Ex-NF ‘political soldier’ closes down party

Phil Andrews (far right) on the NF's 1986 Remembrance Day march alongside fellow activists from the 'political soldier' faction including (left to right) Derek Holland, Graham Williamson and Nick Griffin

Phil Andrews (far right) on the NF’s 1986 Remembrance Day march alongside fellow activists from the ‘political soldier’ faction including (left to right) Derek Holland, Graham Williamson and Nick Griffin

Phil Andrews was one of the leading young activists in the National Front during the 1980s, closely associated with the ‘political soldier’ or ‘cadre’ faction alongside Derek Holland, Nick Griffin and the Italian fugitive Roberto Fiore. They were perhaps best known for their support of the Libyan dictator Colonel Gadaffi.

This faction became the ‘International Third Position’ at the end of the 1980s, and after its collapse Phil Andrews renounced nationalism while staying in politics as a community activist in West London.

Mr Andrews himself was elected as a councillor and the residents group he helped create – known as the Independent Community Group – eventually held the balance of power with six seats in the London Borough of Hounslow. Ironically (for someone who was once counted among the most ‘radical’ of NF activists), Cllr Andrews and his colleagues used their positions to form a local coalition with the Conservatives.

In 2010 all of the ICG councillors were defeated and they failed to regain any seats at the next elections in 2014. Now the party has been wound up.

Phil Andrews (left) with two fellow ICG candidates during their 2014 election campaign. Neither of his colleagues had any NF connections.

Phil Andrews (left) with two fellow ICG candidates during their 2014 election campaign. Neither of his colleagues had any NF connections.

Phil Andrews told his local newspaper:
“We are clearly entering into a new phase. Where we had hoped to persuade the powers that be that engagement with an active and organised community could be mutually beneficial, what we appear to have done is to have hardened attitudes.
“Their (Hounslow Labour Party) response to losing elections to local residents was to draft in outside help, using the sophisticated national machine at their disposal to smother local efforts.
“And in office their attitude has been to deceive, coerce and bully rather than to listen, as the disgraceful harassment of community activist Paul Slattery in Brentford has demonstrated.
“In response, the community has mobilised, but that mobilisation has risen organically from a variety of sources rather than from one organised body. That mobilisation needs to be supported and its momentum maintained. To be frank the ICG approach had become dated and predictable.”

Is this the end for the English Democrats?

English-democrats--003

During the crumbling of Nick Griffin’s BNP after the 2010 general election, several of the party’s best activists opted to join the English Democrats. The main advocate of this move was Eddy Butler, the BNP’s East London election guru who had relocated to Epping Forest, where he masterminded several local council election victories but became a factional opponent of Griffin. Those who accepted Mr Butler’s advice included former Leeds city councillor Chris Beverley and Barnsley branch organiser Ian Sutton.

One undoubted advantage of the EDs is that the party’s founder and leader – Essex solicitor Robin Tilbrook – is a thoroughly decent and honest man.  Unlike Nick Griffin or his successors in the BNP, Mr Tilbrook puts money into his party rather than taking it out. But this year’s election nominations suggest that he might be running out of patience and optimism. (Most of the party’s recruits from the BNP have already dropped out.)

The EDs had announced that controversial former UKIP activist Winston McKenzie would be their candidate for Mayor of London, but at the close of nominations his was found to be invalid, due to one signatory having also nominated another candidate. Perhaps this was a straightforward if foolish error, but suspicious minds speculated that the EDs might have decided not to waste their £10,000 deposit (plus a further £10,000 to appear in the booklet and additional costs of a credible campaign).

Such suspicions were heightened when instead of the advertised fourteen or fifteen candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, the EDs in fact nominated only four.  At the previous PCC elections ED candidates had saved several deposits, but the party leadership will be well aware that this time the turnout of major party voters will be much higher, since polling day coincides with local council elections. Consequently ED candidates are this time unlikely to save their £5,000 deposits in the PCC contests.

If the previously high-spending EDs have decided to cut costs, this might indicate the beginning of the end for the party.  Regrettably there is little political space for the English Democrats, unless and until UKIP’s challenge falls apart.

