Published on Saturday, 03 November 2012 11:23 Written by Sonia Gable
Before the ink was dry on the agreement for Andrew Brons’s new party – more likely before the agreement had even been signed – the project had run into problems.
Peter Phillips, a former long-time British National Party member whose support for the fascist party was exposed when he stood for election as President of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006, had been lined up to be its chairman. Some had been unhappy with this choice, not for political reasons, but because he is openly gay. That’s a serious issue for most people on the far right: even those who hate Nick Griffin’s guts applauded the BNP leader’s call to demonstrate outside the home of a gay couple at the centre of a discrimination trial last month.
All the sniping must have got to him because yesterday Phillips packed up his toys and ran. Significantly the toys he is now refusing to share included the snappy new name that the worn-out bunch of fascists had chosen for the new party: True Brits.
Phillips and Robert Gertner, a veteran former BNP activist from the notorious Croydon branch, had registered True Brits with the Electoral Commission on 24 November 2011. Without their agreement, Brons and Kevin Scott, secretary of the steering group for the new party, cannot get their hands on it.
It now seems that Scott, who also runs Civil Liberty, which puts itself forward as a right-wing version of Liberty, will lead the new party. The deputy chairmen will be Andrew Moffat, who was once David Irving’s political secretary, and Ken Booth, a former BNP regional organiser for the North East.
The loss of the True Brits name is embarrassing for Scott who distributed a leaflet under that title at the Traditional Britain Group conference in London on 20 October.
What remains unclear at this moment is whether they will fall back on the name British Democratic Party, registered on 23 May 2011 by the far-right anti-Griffin barrister Adrian Davies in preparation for a split from the BNP. The name is tainted. A party of that name in the late 1970s, run by two lawyers based in Leicester, collapsed after television and press exposés as a result of the work of Searchlight’s mole Ray Hill.
Many also object to the word “democratic” in a party name: fascists after all are rather keener on authoritarian leadership. Others consider that British Democratic Party sounds too similar to British National Party and they would have trouble convincing the electorate that they are not the same as Griffin’s discredited outfit.
Whether they go with Davies’s party name or register a new one, it is very unlikely that the party will be ready to contest the Middlesbrough and Croydon North by-elections on 29 November. In any case Richard Edmonds, who has been closely involved with the formation of the new party, has said he still wants to contest Croydon North for the National Front, of which he is a leading member.
The Rotherham by-election may be a different story, especially if it is not called until the new year. Both the BNP and the new party will lay claim to the initial exposure of Denis MacShane’s false expenses claims and to far-right attempts to exploit the child sex grooming scandal. Michael Barnbrook, the former police officer and BNP member who did a lot of work on the MPs’ expenses issue, turned against Griffin some time ago. Much will depend on whether local far-right activist Marlene Guest is willing and able to stand as the new party’s candidate.
For the full story, read the forthcoming November issue of Searchlight, held up slightly because of the volume of information we are receiving from our inside sources on developments that are mostly too important to be played out on Facebook.