Update : September 25, 2008: A good (if typically flawed) biography of Ian and Skrewdriver, ‘The Legacy of Ian Stuart’, Fat Richard Warwick, Swindle, No.3. Note that while German label Rock-O-Rama — on which Skrewdriver released an album (Hail The New Dawn) and single (Invasion/On The Streets) in 1984 — has since evolved into Belgian label Pure Impact, a fascist-sympathising businessman, Herbert Egoldt, remains at the helm (if in the shadows). Note too that ex-Skrewydriver bassist Murray Holmes is back playing gigs Down Under with The Quick & The Dead, and with the support of local (Perth) punk band The Homicides.
- Above : Front cover image, No Retreat: The Secret War Between Britain’s Anti-Fascists and the Far Right
Neo-Nazi skinhead Ian Stuart Donaldson (b.1957) was killed in a car accident in 1993, and ever since he’s a been a subject of veneration — well, for a handful of other boneheads anyway — as well as derision (everyone else). Before he died a long-overdue death, however, Stuart managed — as the founder of Blood & Honour and vocalist for Skrewdriver — to earn himself a reputation as being one of England’s most notorious boneheads… as well as being among the top one hundred of the finest musicians to ever come out of Blackpool with-a-Grammar-school-education and to then die-in-a-car-accident-in-1993.
In an interview in some zine or other, Stuart is alleged to have remarked (before his death… presumably) that:
I am not the type of person to creep and crawl to a bunch of weak-kneed, pacifist lefties and two-faced Zionists. One must be honest to people about one’s beliefs and especially when the survival of our very race is at stake. I have no doubt that anyone who expounds patriotic beliefs has a little black mark put against his name, and by now I must have a massive black mark near my name. C’est la guerre.
Mad as a cut snake, obviously.
But that wasn’t all there was to Stuart. For, as well being quite a daft bugger and a god-awful musician,* he was also a coward and a bully:
Following the events of May 27 [1989: B&H stupidly tried to hold a gig in London — ‘The Main Event’ — and got their arses kicked by Anti-Fascist Action], Ian Stuart left his house in King’s Cross and moved to Derbyshire. [AFA] heard rumours that the Chelsea Headhunters were trying to muscle in on on the [B&H] cash cow and were making threatening noises in his direction. There was, however, another reason for his swift departure from London, and that was the activities of a certain ex-Manc by the name of Hefty who harassed and attacked the [B&H] leader at every given opportunity.
The area around King’s Cross and Euston was bandit country. Lone fascists, small groups of [neo-Nazis] and even whole firms came to grief in the streets around the two stations. Hefty and a few other lads, namely AJ, Carl, Pete G, and Gavin, used to operate around that area and chanced upon Stuart on a number of occasions. They gave him and his followers a few serious hidings at various times, but the event that seemed to give Stuart the real horrors was when he went out early one morning to buy a newspaper and a pint of milk, and was hit across the head by a large Mancunian wielding a Lucozade bottle. Ian Stuart was a coward and a bully. He liked to throw his weight around when the odds were in his favour, but when confronted on any number of occasions by AFA lads he legged it and left his comrades to face the music…
[NB: “The Headhunter heyday was back in the mid-1980s when Steven Hickmott led the group… Hickmott was eventually picked up by police in the country’s first undercover football operation. Sentenced to ten years for organising violence (later overturned after police evidence was questioned), Hickmott was replaced with Chris “Chubby” Henderson, a long-time [neo-Nazi] activist and singer with the Oi band Combat 84.” Locally, Combat 84 — alongside of Condemned 84 and a number of other racist/fascist Oi! bands — is available through Deadset Music.]
Stuart also had the privilege in his too-long life of being a failed businessman: between 1987 and 1989, AFA managed to close down the few shops in Carnaby Street scabby enough to actually stoop to selling his music and merchandise, leaving his few fans unhappy shoppers… and B&H humiliated.
Below is an account of ‘The Battle of Waterloo’ by a former member of Manchester AFA, Dave Hann; the battle between boneheads and antifa taking place the very last time Skrewdriver tried to play London, and a little over twelve months before Stuart made his final descent into Hell.
Curiously, it’s a little known fact that, at the time of his death, Derby Coroner Peter Ashworth concluded:
We are still no nearer finding out what caused this tragic accident. All we can say is that, whatever his parent’s defects, Stuart became less easy to control. But there must have been some other factor which contributed to the crash, even if Ian had not grabbed the wheel in a way many others in the same situation would never have done.
So, as we remember Ian the Bonehead, we should also remember all the other Boneheads.
And send them our very best wishes.