 

Nationalist candidates nominated in London

GLA City Hall

Despite his party’s well-documented problems, the BNP’s David Furness will contest the London Mayoral election on May 5th. His nomination was officially confirmed this morning, as was the rival mayoral candidature of former BNP official Paul Golding, who now leads the anti-Islamic party Britain First.

Messrs Furness and Golding (and their campaign teams) are to be congratulated on completing the UK’s most arduous nomination process, which involved collecting signatures from each of London’s boroughs as well as the City of London.

This task proved beyond the financially secure but organisationally weak English Democrats, a civic nationalist party which recruited a few of the BNP’s best former activists in 2011 but seems now to be in decline.  ED mayoral candidate Winston McKenzie failed to submit valid nomination papers and has been disqualified from the election. (Similarly the National Liberal Party – co-founded by Patrick Harrington who now acts as the brains behind the BNP leadership – failed to nominate a mayoral candidate after previously announcing Upkar Singh Raj as their standard bearer.)

The BNP and Britain First will also have slates of candidates for the London-wide list section of the Greater London Assembly, headed by David Furness for the BNP and Jayda Franzen for Britain First. It is this list section which gives smaller parties (including nationalists) a realistic chance of winning a GLA seat: in practice the target is 5%, and with more than 6% there is a good chance of gaining a second seat.

The BNP’s Richard Barnbrook was elected in 2008 with 5.3%, the party’s best ever GLA vote, while Jason Douglas only just missed out in 2004 when the BNP polled 4.7%. In 2014 the BNP vote fell to 2.1%, its worst ever London result, and realistically the target this year will not be to win, but merely to increase that vote.

The BNP list includes East London sub-regional organiser Paul Sturdy, and organisers from three of the few remaining BNP branches in the capital: Croydon’s John Clarke, Bexley’s Michael Jones and next door Bromley’s Roger Tonks. Also from the Bexley branch are Peter and Nicola Finch and Philip Dalton.

At GLA constituency level, it is likely that the only nationalist candidate will be the National Front’s Richard Edmonds, in the Croydon & Sutton constituency – where to underline the state of our capital city, both the Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates are named Ahmad!

For the first time there will be no nationalist candidate in the City & East constituency, which includes the old and more recent BNP strongholds of Tower Hamlets and Barking & Dagenham. The BNP saved their deposit in City & East eight years ago with 9.8%, and even in 2012 managed a respectable 4.1% but will not be on that ballot paper this year.

In most of the rest of England, local council election candidates are still being nominated and final lists will not be confirmed until the end of next week: the same applies for the Welsh Assembly, and Police and Crime Commisioner elections which are taking place everywhere in England and Wales (except London and Greater Manchester).

Scottish Parliament nominations closed this afternoon, with the NF chairman Dave MacDonald expected to be the only racial nationalist candidate.

Nominations for the Northern Ireland Assembly have only just opened, and will not close until April 12th.

Nationalist parties prepare for London elections

Richard Barnbrook (then of the BNP) gives his victory speech after election to the GLA in 2008.

Richard Barnbrook (then of the BNP) gives his victory speech after election to the GLA in 2008.

Not so long ago, British nationalists could look forward to elections in London – eagerly anticipating results that would disturb the liberal establishment.

In 2008 for example, Richard Barnbrook was elected as the BNP’s first (and so far only) member of the Greater London Assembly.  Two years earlier the party had gained twelve council seats in one London borough, becoming the official opposition to Labour in Barking & Dagenham.

Though neither the BNP nor any other nationalist candidate has so managed the 5% needed to save their deposit in the main mayoral election, the BNP’s candidates did manage respectable results in the first three of these contests. Mike Newland in 2000 polled 2.0%; Julian Leppert in 2004 increased this to 3.1%; and Richard Barnbrook in 2008 scored the party’s highest ever London mayoral vote of 3.2%. Unsurprisingly this slipped way back to 1.3% in 2012 for the party’s most recent mayoral candidate Carlos Cortiglia.

We shall not know the official list of mayoral candidates this year until nominations close on March 31st, but the BNP has already announced that Dave Furness will be their mayoral candidate, while ex-BNP official Paul Golding is standing for the anti-Islamic party Britain First.

