Far-right western politicians in Hungary: Jim Dowson and Nick Griffin

Do you remember what Viktor Orbán said in his “address to the nation” back in February? Instead of admitting migrants from the Middle East and Africa, “we will let in true refugees: Germans, Dutch, French, and Italians, terrified politicians and journalists who here in Hungary want to find the Europe they have lost in their homelands.” The fact is that a number of people–nationalists, opponents of liberal values, members of extreme far-right parties or movements–have been gathering in Hungary for some time. After all, Hungary is the only country in the European Union where “two extreme far-right parties, the governing Fidesz and Jobbik, the largest opposition party, make up most of the National Assembly,” as Carol Schaeffer pointed out in The Atlantic.

A few months ago one of the readers of Hungarian Spectrum called my attention to a lengthy investigative article by IRBF, a group that monitors far-right hate groups and social media pages. IRBF stands for International Report Bigotry & Fascism. The article was about “a new kid on the block in 2014,” the “Knights Templar International.” From the start, IRBF was suspicious that Jim Dowson, a notorious right-winger, former Orangeman, leader of the British National Party and Britain First, was behind this new formation. I have no space here to list Dowson’s “accomplishments” in the United Kingdom, but anyone who’s interested in his career should consult his entry in Wikipedia, which also details Dowson’s activities in Eastern Europe.

I assume that Dowson relocated to Hungary sometime at the end of 2013 where he was joined, at least on a part-time basis, by another British far-right politician, Nick Griffin, who was the chairman of the British National Party between 1999 and 2014. The two men came to know and join forces with Imre Téglásy, the leader of a small anti-abortion group in Hungary.

The ideology of KTI, in addition to the standard far-right views, includes a great admiration for Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian political scientist whose views are often described as “fascist.” In fact, both Dowson and Griffin attended a “conservative forum” in St. Petersburg about a year ago organized by Dugin and his followers.

The leaders of KTI are sworn enemies of Muslims, so Viktor Orbán’s anti-migrant policies might have been a precipitating factor in Dowson and Griffin moving to Hungary. Dowson is also a great supporter of Donald Trump. In the summer of 2016 he established the “Patriot News Agency” to help elect Trump president of the United States.

Shortly after settling in Hungary, Dowson became acquainted with László Toroczkai of Jobbik, who is the mayor of Ásotthalom on the Serbian-Hungarian border. Toroczkai organized a volunteer group whose members were helping the Hungarian police catch migrants. He was also the one whose town council adopted a local ordinance that forbade building a mosque or wearing a burka. The Hungarian Constitutional Court has since struck down this ridiculous ordinance. Dowson’s last sighting, according to the Daily Mirror, was on the Turkish-Bulgarian border with a vigilante paramilitary group.

Jim Dowson and László Toroczkai at the Serbian-Hungarian border

A few months after the appearance of IRBF’s article, in April 2016, Magyar Narancs also discovered KTI. Gergely Miklós Nagy wrote a long article about “the Russian-friendly British neo-fascists” who work hand-in-hand with Toroczkai and Jobbik. The author of the article didn’t mince words when he described the British leaders of KTI as “the British Isle’s toughest far-right, former holocaust deniers with multiple jail sentences, and Putinist characters behind whom most likely stands one of England’s paramilitary parties.” Magyar Narancs spotted the group in Hungary through an ad on Facebook promoting Hungarian real estate for white, Catholic, conservative Western European citizens who are worried about the growing “Islamic invasion.” KTI has almost 90,000 followers on Facebook.

As for Nick Griffin, his political career ended in 2014 when he lost his seat in the European Parliament and was expelled from the far-right British National Party, which he had chaired ever since 1999. Cambridge educated, he joined the National Front at the age of 14. Since then he has had several run-ins with the authorities on charges of inciting racial hatred. Griffin decided to move to Hungary, he told 444.hu in March of this year, because the political atmosphere is appealing in Hungary for the nationalist right.

His conversation with 444.hu took place after “Stop Operation Soros!,” a conference organized by the Identitárius Egyetemisták Szövetség (Association of Identitarian University Students), a Hungarian offshoot of the Identitarian movement that began as a conservative pan-European student movement. Nick Griffin was one of the speakers at the conference, attended by about 60 people, half of whom were journalists. As 444.hu put it, Griffin delivered the toughest and most obviously racist message. He talked about Gypsy crime and racist Jewish conspiracies, and he showed a great knowledge of all the Budapest spots that, according to him, are “citadels of left-wing gatherings.” The journalist’s conclusion was that there was practically no difference between the ideology of the far-right, extremist groups represented at the conference and that of Fidesz politicians.

A few days ago “Hope not Hate”, an advocacy group based in Great Britain that “campaigns to counter racism and fascism,” triumphantly reported that Jim Dowson had been expelled from Hungary. The group heard that Dowson “was stopped from reentering the country” because “the government has been concerned for some time about extremists from across Europe moving to their country.” The most intriguing part of this expulsion is that, according to the statement issued by the Ministry of Interior, the decision to expel Dawson was at the recommendation of the Anti-Terrorist Center (TEK). The reason? Dowson poses a threat to the national security of Hungary. Two days later came the news that Nick Griffin must also leave Hungary. Perhaps, after all, Viktor Orbán decided that it was becoming a bit embarrassing that alt-right groups from all over the world found Hungary a perfect place to settle.