STAGE BOTTLES – Dead But Not Forgiven
- Ian couldn’t drive a car
As we all know
He trusted too much in all his gods
And though he was a human being
We don’t feel any sorrow for him
Now we got rid of one of those cunts
He’s been one of our most important enemies
So we forget our respect for life
Cause all he did was senseless shit
Now we’re here and having our fun
Having our fun and thinking about him
He’s been the one who misused the word Skinhead
He himself was never one – he was a fucking Bonehead
[*Some conspiracy theorists maintain that ‘the Jews’ are ‘the ones what are responsible’ for not only Stuart’s ‘accidental’ death but his ‘deliberate’ birth too; seemingly on the basis that his music — being so unbearably mediocre — was devised solely in order to discredit the bonehead image, and to ruin the cottage White Power? Give ‘Em A Golden Shower! muzak industry that was borne in his flatulent wake.]
The Battle of Waterloo, September 12th, 1992
In August 1992, posters proclaiming “Skrewdriver Back in London” were spotted in various parts of the country. They were advertising a Blood and Honour [B&H] concert due to take place in London on September 12. At first we assumed it was a hoax, as Skrewdriver hadn’t even attempted to play in London since The Main Event, but as time went by it became obvious that it was anything but a hoax.
The concert was once more touted to be a massive affair, with up to 2,000 [neo-Nazis] expected to attend and several bands playing, including Skrewdriver, Skullhead, No Remorse and a Swedish band called Dirlewanger. There was a rumour flying about that a mainstream music promoter was willing to seriously back [B&H] if the gig proved a success and any opposition was muted or destroyed. Once again the gig was at a secret location with a re-direction point, which this time was at Waterloo Station at 5.30pm. We heard on the grapevine that both the BNP and the British Movement (BM) had been approached to help with security for the event.
By coincidence, a week before the concert the AFA’s Unity Carnival was due to take place on Hackney Downs in London. A request was made for stewards to attend from around the country in case the fash tried a pre-emptive strike, but nothing untoward happened and the carnival passed off peacefully. Maybe the fash were hoping that if they left us alone, we would leave them alone. Fat chance.
The carnival was cold and rain-swept, but at least it gave us a chance to alert an already interested audience to the following weekend’s events. In the meantime, London AFA contacted all the various anti-racist and anti-fascist groups with details of what was to happen at Waterloo, but no-one seemed interested. The ANL suddenly decided that they were holding a march in Thornton Heath, more than fifteen miles away. So it looked like we were on our own, but then we never seriously expected anything else.
Neil Parrish, who had become one of [B&H]‘s main organisers, boasted to the media that he would be available at 4.30pm on the station concourse to give interviews. A Sky News reporter was worried that he wouldn’t be able to find the bones and was told that as they were expecting between 1,000 and 2,000 at the station, “you’ll have no trouble finding us”. By a strange coincidence, 4.30pm was when London AFA announced that they were also calling a counter-demonstration at the station.
We took about twenty stewards down from Manchester. All the usual suspects were present, including Gerry, Steve, Wigan Mike, Gary the Axe, Solo, Big Dave and the rest. We eventually arrived in the Smoke at 1pm and met up with the London AFA lads in a pub on the Holloway Road. AFA groups from around the country were arriving all the time, swelling numbers to about 200. The atmosphere was tense because everyone knew that this was the big one. It really was a case of do or die. We had a fair-sized mob out that day, with good numbers from Liverpool, Doncaster and London itself, but it looked tiny in comparison to what I knew we could expect to find at Waterloo.
I tried to push all thoughts of what lay ahead to the back of my mind. I was nervous and tense but did my best to appear laid back and unconcerned. Sometimes it just hits you like that. Sometimes you’re really buzzing and up for it, while at others you get a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. Either way you have to force yourself to stay cool, especially when you are in a position where other people are relying on you to keep a clear head.
At 3.20pm, AFA’s Stewards’ Group appeared on the station concourse at Waterloo, causing a number of bones to flee for their lives. Three boneheads drinking in the station were set upon. The police tried to push their way through the AFA mob crowding at the entrance to the bar in an attempt to arrest those inside, and in doing so missed the guilty parties making good their escape through another exit not ten feet away. We heard rumours afterwards that these first casualties were in fact plainclothes police sent to Waterloo to infiltrate [B&H].
Both Steve and Gerry were involved in early exchanges with the [neo-Nazis], but Gerry hurt his hand punching someone on the side of the head. He spent the rest of the afternoon complaining about it. “I think I’ve broken ma fuckin’ knuckle”, he moaned.
More boneheads were attacked as they entered the station, and the police were forced to cordon off the [neo-Nazis] in the middle of the station concourse. Along with several other AFA stewards I infiltrated the cordon. Once inside I sidled up behind the biggest bonehead I could find and started kicking him surreptitiously in the back of the ankles.
“You’re going to die when we get out of here”, I whispered into his ear.
He tried to ignore me, but he was shaking like a leaf.
“Did you hear me, you baldy wanker?” I goaded. “When we get out of here I’m going to kill you.”