Some former BNP activists are now in the English Democrats, whose mayoral candidate this year is former boxer and ex-UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie. A few former NF activists from the 1980s are now in the National Liberal Party, which was co-founded by Patrick Harrington, the brains behind the current BNP leadership.  The NLP’s mayoral candidate this year is Upkar Singh Raj, a Sikh IT consultant and Uber driver.

Croydon burns in 2011: is this the London indigenous Brits really want?

Croydon burns in 2011: is this the London indigenous Brits really want?

In addition to the high-profile mayoral election, there are elections to the Greater London Assembly, both on a London-wide list and in constituencies (which each include two or three London boroughs).

Nationalist veteran Richard Edmonds has already begun his campaign for the GLA’s Croydon & Sutton constituency, and has posted a video broadcast (see below). H&D will report on the progress of nationalist campaigns across the capital, both here on this website and in our May 2016 edition.

Militant anti-fascist selected for GLA seat

(left to right) Unmesh Desai, Labour candidate for City & East at this year's GLA election; Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for Mayor of London; John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets; and Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham.

(left to right) Unmesh Desai, anti-fascist street fighter turned GLA candidate; Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for Mayor of London; John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets; and Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham.

Militant anti-fascist Unmesh Desai will be Labour candidate for the Greater London Assembly this year in the City & East constituency, which includes former BNP strongholds of Barking & Dagenham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets as well as the City of London.

He replaces John Biggs, who has represented the constituency since the GLA was created but was last year elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets following a bitter struggle with independent Muslim powerbroker Lutfur Rahman.

In recent years Unmesh Desai has been a classic Labour Party careerist, and has strongly endorsed the British establishment’s ‘Prevent’ strategy against Islamist extremism.

But nationalists will remember his younger days as a notoriously hardline anti-fascist.  He was part of a faction known as the ‘squaddists’ who were expelled from the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party for advocating violence against the NF, BNP and other nationalists.

During the 1980s he worked with fellow ‘squaddists’ in Red Action and Anti-Fascist Action, then co-founded the Newham Monitoring Project, a group of Asian ‘anti-racist’ activists who for years were closely associated with Searchlight.

(Several H&D features over the years have detailed the violent history of these organisations.)

Eventually Desai became a Labour councillor in Newham and is now very much part of the mainstream Labour establishment.

It remains to be seen what the many devout Muslim voters in Tower Hamlets will make of Desai, who is from a Hindu Indian background and once stated: “Searchlight is my bible”.

 

BNP mystery after failure to register

 

BNP treasurer Clive Jefferson and Merseyside Police putting on a good show for potential donors

BNP treasurer Clive Jefferson and Merseyside Police putting on a good show for potential donors

Anti-fascists and mainstream journalists have been celebrating the demise of the British National Party after it was struck off the Register of Political Parties a fortnight ago, apparently having failed to submit its registration fee of just £25.

These celebrations might be seen as belated – since in terms of serious politics the BNP ceased to exist some time ago.

Or they might be seen as premature – given that the party should be able to register in a few weeks time without difficulty.

It’s not yet clear whether such a re-registration would be in time for the BNP to stand candidates in the London Mayoral and Assembly elections and other local contests.  Nomination papers for the Mayoral election have to be submitted by March 31st – but that’s only one obstacle.  The deposit for this election is £10,000, and 330 signatures are required – ten from each of the 32 London boroughs and ten from the City of London.

This collection of signatures will be an immense administrative task for a party that now only has functioning branches in two or three of those boroughs.

All this raises a question more interesting than the confected media storm over the party’s failure to register.  Just what is going on inside the dying BNP?

As H&D explained some time ago, the BNP now exists not as a functioning political party but merely in the hope of collecting legacies from the wills of misguided patriots, no doubt including some tragic cases who made their wills back in the days when the BNP seemed a serious organisation and are now too enfeebled by age to change them.

In charge of the party’s finances is 49 year old Clive Jefferson, a man well known to the police and the criminal fraternity. A couple of years ago Jefferson joined forces with Patrick Harrington to oust Nick Griffin from the BNP leadership and instal Adam Walker.

Even some of those who were happy to see the back of Griffin and remained loyal to the Walker-Harrington BNP have since quit in despair, partly because of Jefferson’s pervasive influence. Among the most recent departures were long serving Leicestershire councillor Cathy Duffy and London organiser Steve Squire, who were among the BNP’s few remaining serious activists.

