It was her combined birthday and farewell party, held just days before she flew out Thailand for the start of her ‘Gap Year’ trip through South East Asia and Australia, and the last time many of her wide circle of friends had a chance to see her. We all thought we’d see her again once she arrived home in April or May.
Conversation worked its way through the innate, and justifiable, conservatism of parents in relation their children, and to her upcoming trip to Thailand. Whilst she was rightfully the centre of attention that evening she took the time to talk with friends and follow-up on problems they faced that had caught her attention.
Short of stature but kind of heart, Christina was born in New Zealand on January 3rd 1992, the only child of Boyne and Margaret Annesley, and grew up in the UK. She attended the Darrick Wood School in Orpington before reading History at the University of Leeds. It was her intention to start a Masters in English Literature in September 2015 and she aspired to be a novelist.
Interested and active in politics from a young age, by the time of her death Chrissie identified as an anarcho-capitalist. At the beginning of her activism she joined Conservative Future (CF) and whilst at university stood for the Conservative Party in the local elections in Headingley ward (she finished 4th with 370 votes – 9.5% of the total) in May 2011. In the same month she was elected to chair the Leeds branch of CF.
The following April, along with several other members of Leeds CF, she publicly defected to UKIP saying that ‘she could no longer encourage electors to vote Conservative‘. This led to Ben Howlett, the then National Chairman of Conservative Future (and now PPC for Bath), having a meltdown on Twitter during which he claimed that they had never been party members anyway. This resulted in him being the star of Downfall parody – and yet another meltdown.
At this stage, UKIP’s youth movement Young Independence (YI), then led by Harry Aldridge, was known for being libertarian in outlook and counted amongst its members Christina’s boyfriend, Oliver Neville. Christina became vice-chairman of Yorkshire YI and Olly stood for the chairmanship of YI after Harry stood down – an election he is thought to have won (although the result was never made official). Neville was sacked after appearing on the BBC’s World at One on New Year’s Eve 2012 during which he made comments on marriage and the party’s focus on Brussels at the expense of Westminster that the UKIP leadership disliked (earning Olly his own Downfall parody). In protest at his sacking Chrissie and the Yorkshire YI chairman resigned their positions and left YI.
In 2011 Christina founded the Leeds branch of Liberty League and was chairman for several months in 2012.
When in London she was an active participant in the young political scene, regularly attending events run by the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), The Freedom Association (TFA) – especially their pub quizzes which she competed in as a member of The Moggettes – and the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF). She also graced Libertarian Home with her presence occasionally.
Possessing both a UK and New Zealand passport, Chrissie liked to travel – she hated the cold and tried to escape the UK as often as possible. A voracious reader (her holidays were often accompanied by a request for reading suggestions), one of her favourite authors was Margaret Atwood and she credited The Handmaid’s Tale as one of the biggest influences on her life.
A lover of gin, she blogged occasionally at Liberty and Gin.
Her body was found in the room she was staying in on the Thai island of Koh Tao on January 21st. There are no reports of suspicious circumstances and a post-mortem to determine the exact cause of death is ongoing. Amid an outpouring of tributes her death was remembered at all levels and across the political right.
Ironically part of the invite to her ‘Geburtstag and goodbyeee!’ reads:
It’s my birthday on the 3rd January – we won’t mention my age anymore, I’m going to be 18 forever and that’s the end of that.
She was only 5 years out.
Vale Christina Marian Annesley, January 3rd 1992 to January 21st 2015