With the leadership contest at last behind us, this is a time for taking stock and at last moving forward. I say this, even though I am no longer a member of the Party; as I have said many times, my politics remain the same and I wish the nationalist cause well.
The 2 most important priorities right now are for reconciliation and making sure that lessons have been learned. The Party has been held back by poor management and accounting decisions, unnecessary and confrontational law suits and lack of democratic consultation. If we don’t take on board where mistakes have been made, we will be condemned to repeat them. These are the points that the Nick Griffin should address immediately:
The BNP has become so discredited over the past year that it is time to mark the beginning of a new era with a new name. The name needs to have some connection with the old one in order to capitalise on continuity. ‘British Party’ would seem to be a good choice- the ‘National’ doesn’t really add anything anyway.
One of the biggest problems facing the Party over the past year or so has been over the Party’s accounting. It would seem essential therefore to ensure:
- The Chairman has no personal contact with the finances.
- A body of independent auditors, not connected with the Advisory Council or the Cabinet or any other paid post within the Party, would have full scrutiny of the accounts down to all expenditure of £500 or more.
- The books should be available to be inspected by a Regional Organiser or above at any time.
- An outside auditor should verify the books annually.
- The returns should be made in good time the Electoral Commission to avoid the unnecessary payment of fines for late submission.
The Party has been plagued by infiltrators at all levels. It is vitally important that anyone holding the position of paid employment or officer of the Party at regional or sub-regional level undergoes a polygraph lie detector test. These tests are expensive, but given the incalculable harm an infiltrator can bring about, it would be money well spent.
Democratic accountability on the part of the leadership is fundamental to sound government and therefore, the Advisory Council needs to be enlarged to include 3 serving councillors elected by their fellow councillors, all Regional Organisers and leading employed party officers. The Advisory Council would then democratically select 6 of its members to sit in a Cabinet, consisting of these 6 members as well as the Chairman. The Chairman would have the casting vote. It would be for the Cabinet to decide on policy, in close consultation with the Advisory Council. In practice, this would mean that the Chairman could not act without the approval of the Cabinet. The Cabinet in order to work efficiently would need to be small, with no more than 7 members in total so that decisions could be made quickly. Each Cabinet member would only be eligible to stand for a year at a time and for no more than 4 years consecutively. This would ensure the accountability of Cabinet members to the Advisory Council. The Chairman would not have the power to sack the Cabinet; only the Advisory Council could deselect a Cabinet member by a majority vote and with good reason. The Chairman could not be dismissed by either the Cabinet or the Advisory Council but only by the membership of the Party through a democratic leadership process.
The Chairman would have the right to choose the Deputy Chairman who would automatically be one of the 7 Cabinet members.
Regional Organisers would have to be elected by the voting members of their region. All Regional Organisers would be given a salary and expenses (as soon as funds permit).
The Party Fundraiser would be on a fixed salary, with a productivity based commission.
It has to be understood that the Party does not exist to make money; rather, money should be raised with the intention of funding our prime purpose, which is making converts and thereby winning elections. If we raise the number of paid-up members, the income will increase correspondingly. The overriding priority therefore needs to be to get back on the streets. We also need to ensure our councillors and elected members are adequately supported with a priority of at least 40-50% of the finances going to building up their support and functions within their wards/boroughs/councils.
It should be also realised that not everyone can afford to contribute financially and there are many other ways of assisting the Party effort. In order to counteract ‘donor fatigue’ as well as benefiting the Party in a broader sense, requests for money need to be interspersed with requests for practical help and activism, which should lead to more individuals becoming involved as well as having a broader appeal that more people may feel able to respond to.
As well as reforming to move forward, re-engaging with those who are disaffected, disappointed or have been inappropriately excommunicated, we need to look at our role and the Party’s role in nationalism more broadly. We need to open avenues and explore ways in which we can negotiate and create an alliance with other nationalist parties with a view to bringing about eventual unity, with at least an aim of reaching an electoral pact so that no 2 nationalist candidates ever again find themselves standing against each other on the same electoral platform. Such a travesty is a total waste of time and effort and a betrayal of all nationalist voters who find their votes completely wasted as a split vote leads to no victory.
It is my sincere wish that Nick Griffin gives some serious thought to the implementation of these suggestions as these have been issues that I have raised with the Chairman and members of Head Office, going back as far as the Red White and Blue of 2006. They have to be addressed for nationalism to move forward.