A copy of an email from Eddy Butler, the BNP's National Elections Officer, has been forwarded to us as an example of all that is undemocratic within the British National Party
It refers to the coming leadership challenge from Colin Auty, BNP councillor for Dewsbury East since 2006. Auty announced his challenge immediately after the recent elections, and is receiving growing support in the party for his call for openness, accountability and a more democratic internal structure to the party, despite a barrage of verbal attacks on him from the existing hierarchy on both the BNP's own forum and the Stormfront nazi forum, where many of the BNP's officers hang out.
Despite what is said in public, the news we get from inside the party indicates that the officers (and Nick Griffin himself) are none too pleased with the election results of a fortnight ago. They expected to get a lot more than an additional ten councillors (pushing the current total up to fifty-three) and had also hoped for three Assembly seats, ending up with just the one presently occupied by the embarrassing and frequently incoherent Richard Barnbrook. Given that this poor result reflects badly on the leadership of the party, such as it is, the last thing Griffin needs at the moment is a leadership challenge. He is, we are told, already putting himself about in London, to ensure that BNP activists are aware that HE is the chairman of the party, and not Barnbrook. Bless him, he must be feeling vulnerable.
Butler appears to be writing to the BNP's election team - the people at Head Office and the various organisers dotted around the country (though as the party refuses to make its internal structure clear, it's impossible to know if the team also includes local chairpersons, fundholders, et al). Nevertheless, whatever Butler sends to organisers will eventually filter its way down the BNP food chain to the more active membership - though unofficially, thus ensuring that he is not tainted by the criticism that was aimed at Lee Barnes, the 'Director' of the BNP's Legal Department and all-round freak, who was seen to be sharing his opinions rather too freely for a supposedly unbiased officer of the party.
Even so, Butler's email is uncompromising in his contempt for a) the challenger Colin Auty, and b) democracy. Curious really, as Butler makes the point in his email that the right of members to challenge the leadership is 'a declaration of our Parties openness and commitment to democracy' then goes on to spoil it by stating that the party expects anyone who has the 'temerity' to challenge the leadership only if they seriously consider they have the possibility of winning and they are able to perform the duties expected of them as leader should they do so.
Very interesting use of the word 'temerity' there. For those who don't know, 'temerity' means audacity, nerve, cheek, effrontery (or, as we Jews sometimes say, chutzpah). Quite why a challenger should be accused of audacity for challenging is beyond me, though as Nick Griffin's leadership is generally treated as some kind of divine right held by the pig farmer from Welshpool, that might explain it.
The point of Butler's email seems to be to attempt to persuade the more influential members not to sign Auty's nomination papers because he is a 'joke candidate' and a 'no-hoper' and that his frivolous challenge may give the Griffinites within the party enough ammunition to limit possible challenges in future. Thus he says;
'There will be pressure, perhaps unstoppable pressure, to change the rules so that leadership challenges can only take place every four years.'
Whether we take this to mean that he is trying to put off potentially hopeless challengers to avoid Griffin becoming even more entrenched than he already is or is just attempting to divert support from Auty is debatable, though we generally lean to the former. It's pretty well known that Butler doesn't want Griffin around forever and perhaps this really is an attempt, by subverting the BNP's peculiar internal version of democracy, to bring a more substantial and overt democracy to the party in future. However, we would welcome your views. Here is the emai from Butler - let us know what you think of it.
From: Edward. Butler.
Subject: Statement on the so-called Leadership challenge
Anyone in the Party who has more than five years continuous membership has the Right to stand for the leadership of the Party. The only limit to the exercising of this Right is that in the case of officers ten nomination signatures of members of two years standing must be obtained and for non officers a hundred signatures are required. This is to ensure that frivolous candidates do not stand.
As I said this is a Right that members have. And it is an important Right – it is a declaration of our Parties openness and commitment to democracy. However with Rights come responsibilities and duties. A Right without a duty is an abomination in any society. It is a recipe for chaos. Indeed in our modern society it is the incessant claiming of Rights by groups that shown no sense of duty or responsibility that is one of the key components of the undermining of the civic order of our country.
So in the instance of standing for leadership of the Party, the Party as a whole should expect anyone who has the temerity to wish to stand for leadership only to uphold their Right to do so after that person had carefully weighed their duty to the cause and the Party and their fellow members. We as members should expect that a candidate would only put themselves forward if they were of sufficient stature and ability to potentially be able to lead the Party if they were to win. Otherwise why would someone wish to challenge for the leadership? It is a duty of other members not to sign the nomination papers of any potential candidate unless they seriously think that that person is a viable and serious leadership contender. That is the whole point of the requirement for signatories.
A leadership challenge is not an excuse to air grievances. It is not there for disgruntled people to act out their personal bitterness about things – no matter how ‘justified’ they may think their grievances are. It is an abuse of the process to misuse it in that way. It is an abuse of their Constitutional Right.
And that is precisely what we are seeing this year. We are seeing a candidate pushed forward by people who themselves admit, has absolutely no chance of winning, and admit would never be up to the job of chairman anyway and they admit that the sole reason they are doing it is to air their own personal grievances. In other words their sole aim is to raise issues which have already been fully aired and which could be raised at a variety of different forums such as the Summer School (where there is always a session for all participants where they can bring up matters they are unhappy about) or the Annual Conference.
What is the likely outcome of this leadership challenge? The challengers (there may in fact be two!) will be comprehensively defeated. The leadership challenge process as it currently stands in the Constitution will be brought into disrepute. There will be pressure, perhaps unstoppable pressure, to change the rules so that leadership challenges can only take place every four years.
I would not normally comment on a leadership election. It should normally be up to the membership to make their own minds up without non-participants trying to influence the process.
But the backers of this ridiculous bid should reconsider their aimless tactic. People should refuse to sign the nomination papers. It is a distraction and a waste of time and effort and it will end up almost certainly with the constitution changed in a way that destroys the important Right of the possibility of a yearly election. Standing a no-hoper is stupid, mindless and fatally undermines our Constitution. It is a pitiful and moronic – a bankrupt tactic by people who can only be described as having gone giddy to the extent that they are now without the imagination to think how they can raise issues in a legitimate way.
This election, if it goes ahead, should be carried out in the most rapid manner possible with zero publicity allowed for the joke candidate (who may in lother circumstances be described as a decent and 'nice' bloke etc) and the least disruption to our continued efforts. That is the best way to minimise the harmful effects.
National Elections Officer