Solidarity, the right nationalist ‘trade union’, might not be nearly as much use to their members as a real union, but they are at least excelling in one area – splits and squabbles.
Over the past week, a very entertaining story has been emerging. It seems that Pat Harrington, General Secretary (and occasional commenter to this blog), has been suspended from his post by the President Clive Potter and Vice-Prez Tim Hawke, amidst allegations of financial irregularities. Apparently, the accounts the union needs to supply to the Certification Officer are delayed, after Potter believed the version of the accounts Harrington showed him was too unclear, and refused to sign them without seeing the full accounts. Hawke claims that an un-named Merseyside BNP member has been appointed Acting GS, until a new GS is found, and that the BNP are planning a hostile takeover of the union.
Harrington unsurprisingly has a different take on this, and as he still has the keys to the website, he’s letting everyone know about it by calling for an EGM in July to appoint a new (and larger) executive (Hawke is amusingly reduced to getting his message out via the Lancaster Unite Against Fascism blog). Harrington says that he and the BNP leadership believe that the troubles, and a leadership challenge, are being orchestrated by well organised far-left undercover saboteurs within the union. The BNP has in the meantime stopped recommending members to join the union.
What is going on? Both these explanations sound a little fishy. If there’s been any embezzlement going on, it’s rather cheap stuff, given the union has at most 100 subs paying members and can’t have any cash to speak of. Otherwise, Sherlock Holmes’ maxim could have us believing that any far-left groups are well organised enough to have done this.
And what does this bode for Harrington’s claims that Solidarity are BNP independent? If the BNP are now considering a takeover, maybe they were indeed more separated than most people thought (though won’t be very soon if the EGM goes ahead). Though how to square this with his claim on the union’s site that the accounts were audited by Kenny Smith (head of BNP admin) yet not shown to Hawke and Potter, and Harrington’s objection that the new AGS is not a BNP member of good standing?