Saturday, 26 June 2010

What Eddy Butler Will do!

It is important that I set out exactly what I hope to achieve over the next year as Chairman. It is my intention to serve only one term of one year as Chairman and to use that time to put the Party back on the right track in order to take power in Britain.

Transparent Finances
Donation income has almost totally dried up and at the same time we are faced with truly massive but avoidable legal liabilities. There is also a bloated and unproductive central bureaucracy that has to be paid for every month. The Party’s finances are like the Bermuda Triangle. Millions go in but very little comes out and reaches the front line. There is an almost complete lack of confidence within the Party as to what exactly goes on in our Treasury Department and in order to restore confidence and to ensure that our finances are competently run, there must be much more transparency. Our donors must have confidence that their money is spent wisely and carefully.

• Bring back confidence in our finances.

• We call for an Independent Internal Investigation in to our finances – three inspectors should be appointed by an EGM to have unfettered access to all accounts.

• Trustees appointed by the Annual Conference to oversee our property, assets, large donations and bequests.

• Full Quarterly accounts should be as a matter of course presented to the Advisory Council.

• Only the Advisory Council should appoint the external Auditor.

• The Trafalgar Club should be fully incorporated within the Party’s accounts.

• We must ensure that full and proper accounts are submitted to the Electoral Commission on time.

• The Treasury Department should be under Control of Managing Director rather than the political Chairman. The administration should be set a budget agreed each year by the Advisory Council and the residue used by the political Chairman for political campaigns.

• The political Chairman would have the right to appoint an inspector to enquire on any financial matter at any time.

Separation of Powers
The Chairman of the British National Party has too much power concentrated in his hands. You will never find one person with all the talents required to run both the administration and the political side. This concentration of power invariably leads to abuses and stifles initiatives. It also leads to chronic instability with recurring bouts of infighting and purges. We need a system which blends strong central leadership with democratic accountability and a separation of powers between the political and administrative sides.

• Managing Director to run administration (voluntary and paid, including Finance Department) - not to be appointed by Political Chairman and so cannot be sacked at a whim.

• There must be a careful constitutional arrangement to allow strong authority for political Chairman but not unbridled power. This is necessary to avoid a conflict between the Managing Director and the Chairman.

• Bring in an elective element to Advisory Council (e.g. four members elected annually).

• Draft constitution to be published before leadership election completed.

• An EGM will be held within six months to fully debate and vote on any changes to the constitution.

Fair and free elections next year
We need a new fresh longer term political leader and must break the log jam to find the untapped reservoir of talent that lies within our Party. At present the over authoritarian style of leadership and the very fact that our current Chairman has been in power for eleven long years stifles the Party. In that time he has unfortunately acquired so much baggage that he is actually less popular than the Party and whether we like it or not he has become our greatest public liability.

• We must create climate where we can hold proper elections next year.

• There must be a good and healthy internal democratic debate.

• Several fresh clean new candidates will emerge if we allow Party room to breath.

• This is essential for us to allow our Party to be reborn and thrust ahead to the next stage in our development.

• We must allow new ideas to come to the fore – new ways of doing things.

• A new image will gain new recruits and many who enquired but didn’t join before will re-enquire and join.

• We must reach out to new electorates while reinforcing our appeal to those who already support us. This is particularly the case with the young and also middle class audiences.

• We have gone stale and need a complete shake up.

Ensure more funding for front end
The Party’s fundraising efforts should be focused upon providing resources to improve our performance at a local level. It is these local performances which in total are the motor for our growth. Continual electoral success and the retention of council seats are essential but both are dependent upon us developing and sustaining local community support. We must develop healthy and well funded branches with well local organised activist teams.

• Full time dedicated Elections Officer – to encourage best practice and lead all key local by-elections in person.

• Full time dedicated Councillor Support Officer – to ensure our councillors (and potential councillors) are able to hold surgeries, deliver regular newsletters, help their constituents, ask questions and propose motions in the council chamber and master their agendas.

• We must appoint three Regional Support Officers to assist local units in how to carry our enquiries (so converting more into members) and how to conduct good branch meetings that raise healthy collections and convert newcomers into members and encourages members to become activists.

• Next year the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliamentary Elections are taking place. If we are to stand any chance we must re-launch the Party and bring back financial confidence and target our resources to make the necessary funding available.

• Bring the call centre to the mainland so assets (e.g. folding machines and printers) can be used to benefit party and we can see what is going on with clarity, and so that our resources are not in the pocket of outside agencies.

• No wastage on foolish court cases and the bloated administration in Belfast.

• Get a grip of internal and unjustifiable expenses and high payments to contractors. The Party must act with prudence and care over use of financial resources that are donated on the understanding that the money gets to our front line.

• Initiate image re-launch so that the new leadership is starting from a healthy forward thinking platform which will make us more appealing to a wider audience.

Heal wounds
Unfortunately this leadership contest is already turning ugly with vile personal attacks and outright lies being peddled for temporary political gain. It is essential that everyone understands that these wounds will have to be healed and indeed wounds from past unnecessary squabbles must also be healed for the greater good of the cause.

• There should be no recriminations after this election is over. It is vital that members can take opposite stances during this election yet come together after it is over with a sense of unity

• Nick Griffin MEP should be given a secure role as a mark of our appreciation for his contribution to our cause over the past eleven years

• We should encourage ex-members to rejoin. This will not apply to absolutely everyone – clearly we only want anyone to be a member if their membership of our Party reflects creditably upon our Party. Anyone who has caused our members harm should not be allowed back in, but people who wish to will be given a fair hearing as there are many unjustifiable slurs against otherwise decent potential members.

• Most ex-members who will wish to re-join a revitalised BNP will be relative unknowns – local activists and officers who are in fact the life blood of our movement. We have experienced a far too high rate of attrition of these active members and we must win them back to our cause.

• We must make our Party more acceptable to members of parties such as the EDP and UKIP who share our views but felt unable to join under Griffin. However we must do this without pandering to them or changing our stance.

• We must make sure the internal dispute resolution process is followed properly to avoid these constant battles and to give a natural internal outlet for disagreement. The best way to avoid conflict is to operate in a transparent and fair manner.

These changes are essential if we are to advance our Party on to the next stage in our development. We cannot afford to wait another year. We must act now. It is absolutely essential that we take this chance for democratic change to show that the British National Party is mature enough to embrace the changes necessary for our political survival. We need a year of managed transition and then we can move ahead with confidence. It is unfortunately the case that none of these changes can come about without a change in the leadership of the British National Party this year. That is why it is vital that we have an election this year and that you vote for change.

Eddy Butler

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