Obituary – Ian Anderson – 1953 – 2011

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R to L. Tom Mundy, Joe Pierce, Iasn Anderson, Nick Griffin, Pat Harrington.

We have just been informed that former National Front chairman Ian Anderson died (of a brain tumour) last week – on February 2nd.

Anderson was a leading figure in the British racial-nationalist scene in the 1980s and 1990s.

Although firmly associated with nationalism, Anderson’s involvement in politics began in Oxford, while he was at University studying Zoology in the mid-1970s when he was close to certain elements on the right-wing of the Conservative Party, particularly the Monday Club.

Anderson joined the National Front in the late 1970s and was initially seen as a supporter of National Organiser Martin Webster and the NFs Gay faction. However when the Political Soldier faction, led by figures such as Nick Griffin, Pat Harrington and Derek Holland, moved against Webster and his boy friend Michael Salt, Anderson sided with the rebels and used his casting vote to ensure that Webster and Salt were expelled for mismanagement.

Anderson became a close associate of Andrew Brons and, like Brons, largely indulged the Political Soldiers faction, writing for the Third Positionist party magazine Nationalism Today. He also played a leading role in working with Ian Stuart Donaldson to ensure that Rock Against Communism became the province of the NF rather than the British Movement. As Anderson grew in influence within the NF divisions between the faction led by Brons and himself and the Political Soldiers grew, as Anderson was a strong supporter of electoral participation.

He became one of the leading figures grouped around the dissident The Flag newspaper (edited by Martin Wingfield) and was expelled by the Official National Front along with the rest of his faction in 1986, reconstituting as the NF Flag Group. The divisions reached a crisis at the Vauxhall by-election in 1989, where an NF candidate for each faction stood (Patrick Harrington and Ted Budden), splitting support and haranguing one another on live TV as the declaration of votes was made. Anderson, nonetheless, became a powerful figure within the Flag Group and by 1990 was effective leader, Andrew Brons having left the political scene.

With the Official NF having split into the International Third Position and Third Way, Anderson gained control of the NF in 1990 and attempted to remodel the party back along the lines of John O’Brien in the early 1970s when they had appeared at one stage to be a potential threat to the mainstream parties. The spur for this was undoubtedly the success of the Front National in France. Anderson’s NF suffered however from the inactivity and in-fighting of the 1980s, whilst the emergence of the British National Party was also a major check on his ambitions as leader.

Anderson soon came to believe that the negative connotations of the National Front name were proving a bar to success and so in 1995 he relaunched the party as the National Democrats, after a postal ballot of the members. The launch was not without its problems however: within a month, many activists had joined the continuing National Front run by John McAuley and Tom Homes.

Anderson maintained contacts in Northern Ireland (which the NF had built up during the late 1970’s and 1980s), particularly within the right-wing of the UDA and in the 1997 General Election he stood as a candidate for the National Democrats in Londonderry East constituency. Securing a mere 0.2% share of the vote in the constituency, Anderson soon abandoned his Northern Ireland strategy. The National Democrats have since become the Campaign for National Democracy pressure group and has ceased actively contesting elections.

Anderson was also involved in setting up the People’s Campaign to Keep the Pound, along with Anthony Bennett, a leading member of Robert Kilroy-Silk’s Veritas. In 2004, he re-emerged in his new home of Epping to become a figure in community politics, campaigning for adult learning, local clean-ups,and more shops and fewer restaurants amongst other local campaigns.

Anderson was until his recent death the leader of the Epping Community Action Group, which was registered with the Electoral Commission as a political party in April 2006.The group stood two candidates, including Anderson himself, for election to Epping Forest District Council in the 2007 local elections, but came third in both wards. He gained 215 votes in the Epping Hemnall ward beating a British National Party candidate by 68 votes.

A full Obituary will be published in the forthcoming issue (44) of Heritage and Destiny which will be out in April.

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