Far-right fanatic Jim Dowson and other BNP ratbags slunk into Scotland yesterday to launch a new party full of hatred.
The former BNP treasurer pitched up in Perth at a secret Scots summit to launch Britain First, clutching a cardboard box crammed with far-right propaganda.
Britain First claim to offer a “new moderate approach for British nationalism”, free from the “toxic brand” of the BNP. But the small band of activists who turned up for the lunchtime talks at Perth’s Grampian Hotel all had key roles in peddling the BNP’s racist message.
Dowson, from Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, was BNP leader Nick Griffin’s right-hand man and chief fundraiser before he quit the party last year after being accused of groping a blonde activist. Previously, Dowson was the public face of the Life League, who published online details of people they believed encouraged abortions. He has convictions including breach of the peace, possession of a weapon and criminal damage.
Britain First campaign manager Paul Golding, who joined Dowson in Perth, is a former communications officer for the BNP. He won a council seat in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 2009 but quit this year after putting in just three appearances in a year. Golding had returned to the party after being expelled in 2004 – for allegedly attacking their only ethnic minority councillor.
Dowson and Golding arrived in Perth first – with Dowson unloading boxes of pamphlets and banners as well as a full Highland dress outfit from the boot of his car.
They were followed by Richard Payne, who fought the Banff and Buchan Westminster seat for the BNP at the last general election – and by black-shirted Gary Raikes, who heads Britain First’s Scottish arm. Raikes was an army cadet officer who trained teenagers. But he was drummed out in 2007 after being exposed as the leader of the BNP in Scotland. He was accused of abusing his position to peddle the BNP’s vile views.
Raikes claims Britain First is the “start of a new moderate approach for British nationalism in Scotland”. And he says party chiefs “carefully vet” all their members – “to ensure that no cranks and unsavoury types encountered in the BNP are allowed to join.”
But Gerry Gable, editor of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, said: “There is nothing in Jim Dowson or Paul Golding’s history that shows them as being moderate. They can dress themselves up in new clothes, but in the end it comes down to the same ideology of hate. They will always find someone fresh to hate.”
Dowson quit working for the BNP last year, and claimed in a BBC Panorama documentary this month that BNP treasurer Clive Jefferson asked him to help get fabricated documents to be used against a political opponent. He also claimed Griffin raked in thousands of pounds through fund-raising drives based on lies. Jefferson denied the claim and said Dowson had no credibility within the BNP.
Thanks to Zaahid and others for the heads-up