A Shameful Saga    
    John Tyndall reports on the mistreatment of Ian Edward, London Organiser    

Many British National Party members were shocked and horrified to read in the May general members’ bulletin a vitriolic attack on one of the party’s most popular and respected activists, Ian Edward, up till recently the organiser of the BNP’s North West London branch. The attack was made in an item headed ‘Proscription Notices’, which advised members that Mr. Edward, along with former Dorset organiser Peter Shaw and party founder and present Spearhead editor John Tyndall, had been proscribed by the party. Mr. Tyndall’s case has had adequate airing in our columns in past months. Peter Shaw was a successful organiser of his local branch until he fell foul of the party’s main hatchet man Tony Lecomber and was forced out. His case merits attention in its own right, and this may receive coverage in a future issue. Here we focus on the disgusting treatment given to Ian Edward.

Ian joined the BNP in the mid-1990s, having previously been a member of the National Front. After a spell living abroad, he returned to Brtain and immediately started to become actively involved in his area of Hillingdon, in North West London.

With his friends he set about putting an effective branch into operation, with regular leafleting, meetings, fundraising activities and an ongoing involvement in local politics. As a native of the area and being politically motivated, Ian knew the local political ‘faces’ of all parties. In one particular case a Tory councillor lived a couple of doors to his left and another one opposite! They all knew at the time that he had been an activist with the National Front. A couple of roads behind him lived the local Labour Party activists and councillors, one who went on to become Mayor of Hillingdon, Ian told Spearhead that of the opponents he has known on his council estate all have treated him with respect and courtesy – something that he never experienced with the Griffin-Lecomber administration in the BNP. He says the latter never helped him or his colleagues but only hindered them, and he has given a few examples. Here is Ian speaking:-

'When Griffin and Lecomber took over the reins of the party, the promises they had made during the leadership contest in 1999 led to betrayal for many hardcore activists. When Hillingdon/North West London branch launched its T-shirt business, under the name of North West Trading, the profits from this financed our general election campaign in 2000-2001, when we fought two constituencies, and it also paid for the literature. When this present maladministration decided it wanted the T-shirt finance, all orders went through another source, and shortly afterwards it was decided that we were not allowed to sell T-shirts under new Electoral Reform Act regulations. We were told to close down the account and under no circumstances to sell our own T-shirts at branch meetings etc. We were never compensated for our loss of stock either.'

This was just one episode in a long-running saga of strained relations between BNP headquarters and the party’s branches resulting from the centralisation of finances and promotional enterprises.

From strength to strength

Despite these problems, under Ian Edward’s leadership, the North West London branch went from strength to strength. He was loyally supported and assisted by his wife June, also a highly popular local member. It is generally understood throughout the BNP that when a branch is able to have the services of a keen and able husband-and-wife team like Ian and June this is a tremendous asset which must be held onto and valued.

A large part of the area covered by Ian’s branch is located in one of the more affluent sectors of the Greater London Metropolis, and this environment has in the past not been ideal recruiting ground for radical parties like the BNP, nor particularly favourable for contesting elections. That the branch has thrived despite these conditions is testimony to the keenness of Ian Edward and his team.

Under Ian, branch meetings in North West London were among the best staged and attracted some of the highest attendances of any in the South of England. Ian, however, was no lackey and made a habit of regularly inviting John Tyndall and Richard Edmonds to speak at these meetings, despite the disapproval of the party leadership. Before there was any attempt actually to 'ban' John Tyndall as a speaker, but when Messrs. Griffin and Lecomber were actively 'discouraging' organisers from inviting him to speak, Ian was incurring their disfavour by having him as a guest. It became clear that the leadership duo were looking for a way to 'get him', despite his and his branch’s excellent record.

An opportunity to do so was seized upon when it was discovered that a 'proscribed' person had been present at one of the branch meetings last year (yes, there a great many good nationalists on the Griffin/Lecomber hit-list and this was one of them!). This was a piffling matter that could easily have been sorted out by a telephone conversation, irrespective of the rightness or wrongness of allowing the person to be present; but the affair was blown up out of all proportion as it provided the party leadership with the excuse to get rid of an organiser who was not sufficiently subservient – just as they had squeezed out Peter Shaw in Dorset and Steve Smith in Burnley, the latter being the most successful BNP local organiser ever. A mountain was made of this molehill, and eventually Ian Edward was expelled. The vast majority of his branch members supported him, and now the branch is no more than a shadow of its former self.

The announcement of Ian Edward’s proscription in the members’ bulletin contained an injunction to members to have no contact with him or with Messrs. Tyndall and Shaw. In other words, if they dare even to have a drink with such people this will constitute a disciplinary offence! This kind of talk is symptomatic of a loss of sanity at the highest levels of the BNP. One of the party's very best branches has been virtually wrecked through this crazy vendetta. The question must be asked: do those at the head of the party really wish it to prosper or do they not? Yet another superb activist and successful local leader has been ditched through spite and paranoia. Just who will be next?

    Spearhead Online