Published on Friday, 04 May 2012 20:29 Written by Sonia Gable
The figures, which are disclosed in issue 3 of the BNP’s internal Central Party Report, have not been checked by the party’s auditors, Silver & Co, but it is unlikely that Clive Jefferson, the BNP treasurer, would publish them with such precision if they were not fairly reliable.
The profit, the party’s first since 2004, is the result of a more than 75% reduction in expenditure, and has been achieved despite income being almost exactly half that of 2010. The lower income from donations, membership fees and other sources is not unexpected, given that the party’s chief fundraiser Jim Dowson left at the end of 2010, the party declined and there was no major election around which to base a fundraising campaign.
The biggest cut has been in staff costs, down from £681,884 in 2010 to £135,124 after several party employees lost their jobs. Fewer staff has probably helped in reducing management and administration expenditure generally, with no one around to spend the money. Campaign expenditure is also down, mainly because the party spent £57,416 on lost general election deposits in 2010, not repeated in 2011.
Legal fees, though lower, remain high. The 2010 accounts showed costs of £85,562, and the 2011 income and expenditure account adds “legal costs from 2010” of £44,574 to that. Further legal fees of £49,749 were incurred in 2011 itself.
For once the BNP admits that there are several outstanding court cases and disputed debts, “which have to be included in a ‘worst case scenario’”, but the Teflon-coated party considers they are “highly unlikely to materialise”.
One crucial set of figures missing from the report is a balance sheet. The profit will still leave the BNP with a deficit of £565,424 at the end of 2011. There is not enough information to determine how much the party owed to creditors for goods, services and taxation, but it must have been quite a lot more than the £52,000 they were claiming in summer 2011.
Membership income of £153,837 is perhaps higher than might be expected. Andrew Brons, the BNP’s dissident MEP, wrote on 8 February, “The British National Party claims still to have between 3,000 and 4,000 members, including 1,000 life members – from a total of 14,500 members in 2010”. His 2010 figure is exaggerated but the 2011 income indicates rather more than 4,000 members in that year. He may have a political motive for minimising the figure.
Of particular interest is the revelation that the party expects to receive income from legacies in 2012 “approaching half a million pounds”, “thanks to several very loyal supporters who remembered the Party in their wills before sadly passing on”, rather conveniently for party leader Nick Griffin. However, as is the way with legacies, the party “will not receive the benefit of these gifts for several months”, meaning it still needs to “generate a sustainable fund raising income”. Griffin doesn’t want to put the members off from emptying their pockets in the fundraising meetings the BNP is holding around the country in the run-up to the local elections on 3 May.
One of the dead BNP supporters is Albert Edward Starmore of Chingford, northeast London, who is understood to have left a house to the fascist party. Starmore crossed Searchlight’s path several years ago when he was still alive and thinking of selling his house, buying a cheaper property in Wales and giving the BNP the balance of the sale proceeds. For some reason it seems he changed his mind.
Assuming the BNP continues in 2012 not to spend more than its income, the legacies will wipe out the BNP’s deficit and put the party in a good position financially to fight the European election in 2014, when Griffin will seek a second term in the European Parliament.
Griffin will also hope to capitalise on voters’ economic problems as a result of the government’s cuts by scapegoating immigrants, helped by the tabloid press. His main problem will be the lack of party activists to canvass voters and put his message across in the community.
In 2010 Griffin promised to step down as BNP leader in 2013 to focus on getting re-elected to the European Parliament. He intended to “make way for a younger person”. As yet no clear successor has emerged, unless he hopes to emulate Jean-Marie Le Pen and pass the baton to his daughter Jennifer Matthys. Unlike Marine Le Pen, however, Matthys has shown no aptitude for the job. We shall see.