London BNP organiser Steve Squire, who quit at the end of November just after the BNP's proscription of three nationalists groups

London BNP organiser Steve Squire, who quit at the end of November just after the BNP’s proscription of three nationalist groups

Just at the time when they should have been ensuring that electoral registration was in the post before Christmas, BNP head office were busy “proscribing” several other nationalist organisations with links to Steve Squire and other respected figures in the movement. (“Proscription” is a Stalinist term employed by the BNP frequently since Nick Griffin’s time – it means that no BNP member is allowed to have any contact with a “proscribed” member or organisation.)

The proscription notices were for some reason not publicised but were issued on November 28th in an obscure section of the BNP website.  Newly proscribed organisations were:

  • British Renaissance, so far a mostly internet based umbrella group organised by Jack Sen, who organised a Sunday lunchtime conference in Southport, Lancashire attended by many movement veterans in the same week as the proscription
  • European Knights Project, an international body with ties to South African and American nationalists who had provided financial backing for Jack Sen during his much publicised split from UKIP, and had also supported Steve Squire’s London BNP campaigns
  • London Forum, one of the most successful nationalist ventures of recent years, organised by ex-serviceman Jez Turner and providing platforms for a wide range of nationalists and patriots including some in the BNP.

Earlier last year Jack Sen had briefly been a BNP member after his much publicised expulsion from UKIP for “anti-semitism” during the 2015 general election campaign, when he was UKIP parliamentary candidate for West Lancashire.  He left the party after a row with Jefferson’s trusted aide and webmaster Chris Barnett.

Jefferson-JackSen

Jack Sen (right) meeting BNP chairman Adam Walker and treasurer Clive Jefferson at Yates’s in Preston city centre, May 2015

Despite this split Jack Sen remained on good terms with some of the last remaining loyal and active BNP organisers in the North West: his Southport event was attended by Eddy O’Sullivan from Manchester, Gary Tumulty and Kay Pollitt from Salford, and Alan Payne a veteran from NF days who was organiser of Manchester & Salford BNP in the John Tyndall era. All of these now face expulsion from the BNP if they remain in connect with British Renaissance – of which Eddy O’Sullivan and Gary Tumulty are executive board members.

The executive board of British Renaissance also includes some of the leading figures from the Griffin-era BNP such as Alwyn Deacon, former West Midlands regional organiser and National Elections Officer, and Paul Hilliard, the Derbyshire organiser who contested the BNP leadership against Adam Walker last year.

While Jack Sen was recruiting some of the party’s best activists, the Walker-Harrington BNP couldn’t even submit a simple registration form on time. However the rump BNP’s factotum Clive Jefferson did find time to register two new limited companies at the end of last year – he had no trouble filling in those forms and submitting the necessary fees to Companies House.

Jefferson is listed as sole director, company secretary and sole shareholder of two companies based at Garden Studios in Covent Garden, a firm which offers business addresses and mail forwarding for £50 a month.  The deposit for this service will have cost Jefferson £200 (or £400 if he also opted for telephone forwarding) – far more than the paltry £25 which he failed to pay for the BNP’s electoral registration.

These two new companies registered by Jefferson (more than 300 miles away from his home on Slatefell Drive, Cockermouth, Cumbria) are Freedom Promotions Ltd (registered on December 22nd) and Freedoms Publishing Ltd (registered on November 13th).  Conveniently no accounts will be due until the summer of 2017.

Clive Jefferson with Nick Griffin's son-in-law Angus Matthys (right), back in the days when they were BNP colleagues and business partners

Clive Jefferson with Nick Griffin’s son-in-law Angus Matthys (right), back in the days when they were BNP colleagues and business partners

It’s possible that these are intended to replace Jefferson’s previous front company Heritage Content Management Limited, which he set up with Nick Griffin’s son-in-law Angus Matthys in July 2013.  This was struck off in November 2015 after failing to submit any accounts. No doubt part of the problem was that the two directors Jefferson and Matthys were at loggerheads following the 2014 ousting of Griffin and his family.

Will the two new companies ever submit accounts? Are they designed to handle BNP assets, legacies and donations? And why can paid employees of the BNP find time to register front companies at posh London offices but not submit simple forms to keep the party in existence and enable it to fight elections? Watch this space…

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