November 05, 2009

Dowson's empire

Sonia Gable shines a light on Jim Dowson's string of business and campaigning interests

Solas NISolas NI

Solas NI, a charity with the registration number XR86269, describes itself on its website as a victim support group set up to help bereaved and injured victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles. It says its aim is "to ensure that those most affected by the Troubles have recourse to a non-political and non-sectarian organisation which caters specifically for their needs". It was formed in 2003 and up to 2007 had received £111,479 of funding under a European Union programme for peace and reconciliation.

Jim Dowson is not known to hold any position in Solas, but its chair is Alex Thomas, a business partner of Dowson and husband of his sister-in-law, who is also involved in Solas. The charity also uses the same address and telephone number as another Dowson organisation, the Christian Youth Fellowship. Ltd

Jim Dowson is the sole director of Ltd, the company that hired the Belfast staff. Incorporated in October 2004 it describes itself as "an independent company providing professional services without prejudice to NGOs, charities and political organisations … We are the complete business solution," its scanty website claims.

The BNP's
The BNP's "truth truck", better known outside the party as the lie lorry

The company owns little of substance. Its latest accounts show fixed assets plus cash of nearly £27,000 against £25,000 owed in debts and long-term loans.

One of its assets is the BNP's "truth truck", better known outside the party as the lie lorry. Last year the BNP claimed to have bought the truck after a successful appeal to supporters to raise the £26,550 needed. However when bailiffs tried to enforce a county court judgement against the BNP, the party's solicitors responded that the vehicle was "registered in the name of another person who … has no connection with the judgement debtors".

In fact the truth truck turned out to be the same vehicle that Dowson had bought two years earlier for the anti-abortion UK LifeLeague, after appealing for donations from supporters. It even had the same name. A press release issued in April 2006 claimed Operation Truth Truck would "enable the pro-life message to reach the unreached across the towns and cities of Britain". The UK LifeLeague and the BNP had milked their gullible supporters twice over for the same "truth truck" which never left the ownership of

Albion Logistical Solutions Ltd

Incorporated in February 2009, Albion Logistical Solutions Ltd has an address in Loughborough and one director, Jim Dowson. It was this company that organised the printing of over 28 million glossy BNP European election leaflets earlier this year.

Midas Consultancy

Early in 2008 BNP senior officers and activists were invited to attend "high level management training" arranged by "a professional management consultancy and training company", which "uses a property in Spain as its main training base". Searchlight quickly established that the organiser was a Belfast-based business called the Midas Consultancy, the name under which Jim Dowson marketed his management and fundraising skills, and that the training base was in Valencia on the Costa Blanca.

Christian Youth Fellowship

The Christian Youth Fellowship shares premises with Solas NI and its contact person is listed as J Dowson. Its activities centre around anti-abortion and anti-gay campaigning, though in May it took part in the launch of TIDY Northern Ireland's Clean Coast Programme on Portrush, Whiterocks beach.

UK LifeLeagueUK LifeLeague

Jim Dowson is the main public face of the hardline anti-abortion UK LifeLeague, which uses highly provocative tactics, such as publishing the home addresses of abortion clinic staff. Similar actions by anti-abortion groups in the US have resulted in the murder of doctors.

Formed in 1999, the LifeLeague claims to be committed to peaceful campaigning "to end the violence of abortion". Although its website states that "campaigning is an important part of what we do", the organisation appears to have done nothing since early 2008 apart from raising money. Ltd

Jim Dowson helped his eldest son, James Dowson Jr, to set up Ltd, a company registered at Dowson's address in Cumbernauld, Scotland, in 2007. Dowson Jr, 21, (pictured) is the sole director and Marion Thomas, Dowson Sr's sister-in-law, is the Company Secretary. Ultraplumb styles itself as "Northern Ireland's premier plumbing company" but of the three testimonials on its website, dated 2007, one is from Thomas herself. Its accounts are several months overdue for filing at Companies House.

After the exposé of the BNP's Belfast bunker operation in the Irish press, Dowson Jr painted out the signs on his company's vans, fearing reprisals from the local population.

