"Rats leave Nick Griffin behind on the BNP's swiftly sinking ship" is the antagonistic headline of an article detailing the ongoing decline and collapse of the British National Party published in the left-of-centre Independent newspaper earlier this month.
Since the 2010 general election, where, to be fair, the BNP polled reasonably well for a radical political party and easily eclipsed the likes of UKIP and the Greens in many areas, the political trajectory of the BNP under Nick Griffin has been irredeemably downwards with financial shenanigans, constitutional rigging, organisational collapse, interminable legal spats, self-inflicted media own goals, membership fragmentation and decline making the last two years the most fractious and damaging in the party's thirty year history. Only eventual political oblivion awaits by the time of the 2014 European elections, where Griffin will attempt to hold his seat in Brussels but more than likely fail badly thanks to this ongoing debilitating process.
Only a substantial legacy from a deceased supporter has kept the party financially afloat, while Griffin himself keeps the party name alive in the public's mind (despite woeful election results recently in the former party strongholds of Stoke and Burnley) via provocative posts on his online Twitter account.
The departing "rats" in question now include Andrew Brons, who along with Nick Griffin, was elected to the European parliament in 2009 at the height of the BNP's political success.
Other "rats" include respected councillors, organisers and activists sick of the Griffin regime's self-serving hubris and incompetence.
Ironically, some of Griffin's former "loyal" sidekicks also left the party following his narrow victory over Andrew Brons in last year's leadership contest. Most of those people ended up in a fundraising campaign group led by an Ulster-based businessman, Jim Dowson, who had previously maintained an unhealthy grip on the party's finances.
More credible party dissidents followed Eddy Butler, the party's main electoral strategist, who had earlier unsuccessfully challenged (after much constitutional rigging) Griffin for the leadership after the 2010 general election, into the right-of-centre English Democrats, led by a former Tory lawyer, Robin Tilbrook, while some BNP dissidents who had earlier backed Eddy Butler established the British Freedom Party, which after much jockeying for position and internal wrangling has finally decided to become the political wing of the English Defence League under the leadership of a former UKIP parliamentary candidate called Paul Weston. In line with previous BNP spats, a tiny number of disgruntled BNP members joined the BNP's original parent party, the National Front, which already looks like a political dead-end with a damaging split hitting that party as a result of the latest BNP influx!
An even bigger group of activists and members remain unattached at present, most of whom will be lost forever to nationalist politics unless a credible successor formation is publicly established in the next few months.
Thankfully, such a formation is now on the horizon following the long-awaited departure of Andrew Brons from the party, after a series of meetings in the West Midlands, which investigated the possibility of a new successor party being established to fill the space left by the BNP. As a result of those meetings, Andrew Brons agreed to leave the BNP citing "constructive expulsion" after he had been earlier smeared as a "state agent" on the party's website and his supporters dubbed "vermin" by a petulant Nick Griffin who is increasingly desperate to retain control of the party's purse strings and his dwindling support base within nationalist politics as a whole.
This new party (which already has a name, agreed by those involved in its original formation) hopes to scoop up many of the former members and activists who remain detached from the BNP, but politically adrift, as well as win over those who have sought sanctuary in the likes of the NF, English Democrats, BFP/EDL and even UKIP!
It also hopes to win over remaining members of the BNP, many of whom remain confused (or even oblivious) as to the real cause of the BNP's explosive collapse since the 2010 general election.
It will do this by having a fully democratic constitution free from the personality cult paranoia implicit in previous BNP constitutions, plus a firm, but fair, national leadership with an emphasis on local grassroots activism revolving around organisers with a proven track record of organisational ability and political progress.
After two years of disarray, failure and ongoing collapse, a light has finally appeared at the end of the BNP story!