11 March 2008

Huge growth for BNP's One Big Union - useless Solidarity claims 211 British "workers"

You've got to hand it to Patrick Harrington. As imaginations go, they don't come much better than his. Where the rest of us see a squalid little scam invented by a gaggle of racist bigots, fantasist Harrington sees something pretending to be a "trade union" for "British workers" - One Big Union as he likes to call the unimaginatively named Solidarity.

Of course, One Big Union would go very nicely with One Party Rule, if that unlucky day were ever to dawn.

Last month the One Big Union held its grandly titled Annual Conference at the not so big Apollo Hotel in Birmingham. As we reported, the One Big Union resorted to deception to book the hotel, insisted its members meet at a redirection point, then subjected them to stringent security measures, and would not allow photography or any form of recording to take place.

Exactly the opposite of what any bona fide trade union would do.

The report of the meeting on Solidarity's website avoids mentioning exactly how many members of the One Big Union turned up at the Apollo Hotel and only shows a photo (above) of the "Executive" cramped together on the top table, so we think the attendance was what you might call embarrassing and therefore best not mentioned.

One member who did show up was that horny-handed toiler Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, where he's made sure you can forget all about grievance procedures, fair disciplinary hearings, unfair dismissal or even open and honest leadership elections.

Maybe Griffin was there to keep an eye on his investment, or maybe he was watching for signs of anti-Griffin rebel activity in the One Big Union.

According to the report on Solidarity's website, which has the fantasist Harrington's paw-prints all over it, the One Big Union now has a membership of 211, which means that since Harrington and Griffin hijacked the fake union from its founders last spring it has put on a whole 111 members.

Unite must be quaking with fear!

At a fiver a month a throw, that means that Solidarity's annual income from membership fees is £12660. Members don't actually get anything worthwhile for their money, because the One Big union is so useless that the only advice it could give Mark Walker, at the centre of its feeble cause celebre case, was to "hire a lawyer specialising in employment law".

But £12660 - now that's worth talking about. Think about all the lovely expenses to be claimed. Maybe even a wage for General Secretary Harrington at some point? Donations to a certain political party?

You'd have thought that with a kitty of £12660 to play with that the One Big Union would have funded Mark Walker's lawyer, not told him to shove off and hire one. If all that money isn't there to do what regular and honest trade unions do - provide legal representation for their members - what is it there for?

You'd also have thought that for a party regularly claiming 10,000 members and apparently growing by the minute, more than a piffling two hundred BNP members would have joined the "British workers' union".

Obviously BNP members don't have much faith in the One Big Union. Or perhaps they know a lucrative income stream being set up when they see it.

They can certainly see that Solidarity does things on the cheap. Leaflets and flyers are to be downloaded and printed at your own expense, though printed versions are supposed to be available (but we'd get a cost comparison made first, just in case there's the usual right-wing rip-off involved).

And the tardy amateurishness of its sole publication, "The British Worker" (another cheapo download and print yourself job), just has to be seen to be believed. Looking like it's been chucked together on Word, it's an object lesson in bad layout, a stylistic disaster zone that would shame any parish magazine.

It's also months old and only one edition has ever been produced.

Everything about Solidarity has an air of fantasy about it. On its hyperbole-prone website it lists nine industry sectors in which it is allegedly organising (with 210 members and a pig farmer?), and for each section there is a wordy and completely unrealistic statement of aims that could only have been penned by the Great Fantasist himself.

Each section contains the following exhortation: "However, without your support we are powerless, so don't hesitate in supporting us so that we can support and protect your livelihood."

As in telling you to hire a lawyer specialising in employment law?

We think that the One Big Union only has one purpose, and that £12660 in the cash box is the best clue. If you can raise that from 211 members, just think what you can raise if only you could con 1000 BNP members into signing up for the toy union that won't support and protect your livelihood.

Which thought must have occurred to the member representing the pig farmers' section and his old mate, the Great Fantasist.

Griffin knows this "union" is a joke and will remain a joke, but even with a tiny membership it represents steady cash, and that's what it's all about. So Griffin is happy to let the Fantasist play at trade unions, because the Fantasist knows what the real game is.

"Together we're strong" runs the One Big Union's slogan.

Yes, and £60 quid a year poorer.

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