BNP offices in StroudBNP offices in Stroud and Nuneaton

Stroud: The large grey stone house on a Stroud industrial estate is not the sort of place one might expect the BNP to occupy. Jim Dowson's company Ltd leased three rooms at Unit 13, Salmon Springs Trading Estate, Painswick Road, Stroud for three years, paying £5,000 a year in rent to the owner, D J Melsome Ltd. They were to be used as a training centre for the BNP run by Michaela Mackenzie, but have remained empty after the party sacked her from her posts as administration officer and national nominating officer. Like many in the BNP it appears she clashed with Dowson, but came off second best. Unfortunately for Dowson, the lease has no cancellation clause.

BNP offices in NuneatonNuneaton: Alwyn Deacon, the BNP's West Midlands regional organiser, leases Unit 3 Slingsby Close, Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate, Nuneaton from Nuneaton and Bedworth council, where the BNP has one councillor following the resignation of a second last month. Deacon is also the BNP's enquiries secretary and national dispatch manager, a job he carries out at the unit.

Like the unit the BNP secretly occupied on a Deeside industrial estate last year, until the landlords evicted the party following a Searchlight exposé, the Nuneaton premises also houses Excalibur, the BNP's merchandising operation. Since May Excalibur has been run privately by Arthur Kemp, the BNP's foreign affairs spokesman, under an annually renewable licence from the party. Excalibur's range of tatty cringe-making and overpriced goods include golliwogs, Replica Victoria Crosses, condemned by the Ministry of Defence as an insult to British troops' heroism, Enoch Powell t-shirts and copies of Kemp's own dismal books.

The Nuneaton unit also houses a call centre with 20 phone lines, where BNP staff try to solicit as much money as possible in donations and merchandise sales from past Excalibur customers, party members, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be on their phone number list.

Friday: Dissecting the Dowsons The leak of the BNP membership list last month has turned the spotlight on the party’s Belfast call centre, the tensions it has caused in the party, and the links between the man who runs it and a charity that has received a six-figure sum in EU funding. Matthew Collins and Simon Cressy investigate.

Hope not Hate


Kev Scott loves The Jam said...

Wow............ Excellent work.... what a kniving bunch of scumbags!

Well done for that one!

Anonymous said...

so the guy is a business man! albeit a very busy one by the looks of things. am i missing the point here?good article though.

West Midlands Unity said...

This just shows that anything that the BNP's financial hand touches turns to poison

Anonymous said...

Opportunist more than a businessman, creaming off grants and Northern Irish regeneration money.

Anonymous said...

This guy seems to have a controlling financial interest in the BNP but isn't a member. He also seems to be semi-detached both organisationally and ideologically. If I was an ordinary BNP member I would be concerned and it just goes to show that the BNP still operates amateurishly, with patronage dished out to a select group of Griffin favourites. A forensic audit of BNP accounts would throw up a few skeletons, I'm sure.

iliacus said...

Excellent article. Still absorbing it all!

Anonymous said...

Excellent research with several trails to follow - eg, the EU grants and the anti- woman's-right-to-choose money - US connection?

ex-bnp said...

Bloody great. This is how the scumbag Gri££in will be felled - by analyzing his unethical financial dealings and exposing the other crooks and freaks he loves to associate himself with.

I’ve always said that just calling him names will not work, but investigative journalism and exposure will because his own members will read it and it will undermine him and his lies.

Gri££in, it’s nearly time to go and get your ill-fitting coat!

Anonymous said...

She ought to shine a light on her own husband,

Anonymous said...

This has Griffin's stench all over it. Dowson is perfect for his grubby little schemes. He's based in NI which is sufficiently far away to keep his operations away from the prying eyes of the bnp rank & file. Dowson owes his position entirely to Griffins patronage - I bet part of the deal between the two is that Griffins secretly gets a share of Dowsons commission. It's interesting that Jennifer Griffin has been sent up to NI - I imagine to be cyclops eyes & ears on the ground & protect his 'interest'.

I simply can't understand why bnp members tolerate this. Well actually I can - thick as pig shit the lot of them.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating but I couldn't understand the last piece about Deacon? Where is the Dowson connection?

Anonymous said...

Deacon takes his orders from Dowson.

Anonymous said...

what about dowson and his safe houses for BLACK pregnant women he runs in Glasgow right under the nose of the candidate Charlie ballie? and his mother and baby shelter he built in Hungary for the Roma women? don't think his new pals would be so keen on his help if they knew this.