Divisions in the BNP:
                   let's get it straight who started them

FOR the second month running, we are forced to give some space in an issue of Spearhead to matters which many of our readers will undoubtedly call 'divisive', and we do not doubt that some of them will say to us: "Why don't you people just bury your differences and work together for the overall good of the British National Party?"
    To this plea, with which we have much sympathy, we will return.

    The divisive matters are explained in a feature on pages 6 and 7. We ask readers, before they accuse us of speaking divisively, to examine what is reported on those pages and ask themselves: Who is it here who is being divisive? The chairman of the BNP, Mr. Nick Griffin, has admitted in a letter to our editor that he was opposed to the latter speaking at a meeting of the party's Burnley branch on the 1 st August, and we have testimony that strenuous efforts were made by Mr. Griffin and his associates to put pressure on the branch to cancel Mr. Tyndall's speech at the meeting. At the same time, the 'Anti-Nazi League', which has not put in any appearances at BNP meetings in the North West of England for some years, turned out to demonstrate against Mr. Tyndall. Was ANAL tipped off to turn up at this meeting by certain people in the BNP? This cannot be proven, but what is beyond doubt is the efforts of Mr. Griffin and his allies in the party to stop it.
    During the years 1996-99, when Nick Griffin was quite obviously planning a bid to take over the leadership of the BNP, no attempt was ever made by Mr. Tyndall to prevent him speaking to party meetings around the country wherever he wanted and was invited. Yet over the past year or so efforts have undoubtedly been made
by the allies of Mr. Griffin in the BNP to persuade the heads of branches not to invite Mr. Tyndall to speak (see pages 6 & 7). This is despite the fact that on no occasions on which Mr. Tyndall has spoken has he attacked Mr. Griffin nor criticised his running of the party.
    We deplore as much as anyone the divisions which have opened up in the BNP in recent times, but let us be quite clear where and when those divisions began and who initiated them.

    Between its foundation in 1982 and 1996, when Mr. Griffin joined - fourteen years - the BNP enjoyed virtually complete internal harmony, and in these conditions advanced to become easily the premier nationalist party in Britain, winning a council seat in East London in 1993, fighting 55 seats in the general election of 1997 and putting up the full complement of candidates in England and Scotland in the Euro elections of 1999. In the two years preceding the leadership change in September 1999 the party's membership grew by nearly 90 per cent.
    We cite these facts to point out that the harmony of those years did not go hand-in-hand with stagnation. The first signs of division were seen in the launching in 1996 of the magazine Patriot. Patriot's divisive polemics were at first expressed subtly. The magazine spoke of the need for the party to engage in a programme of 'modernisation' which was in fact already well in pro-gress. It suggested divisions between 'modernisers' and 'dinosaurs' and 'reactionaries' which in reality did not exist. It called for organisational and promotional init-iatives which were already being pursued within the limits of the party's then available resources.
    Later, Patriot became more strident and more dis-ruptive in its attempts to promote party divisions, and later still it descended to vicious and dishonest attacks on our editor. Though these attacks came mostly from Mr. Griffin's confederate Tony Lecomber, Mr. Griffin himself (by then party leader) made no attempt to curb them. It was not until there had been constant repetition of the attacks, not only in Patriot but bye-mails and other private communications, did we in this magazine attempt any reply. This came in an article in December 2001, the tone of which was quite moderate by comparison with the ravings of Mr. Lecomber.
    In the meantime, there have been many develop-ments in the BNP about which we have been deeply unhappy but which we have not attacked publicly in these columns - precisely because of our wish strictly to ration comment that could appear divisive. And where we have been critical we have deliberately used language as restrained as possible.

    Nothing would please us more than for everyone in the BNP to be working together in the service of the party so as to take advantage of the tremendous oppor-tunities now opening up to it as public opinion starts to swing in its favour.
    But where we witness actions that we believe are seriously damaging to the party- not to say divisive of the party - we are not going to sit on our hands and say nothing. Elsewhere in this issue we deal with the recent excommunication from the BNP of one of its most popular activists and speakers, who has simply been railroaded out on the pretext of alleged assistance to its political enemies for which there is not a shred of evid-ence. This follows numerous other expulsions and banishments for 'offences' for which evidence has been lacking or which have been trivial in nature. In the mean-time, the egregious Mr. Lecomber has been permitted to act disruptively again and again without a finger being raised to discipline him.
    It seems to many that in the BNP today there is one law for one kind of member and another law for another kind - depending on where one stands in arguments over party leadership and policy. This has to stop.
Furthermore, the party needs to utilise every personal talent and resource that is of benefit to it - which means getting rid of silly and petulant bans on people speaking which are based on nothing more than jealousy and dislike.

From Spearhead magazine - Issue 403, Sept. 2002