Britain First (BF) is the brainchild of James Dowson, the man who was once dubbed ‘the person who owned the BNP’.
A shadowy figure in the world of evangelical Protestantism and anti-abortion activity, Dowson made contact with the BNP in 2007 offering his services as a man with a record of get-rich-quick schemes. Originally from Scotland, he’d set himself up in Belfast, Northern Ireland where he took a keen advantage of religious fervour.
Dowson’s anti-abortion activities and close relationship with Loyalist paramilitaries were seen as positive attributes by the BNP’s leadership, who were dazzled by Dowson’s patter and promises of riches.
Nick Griffin eventually moved the entire BNP operation to Belfast – under Dowson’s control – with Griffin’s daughter Jennifer entrusted to Dowson’s care. We dubbed Dowson as Griffin’s consiglieri in 2009 and meanwhile, as the party faltered after the 2010 local and government elections, anti-Griffin factions within the BNP saw Dowson as Griffin’s Achilles’ heel and began campaigning against him.
Dowson and the BNP parted company in October 2010 but it was another six months before BF was formed. In the intervening time Dowson preoccupied himself with trying to undermine the BNP at every opportunity.
In May 2011 Dowson, along with Paul Golding, a former BNP councillor and editor of the BNP’s flagship magazine, announced the formation of a campaign group to protect “British and Christian morality” and sent an internet and glossy mail shot to some 40,000 names that Dowson had allegedly acquired from his time with the BNP.
Hoping to gain an invitation to join rebel BNP MEP Andrew Brons in a new venture, Dowson also sent another glossy brochure attacking a number of high profile BNP officials during the BNP’s July 2011 leadership election. BF was born to attack Griffin.
Close to a thousand people responded to BF’s launch with either cash or membership, but very quickly, aside from a few regional meetings, it became apparent that the organisation was not interested in being the alternative to Griffin’s party. BF was more interested in fundamentally changing the direction of the far-right to a trajectory later followed by the British Freedom Party. BF is squeezed between its fascist roots and its religious ambitions.
Jim Dowson: Former Calvinist Minister who helped run the BNP between 2007-2010. Controversial businessman who has received funding from the European union in the past. Having built the BNP up, has made it his business to knock it down again. A powerful anti-Griffinite, if not an effective politician.
Paul Golding: The BF’s national chairman, Golding is former head of publicity for the BNP as well as a failed councillor in Sevenoaks, Kent. Golding was one of the high flyers in the BNP’s ‘Brat Pack’ during the last decade. Golding is the BF’s Chairman and a recent convert to Christianity which comes hand in hand with being a minor business partner of Dowson.
Andy McBride: Former South East regional organiser of the BNP, in 2010 McBride launched a series of factional attacks on Griffin’s enemies, before resigning in March 2011. McBride joined Dowson and Golding in plotting Griffin’s downfall and was a keynote speaker at last year’s “Way Forward” conference of the anti-Griffin crowd.
Gary Raikes: Former Scotland BNP organiser, Raikes was imposed on Scotland which caused some anger due to him being English. Has continued his fine tradition by doing nothing in his role as BF’s Scottish organiser.
Kevin Edwards: Former BNP community councillor from Wales who quit the BNP over its violence.
Britain First Key Politics
- Britain First is not a political party, its political wing – the National People’s Party (NPP) – was stillborn in June 2011 as Dowson appointed Paul Golding as chair in the hope that BF could merge with any new party formed with Andrew Brons as leader.
- BF claim it is not a racist or fascist organisation, yet it propagandises on the traditional far-right issues of Islam, immigration and abortion. It encourages its members to carry out actions like mass emailing and letter writing in a campaign to “Put Britons First”, which the organisation appears to define as anyone who is Christian. So far, it claims that over thirty thousand “actions” have been taken.
- The BF is closely aligned with the black-led organisation the “Christian People’s Party”, which also had a small dalliance with the BNP when Dowson was fundraising for them.
- If religion has replaced race as the clarion call in the BF, it does not appear to feel the need to proselytise or seemingly recruit to its cause either non-Christians or BNP hardliners.
- In a series of articles written by Dowson for the “British Resistance” website, which is one of the more vocal of the anti-Griffin factions, between August 2011 and March 2012 Dowson eulogised evangelically against Pagans, Odinists and nazis in favour of a society dominated by Christianity.
- Recently BF mailed out thousands of copies of a glossy publication it is alleged was lifted from the BNP’s offices about “Muslim grooming”. Its targets were mainly the Muslim community and politicians, not prospective recruits. BF is what the BNP most feared it would become.
From Hope Not Hate .
Editorial. Just when you thought we’d accounted for every fruitcake far right organisation in the country, here’s another one. Jim Dowson’s supremely “progressive” attitude towards women can be experienced here . We wonder how he equates groping ex-glamour models with his God and Ulster patriotic Protestantism.