Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012 18:01 Written by Sonia Gable
The operating profit is the figure before deducting £45,000 of legal costs relating to 2010, according to the draft accounts, but even so, a profit of some £170,000 compared to a loss of £401,962 in 2010 is a remarkable turnaround. Griffin might almost (though not quite) be forgiven for his obvious smugness in claiming, in one of the two homes of the European Parliament, that the BNP had overcome its own “debt crisis”, although the party’s balance sheet, of which not a word from Jefferson, will reveal the party’s continued insolvency.
Jefferson confirmed that the change in the party’s fortunes had been the result of the party’s own version of the cuts. The BNP’s staff cuts had been “quick but effective”, he said.
Whether the party’s unemployed former staff would concur is not known. If they were members of the BNP’s tame trade union Solidarity they might have had difficulty obtaining representation: Patrick Harrington, Solidarity’s general secretary and all round dogsbody is also Griffin’s staff manager and overall right-hand man in the slimmed down administration of the slimmed down party.
Harrington was reported on the BNP section of the British Democracy Forum to have joined the BNP in May, news that was welcomed by several other participants, some of whom saw him as a potential successor to Griffin when (if?) he eventually steps down from the leadership. Harrington has denied the report claiming, in a comment on Searchlight’s website, that he is “currently not a member of any Party”. Time will tell, but under the BNP’s constitution a leadership candidate must have five years’ continuous party membership.
Griffin even accepted some blame for the party’s past financial mismanagement, though only that he had appointed the wrong people as treasurer. Rather than putting “book-keepers” in charge, the job needed a “businessman” such as Jefferson, explained Griffin without elaborating on what sort of businessman Jefferson was.
Jefferson did not do it all alone however. Griffin paid tribute to James Mole and Geoff Dickens, who make up the rest of the party’s treasury team and unlike Jefferson are believed to have some accounting knowledge. But there was another in the BNP’s cast. “God is on our side”, gushed Griffin, boasting that “several large bequests” had come the party’s way this year. Whether that includes the disputed gift that we know of, from an overseas resident who at the time of his death was not a permissible donor under electoral law, he did not say.
One bequest the party has already received, though for some reason Griffin did not see fit to mention it. Edward Hart’s £28,736.97 turned up on 17 February 2012, and no doubt was immediately wasted on the party’s failed London election campaign. Hart’s exploits on behalf of his party were never such as to be recognised on the BNP website, but a BNP member and retired British Rail fireman of that name lived in Welling, southeast London.
In 2011 the party received just two donations over £7,500, the reporting threshold: £20,000 in March from a Winifred Undey and £10,000 in November from Adam Francis Champneys a Kent farmer and frequent BNP donor.
Meanwhile the party seems to be greatly occupied with its campaign for justice for Charlene Downes, a teenager who disappeared without trace in Blackpool in 2003, aged 14. Last year a Lancashire detective investigating her murder was forced to resign after being found guilty of misconduct. The BNP’s interest is of course motivated by the fact that she was white and might have been a victim of grooming by Asian men, though as the murder is unsolved, that cannot be known.
So desperate is the BNP to latch onto this campaign, the party has even given support to Margaret Walker, a 73-year-old woman who received an interim antisocial behaviour order at Fareham magistrates’ court in June ordering her not to write or distribute leaflets. After the BNP’s poorly attended “united front” demonstration outside the court, the party moaned: “Why isn’t our community behind Ms Downes and Mrs Walker in the same way the nation’s media came together behind the family of Stephen Lawrence.” One glance at the leaflet from this crank and the reason is clear.