Jim Dowson, the fundraising consultant brought in by Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, is paid £162,000 a year for his services, according to a senior member of the party’s national advisory council.
Richard Edmonds, who helped found the BNP alongside John Tyndall long before Griffin joined the party, has come out in support of Eddy Butler, who is currently challenging Griffin for the leadership.
Writing on Butler’s blog on 8 July, Edmonds says a leadership challenge is a chance for members to raise matters of major importance for the party and the issue he wants to raise is the employment of “an outside businessman, Mr Jim Dowson, who acts as a ‘consultant’ to our Party at a salary of just under £2,000 per week”.
He goes on to explain that as well as receiving £7,500 a month as a “consultancy fee”, Dowson is also paid £72,000 a year for “managing a party of the internal administration” of the BNP. That comes to £162,000 a year, or £3,115 a week, an amount Edmonds describes as a “scandal”.
Edmonds, who is very influential in the BNP especially among the more hardline members, states that Dowson gave him these figures himself. That makes them more reliable than the statement on the BNP website at the end of May that Dowson’s Midas Consultancy had been paid a total of £165,000 since the end of 2007, a period of over two and a half years.
The fees paid to Dowson, an extremist anti-abortion campaigner with several criminal convictions, will stick in the craw of party staff on mainland Britain who were not paid in June according to Butler, who says the party is “insolvent” as a result of Griffin “deliberately, avoidably and recklessly” involving it in a series of legal cases.
The financial difficulties do not extend to the Belfast BNP call centre, which is run by Dowson. The staff there received their June pay as usual, which is perhaps not surprising as they are mostly members of Dowson’s and Griffin’s families, including Griffin’s eldest daughter Jennifer.
Meanwhile Griffin and his sidekick Clive Jefferson, the BNP’s national elections officer, continue to try to thwart Butler’s challenge by expelling his supporters from the party. Writing on the website set up by Simon Bennett, the BNP’s former webmaster, Colin Poulter, the party’s former Eastbourne organiser, says that an expulsion notice emailed to him on 28 June included the accusation that he was: “Working to collect signatures for a challenge against the Chairman whilst disqualified from all party association.”
Poulter, who joined the BNP in October 2008 and claims a long list of achievements in organising the party in Eastbourne, says: “So what of the deadly accusation that I am collecting signatures, SO WHAT, is this another pathetic attempt to intimidate people away from nominating or voting for Eddy Butler, or any other candidate, against Nick Griffin in the leadership contest?”
Elsewhere Alistair Barbour, who briefly served on the staff of Griffin’s European Parliament constituency office last year, has shed light on why he left so abruptly. After joining the BNP and achieving rapid promotion to Carlisle organiser and then North West secretary, he “started to see them for what they really are.
“When I got on Griffins staff I walked away in disgust,” Barbour writes. “Yes they are all they say they are. But there also as corrupt as mainstream politicians, in fact there worse. Main stream politician fleece the tax payer. BNP Ltd fleece there own as well. They use propaganda to the outside world via the website. But most importantly they use propaganda to there own supporters and members. Distorting facts and figures and hiding behind a veil of secrecy and lies. Propaganda is the largest tool they have. One other famous party in history relied heavily on propaganda I’m sure you all know who I mean.”
Griffin continues to revel in his highly paid position as an MEP. His latest act is to nominate the “brave Dutch MEP Geert Wilders” for the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought.
The award, in honour of the Soviet dissident scientist Andrei Sakharov, is meant to honour people who fight for human rights and freedom, not a rabid Islamophobe whose mission in life is to incite division and hate.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate