Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin has been expelled from the BNP, a fascist party he had led for 15 years until he was ousted in July 2014 Getty

Nick Griffin was a cancer to the British National Party. He clung to it like a tumour and now the party has cut him off. It hopes to survive the operation.

Griffin's expulsion from the BNP is hilarious. He blames the "plastic gangster games" of the new party leadership. They accuse him of trying "to cause disunity by deliberately fabricating a state of crisis". Whatever the truth is, it's hard not to revel in the man's decline, which has run in parallel to the BNP's own welcome demise.

He lost the BNP's only two Members of the European Parliament. He lost most of their councillors across the UK. He lost hundreds of thousands of voters. The party's membership numbers collapsed and it nearly went bankrupt.

Eventually he was booted out as leader after 15 years and given an honorary position as president, in recognition for his years of commitment to the fascist movement. Though this commitment mostly manifested itself as dismantling through incomeptence.

He fumbled and squandered opportunities to consolidate a rise in far-right sentiment among the public, like a gangly schoolboy falling over his own limbs to keep control of a football at his feet. He was obstinate and thought the BNP owed him its unyielding devotion because of the years he'd put in to helping on the fascist cause. The eggings, the death threats, the trials.

The patheticness of Griffin was most evident in his appearance on BBC political TV show Question Time. Many feared, me included, that this was the perfect propaganda platform for him. That he would use the appearance to make himself appear reasonable and respectable, that his assertions and unfacts would go largely unchallenged. We had too much faith in Griffin's abilities.

He laughed and grinned awkwardly when what he purported to believe was repeated back at him by other panellists. He came across as weak and bashful, unconvinced by his own arguments. A spineless charlatan masquerading as a fascist because he was stuck as one: what else could he do having put so many years into it?

Having led the party to winning two MEPs in 2009, of which he was one, he not only lost them in the 2014 polls, but also drained away more than 5% of the BNP vote. It finished with a 1.14% share, a woeful performance considering the rest of Europe is seeing a worrying rise in support and representation of far-right parties.

And he became a parody of himself, helped in large part by his use of Twitter. Griffin came across as an earnest but ham-fisted father character, unaware of his own absurdity. He tweeted a mix of everyday frustrations and ethnonationalism. Just popped to the shop but they had no milk. Oh BTW, what about all them Asian nonces, eh? It just didn't work. Fascists should be dark, mysterious bogeymen. He was not.

Then there was the "peace mission" to Syria, where not even President Bashar al-Assad, an internationally loathed politician raining fire from the sky on his own people, would be seen with him.

But it wasn't all saving the Middle East. Griffin even made time to teach us how to cook in his own show, filmed from his kitchen, where he knocked up a beef stew to show how cheaply it could be done. One minute a Kofi Annan for people who think Muslim is a country, the next a Rick Stein for people who want to brick up the Channel Tunnel.

Griffin is a fascist. But, fortunately for the rest of us, not a very good one. Which is why anti-fascists should, as the cliché goes, be careful what they wish for.

Political parties need charismatic, competent and powerful leaders. People who have gravitas when they speak. Who ordinary people will listen to and be convinced by. Leaders who are authentic and sincere in their beliefs. Griffin was none of these things.

What should concern us is who fills the void in the BNP. Griffin had supporters, despite his obvious ineffectiveness as a politician. But they will dissipate and get behind whoever comes next. It may be the new leader, Adam Walker, a former teacher banned for life from the classroom after receiving a suspended jail sentence over an incident with a group of boys who taunted him. He chased them in his care and slashed their bike tyres with a knife.

It might not be Walker. Someone else may emerge from the swamp and take control, to rebuild and reform the BNP so it becomes a threat again.

Griffin in control of the BNP was the best thing anti-fascists could have hoped for. What comes next to replace Griffin's former hegemony in the party could be the worst thing.