Jonathan David Anthony Bowden (12 April 1962 - 29 March 2012) was a British artist and maverick political figure who was involved with a number of political groups. He was a speaker on a number of nationalist circuits and also gained an international following through Youtube, where his oratorical prowess was admired by an emerging generation of nationalists throughout the Anglosphere.
Born in Kent in 1962 "to English and Ulster-Scottish parents", he was educated at Presentation College, Reading, Berkshire, leaving in 1980 with the following O-levels: Chemistry (A), Physics (B), English (B), English Literature (A), Latin (C), History (A), Religion (A), Geography (C) and Maths (D). In 1983/4, as a mature student, he completed one year of a B.A. History course at Birkbeck College, London, but then left without graduating.
Jonathan Bowden said that he had been a member of the Conservative Party, although this appears to be untrue. About 1990, when he was living in Bethnal Green, London, he joined the Western Goals Institute and on 4th October that year applied to join the Conservative Monday Club, proposed by a Martin Summers. The Club's Director was retiring on 31st December and not even the most cursory vet was carried out, despite Bowden's then hippie-ish appearance. Encouraged, early in 1991 Bowden decided he wanted to stand for an ordinary seat on the Club's Executive Council and submitted a C.V. to the Club's administration, in which he also made a series of political statements, among which he called for "mandatory death sentences for IRA activists; abolition of the Commission for Racial & Sexual Equality; an end to all multi-racial and multi-cultural initiatives; re-criminalisation of male homosexuality."
Bowden appears to have been unaware that the Club always carried out a thorough vet of all nominees for their Executive Council. He in the meantime joined the council (elected by default due to insufficient other candidates applying to stand). Unfortunately he spectacularly failed the vet due to what appeared to be either blatant lies about himself or sheer fantasies. These were then raised with him. On August 23, 1991 he wrote to Gregory Lauder-Frost, the Club's Political Secretary, accusing him of "plotting against him", but failing to address any of the issues raised with him by the Club's council. Lauder-Frost replied on 27th of the same month (with copies to all council members) saying he was not aware of any "plot" or "what form it was taking". He explained the standard procedures of the Club. On the 29th August Stuart Millson wrote to Lauder-Frost suggesting that the Club should "let the matter drop", and, brazenly, Bowden turned up for the two subsequent Executive Council meetings. The matter was left on the back-burner while the Club dealt with more pressing matters. On 23rd October, however, Dr.Mark Mayall, the Club's Chairman wrote to Bowden asking him to attend a meeting with him and Denis Walker, the Club's Membership secretary, on 31st, "to clarify points already raised with you." On that day Bowden both submitted a new 'revised' retrospective membership application form, proposed this time by Stuart Millson, and with it his written resignation from the Executive Council. Four days later he wrote asking to withdraw his original C.V. submitted for council and sent a retrospective replacement for that too. Then, on the 7th November, bizarrely, Bowden wrote rescinding his resignation from the Executive Council. But the damage was done to his reputation and there was no going back. The Executive Council met on 13th November in a committee room at the House of Lords and the council unanimously agreed with the recommendations of the Membership Committee (of which Lauder-Frost was not a member) that Bowden's membership of the Club would not be renewed when it expired at the end of the year.
Revolutionary Conservative Caucus
Stuart Millson and Bowden were founders in 1992 of the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus, with the aim of introducing "abstract thought into the nether reaches of the Conservative and Unionist party." Ultimately Bowden and Millson fell out and the group was wound up in 1994.
Bowden had said he was involved in the emergence of Right Now! magazine. However, again, this claim is unclear at best. Monday Club activist Michael Harrison was the editor in early issues, including, for instance, no.3, April/June 1994, and by the January/March 1995 edition Derek Turner was editor and remained so until closure. There are no contributions by Bowden.
He later joined the Freedom Party, for which he acted as Hon. Treasurer for a period. Subsequently, with Adrian Davies, Bowden was part of the tiny Bloomsbury Forum, and joined Davies and Eddy Butler in editing the book Standardbearers - British Roots of the New Right, a collection of essays by various contributors. Bowden's contribution was an essay on (Bill) "Hopkins - An Angry Young Man"
Bowden went on to join the British National Party (BNP), and was for a period its Cultural Officer. In July 2007, he resigned from the BNP following a bitter dispute in which an associate of BNP leader Nick Griffin made defamatory allegations against Bowden on a blog. It has been claimed by Martin Webster that Bowden was forced out of the party due to his support for Chris Jackson, who made an unsuccessful attempt to replace Griffin as leader. After September 2008 Bowden resumed speaking at BNP events, but never rejoined the party. Since the May 2010 elections he had no further connection to the BNP.
Mental health and death
Bowden suffered a nervous breakdown in 2010 and was for a while sectioned to a mental hospital. On recovery, he again appeared on the nationalist lecturing circuit at a more low-key level. He addressed a 'New Right' lecture meeting on the subject of Charles Maurras and the Action Francaise five days before dying of heart failure at his caravan home in Berkshire on 29 March 2012, aged 49.
- Monday Club archives: Bowden vetting form.
- Monday Club archives: Bowden membership application form.
- Monday Club archives: letters files.
- Monday Club Executive Council Minutes 13 Nov 1991.
- Interview with Bowden
- Freedom Party website
- Bowden, Jonathan, Butler, Eddy, Davies, Adrian, editors, Standardbearers, Bloomsbury Forum, Beckenham, Kent, April 1999.
- Lancaster Unity Blog
- Vanguard News Network