Nick Griffin was the leader of the UK's far-right British National Party for 15 years before being demoted in July. He was hit with yet another blow on Wednesday when he was kicked out of his own party — because his views are "too extreme," the BNP told VICE News.
According to BNP spokesman Michael Woods, party officials felt the former leader's views on the holocaust, homosexuality, and "casual extremism," frequently broadcasts to his 29,000 Twitter followers, were incompatible with the politics of the BNP.
"[Griffin] was presenting those views as if they were the party's views, without any discussion with his colleagues," Woods told VICE News.
According to Woods, the acting chairman Adam Walker wanted to try a different approach, and suggested that the far-right party had become fatigued by extremism.
"The party wants to reconnect with the grassroots of its traditional supporters and it wants to actually, rather than trying sort of to make statements too extreme, it wants to listen to its own supporters and voters and activists," Woods said.
Griffin's public pronouncements on Twitter had upset the far-right party's executive, who objected to his extreme views, Woods explained. In one particularly jarring incident, Griffin said he wanted to picket a gay couple who sued a Christian guesthouse that barred them from staying in a double room.
"To actually say you were going to picket them in their little village seemed very over the top," said Woods.
In an exclusive interview, Griffin told VICE News that he did not "give a damn" what his former party said, and revealed plans to launch and lead a new political movement.
It's safe to say Griffin hasn't had a great year. In January he was declared bankrupt and in May he lost his seat in European Parliament. The BNP attempted to sideline Griffin by placing him in an ornamental presidential role back in July. According to Woods, the party '"tried to offer him a way of moving to one side so he wasn't embarrassed by a vote of no confidence and his skills and knowledge would be kept by the organization."
"Originally he went along with it, but it seemed that really he expected to be the power behind the throne and [acting chairman] Adam Walker would be his puppet, and he wanted to retain control," Woods said, explaining that the party had also become concerned at Griffin's approach to activism.
According to the BNP spokesman, Griffin had been talking about dressing people up in red jackets and uniforms, similar to that of the far-right Britain First party, while "going around and doing demonstrations and things." After trying to call emergency meetings to "spread disharmony," Griffin was told to "bugger off" by his own executive committee, Woods explained. He said Griffin had also reportedly developed a strange obsession with the apocalyptic implications of peak oil theory.
Griffin told VICE News that BNP activists were "overwhelmingly" on his side. He said he plans to set up a new political movement with himself as leader. In a series of tweets, Griffin expressed his ambitions.
VICE News gave Griffin a call to find out more about his new political movement.
Hey there Nick. I'm writing about the BNP and…
Let me stop you. We'll deal with this problem internally and we really don't need any assistance or contact with the press so I've nothing to say to you people. I say what I say to my people on the internet and on my Twitter feed.
Could I perhaps ask you about the new political party that you're talking about establishing on your Twitter feed?
Nope. We don't need the media. We're doing it all internally on social media.
So you are trying to establish a new political party?
Not a political party, but a political movement.
A sort of revolutionary movement, rather than a political party?
No, it's what it's going to say on the internet. So you can just watch and learn, ok?
I'm just curious because you're talking about training a new generation of militants. The language is quite revolutionary
As I said it's not a political party; it's a political movement. So you can look on the internet and judge for yourselves, ok?
And what do you hope to achieve with that new political movement?
As I said, it will all be on the internet. People can see what I want to achieve there.
I'm just trying to get a brief insight from you now.
Well you're not going to get one because we're not interested in dealing with the mass media.
And is there a big splinter group from the BNP who will be joining you to create this political movement?
I have no doubt that in the not-too-distant future we will be seen as the preeminent national movement in Britain.
Is there a message you'd like to send to the BNP activists who pushed you out of the organization?
I haven't been pushed out of the organization by activists. The activists are overwhelmingly on my side. But the message which I've got for people is follow the website, follow my Twitter feed and get involved.
Do you think that we need a "counter-jihad" movement in this country, as you say in your tweets?
Now that's a different issue altogether which I'll talk to you about. It's a very complex situation. If you look online at my study, "What Lies Behind The EDL?," you'll see a massive document about the fact that basically the counter-terrorism movement throughout the west and including Britain is promoted by a Zionist neo-con elite to involve ordinary people in their crazy fascist civilizations. We certainly don't need that. We need a peace deal with Israel whereby we leave their countries and stop supporting Israel and they leave us alone, quite simply. So we need effective resistance against the creeping Islamization of Britain but the main people responsible for that are not ordinary Muslims, many of whom are actually against it — obviously most are Shia but quite a lot are Sunni as well. the people we've gone for are the political elite.
OK. Do you think that what's necessary is a more militaristic stance?
What I think is necessary will be revealed in due course.
Right. Some of your colleagues at the BNP said that one of the reasons you were pushed out was because you wanted to introduce uniforms and a more militaristic stance. What do you say to that?
I don't give a damn what they're saying. I'll respond to them in our own media and we don't need to go through you.
Sure. And what do you think of the claims that the BNP is trying to maneuver itself as an alternative to UKIP with a much softer stance?
Well you'd have to ask the BNP that wouldn't you.
But is that something you'd object to?
The BNP can do what it wants and the majority activists will do what we want.
How have the last 12 months been for you on a personal level?
Obviously it sounds like you've been through a lot.
Not compared to some people. Some people have real problems in their lives. I've just been through a change of circumstances, that's all. No big deal.
There are no plans to retire from politics then?