Membership of the British National Party has plunged to a real figure of 4,097 year-end 2012—down from 12,632 at year end 2009, a decline of 68 percent according to figures contained in the party’s statement of accounts for 2012 released today on the Electoral Commission’s website.
The party’s statement of accounts states that the total membership at year-end 2012 was 4,872, broken down as follows:
Old Age Pensioner/Unwaged/Student 1,991
Standard membership 1,182
Family membership 141
Family Plus membership 133
Overseas membership 34
Gold overseas membership 16
Platinum overseas membership 4
Life membership 689
Gold Life membership 86
Platinum membership 83
It is important to bear in mind that none of the “Life” memberships are actually current, but leftovers from the time that the party offered life-long membership in exchange for a one-off payment. They are not new or current—in that they generate funds—and many life members are known not even to be active supporters of the party any more, but are unable to get their details removed from the database.
In other words, the “real” membership actually stands at 4,097 (the 4,872 less the 775 “life” members). These 4,097 members are ones who actually pay membership fees.
The fees are as follows:
Old Age Pensioner/Unwaged/Student rates are £2.50 per month;
Standard membership runs at £4.60 per month;
Family membership runs at £5.85 per month;
Gold membership runs at £8.75;
Overseas membership runs at £8.75;
Platinum Gold membership runs at £10.41 per month; and
Platinum Overseas membership runs at £12.98 per month.
The declining membership represents the continuing collapse of the party, once the most successful British nationalist organization ever. Membership in the 2011 period stood at 7,651, and in 2010 at 10,256.
The 2012 financial statements state that membership fees have subsequently declined from £227,813 in 2011 to £147,307 in 2012.
The collapsing membership figures have been accompanied by an equally dramatic decline in electability, with the most recent set of election results being some of the poorest in British nationalist history.
In the 2013 local elections, the BNP stood just 104 candidates and averaged 5.5 percent of the vote. At its height, just a few years ago, it stood well over 1,000 candidates in a single election.
Election results of in excess of 25 percent were common, and a result of less than 15 percent was regarded as poor.
The party now has just two councillors left—only because their seats were not up for re-election. It has also lost its Greater London Assembly seat, while one of its two Members of the European Parliament, Andrew Brons, was forced out of the party in 2012.
The reasons for the BNP’s decline are multi-faceted but all ultimately have one origin: the behaviour of party leader Nick Griffin.
The public perception of Griffin’s political ability was indelibly destroyed by his buffoonish appearance on the BBC TV show, Question Time. More than any other single action, that staggeringly poor performance exposed Griffin as unable to maintain himself in big league politics.
That program of Question Time was the most watched in British TV history and could have propelled the BNP into the mainstream. Instead, it made the party out to be led by a rank, bumbling amateur and wiped out any latent sympathy which had been building up.
At the same time, Griffin inexplicably started purging anyone of ability from the party and either not replacing them, or if they were replaced, by individuals of extremely dubious background and ability.
The end result was that the party was quickly reduced to fringe level once again, despite the maturation of several bequests, which now appear to be the BNP’s main source of income and the only reason why it shows accounting figures to be in the black.
The reasons for the BNP’s decline has been discussed at length elsewhere: here the most important lesson to be learned is that it is vital for a successful nationalist movement to develop a leadership team, rather than relying on just one individual alone for everything. For when that one individual is good, all is well, but when that one individual is bad, things go very badly wrong.