Scottish independence doesn’t need the fascist FAKE NEWS of Jim Dowson

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Finally, after years of printing stories about the dark side of Scottish nationalism, the media now have a convenient bogeyman they can use to make the accusation stick.

Jim Dowson, a millionaire right wing extremist, fundraiser and propagandist has, to my dismay, decided to support Scottish independence. I’m all for persuading no voters to change their minds, but having Dowson on team indy will be nothing other than counter productive.

If you have never heard of Jim Dowson he is a man who has a past that is the antithesis of what the Scottish independence movement stands for. He was a member of the orange order who was once linked to a loyalist flute band that was accused of glorifying Milltown murderer Michael Stone. He was a prominent anti-abortion campaigner whose website published the personal details of health workers.

Dowson is a nationalist but not the civic type that defines the Scottish independence movement. 

That’s Jim Dowson on the right.

He was a high ranking member of the racist British National Party and helped to raise over £4 Million in funding for them. Dowson then became a founder member and chief fundraiser for the odious far-right group Britain First.

He was until recently an ardent Loyalist. So much so that in 2012 he was prominent in fuelling a dispute surrounding the flying of the Union flag in Belfast which ultimately led to rioting.

In short Jim Dowson is the far right ethnic nationalist that the Scottish independence movement does not need.

Dowson currently runs a bunch of FAKE NEWS sites from his base in Budapest. He is also involved in Knights Templar International, a militant religious group, which has recently supported anti-immigrant militias patrolling the border areas in Bulgaria and Hungary.

His ‘Patriot News Agency‘, is said to have had a big impact on the US Presidential Election. The New York Times advises that posts by Patriot News were shared hundreds of thousands of times in the run up to the vote. As well as this he has connections with Russia and is supportive of Vladimir Putin, although, he claims not to be funded by the Russian president.

Dowson himself described his US election Fake News tactic as delivering:

devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.

Or in layman’s terms, selling lies to the ignorant.

Some may think that if this tactic actually works then it will be beneficial to the independence movement.

I would say regardless of efficacy, Dowson is not the type of person we should be ideologically associated with. As we have talked about before a country is only as good as the story it tells itself. Dowson’s story is the wrong type. It’s bigoted, isolationist and racist. Dowson seems to think that these qualities have been lost in England but can be preserved in Scotland. He clearly hasn’t been paying much attention.

Until now the driving force behind Scottish independence has been making society fairer, more inclusive, more progressive and more outward looking. We are on the cusp of victory using this message and Dowson can only ruin the very good chance we have.

Sharing FAKE NEWS sites would also be a grave error. If this junk starts to get dispersed widely around pro-independence social media pages it will be used to demonise us all.

FAKE NEWS had an impact in the Brexit and American elections because the mainstream media was relatively split on those issues. Many mainstream sites turned a blind eye to the phenomenon while some actually ran stories that came from the likes of Dowson as it suited their agenda.

In Scotland thing are different. Only one small daily newspapers supports independence and the main broadcast media is owned by the state.

In the the Scottish context the media will come down on FAKE NEWS like a ton of bricks. Not only will they finally have something to back up their warnings about the dangers of nationalism. They will also try to link the Scottish independence movement to Russia and Putin. They will have the ammunition they need to turn what is for most a benign quest to make Scotland a normal country into something far more sinister.

We can’t stop Dowson doing what he is proposing. However we can stop it from being a success.

For his plan to work, people need to share his drivel. For the sake of the independence movement, let’s not make that mistake.

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Bobby Hainey

Joint founder of Autonomyscotland. In my spare time I enjoy Road Cycling, Munro bagging and beer.

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