Last Friday at a swank central London hotel, approximately seventy-five diners gathered to honour the memory and work of the accomplished nationalist intellectual genius, writer and artist Jonathan Bowden, best known in Britain and throughout the Western World as an orator of outstanding ability.
Jonathan sadly died prematurely just over five years ago and just a matter of days short of his fiftieth birthday. He had been unwell for some time before that but he concealed the seriousness of his illness and his death came as a great shock to those who knew him.
Jonathan devoted his life to his work of creating a cultural and intellectual milieu within which the seeds of radical-right revival could germinate and flourish to herald in a time of renewed confidence, vigour and success for racial nationalist politics in Britain and abroad. He lead a simple ascetic lifestyle, eschewing most material possessions. He never married, dressed in an eccentric style and upon his death left an estate composed of little more than a sizeable collection of books, a number of artworks by an obscure English sculptor and a number of his own paintings. Among his personal papers however, were a number of unpublished books which are now being published by the Wermod & Wermod publishing group, and there are of course a wealth of sound and video recordings of speeches he made throughout his life, which continue to attract great interest.
There were two guest speakers at the dinner: Greg Johnson of Counter Currents, who was good friend of Jonathan’s, and a young speaker new to nationalism and one of the nominees for this years prize, Adam Wallace
One individual, Stead Steadman, played a pivotal role in the organisation of the dinner and he is to be congratulated for the effort and enthusiasm he invested in this project. It was because of him a great success and provided the ideal setting for the award of this years Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize which I presented to the winner. The Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize is awarded each year thanks to the generosity of Western Spring contributing members. There follows a transcript of my presentation speech:
“It is very exciting to be here at this auspicious time marking the fifth anniversary of Jonathan’s death, and to present a prize in his honour.
“This is an auspicious time because we nationalists as a movement are for the first time since the self-destruction of the BNP, able to mark the passing of Jonathan in a
manner befitting his significance.
“This is an auspicious time also, because in recent months we have begun to witness a change in the attitude of the public at large, and also a change in the attitude of most nationalists and most nationalist leaders. The public are becoming increasingly polarised between: snowflakes and realists; between left and right; and between nationalist and internationalist, in a way that we haven’t seen before.
“And while this hasn’t yet translated into electoral successes in this country, social media is now awash with people enthusiastically and forcefully presenting our arguments, repeating them back at us and calling our compatriots to action, again, in a way we haven’t seen before.
“The vote for Brexit was a watershed moment and now in light of the widespread defilement of our young women by Muslim child prostitution gangs, and with repeated atrocities committed by Muslim fanatics, the tide of public opinion is beginning to turn and attitudes are beginning to harden with regard to the issues of race and immigration also.
“This is a welcome sight for those of us who have decades of struggle behind us.
“The last ten years particularly have been a very difficult period for British Nationalism, a period during which it often seemed that the public had completely turned their backs on us and during which on many occasions it seemed as though the life of our movement might be snuffed out.
“But we continued to fight on and one individual was a particular inspiration to us during both the heyday of the BNP and the dark years that followed, and was a hero when we so desperately needed one.
“He was a hero because he had the rare gift of being able to express heroic sentiments in a way that was vigorous, inspirational and compelling. That individual was Jonathan Bowden.
“It is right that we honour his passing and that we remember him afresh each year, for his defining quality as an orator and by awarding a prize in his name.
“This trophy adorned Jonathan’s desk as an ornament at his home, and we have enhanced it with the addition of a plinth so that name plates for future winners can be accomodated. The winner of the prize gets to keep this trophy until the 1st of March 2018 and to display it at their home, and in addition receives a cash sum which this year we have increased to £500.
“This annual prize; this commemorative dinner; the bi-monthly London Forum meetings; the bi-monthly Regional Forum meetings; and the annual John Tyndall Memorial Meeting, are the components of a cultural infrastructure, and their coming into being, and the shared participation of those of us in this room who have been driving these developments represents the gradual healing of our fractured movement and its metamorphosis into something
potent once more.
“These are still early days on the road to the fulfilment of our dreams, but I believe the developments of which I speak auger well for the future of our people, and all of us involved in this rebirth can feel proud of the contribution we make.
“We had six individuals nominated for the Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize this year, but unfortunately one nominee, Peter Rushton, was nominated for a speech made in 2015 and so was not able to be considered.
“One individual came extremely close to winning the prize for a second time, but in a ‘photo finish’ the decision went against him and in favour of a very popular man who I believe will be widely regarded as a worthy winner. A man who has established himself as one of the most prolific speakers at nationalist events, and all that practice has paid off.
“His speaking style is relaxed; his speeches are engaging and full of oratorical devices and dramatic affectations that make them both rousing and entertaining to watch.
“And so, I would like you to put your hands together for our 2017 Jonathan Bowden Oratory Prize winner, who is … Jez Turner!
By Max Musson © 2017
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