PETER TAYLOR'S 'TRUE SPIES' DOCUMENTARY ON SPECIAL BRANCH CRITIQUED (Extract)

INTRODUCTION

In 2002, as the Cold War receded into history, and Special Branch began (SB) looking for a new role, Peter Taylor's landmark BBC 2 series on SB hit the small screen. It purported to be a rigorous journalistic investigation of past SB intervention in the political process, and even today is lauded in (lazy) circles as the last word on the subject. It was hardly that, and not because of insufficient resources--on the contrary, the problem was that Taylor (as usual) was so closely intertwined with the agenda of those he was nominally investigating that the result was critically flawed. Lacking any of the BBCs resources, and certainly their priviliged access to officers/assets, disclosed & undisclosed, NFB undertook (in issue 5 p.35-48) a genuinely rigorous investigation of our own, contrasting the way 'True Spies' treated key episodes and the ascertainable facts, including events and operations that should have been covered in 'True Spies' but weren't [see magazine section of shop above for details of how to obtain the whole thing]. Operations we covered were the actually career of SB/MI5 asset Peter Marriner, including two instances of infiltration by Marriner Taylor omitted--that of the Gay Liberation Front and the Labour Party. We also looked at SB dealings with Anti-roads activists and animal liberationists. Also integrated into the text is not only analysis of the genesis and precise series purpose, but detailed consideration of what contemporary reactions to True Spies revealed about those commenting. The result was a tour de force on our part, that has certainly stood the test of time....

PETER TAYLOR'S 'TRUE SPIES' DOCUMENTARY SERIES ON SPECIAL BRANCH: EXTRACT FROM A CRITIQUE

THE WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY: MUCH ADO ABOUT LITTLE?

The aspect of True Spies given most media publicity was spying on the Far Left, especially the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) [44]. There is a consistent pattern--Taylor omits or evades the most interesting questions at the expense of concentrating on the sensational and shallow. In the latter category, adding nothing to her 1994 Dimbleby Lecture, was Stella Rimington asserting "part of the Trotskyist route to revolution is violence on the street and undermining forces of law and order like the police" (Programme 2). Those of us with close up experience of Trotskyists over many years know how laughable is this imputation of violence or even serious revolutionary intent to the placard-waving liberals preponderant in the 'Last Century Left'. As does Taylor, who has covered Northern Ireland paramilitaries for over 30 years.

That said, WRP revolutionary rhetoric was taken seriously by some members. And, as pointed out last NFB (issue 4 p.32-34), the WRP interested MI6 as well as MI5. The most prominent associate (not even member) featured was actor Ricky Tomlinson, who (after involvement with the National Front) played an important role in the 1972 Shrewsbury building worker's strike that undermined the Heath government's industrial legislation. Given the national significance of this dispute, and the way he and co-worker Des Warren were freed due to industrial action and mass protest, it is no surprise Tomlinson was targeted. It would have been peculiar if he hadn't. Tomlinson affected shock when told SB had a file on him, but unlike other interviewees at least has the excuse of being a comedian. The WRP infiltrator Taylor interviewed seemed to be from an ethnic minority, although what he actually did (other than draw £500 per month tax free) wasn't specified. After all, the 1975 raid on the WRP's Derbyshire 'Red House' uncovered only three bullets probably planted by those discovering them (Programme 2). Aside from WRP links with Middle East regimes, MI5/SB would have been intrigued by sources for the perceptive WRP classic on ruling class strategy 'The State Within a State'. Taylor says nothing of these matters, and gives not even passing mention to the belief held by some in/around the WRP that their late former leader Gerry Healy was deposed by an MI5 plot. That this paedophile shyster was probably deposed for entirely legitimate reasons (see NFB 4 p.33-34) is not quite the point. To set the record straight, this matter deserved examination far more than the three insubstantial WRP stories (Tomlinson, Red House and BBC blacklisting of playwright Roy Battersby) covered in True Spies. Even while compiling this review, information has come in concerning a possible high-level state asset in the WRP: but more on that next NFB....

THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY: EVASIVENESS ENCAPSULATED

If the WRP were marginalised as the 1970's progressed, not so the International Socialists, who became the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1977. True Spies promises much, but delivers little here. Taylor says "the Security Services went to extraordinary lengths to find out what the SWP was up to" (Programme 2), but even less is revealed of operations against the SWP than WRP. Much was made in the obligatory two page free Guardian advert of Special Branch infiltrating the SWP. Taylor reveals that the Met Police set up "an elite unit....known as the 'special demonstration squad'--or less prosaically as the 'hairies' because of the way its officers dressed looked and lived" [45]. In fact, the 'hairy' interviewed, Geoff, although an SWP and consequently Anti-Nazi League member, seems to have been more interested in getting close to Peter Hain (see below) than anything else. Typical of True Spies evasiveness is Taylor's claim Geoff helped the ANL by arranging for money collected at a carnival in East London's Victoria Park to be taken back to HQ by Securicor. Taylor describes this as the "ANL benefiting from the organisational skills of a hairy" (Programme 2). Very droll, when a normal SB perk is to rob the petty cash of infiltrated organisations blind. Interestingly, Taylor hums a refrain also taken up by MI5 officer David Shayler in relation to Class War covered elsewhere in this issue. The argument is that without spook help the Left would hardly function-claims never made, strange to say, concerning the Far Right. Yet given Geoff's squad remit was public order, the key questions concerned his possible role in the controversial ANL/SWP leadership decision to refuse switching the second ANL Carnival (24/9/78) to the East End so as to defend Brick Lane against an NF march, feeding lies to platform speaker Ernie Roberts MP about the numbers defending Brick Lane on the day (300 became 7,000), and moves to expel SWP branches who had mobilised in defence of Brick Lane [46]. None raised by Taylor, who instead gives the impression this Special Branch officer aided the anti-racist cause. Throwaway comments in Programme Three about SWP front-group 'Globalise Resistance' will be dealt with later.

MILITANT: A TENDENCY TO DECEIVE

Taylor's revelations about the International Marxist Group were hardly momentous. An SB agent purloining office keys for duplication to facilitate breaking and entry is unexceptional in the extreme. As too, the stated purpose of such burglary, copying membership lists (Programme 1). Paul Anderson has quite rightly ridiculed the IMG's ploy of interrogating a suspected SB asset over 10 pints of a beer in a pub-pathetic at best [47]. If the IMG was a dilettantish thorn in the establishment's side, in their heyday the rather more working class Militant Tendency (now the Socialist Party) were a substantial threat, not because they were revolutionary, but because some members had the commitment and serious attitude that might have seen them move towards such a position. True Spies covers SB/MI5 operations against Militant in such an unbelievable way as to obliquely confirm (by omission and disinformation) that Militant were a real problem for the secret state. Coverage of Militant predictably starts in the 1980's with the charismatic Derek Hatton, former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council. We are told that both he and Militant came under scrutiny, though Tony Robinson of Lancashire Special Branch carefully states that "Hatton only came to my notice as being an active member of Militant" (Programme 2). No other detail given. Inasmuch as Derek Hatton was subjected to major legal actions over a number of years, code-named 'Operation Cheetah' by the police, designed to prove corruption and tie his life up in legal knots, this beggars belief. That, in the end, nothing was proven shows how motivated by political malice these legal actions were. Indeed, this tendentious prosecution hinged on the slender thread of two ambiguous diary entries, as Robin Ramsay pointed out at the time [48]. Hatton knew police investigations into him were politically inspired but didn't "criticise the way the police did their job...they were thorough but they were fair" [49]. That may have been so for Fraud Squad officers, but not for the shadowy SB who are adept at getting other police to do their dirty work. Given Hatton's diaries were only demanded after police first interviewed him [50], he must have been targeted before, for political reasons. Again, Taylor lets SB off the hook by not asking about this.

