Is this the end of the National Front?

Kevin Bryan addressing a National Front meeting: he leads the largest NF faction but must now make a tough strategic decision.

After well over a year of pondering the Electoral Commission has finally come to a decision on the future of the National Front: as of last Friday the NF ceased to exist as a political party, having been officially deregistered by the Commission, which regulates all UK political parties.

Two different factions were pushing their case to be recognized by the Electoral Commission as the “Official” NF. The largest mainly northern based faction was led by Kevin Bryan and Chris Jackson. The smaller, mainly southern based faction was led by Ian Edward and Bernadette Jaggers.

Mr Edward was still recognized by the Electoral Commission as the NF’s official nominating officer, who must by law approve any candidate wishing to have the party name on a ballot paper. So he managed to stop all but a couple of the rival Bryan faction standing in elections as NF candidates over the past year.

Ian Edward (left) was officially recognised by the Electoral Commission as NF chairman and nominating officer, until the party was deregistered last Friday.

This meant a real opportunity was missed in Heywood & Middleton, a constituency which forms part of the borough of Rochdale – one of several northern towns where nationalists have for years campaigned against the sexual abuse of local children by Asian men. This issue has at long last become a nationwide scandal, and the National Front has an active local branch and a credible potential candidate – Peter Greenwood, who had polled 7% for the BNP in this same constituency four years ago. Yet there was no NF candidate at the Heywood & Middleton by-election on October 9th (which followed the sudden death of the area’s Labour MP). This was due to: a) the continuing inability of the Bryan faction in the NF to convince the Electoral Commission, that they in fact were the legal/official NF, and b) that the party’s official nominating officer Ian Edward, blocked them from standing.

However, all this has now been resolved and the Electoral Commission has finally made a decision.

On October 31st, the Electoral Commission officially deregistered the National Front as a legal political party. The official reason they gave was that neither NF faction had submitted any financial accounts for the tax year ending April 2014. However, it is understood from a source inside the EC that they just got sick and tied of both NF factions demanding they “declare them the official NF”. So they just closed the party down.

What does this mean for both NF factions and their members?

They of course can carry on as a political movement (rather than party) pretty much as the British Movement and others have been doing for many years. They just would not be able to stand in elections under the name “National Front”.

This would be welcomed by some in the Bryan faction, including Eddy Morrison and Mike Easter, who have long wanted to get away from electoral politics and return to mainly street based activities. However, there are others such as Richard Edmonds and Tess Culnane who are more in favour of electoral politics and so may not be so happy.

It is understood that some in the Edward NF faction are already in talks with the British Democratic Party (BDP) about coming over to them.

Former BNP chairman Nick Griffin (far right) getting friendly with NF demonstrators in Bolton earlier this year: until recently he dismissed the NF as “pathetic”.

Meanwhile some in the Bryan NF faction have been having talks with Nick Griffin for some weeks now about joining his new organization, if they failed to take back the NF – which is now the case.  Since his expulsion from the BNP, Griffin has made increasingly radical noises and (like some in the NF) now seems more focused on street politics than elections. His pitch might appeal to some of the younger NF activists, but most older party officials (on either side) are longstanding factional enemies of the former BNP chairman.

Both NF factions are having Remembrance Day parades in London on Sunday 9th November (one after the other, as the Police aim to keep the two sides apart). It will be interesting to hear from members on both sides what they think of this latest development: after more than 45 years the National Front – once arguably the most successful white nationalist party in the world – no longer exists as a political party.

 

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