|If a week is a long time in politics, then thirty years must be an eternity!
On April the 7th, 1982, the British National Party (BNP) was formed by the leader of the New National Front, John Tyndall, who had broke from the old National Front (NF) in 1980.
The BNP also included the remnants of two NF splinter groups, the British Democratic Party and the NF Constitutional Movement, formed after the disappointing 1979 general election. Disgruntled British Movement members led by Ray Hill, who was later exposed as a long-term spy and agent provocateur for the far-left Searchlight organisation, also joined the party.
Despite playing second fiddle to the NF in its early years, the BNP in the 1983 general election managed to contest 53 constituencies, polling 14,621 votes, compared to the NF's 27,065 votes after contesting 60 constituencies, well down on the 303 seats the old NF had fought in 1979. By the 1987 general election the NF had collapsed as an electoral force after a series of debilitating splits, while the BNP had begun to consolidate its base of support and build its political profile in a number of key areas, particularly in east London.
Besides John Tyndall, prominent members in those early years included Dave Bruce and John Peacock (both now sadly deceased); Richard Edmonds (now back with the NF); Charles Parker (John Tyndall's war hero father-in-law and also now sadly deceased); John Morse (editor of the BNP's first newspaper 'British Nationalist' and jailed, along with John Tyndall, in 1986 on anti-free speech charges); Ronald Rickord (the editor of the New NF's newspaper 'New Frontier', who now writes for Heritage & Destiny magazine) and Tony Lecomber, whose 'Patriot' magazine would later prove instrumental in Nick Griffin's rise to power within the BNP by 1999.
Key local leaders included the late Bill Owen in the North East of England, Mick Gibson and Stanley Clayton-Garnett (a former Bradford headmaster, now sadly deceased) in Yorkshire, Ian Sloan and Ken Usher in Liverpool, Ken Henderson in Lancashire and Eric Brand and Gus McCloud in Scotland.
1993 saw the BNP's first electoral breakthrough, engineered by Eddy Butler, a former NF activist, and a dedicated team of London activists, when Derek Beackon won a council seat in Tower Hamlets in east London.
Increasingly, before and after that breakthrough, the BNP had come under a ferocious assault thanks to a combination of far-left thuggery and secret state machinations led by a nefarious Searchlight/Special Branch/Combat 18 nexus. However, in the 1997 general election, BNP leader John Tyndall still managed to poll a very credible 2,849 votes (7.3% of the total vote) in Poplar and Canning Town, in east London, in an election which saw a massive electoral swing towards Tony Blair's fraudulent 'New Labour' project across most of the country.
But, after disappointing results in the 1999 European elections, which the BNP had contested for the first time, the scene was set for a change of regime within the BNP with the election of Nick Griffin as BNP leader later in the same year.
The rise and fall of Nick Griffin?
Former NF leader and 'political soldier' Nick Griffin had joined the BNP in 1995 following the virtual collapse of the old NF by 1989.
After a period in the political wilderness following his involvement in a serious accident in France in 1990 which resulted in the loss of an eye, Griffin was employed by John Tyndall as the party's publicity director and an editor of the BNP-supporting magazine 'Spearhead'. The magazine had been established by John Tyndall in 1964 in order to communicate with his early folllowers in the proto-NF group, the Greater Britain Movement, and later within the NF itself when he joined in 1967. By 1995, the magazine acted as the BNP's main focus of internal ideological development.
Griffin himself had been involved in some very imaginative and ground-breaking ideological developments while involved in the old NF, along with fellow NF leaders Patrick Harrington (now general secretary of the BNP trade union Solidarity and key Griffin adviser), Joe Pearce (now a highly respected Catholic academic and author living in the US); Derek Holland (famous for his 'Political Soldier' ideological writings) and Troy Southgate (now a 'National Anarchist' author and publisher), which had aliented the 'old guard' within the NF at the time resulting in a series of damaging splits.
Ironically, some of that 'old guard', including Andrew Brons (now a BNP MEP, along with Griffin) and Martin Wingfield, another former leader of the NF and erstwhile National Democrat, along with Simon Darby (another NF/ND supporter from the West Midlands who is now a key Griffin adviser), would eventually end up in Griffin's modernised BNP.
Within months of Griffin's rise to power within the BNP, the first of many factional spats erupted, not, as would be expected, involving supporters of the former party chairman, John Tyndall, but among important Griffin supporters, including party treasurer Mike Newland and Steve and Sharon Edwards, who along with Eddy Butler (who would later return to the BNP, engineer more electoral breakthroughs before his final expulsion in 2010 after challenging Griffin for the leadership) would establish the BNP breakaway Freedom Party with barrister Adrian Davies as leader. Further factional spats would erupt in 2003, 2004, (both involving John Tyndall and his supporters) 2006, (Sharon Ebanks and her supporters) 2007, (the so-called 'Decemberists') 2010 (Eddy Butler and his supporters) and 2011 (Andrew Brons and his supporters).
However, following race riots in Oldham and Burnley, the BNP polled exceptionally well in those towns in the 2001 general election with Griffin himself polling nearly 20% of the vote in one Oldham constituency.
In 2002 came the first electoral breakthrough for Nick Griffin's BNP with the election of three BNP councillors in Burnley.
An attempt in 2005 was made by the BBC (aided by Searchlight touts) to imprison Nick Griffin, the young BNP leader Mark Collett and John Tyndall on trumped up anti-free speech charges. Although the successive court cases in Leeds failed in their aim to decapitate the BNP, John Tyndall sadly died, aged 71, before the commencement of the first trial.
At its peak, the party in 2007, polled 292,911 votes in local elections that year, fielding 744 candidates in 148 council areas across the country winning a further 10 seats. Later, in 2008, the party would win a seat on the GLA in London and become the official opposition on Barking and Dagenham council in east London.
The European elections in 2009 saw both Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons elected to the European parliament.
By 2011, Andrew Brons would challenge Nick Griffin for the leadership after an earlier rigged leadership challenge by Eddy Butler failed and gerrymanded constitutional changes were later forced on the party. Andrew Brons would narrowly fail in the resulting leadership contest which saw the winner, Nick Griffin, ostensibly cemented into power until 2014.
Before that development, the 2010 general election saw a record number of 339 BNP candidates contest the general election with a full slate of 29 candidates in the North East of England alone.
Ken Booth, the North East Regional Organiser, who organised that milestone in the BNP's local political development has since left the party after clashing with the leadership over their financial incompetence and unpaid printing bills.
By the summer of 2010, which saw the party sunk in massive debt despite the generosity of the party's then 14,000 members, the party was wracked with internal dissent which, as already detailed, continues to the day.
In a document, recently distributed to the remaining 4000 members, entitled 'Central Party Report: Financial Overview - May 2012' the party claims: "After the troubled years of 2009 and 2010, the British National Party recalls its first operating surplus since 2004." The misleading report continues: "The £189,924 surplus in 2011 is all the more remarkable when compared to the £402,000 operating loss made the year before that. During last year's leadership campaign, Nick Griffin stated that 'the financial problems which arose on my watch will be put right on my watch'", the report continuing somewhat disingenuously "we were also able to clear the majority of the Party's genuine debts."
The report concludes somewhat optimistically: "There are still several outstanding court cases or disputed debts which have to be included in a 'worst case scenario', but they are highly unlikely to materialise."
If the first thirty years in the BNP's history have been eventful, then the next thirty months will prove even more so!
Read an early BNP manifesto.
Read various articles from John Tyndall's influential 'Spearhead' magazine
Link to original article . . .