Saturday, August 1

Treasurer shifted and more financial chaos as cash disappears into BNP black hole

  • Main bank account down to rock-bottom
  • Local accounts plundered to make up shortfall
  • Continuing anger over Spanish jaunts
  • Treasurer sidelined to BNP post office job
  • Begging letters get more hysterical
  • Panic over £30,000 gamble
There's more chaos in the British National Party this weekend as branches reel from the news that once again their accounts have been rifled to prop up an incompetent and extravagant party management.

Furious fundholders have been in touch with us to complain that their local accounts have been raided again because head office has disastrously overspent and can no longer manage to balance the books without thieving from the branches. Another fundholder with a direct line to the treasury has revealed that the main BNP account has hit rock-bottom and stood at less than £3000 a few days ago - not a great deal for a so-called 'major' political party.

BNP head office has often rightly been accused of mismanagement and worse, and the party's former treasurer John Walker (replaced yesterday by former Solihull organiser Jenny Noble) has been rumoured to have hit the bottle heavily as the party's financial situation continues to worsen. Having the incompetent moron Dave Hannam as his second in command can't have been a lot of help either.

Perhaps Walker can relax a little now as he seems to have been put in charge of the equivalent of the BNP post office, becoming the party's National Dispatch and Logistics Manager, a sinecure that looks more like a job that's been created in a hurry to keep him quiet and amenable rather than a job that could be done by any office staff who happen to be on duty.

Oddly, in the article on the BNP website explaining Walker's new job, this little gem appears:

'After months of growth and part way into a major restocking, it has become clear that the Excalibur and Great White Records merchandising operations (now under the same roof), together with the huge mail outs of BNP bulletins and publications, has become such an undertaking that a full-time National Dispatch and Logistics Manager is needed at our Deeside industrial unit.'

As neither Excalibur (the BNP's increasingly tatty merchandise arm) nor Great White Records (GWR) produce accounts that can be perused by the public (presumably because any such accounts would show the excrutiatingly low turnover of each operation) it's hard to know how busy Walker will actually be. Certainly he won't be run off his feet by Great White Records - we're told that sales rarely hit ten a week. But what makes the paragraph above more than usually interesting is the mention of Great White Records being part of the BNP's merchandising operation, when it was our belief that GWR was wholely and solely owned by Dopey Dave Hannam, though the BNP membership forked out £50,000 for the creation of the company. Do we assume that GWR makes a payment to the BNP for the use of its premises and/or its newly-installed National Dispatch and Logistics Manager? After all, the last accounts that were submitted to the Electoral Commission showed £9,618 paid to GWR by the BNP for 'sound assistance at venues'. Is this reciprocal or does the money flow just the one way? We suspect the latter.

Incompetence in the BNP is endemic but nowhere is it more evident than in the treasury. The File on Four programme, broadcast by Radio Four back in February, produced a whole raft of accusations of mismanagement, skullduggery and incompetence against Walker and his merry band of idiots, including the revelation that the BNP is behind with its PAYE payments (that is, the tax it takes from employee's wage packets that it is then supposed to pass on to HM Revenue and Customs). Naturally, the party still hasn't paid the bill and part of the reason for the sudden attack on branch funds was that Her Majesty was getting a tad ratty about the lack of revenue coming from the BNP. Not that the raid helped all that much - last month alone, the party paid out nearly forty thousand pounds on wages, expenses and part of the debt to the Revenue plus a further part-debt to Royal Mail. There's also a big question mark over exactly how much was taken from one place and how much actually made it to its rightful location. The current rumour is that £36,000 was lifted from the branches but only £24,000 made it into the appropriate account. We have no idea how true this is but all further information would be welcome.

Three further financial matters seem to be exciting our fundholders at the moment - the peculiar case of the RentSmart computers, the management jaunt to Spain and the £30,000 gamble. The RentSmart deal is small but peculiar (a bit like Dave Hannam) so we'll tackle that first.

It seems that the BNP signed up to a deal with a company named RentSmart a while back to purchase a number of computers and allied goodies for its operations (including no doubt the ones it claimed were pinched by Sadie Graham and Kenny Smith). Apparently whatever deal the party got eventually cost it around £1,000 per month, an astonishing amount considering that RentSmart examples a Toshiba laptop from only £3 per week on its web page! The RentSmart deal includes a brokerage fee and a commission on the insurance that the rentee (?) takes out as part of the agreement, and if we consider the claims we've heard in the past that all key personnel were issued with laptops and that the new operational base in Wales has been fully equipped with PC World's finest, the £1,000 a month doesn't seem quite so unlikely after all.

Nevertheless, a thousand pounds a month is a lot of dosh and questions are being asked about the intelligence of a three-year rental contract that costs more than it would to pop along to the average computer store and buy something off the shelf, incurs brokerage charges and is for something that most party members consider extravagant to say the least. As one of our correspondents pointed out to us; 'If you haven't already got a computer of your own, you probably don't need one. And if you have, you've already got one and you don't need another one'.

Bad feeling seems to be rife in the BNP at the moment and a lot of it is still revolving around the management jaunts to Spain back in March and April, in that crucial period just before the elections. It was noted that it was Griffin's chums and favourites who went off for their holiday in the sun, and the weak explanation that it was 'cheaper to send people there than to hire suitable facilities in Britain' continues to rankle with a membership that feels it is constantly being harassed with increasingly bizarre and amateurish begging letters (see the tatty Truth Truck begging letter on the left) that are less effective each time a new one is sent out amid continuing claims that the members need to provide just a little more cash for that one big push that just never seems to happen. We've received a number of emails referring to the Spanish management training trip over the past few weeks, a few of which make the perfectly valid point that Griffin's barn was renovated at enormous expense out of BNP funds for precisely this purpose but never actually seems to be used by anyone.

Perhaps the greatest concern of our correspondents is the £30,000 bill that the party could be lumbered with for taking Sadie Graham and co to court - a huge gamble of Nick Griffins which even his closest allies find hard to explain away. It's clear to everyone in the party who knows anything at all about Sadie Graham that she has no money of her own and even if the party wins its High Court case against her, the bill it will still be liable for is going to be enormous - the estimated £30,000, which Griffin told the judge is what it had cost to bring the case against the so-called rebels. Gilbert Davies, a firm of lawyers at Welshpool used by Griffin for this action, are in a rather better position to sue than the average creditor but what seems to really be worrying our correspondents is whether the costs are for Griffin to pay or for the party itself. If the latter is the case, it could well be that the end is nigh - unless some mystery benefactor suddenly shows up with a large wodge of cash.

It has been suggested that Griffin is going to go all out to win the North West seat in next year's Euro election in the hope of bailing the party out of its financial mess but this will require some serious fund-raising beforehand which the branches are not likely to welcome, and a couple of additional problems are emerging that might complicate things next May. The England First Party is busily raising money to stand against Griffin, as is former BNP rebel Bev Jones/Scott, who is planning to stand against him as an Independent.

Things are not looking good for the BNP - again. And once again, it looks like financial incompetence is at the bottom of all the party's woes. But then that's what often happens when you give a former bankrupt and chancer the keys to the safe.

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