The British National Party’s deputy leader has admitted that the party lies to gain financial advantage
A document filed with the Electoral Commission showed that the BNP exaggerated its spending during the European election, in which it gained two seats.
Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, has often said the party spent more than £500,000 on the campaign, especially when asking his members and supporters for more money. But figures released by the Electoral Commission this week show that the fascist party spent just £282,843, only £54,000 more than it did during 2004.
Simon Darby, Griffin’s deputy, told a reporter from The Times that the party needed to exaggerate because “if we had said we wanted to spend 10p, it wouldn’t do us any good … there’s a bit of hyperbole with politics”. He refused to comment further on the discrepancy, saying that it was not a “worthy question”.
For “hyperbole” read “lie”.
During the European election campaign the party claimed to have met its fundraising target of £390,000. An email on 22 May, two weeks before polling day, announced that the party had only £17,495 still to go. There was also a thermometer-style graphic on the party’s website, which eventually reached the top after unsteady progress. Those who gave in response to the numerous calls for donations will be wondering whether these figures were another lie or, if true, what Griffin did with the rest of the money.
One clue may be the rumour, currently doing the rounds on fascist and anti-fascist forums, that the BNP paid “£336,208 in the first 11 months of 2009 to three Dowson controlled entities”.
We have no way of judging the truth of this figure, to which only a handful of people in the BNP or around Jim Dowson, would have access, but we have long maintained that Dowson, a militant anti-abortion campaigner with a string of criminal convictions, who provides management and fundraising services to the BNP, has “bought” the party. It is Dowson who runs the BNP’s main call centre in Belfast, owns the “truth truck” advertising lorry, which Griffin regularly lies that the BNP has “bought and paid for”, and arranged the printing of the party’s 28 million European election leaflets last year.
Darby, probably realising that his anger at being asked probing questions by the Times journalist, whom Searchlight knows to be highly professional, had led him to speak unwisely, later claimed, amid a string of insults, that she had “twisted and distorted” his words. He and Griffin now refuse to speak to her.
Meanwhile the BNP has tried to divert attention from the lie by claiming that it ran a more efficient campaign than the four bigger parties in terms of amount spent per vote received. Its £282,843 equated to 29p per vote, compared to 51p for the UK Independence Party and higher amounts for the three main parties. Naturally the party failed to explain why it had claimed spending of £500,000, which would have been similar to the UKIP’s cost per vote. And it was no surprise that supporters commenting on the website article also avoided the awkward question and had nothing but praise for the party.
Nor has anyone on the BNP website expressed any concern that the party’s latest accounts, covering 2008, do not comply with the requirements of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as the party did not maintain adequate financial records. The BNP’s former treasurer may yet face prosecution for this.