I recently asked a senior figure in Stoke BNP if he thought his party was finished for good in our city. He looked me straight in the eye and replied: “I think we are Tone yes”.
He went on to explain that his party had self destructed and imploded in the past two years and he laid the blame firmly and squarely at the doorstep of BNP Leader Nick Griffin.
The story did not get better for the far right party as this activist said that the recent election campaign received no party funding what so ever.
I was told that the BNP would never come back from this low point and that all the fight had gone out of the membership. The party insider revealed that they had really struggled to attract any candidate of quality.
It had cost some candidates in the region of £750 to fund and fight the campaign.
“We just could not compete with the Labour Party and they just smashed us!
“They were really organised this time especially in the centre of the city ““ colour leaflets and telephone campaigning, they knocked the doors en masse and they got their voters out on polling day.
“I don’t know where the BNP go from here, there is no enthusiasm, and we haven’t met since election night.
“Activists aren’t to blame that’s for sure, we have seen a drop in members, some activist have gone off to join other nationalist parties. It’s all down to Nick Griffin.”
This dejected BNP member told of his anger at the way Griffin his running the party.
It appears that if you question the BNP leadership you get an black mark against your name and before you know it you are out of the party.
Griffin is holding on the all the available funds and party activists are left high and dry and are having to fund party expenses themselves.
Many BNP members believe that Griffin his hanging onto the purse strings to fund his, and Andrew Brons’s next European Election campaign.
The Stoke BNP member believes that if Griffin is successful in getting re-elected to the European Parliament then, and only then will he relinquish the chairmanship of the party.
“It’s all down to money with Griffin Tone, He has his entourage to pay for and we believe he employs his wife and his daughter out of his European expenses.
“He is doing all right and we are struggling to fight a campaign against the might of the Labour Party machine.
“I just want to serve as I always have, but everything you do is futile without any party funding to help get leaflets delivered.
“I just wonder where all the money has gone, but it’s no good questioning anything either, only the chosen few know the true picture.
“In four years time we will have a general election to fight alongside the local elections. With people getting fed up and moving on you wonder if we will be able to fight either election.
“The morale is at rock bottom in the party. People are asking if there is any point meeting and if there is anything that we as a group can do anyway.
“This city has four years of Labour to contend with and I’m not sure if the BNP has enough to scrutinise from outside the chamber”.
BNP Leader Nick Griffin claimed nearly £300,000 for his first year as a MEP. This has led to accusations about him jumping aboard the gravy train that he and his party were so outspoken about.
He is yet to answer just how much of his income he has donated to the British National Party.
It has been a spectacular fall from grace both in this city and nationally for the BNP.
At the height of their popularity in 2008 they had 55 councillors nationwide and 9 in here in Stoke-on-Trent.
Now in 2011 they have just 12 councillors across the country and here in this city they have been wiped out of the chamber.
The far right party defended 12 council seats across the country but held on to just 2.
With things as bad as the senior Stoke BNP member paints it, you really do wonder if this is the end for the BNP.
Nationalist parties seem to have been rejected unilaterally by the electorate locally and across the country.
In 2010 the England First Party fielded candidates against the BNP in Stoke. In 2011 they had an agreement not to stand against each other. Out of 16 far right candidates fighting the City Council elections, none were successful.
Of 74,321 votes cast in the Stoke-on-Trent local elections, just 3,690 went to “Ëœnationalist’ candidates.
Politics is often like music and fashion trends, something is fashionable and popular only to fade away and then without warning it is back again. The same could be said about the politics of the far right.
Opponents of the far right, organisations like Searchlight, Unite Against Fascism, Hope Not Hate and NorSCARF will not drop their guard.
They know better than most that just because the BNP, England First Party, EDL and the English Democrats have been forced into being dormant, it does not mean that they have gone away altogether.
The problem for far right parties and in particular the BNP, is when their own supporters believe that they are finished it is very difficult for their party leaders to convince them otherwise.