Friday, 29 October 2010

It boils down to: Jim Dowson must go

The satirical magazine Private Eye have written up some of the trials and tribulations of the British National Party in their latest issue (Eye 1274).

The article is a typical melange of snide half-truths and valid points. Let's take it in easy chunks...

THE BNP is on the brink of insolvency. But instead of its usual tactic of threatening blacks, Jews and Asians, it is threatening its creditors instead in a letter from its money man, Jim Dowson, to its “highly valued suppliers and creditors” with a record of “commitment to the British National Party.”

It's sadly true that the party is currently in debt, not as much debt as the mainstream parties of course, but in debt none-the-less. But the party does not have a "usual tactic" of threatening blacks, Jews and Asians. Indeed Asians have featured in its political broadcasts, endorsing the party, and it has Jewish members, and has even had Jewish councillors elected. Not only is threatening these minorities not a "usual tactic" in fact the party does not do it at all.

His letter tells them that it does not value them enough to pay them what it owes. A grave financial crisis was forcing the party to close offices and lay off staff, he says. It was unlikely to “pay its outstanding bills in anything like a normal timescale - if indeed at all.”

No, his letter does not say they are not valued, but it's true that the party is having difficulty paying its bills.

Dowson then tells creditors that “lawyers who have reviewed the underlying contracts to most of the outstanding invoices have advised that most are not enforceable. Many creditors who have supplied good [sic] and services and which were used in connection with the activities of the British National Party may never be paid."
And it is no use suppliers hiring lawyers, Dowson warns. Legal action against the party would be throwing “good money after bad in the shape of futile lawyers’ costs”. Creditors must accept 20p in the pound or risk getting nothing.

Not totally true. It is true that the party cannot be sued for payment, but that's because it's not an incorporated entity. But that's actually a good thing if you want to sue, it means you can sue the Chairman, Nick Griffin, personally, and he cannot hide behind the veil of incorporation like a company director could.

Dowson blames the deficit – estimated at £500,000 – on the recession and “hugely expensive politically motivated High Court actions by the Commission for Equalities [sic] and Human Rights” to force the party to change its racist constitution. He is too modest.

That's not true: Jim Dowson isn't modest at all. As for the other bit, yes, the CEHR (pronounced "kur" in party circles, they prefer to be known as the EHRC) has used taxpayers' money to try to drive a legitimate lawful political party out of business by forcing it to incur massive legal bills.

The party is paralysed by internal disputes. Na├»ve critics have been shocked to discover that its fuehrer Nick Griffin behaves like, well, a dictator. Meanwhile busty “glamour model” Shelley Rose, who stood as a candidate in Luton, has posted a video on YouTube claiming Dowson made unwanted Ugandan advances to her at a hotel near Euston. “I thought it was safe to stay with him because he was a religious and family man,” the innocent 22-year old says. Alas, this turned out not to be the case, and she says Dowson accused her of being “frigid” when she rejected him.

Shelly Rose's video can be viewed here. It seems JD has some serious questions to answer. However Jim Dowson is not the BNP. He is not even a member of the BNP. He's a professional fundraiser hired by the BNP - that's all.

Dowson does not mention one preposterous reason for the BNP’s indebtedness. In the general election campaign, Griffin ripped off Marmite’s “Love it or Hate it” campaign by putting out a picture of a Marmite jar with the slogan “Love Britain, Vote BNP”. He scoffed when Unilever, Marmite’s owner, protested; but the firm’s lawyers then hit him with a breach of copyright action, which cost the party between £100,000 and £170,000.

Yes, Nick Griffin played this one wrong. Putting the jar of marmite in the party political broadcast was very funny - as this blog said at the time - but it should have been removed as soon as Unilever asked. That would have been cost free to the party. Getting antsy and going to court made it expensive. However, do note that this was not an unprovoked act. There has been bad blood between Unilever and the BNP for a while, in fact ever since Unilever produced a series of adverts featuring a "Hate Party" clearly modelled on the BNP. They started it, and it seems that despite getting their way in court, they have backed down and are not using the ads anymore, so it wasn't money totally down the drain.

The BNP operates behind various front companies to place orders without arousing suspicion – the most prominent being Dowson’s As a limited company adlorries could be sued, which may be why Dowson is offering 20p in the pound on contracts he claims are unenforceable. As a political party, the BNP is an unincorporated association, which cannot technically be declared bankrupt. However, creditors could hold Griffin as its leader and party members who entered into the contracts personally liable for debts.

Yes indeed, but it does look like Jim Dowson is acting to protect his other businesses here.

If senior BNP figures are taken to the cleaners, they will earn a unique place in the history of European fascism: the first neo-Nazi party to have been destroyed by the makers of a yeast-extract sandwich spread.

The BNP isn't Nazi, nor is it fascist. If you must put a label on the party, it's ethno-nationalist which means it supports the native British peoples in an independent British nation.

And if it's destroyed it won't be the Unilever pinprick - it will be the CEHR sledge-hammer.

That aside, it seems Jim Dowson has outlived his usefulness to the party. He's an effective fundraiser but not a member, nor even an employee of the party. He's a businessman who raises money on a commission basis for the party.

But his role is too significant and high-profile for someone who isn't ideologically committed. There should be a parting of the ways, and if that means the cash doesn't roll in like it used to - so be it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean I can sue Gordon Brown for wrecking my life?