Belfast-based loyalist defends BNP link
Published 08/09/2008 | 01:42
A Belfast-based loyalist has defended his decision to link up with the extremist BNP.
Former Orangeman James Dowson, who runs Midas Consultancy, told Sunday Life that he had “no problem” providing senior members of the right-wing party with management training and marketing skills.
Scots-born Dowson, who is also a hardline anti-abortion campaigner, has been responsible for helping the BNP send letters to businesses throughout the UK in a bid to raise cash.
The loyalist, who makes regular trips to Northern Ireland, helped mastermind the party’s ‘Truth Truck’ campaign, which included lorries visiting towns in England to spread the BNP’s ‘nationalist message’.
And Dowson, who admitted coming from a “loyalist background”, claimed the BNP’s message would soon be coming to Northern Ireland.
He said: “I specialise in a business pool which includes Belfast and Scotland and I’m proud to describe myself as a loyalist and a unionist.
“A wide range of organisations come to us because we provide management training and marketing skills.
“When the BNP contacted us, I had no option but to work with them — it was an exciting business proposal.
“I understand the truth truck could soon be on its way to Northern Ireland, but that’s nothing to do with me.”
Added Dowson: “The BNP are not an illegal organisation so why shouldn’t I work with them? I don’t think their members are involved in criminal activity.
“I have worked in Northern Ireland for a long time, but not for any proscribed organisations. The BNP is not a proscribed organisation.
“It would be wrong for me to pontificate about the views of the BNP and I honestly can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t work with.”
The link between the BNP and Dowson caused concern among anti-racism campaigners in the province.
Said one campaigner: “Dowson’s marketing plan is nothing more than a begging letter.
“The BNP is in very serious financial trouble and this is how they think they can get money.
“The BNP may not be illegal, but they articulate views which clearly motivate people to commit very serious attacks on minorities.”
Last year Northern Ireland’s only Chinese politician slammed the BNP’s latest attempt at a recruitment drive in the province.
The right-wing party published a leaflet — entitled ‘What Now for Northern Ireland?’ — claiming the province was on its way to a “multi-cultural hellhole” and that towns her had become “dumping-grounds” for migrants.
But Alliance MLA Anna Lo said she was “disgusted” by the BNP's intolerant language — and said the party was wasting its time in Northern Ireland “because people are not racist here”.
She added: “There is an element of inciting hatred. There is no attraction in Northern Ireland for this type of politics and I would discourage this party from coming over here. We have always had good race relations in Northern Ireland. There may be the odd incident, but that does not represent the majority of people here.”
In 2006, the BNP’s leader Nick Griffin was cleared by a court of stirring up racial hatred — a move that prompted then-chancellor Gordon Brown to consider changing Britain's race laws.