Death of Ian Hague, EFP Treasurer
EFP Treasurer Ian Hague, 1957-2011
England First Party Treasurer and Wigan organiser Ian Hague died in hospital on 24th June, at the shockingly premature age of 53, a few weeks after an operation for cancer.
Ian had been an active patriot to the end, and was leafletting for this year’s local elections when he collapsed in the street, leading to the diagnosis of his fatal illness. I visited Ian several times in hospital during the campaign, where he retained a keen interest in the progress of the EFP and the moves towards post-Griffin nationalist unity.
Born in Wigan in 1957 and educated at local schools, Ian worked in retail management for many years in nearby Bolton, with the high street stores Next and Ciro Citterio. His home town was an archetypal Labour stronghold where votes were supposedly weighed rather than counted. In fact Labour candidates were quite often elected unopposed to Wigan Council until quite recently, and the Wigan constituency has elected Labour MPs with solid majorities ever since 1918.
Nationalism had never been strong in Wigan. None of the constituencies in or around Wigan were contested by the National Front even at its peak in the 1970s. So when Ian Hague joined the BNP in the mid-1990s, he was starting pretty much from scratch. In next to no time Ian had built up a serious branch structure, which (partly because Ian was then working in Bolton) operated as a joint Wigan-Bolton unit, in which Ian was assisted by veteran Bolton nationalist Marshall Bridge.
Between 1999 and 2002 I travelled frequently to Wigan to assist Ian in branch activities and speak at meetings. I particularly remember speaking at a BNP social and fundraising event held at Ian’s home in the Wigan suburb of Standish on 1st September 2001. We were able to celebrate England’s 5-1 victory over Germany in a World Cup qualifier which was shown live during the event!
At that time nationalism in North West England was growing rapidly. We were building towards the 2002 local elections, at which the BNP took 22.9% in Wigan’s Abram ward: the party’s first ever Wigan election. Ian’s branch activists and local candidate Dennis Shambley built that vote to 26% the following year, but problems were already brewing.
Ian Hague (centre right) between Nick Griffin and Joe Owens, on the cover of Owens's book 'Race War to Door Wars'.
Ian’s misfortune was that as a strong supporter of the late John Tyndall he had to operate in a party that was taken over by Nick Griffin soon after Ian joined. He thus found himself in a dissident minority within the BNP virtually from day one. To his credit Ian refused to be intimidated. He continued to invite John Tyndall to address successful BNP meetings in Wigan, and maintained contact with expelled Tyndall supporters such as myself. Ian was a guest at the 2004 H&D Christmas event in Blackburn, after which John Tyndall was infamously arrested and charged with Race Act thought crimes.
Ian’s characteristic courage was demonstrated on a couple of memorable occasions around that time. At the July Loyalist march in Southport he was assaulted by “anti-fascist” thugs: a year later he was threatened by a Merseyside organised crime figure who was then part of Nick Griffin’s inner circle. Neither event weakened Ian’s commitment, but in 2005 he resigned from the BNP, despairing at Griffinite chicanery and factional spite. Financial and family troubles also began to obtrude around this time, but despite these difficulties Ian battled on, helping to build the England First Party in his area and contesting Wigan council elections for the EFP in 2010 and 2011.
Nationalists across North West England will be left with happy memories of better times, and the hope of a reunited nationalist movement to come.
© 2011 British People's Party, BM Box 5581, London WC1N 3XX