Disorder and violence as Liverpool BNP purges dissidents
It’s been a long week for the BNP in Liverpool.
On Monday, after Peter Tierney was sentenced to 100 hours community service and twenty Liverpool and Salford BNP activists made a show of themselves in support of him, it seems that they went out on the lash. Or at least Gary Lucas did – reports from witnesses place him in Lime Street Station, looking a right state and surrounded by police officers.
A shouted inquiry as to his and Peter’s wellbeing wasn’t taken well, and the ranting lunatic had to be marched away by his circle of police minders.
If anybody has any information on what led to this point, and what came afterwards, it will be gratefully received.
In more serious matters, it appears that the fracture in the party between Nick Griffin’s supporters and the faction who favour Eddy Butler’s leadership challenge is heating up.
During the week, regional organiser Clive Jefferson issued suspension notices to Peter Squire, Peter Stafford Jnr, and Tony Ward. There have been rumours of others also being suspended, but these are as yet unverified.
The notice issued by Jefferson reads as follows;
Your membership of the British National Party has been suspended, pending an investigation into alleged serious breaches of the BNP Code of Conduct.
While suspended you may not take part in any Party event, attend meetings or send circulars that give the impression that you hold any position within the Party. You are required to fully comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Party constitution.
Failure to comply with these requirements could result in your expulsion from membership of the Party, and Civil or Criminal proceedings being taken against you.
You will be informed of the outcome of the investigation in due course.
This meant that the three dissidents had to sit in the public bar yesterday, as the BNP held a notice meeting in the Aigburth People’s Hall.
There, Clive Jefferson announced the new leadership of the Liverpool branch. Mike Whitby from Wrexham, who admitted on Monday that pre-recording chants “makes things easier” than trusting the local goonery to speak for themselves, is now the branch organiser. In the spirit of “putting local people first,” no doubt! Karen Otty is the branch’s fundholder, and Andy Leary has been made the new branch secretary.
It seems that this didn’t go down well with all the membership, Jefferson and Whitby having to fend off questions on the change of leadership and the purging of activists. That Andy Leary has been a party member for less than two years, and is therefore not allowed to hold an official position under the party constitution, was a major bone of contention.
Jefferson demonstrated that fascist bureaucrats are no different than any other bureaucrats, only able to splutter and respond that he would “have to look it up.” Unable to answer any other questions, he soon dissolved the meeting.
With the close of the meeting, there came violence.
Details are still sketchy, but we know that words were exchanged between the Tierneys and Squire shortly before the place erupted. Jefferson was knocked over at some point, ex-army man Greenhalgh taking out three of his minders. Terence Oaks’ wife Marie is said to have been fighting with Veronika Martel, she who likes to bash pot and pans at protests and hold Union Flags upside down, leaving her battered and bruised.
Gary Lucas’s heroic contribution was to shout “tranny” at Tony Ward whilst hiding behind minders. Just as he hid in the Landrover and swore through the window when the Tierneys confronted members of Liverpool Antifascists in Halewood.
Liverpool Antifascists does not support either side of this shambolic debacle. The dissident faction are still fascists, and their vision for society remains one that we vehemently oppose. However, their treatment simply for supporting a challenger to Nick Griffin’s leadership demonstrates how real the BNP’s commitment to “democracy” is. The party is run with an iron grip, all opponents of Griffin’s hold on power – Butler and his supporters are not the first – being ruthlessly purged.
As it is with the party, so it would be with the country, in both cases the professed commitment to democracy being a lie and a sham.
At the same time, the violence here shows why the threat of the far-right isn’t solely (or even primarily) electoral. From Peter Tierney’s use of a camera tripod to the barney in the Aigburth People’s Hall, the price of dissent is political violence. Disagree with the BNP and where they can get away with it they will physically attack you.
That is why Liverpool Antifascists remain committed to opposing fascism in whatever guise it takes.