Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:46 Written by Sonia Gable
Solidarity, the organisation set up by the British National Party that purports to be a trade union, always claims to be an independent nationalist trade union. True its president, David Kerr, and its general secretary, Patrick Harrington, are not BNP members, though Harrington works for the BNP and is a very old colleague of BNP leader Nick Griffin. But its purpose has always been to aid the BNP.
The latest example of this is its new leaflet, which attacks the UK Independence Party, just at the point where it has become clear that the rise of UKIP, which competes on an anti-immigration and anti-EU platform, is a major threat to the BNP’s vote.
The leaflet claims hypocritically that UKIP’s policies would victimise workers by ending legislation limiting working hours, sick pay and holidays, and would scrap equality and discrimination legislation. Hypocritically, because the BNP and its supporters in Solidarity would do exactly the same.
Hope Not Hate has some useful background information about Solidarity and the BNP’s record on such issues, together with a barely readable scan of the leaflet. But what is most interesting about it is that trade unions are only allowed to campaign for or against a political party if they have a political fund, and Solidarity doesn’t have one. Its latest annual return, which is for the year ended 31 December 2011, shows that the union has 447 members, of whom incidentally 83% are men, a general fund balance of £1,803, and no political fund.
There is a nine-stage formal procedure for establishing a political fund, which includes preliminary approval of the proposed political fund and ballot rules, a ballot of members, formal approval of both sets of rules, and notification to members that they may opt out of contributing to the political fund. Solidarity hasn’t done any of this.
So the leaflet is illegal, which is a bit of a surprise considering that Harrington fancies himself as a lawyer and should know better.