Thursday, 19 August 2010

Why I resigned the Party Whip: The inescapable issues that must be addressed

The leadership challenge gave Nick Griffin a clear and decisive mandate; hopefully the Party will be able to move forward. But in order for this to happen, concerns that came to light in the course of the campaign must be addressed. We cannot progress as a party if things are simply swept under the proverbial carpet.

I have spent over a decade working the streets of London and across the nation, to support the principles and ideals of this Party, while at the same time, working tirelessly as most of you know, getting our members elected to local and regional levels of government. I am a nationalist, heart and soul, and always will remain so. I have not made the decision to resign the Party whip lightly. Nor have I produced this document with the intention of having a go at head office, the leadership or indeed, any individual. Any retribution is for the membership to determine and not me.

I honour my membership and respect the position that I was elected to. I deeply appreciate the work of those members of this party whose tireless efforts enabled my election, and am grateful to every individual that voted for me. It is only because of this that I feel that I have a duty to now speak out and hope that the wisdom and good sense of the Party’s management will be able to rectify these problems within the next two months. I am not prepared to allow things to drag on any longer than that because the damage could be irreversible. Those who have been active members for as long as I have will recognise that this cannot be allowed to happen.

We have gone, apparently, from £2.3 million in the black to owing something in the region £600 000. Nick himself admitted publicly on the night of the leadership challenge that the Party is £500 000 in the red. The Party’s books, therefore, need to be looked into by a small group to see what has gone wrong and where and how this can be remedied. I would suggest no more than 4 individuals- two from within the Party hierarchy who can offer explanations and two members with an accounting/investigative background, who can be relied on to be totally independent and fair. I would therefore suggest Clive Jefferson and Dave Hannam on behalf of the Party, with John Savage and Michael Barnbrook and Tim Rait acting as the independent scrutinisers. The findings need to be published.

Leading on from this, we were late again submitting the books to the Electoral Commission and the Party was fined as a result. This should not have happened as it could have been avoided and has cost the Party money. It is another indication that the accounting side of things needs scrutiny and overhaul.

The large scale sackings and suspensions have to stop. In particular, the individuals sacked from the Advisory Council should at least be given reasons for their dismissal. Those members suspended over the past few weeks ‘pending investigation’ should be re-admitted if there is no good reason for their exclusion. The investigation itself should be made by independent assessors and not by party officers. We cannot afford to lose good people. The effect on morale of these unexplained exclusions is devastating. If individuals need to be disciplined then so be it. But the procedure needs to be clear, transparent, and above all fair.

Once affairs are back on the straight and narrow and in order to ensure that matters do not regress, I would like consideration to be given to implementing the following measures:

Polygraph tests for anyone at Regional Organiser level or above, which includes non members These tests are expensive but very effective at rooting out infiltrators and they have to be prioritised. We cannot afford to let in any more moles into positions of authority from which they can wreck our Party’s future. The tests should be undertaken compulsorily, from the Leader downwards.

A new internal party structure needs to be set up to protect employment rights of BNP staff members. This committee would be required to check and authorise suspensions before they are issued.

This would ensure that sackings are fair and lawful and the Party is not left open to defending expensive legal proceedings.

Regional Organisers should be elected by the members of that region eligible to vote and should only be dismissed from office by the voting regional members, or by their peers on the Advisory Council.

The whole communications mechanism and accountancy and recruiting departments must be removed from Northern Ireland and brought back to the mainland. The present location is inaccessible and therefore not cost effective or practical.

As I have said, these issues have to be addressed within the next two months, before the political scene hots up again at the end of September. We cannot allow them fester any longer, because they are pulling this Party apart from top to bottom. When they have been resolved, I will resume my position as a BNP representative of the GLA. Until that time, my position will technically remain as independent, but rest assured that my political views have not changed.

Richard Barnbrook, BNP Member

London Assembly Member

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