01 February, 2012
Off the books
We have had a fantastic response from our HOPE not hate supporters to our appeal for help. Last week we asked for volunteers to help us defeat the BNP in its remaining few heartlands and ensure that they, and any other far right group, did not get elected onto the London Assembly.
Over 900 people filled in the survey, which given the inactivity of the BNP is amazing.
* 61% offered to campaign against the BNP and other far-right groups in the forthcoming elections
The first question this raises is why? The BNP in its current iteration is, as any fule kno, moribund. It survives, to the extent that it does, as a vehicle to fund Nick Griffin's retirement to that supposed villa in Croatia the antifash are always banging on about. Most ethno-nationalists who formerly supported the BNP have formed or moved on to other groups. If Lowles and Co were truly interested in effectively opposing the "far right", would not a better strategy be to work quietly to prolong the survival of the BNP in order to divide the "far right's" electoral efforts?
Perhaps little Nicky is worried for his own pension and needs to demonstrate his continuing indispensibility by a bit of noisy action?
Some days later, little Nicky blogs
The HOPE not hate campaign is looking to hire two new organisers to help us in the forthcoming elections. One will work on our London campaign, to ensure the far right do not get elected onto the London Assembly, while the other will work on our local election campaign in the rest of the country.
Both posts are for three months.
These temporary posts, costing £12,000 in wages (plus usual on-costs) are advertised, interestingly, in the jobs section of www.w4mp.org, which describes itself as The site for everyone working for an MP and advises that This site is funded by the House of Commons.
The two temporary posts are described as
The Campaign Officers, who will be part of the campaigns team, will help deliver grassroots anti-fascist campaigns in our target areas. We are recruiting two posts, one to focus on the London elections and the second to focus on target areas for the local elections.
Presumably we are looking here for a repeat, possibly slightly less intensive, of the 2010 general election effort in which people were poured into Barking, knocking on doors, and distributing expensively-produced newspaper-format campaign material, to oppose Nick Griffin's parliamentary candidature.
Whatever your view of the BNP itself, either now or at the height of its brief period of ascendancy a couple of years ago, there is something very dubious about all of this. The funding and conduct of election campaigns is subject to close supervision by the Electoral Commission. Or at least that is what applies to the candidates and their parties. And yet here is an organization spending significant sums and deploying signficant resources in opposing a specific, individual party. And it does so entirely unaccountably and without limit.
Writing at his new, rather introspective blog, Ketlan Ossowski, erstwhile leading light of the now-closed Lancaster Unity blog, says of the funding of HnH's sister organization Searchlight
Is Searchlight state-funded? Do you care? I don't actually know where Searchlight gets the money it needs to run, though I suspect it's from subscribers, donations and possibly trade unions. Beyond that, I really don't know and I really don't give a toss. If all the major political parties, Simon Cowell, the Queen, and MI5 all provide funds to ANY organisation devoting itself to ridding the country of fascists, that suits me fine.
I care, Ketlan. Let's try a spot of whataboutery, shall we? Suppose the ConDem coalition mires in its own contradictions and the Labour party gets itself a more presentable leader — one who doesn't look as if he's just been caught wanking over an old copy of the Draper's Record — as the next general election approaches. Concerned at the possible return of a Labour government, I might secure secret funding from corporates and bankers and then set about an intensive pre-election campaign of disinformation and disruption against, quite specifically, the Labour party. All perfectly legal.
Give a toss about that, would you?
If memory serves, I may have done that. But as I don't lead a political party, who cares?