|Tony Wakeford (left) with Ian Anderson (right) and the NF on Brick Lane, London, 29th Aug 1982 |
© David Hoffman, Hoffmanphotos
This picture appears to show Wakeford (on the left) at an NF stall in London's Brick Lane in 1982, campaigning for Ian Anderson (right), who went on to lead the party. For many years Brick Lane, in London's East End, has been at the heart of the city's Bangladeshi-Sylheti community, and for a long time in the late 70s and 80s it was a regular haunt of the NF, who pitched up there to intimidate the locals. As a result the area became notorious for racist attacks on local Asians.
In May 1978 a local man, Altab Ali, was murdered in a racially motivated attack - the park at the southern end of the lane is now named after him - and as a result there were demonstrations against the NF and the beginnings of a powerful movement of local opposition and organisation against them. These events also led to the formation of Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League. As an iconic symbol of the Bangladeshi community's resistance to the fascists Brick Lane was later also one of three sites targeted in 1999 by David Copeland, the 'London Nail Bomber', who had been a member of both the British National Party (BNP) and the National Socialist Movement. Copeland's bombs killed three people, including a pregnant woman, and injured 129, four of whom lost limbs
For a long time in the late 70s and the 80s Brick Lane was the site of pitched battles between fascists and a combination of locals and anti-fascists, who made it a priority to drive the Nazis from the area. In that case, Wakeford was almost certainly there on the day this picture was taken in order to confront the local opposition, and as some kind of bodyguard for Anderson. The significance of the picture is that it shows that Wakeford was much more than a fellow traveller of the NF with a vague interest in 'European traditions', as he likes to put it these days - he was an activist and a fascist street fighter. And as Wakeford did not leave Death in June until 1984 it also shows that Doug Pearce spent a good two years working alongside this fascist activist before ditching him.
If anyone has more information about the goons pictured above, the occasion for the stall being there, or about Wakeford's time in the NF generally, let us know at the address above. Note that it's possible that during his time in the NF Wakeford went by an alias - 'Dave Waters' has been mentioned.
The character seated at the desk looks as though it could be Ken Walsh, a long-time East End fascist activist who later stood as a BNP candidate, thus creating a rift with then BNP allies Combat 18, who judged that a party of 'morals' perhaps shouldn't be promoting a candidate who spoke so openly and enthusiastically about his sex-tourism in Thailand. Walsh was one of the organisers of a march celebrating the murder of Stephen Lawrence, killed by racist thugs in South London in April 1993.
Thanks to David Hoffman for the use of the photograph