched Adriatic coast.
It is a tranquil place, one that would make an ideal spot for a campsite or a clutch of holiday homes. But instead the land is destined for a rather more bizarre sort of retreat. It is here that a small cabal, comprising senior members of the British National Party, plans to hole up once, as they expect, the world's supply of oil runs out, triggering anarchy.
The land is owned by an anonymous BNP sympathiser from south-east England whose late father is understood to have made a fortune in the pizza business. At the moment it lies unused, but the BNP chairman, Nick Griffin, has visited the site several times. One day some in the party hope it will become a sustainable community, one that is not reliant on fossil fuels or outside power of any kind but instead is capable of harnessing solar energy and tapping into local streams for fresh water.
A spokesman for the BNP said this scenario was 'totally without foundation'. But The Observer has established the plans were discussed extensively during a three-day secret BNP meeting last September at a Hampshire hotel. Griffin and several senior members of the BNP, including Lee Barnes, the party's ponytailed second-in-command, had invited an energy expert, Andrew McKillop, to speak about his pet theory, the end of oil and gas supply, a subject about which he lectures widely on the conference circuit.
Also at the meeting was the BNP's economics adviser, a man called Alan Goodacre when residing in Britain but who, when in the US on business, apparently uses the name Ian Fletcher, according to party sources. Throughout the meeting Fletcher carried a large briefcase stuffed with thousands of pounds in cash which he used to pay the hotel and restaurant bills.
'It was like something out of a film,' a member of the hotel staff said. 'He just kept dipping into the briefcase and doling out the money.'
For McKillop, who lives in the US, the meeting was equally surreal. He had been told he would be picked up from Heathrow airport by two BNP stalwarts, only to be instructed at the last minute to make his own way to Portsmouth. From there a car took him to a hotel. 'It was all a bit Monty Python,' McKillop recalled. 'They seemed extremely paranoid.'
As soon as he arrived, Griffin ushered McKillop, who previously had links to the French far right and the late billionaire James Goldsmith, into a room to address eight of his colleagues. Over the next two days McKillop, who says he was not paid for his presentation and had been contacted by the BNP via the internet, talked widely about his belief that global oil and gas supplies are peaking and that this would have profound repercussions for mankind. As he talked his audience became more excited.
'They didn't want to know what I was talking about,' said McKillop. 'They just wanted to know how to use it to their advantage. They grabbed it as a ball to play with. They developed a completely exaggerated idea of when the world's oil supply will be turned off. They were asking, "How can we exploit this, how can we use it to build an election platform?"'
McKillop was told a BNP supporter owned a large amount of land in Croatia that the party's senior figures had high hopes for. Initially he thought the BNP intended to use it simply for eco-tourism. But as the conversation developed there was talk of turning the land into a community for the BNP and its supporters.
'In the end I formed the impression they saw it as a bolthole for when the world blows up,' McKillop said. Claims that the BNP senior hierarchy have discussed developing the Croatian site have been corroborated by several disgruntled party members who have supplied detailed information to Lancaster Unite Against Fascism (UAF), a body that campaigns against the BNP.
The revelation that the BNP senior hierarchy anticipate a doomsday scenario has parallels with millenarianism - the view that the world is on the brink of an apocalypse. The links between such views and the far right are well known. The Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, harboured suspicions that the UN was trying to take over the world and that a global war was an inevitability.
McVeigh and the London nail bomber David Copeland, jailed for an explosion at a gay pub in Soho, London, which killed three people and left 70 injured, were heavily influenced by William Pierce, the founder of the white supremacist National Alliance in the US. Pierce was also the author of The Turner Diaries which predict a series of racial wars that develop into global genocide. Several BNP members have attended National Alliance meetings.