June 6, 2017
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Guest

“Perhaps, after all, Viktor Orbán decided that it was becoming a bit embarrassing that alt-right groups from all over the world found Hungary a perfect place to settle.”

Orbán’s embarrasment threshold is very high if he has any. My alternative explanation is that Dowson and Griffin are loose cannon that Orbán cannot control.

pomogyi
Guest

Exactly. Too many extreme right wingers from all over Europe it’s just too complicated a task for the Hungarian intelligence services and politically for Orban to control. Otherwise their ideology is perfectly aligned with that of Orban.

Plus Orban can sell this as an evidence of him being a “moderate”. It’s all for show but I can imagine he can still fool many people.

Or – because even his EPP pals know Orban better by now – everybody can continue to pretend that he is a “moderate” at heart. It’s in everybody’s interest really it keeps unity within the EPP and within Europe.

Otherwise Orban will go back funding radical right-wing extremists like these ones:

https://444.hu/2017/05/09/a-magyar-kormany-lelkesen-asszisztal-a-legsulyosabb-orosz-es-amerikai-homofobok-budapesti-talalkozojahoz

Member

Jobbik is the largest opposition party?

Jobbik – 24 seats
MSZP – 28 seats

Even after the defection of Marta Demeter, the MSZP is still the second-largest.

Fidesz + Jobbik = Most of the National Assembly?
Try, “Fidesz by itself makes up nearly 2/3 of the national assembly.” Jobbik is a detail, by comparison.

These are two of several points that The Atlantic messed up in that article.

http://www.parlament.hu/a-partok-kepviselocsoportjai-es-a-fuggetlen-kepviselok-aktualis-

Member

Dear Eva – I am wondering about that photo. If it were indeed taken along the Hungarian-Serbian border, why is the police car from Slovakia and why is the policeman wearing a Slovak badge on his arm?

Ferenc
Guest

Good observation, so I dug into this.
The picture seems to originate from this page http://irbf.org.uk/tag/hungarian-outlaws/, and made at the KTI Hungarian Border Mission.
Searching for that mission brought me “KTI AT THE FENCE THAT STOPPED THE INVASION IN ITS TRACKS. HUNGARIAN MISSION REPORT 1.” https://knightstemplarinternational.com/2016/01/kti-at-the-fence-that-stopped-the-invasion-in-its-tracks-hungarian-mission-report-1/
Quotes from that page:
“The KTI mission to Hungary shortly before Christmas [2015] was a complete success and very fruitful.”
“Hungary’s border fence, which is now protecting the whole of Christendom”
“At the first sign of unauthorised movement, the alarm is sent to the permanent patrols – both the local municipal border guards and the police/army patrols.
These latter are now joint efforts between Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia (see patrol car logo above [picture on page])”
“Our visit to the fence was at the invitation of the independent Mayor Laczlo Torockai, whose town (Asotthalom) was right in the path of the migrant flood. It was he who first proposed the fence and began local border patrols – thereby forcing the initially indecisive government to wake up and build the fence.”

Conclusion: picture from 2015.December at Serbian-Hungarian border, where Hungarian authorities were assisted by a.o.Slovakian police and/or border control.

Member

A little OT – or not that much, Péter Konok yesterday on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/peter.konok/posts/1454955257893911 ):

News broadcast on Bartók (the Bartók Rádió is a radio channel mostly still worth listening, it’s just that sometimes they also read news).
“In the free-entry concert of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer, parts of Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” will be played. The musical tells about the controversy between American teenagers and young migrants.”
No comment, or actually this is a comment, one of the best.

wrfree
Guest

Thanks for posting. Here is Mr. Fischer talking about WSS and its relevance to our day. One of the greatest innovative musicals for all time. Exceptional creativity in music, dance and expounding on the human condition. The conductor certainly picked a ‘gyonyoru’ set of music to play.

As an aside would be great to see Vic clappin’ ‘ and dancin’ to the strains of ‘America’..;-)…

‘Life can be bright in America
If you can fight in America
Life is all right in America
If you’re all white in America’

https://youtu.be/Su6XzuvpCeY

wrfree
Guest

Re: ’embarrassing… alt-right groups’ from all over the world’

Perhaps he can see the downside where he doesn’t want say a resident ‘Black House’ which the Brit Union of Fascists in the 30’s used as an administrative headquarters in England.

And back then the fascists looked to the ‘Italian’ model wuth Mussolini pulling the strings. Today it’s just possible
the modern rightists might see Orban as their former ‘Mussolini’. But this time it’s on the Magyar ‘model’.

exTor
Guest

On what basis were Jim Dowson and Nick Griffin, two British citizens, expelled from Hungary? Since England is still a member of the EU, dont Brits have a right to be in Hungary? Wouldn’t they first have to have been charged with a crime, then adjudged guilty before having gotten turfed?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Jean P.
Guest

It is not that simple. A eu citizen can freely enter another eu country and stay there for three months. If he is looking for jobs he can stay for six months. If he gets a job he can stay as long as he is employed. If he is not looking for a job he must apply for residence after three months.

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