There is nothing more exciting than perusing accounts, don't you think? The electoral commission has published the accounts for the year ending 2005 for all the registered political parties in the UK. There's lots of interesting things in there like membership figures, debts and all the rest of it. Going through the BNP accounts was most revealing PDF here
Before I get into some of the figures it's worth considering one part of the 'chairman's introduction'
"August saw the sixth Red-White-and-Blue Family Festival, with a record attendance of just over 2,000 visitors over the weekend. Welcome signs of further "normalisation" of the party were the complete absence of any far-left demonstration...
"It must, however, be recorded that 2005 saw a marked shift from disruption of BNP political activities being carried out by the far-left... and towards interference by the police."For me this is extremely worrying. The constant harassment of the BNP is an important part of keeping them marginal to British politics. Part of the strategy of disrupting the BNP's ability to organise is to split the hardened Nazi from the soft racist. If anti-racists are not mobilising people against the fascists they are indeed facilitating their 'normalisation'.
I loved being a member of the ANL and of all the political activity I've done in the last... um... twelve years it is this activity of which I am most proud. However, it has been clear that in the last few years the ability of the left to present an effective anti-fascist strategy has been severely diminished.
Of course part of the strategy has to be to address the underlying racism in society and attempt to deliver real reforms for working class communities - but when we allow the far right a free hand to organise large family fun days - that's something we really should be addressing too.
Anyway - let's get on to those lip smacking numbers. The BNP has got some real difficulties.
"Paid up membership was down on 2004 from 7,916 to 6,008 in 2005" which has left a large hole in their bank balance. Donations were down from £270,137 to £217,413 (and remember 2005 was a general election year where the most high profile appeals and fund raising will have taken place), subs were down by over £14,000.
Funds from the BNP newspaper Voice of Freedom have also gone down from £46,115 in 2004 to £42,410 in 2005. But within that there has been a marked and interesting shift. Whilst in 2004 most of the income came from bulk sales (to branches I'm guessing) and single sales (from public campaigning and activity) in 2005 single sales plummeted and now most of the paper's income is from subscribers.
This indicates that the infrastructure of the party is in a very sorry state indeed - branches taking less papers and public sales almost non-existant and the only way your intrigued racist has of reading the paper is to get it in the post.
In fact, despite fundraising and commercial income increasing (which I think is understandable due to the general election) total income has still gone down £45,853 whilst outgoings increased by £28,625 (mainly due to increased staff and admin costs).
This led the independent auditors to say "whilst the accounts have been prepared on the basis that the party is a going concern , given the fact that for the last two years the Party has incurred a deficit, and that the balance sheet is now in deficit, there is an element of doubt as to it's ability to continue as a going concern."
I'll leave you with this one last set of figures.
2004......... £84,120........ 2005......... £18,246
2004......... £61,951........ 2005......... £126,136
Now that has got to hurt... so let's turn that "element of doubt as to [their] ability to continue as a going concern" into a reality. Yummy.