All the colour had drained out of him and for a moment I thought he was going to faint. His misery was brought to an end when the police decided to escort the [neo-Nazis] out of the station to safety, but once outside, and out of view of the CCTV cameras, they were astonished when their escort suddenly imploded from within as the anti-fascists turned on the boneheads. The bonehead I was goading earlier had shot off like a rabbit, and I only managed to land a couple of glancing blows on the back of his head.
This scenario was re-enacted several times over the next hour and a half as we continued to resist police attempts to force us off the station concourse. While this game of cat and mouse was going on, other groups of anti-fascists were ambushing boneheads coming up the escalators from the tube station.
I was arrested by the Transport Police at Waterloo Station during one of these scuffles, but for some reason I was never charged with anything, and to my surprise they released me an hour or so later with a warning to leave the immediate area or risk being arrested again. I ignored the warning of course. There was no way I was going to miss this.
The Transport Police at Waterloo Station have a little office at the side of the concourse, and I basically took two steps out of the front door and I was smack bang in the middle of a full-scale riot again. Boneheads were still being chased and battered everywhere you looked, and the police had completely lost control of the situation.
By 5pm, there were nearly 1,000 anti-fascists on the concourse and fights were still breaking out all over the place. Shortly afterwards, the station was shut down at the request of the manager, freeing AFA from the responsibility of holding the concourse any longer and allowing us to surge out into the streets to confront the groups of boneheads mobbing up outside. Neil Parrish was nowhere to be seen.
Everywhere you looked boneheads were being battered and chased. A group of fifty right-wing casuals got themselves trapped under a footbridge, and despite being surrounded by riot police they came under attack from all sides, including an aerial bombardment of broken quarry tiles from the footbridge above…
Elsewhere, individuals and small groups arriving on foot or by car were picked off as they approached the station. One carload of bones was trapped when the driver made the unfortunate mistake of leaving his window wound down, providing an opportunistic anti-fascist with the chance to reach in and turn his engine off and remove the keys before the vehicle was attacked. The immobile car was nearly turned over.
I saw one panic-stricken bonehead run the entire length of the street with his arms covering his head to protect himself. A sensible enough precaution except for the fact that he couldn’t see where he was going and kept running into groups of anti-fascists who gave him the occasional dig as he ran past them. Eventually someone put him out of his misery and tripped him up. I caught him a beauty as he fell, my boot going upwards as he was falling forwards. Within seconds he was unconscious.
Four stations had now been shut down in the area due to “rioting”, including Charing Cross, making it difficult for anyone to reach Waterloo, although a large mob of bones arrived on foot via the footbridge across the Thames. They soon wished they hadn’t as they immediately came under attack. A number of football supporters from various clubs, including Arsenal, QPR, Millwall and Chelsea also found their way to the area and joined one side or the other according to their political beliefs.
The football supporters mostly arrived at Waterloo in ones or twos, or in small groups. Some were attempting to make their way home after the match, while others were attracted to the area by radio reports of the rioting. Millwall and Chelsea arrived mob-handed. Chelsea, as expected, were pretty much on the side of [B&H]. The situation with Millwall was less clear-cut. Everyone expected them to be 100 per cent behind the fash but when one of Millwall’s main men was approached by Nicky Cooper of the NF pleading for help on [B&H]‘s behalf, he got more than he bargained for. He was apparently sent sprawling by a vicious punch and told, “We’ve come to kick their heads in, not go to their fucking stupid gig”. However, another well-known face at Millwall, “Tags” or “Taggart”, collapsed with a heart attack in the middle of the fascist ranks after coming under an anti-fascist bombardment of bricks and paving slabs.
Skirmishes continued all around Waterloo as the [neo-Nazis] and their police escorts came under concerted attack by large numbers of anti-fascists. The police did not know what to do with their escorts and the fascists themselves did not know where the venue was because Neil Parrish and the rest of the organisers were sat in a pub at Victoria Station. When phone calls were made by the trapped fascists to the organisers demanding that they either be given the venue details or be rescued, they were told that they should try to make their way to Victoria where they would be told the location of the gig…
Eventually the police managed to get things under control and escorted the remaining fash to Temple tube station where they were put on a commandeered train out of the area. In the end, less than 400 got into the gig at the Yorkshire Grey pub in Eltham, south-east London. The anti-fascists, meanwhile, were broken up into small groups by the police, cordoned off and escorted on foot across the Thames towards central and north London…
The papers the next morning all carried reports of the “Battle of Waterloo” and on the whole the reports were fairly accurate, except for the Sunday Times, which attributed the whole thing to the Anti-Nazi League [an SWP front oganisation]. This might have been because the ANL actually sent out a press release claiming responsibility. On a similar note, I cannot let the occasion pass without mentioning a small lefty sect by the name of Workers’ Power, who amid all the carnage and rioting at Waterloo, actually tried to do a paper sale!
On a foggy night in [September] 1993, Ian Stuart died in a car-crash in Derbyshire. His death opened the door for Combat 18 to muscle in on the Blood and Honour cash cow.
Source : No Retreat, pp.193-199