A longstanding British National Party activist in Corsham, Wiltshire, has quit the fascist party over its failure to pay its creditors, accusing it of committing a possibly criminal act.
Michael Simpkins, who was first elected unopposed to Corsham Town Council in 2007, is the third councillor the party has lost this month.
Announcing his resignation from the party, Simpkins, who works as a self-employed taxi driver, declared: “I am disappointed to hear that The British National Party is not paying its bills. I know from personal experience of two local printers who had to wait six months for payment and that was only after a lot of badgering to Head Office by myself and other officials to get them paid.”
Earlier this month Jim Dowson, who has himself just abandoned his role as the party’s fundraising and management consultant, wrote to the many businesses waiting for payment from the BNP, offering 20p in the pound “by way of debt compromise and in full and final payment of all your outstanding invoices relating to the supply of goods and services” to the party. If they did not accept the offer, explained Dowson, they would “inevitably … end up with nothing at all”.
An outraged Simpkins said: “These are businesses like the two mentioned before that risked all doing business with the BNP and supplied the goods or services on trust that they would be paid. More importantly they will undoubtedly be British businesses, the kind of business we claim to support and encourage.
“These businesses may well suffer financial hardship because the BNP has dried up their cash flow and their families will go without. They may even go out of business and certainly won’t do business with us again. It is not the way I do business.
“As an honourable businessman I cannot stay with any organisation that puts other businessmen out of business or their families in financial hardship. More importantly it is a breach of trust and may even be criminal if the intent to pay was never there in the first place.”
Simpkins, who remained loyal to the BNP leader Nick Griffin through the recent splits, says he will continue to serve on Corsham Town Council until the end of his current term in 2013 and reconsider his options then.
Last week it was reported that Meirion Bowen, a Llandybie community councillor, had left the party in the interests of his family, employment and personal safety. Yesterday it emerged that Paul Golding, a district councillor in Sevenoaks and the party’s communications officer, had quit after a fallout with other senior party staff.
Hope Not Hate
A Labour MP today called on political parties to "choke off" what the English Defence League (EDL) taps into.
Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, said the EDL is a small, violent street militia "but it speaks the language of a much larger, disenfranchised class".
Writing in The Times, he said: "The EDL may well pass through, and crash and burn like many of its predecessors.
"But it may not, because it taps into a politics born out of dispossession but anchored in English male working-class culture - of dress, drink and sport.
"Camped outside the political centre ground, this is a large swath of the electorate, a people who believe they have been robbed of their birthright and who are in search of community and belonging. Many are traditional Labour supporters."
Many working class people appeared to be turning to the far-right cultural movements that are sweeping across Europe, he warned.
"Now all our political parties must search for an animating, inclusive and optimistic definition of modern England to choke off what the EDL taps into."
The same newspaper carried an interview with a 27-year-old man said to be the founder and leader of the EDL.
Stephen Lennon, from Luton, "has many names", according to the newspaper, which reported that "reluctantly" he uses the threat of a demonstration to ensure councils do not pander to Islamic pressure groups to change British traditions.
He said: "We are now sending letters to every council saying that if you change the name of Christmas we are coming in our thousands and shutting your town down."
The EDL would live in peace with the Islamic community "if they ... swear allegiance to the Queen, this country and the flag, and then live side by side. That's what we want".