Suspicion SB/MI5 operations against Militant were both extensive and illegal/highly provocative can be found by looking at what SB admit to. A graphic description of monitoring and recording Militant's annual conferences is given, complete with details of toilet arrangements for confined spaces (Programme 2). Allegedly, Militant conferences had to be surveilled this risky way due to "fearful internal security...which made them one of the most difficult groups to spy on. Getting inside was not easy" (Programme 2). A patent lie. For given Militant had more working class members than other groups, infiltrators wouldn't need to spout the pseudo-sophisticated rhetoric common in student-based groups like the SWP. Furthermore, there was a potential short-cut into Militant via joining a Hatton innovation, the Liverpool City Council 'Static Security Force', one member of whom is shown barring a reporter entry to a Militant meeting (Programme 2). According to one critic, "many in the force had criminal records", in other words ideal recruitment fodder for SB assets. This critic of the Static Security Force went on to say "in time the force came to be known as Hatton's Army. It was not only used to protect Hatton; members of the force began turning up at District Labour Party meetings in uniform. They were used to eject people from meetings, and some DLP delegates found them intimidating" [51]. The critic should be familiar to Taylor: it was sometime BBC Panorama colleague Michael Crick. Even if a hostile interpretation of the force is rejected [52], at the very least its existence, personnel and function puts the lie to Robinson's claim Militant were difficult to infiltrate. Also, Militant's onward march inside Liverpool Labour Party meant plenty of disgruntled right-wingers prepared to inform on them. Hence, reference to recording Militant conferences from concealed hiding places, while it almost certainly happened (to obtain a full verbatim transcript), is undoubtedly done to divert attention from infiltrators.

The only other anti-Militant operation True Spies refers to is placing an agent inside Coventry Labour Party to spy on MP Dave Nellist. Exactly what Nellist did to merit such close attention wasn't spelt out, other than presence at Militant meetings. While it would be logical for SB to also target Militant's two other MPs, Tony Mulhearn and Terry Fields, this was not mentioned. Perhaps significantly, these two were based on Merseyside, like Hatton. Therefore silence here again denotes major league dirty tricks against Militant in Liverpool and surrounds, in the course of which Militant and the District Labour Party were well infiltrated. One stunt that bears the hallmarks of MI5/SB jiggery-pokery was the fact that in May 1986 a number of Merseyside Militant members received letters from the National Front inviting them to join. The NF claimed a list of several hundred local Militant members had been provided by a 'mole' inside Militant. They probably had: but far more likely an SB mole than fascist infiltrator [53]. Spurious attempts to equate Far Left and Far Right are, as long-term NFB readers will know, an MI5/SB speciality. This operation was most likely the tip of an iceberg. True Spies is more revealing than intended in the matter of Militant, but only by omission, lost on most viewers.

PETER HAIN: ENEMY OF THE STATE?

While his politics are now filleted of residual radicalism, current Leader of the Commons and South African former Young Liberal anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain once had fire in his soul. He was consequently subject to secret state attention, and two separate instances feature in True Spies. The first concerns Hain's anti-apartheid activism, starting with attempts to stop the 1970 Springbok rugby tour of the UK. One asset, 'Mike' allegedly worked his way up to become Hain's number two, and gave advance warning that one match against the Barbarians at Twickenham would be disrupted by throwing tacks and smoke bombs on the pitch. This was foiled by police using electric magnets and sand (Programme One). Next, True Spies fast-forwards to 1978, where, as discussed above, SB officer Geoff infiltrated the SWP and "got close to the young Peter Hain" (Taylor/Programme Two). Why he did so wasn't spelt out. The public order dimension of the ANL was not explored by Taylor, as we have seen. Hain himself was merely a useful figurehead for an organisation controlled by the SWP. Nonetheless, viewers will have got the idea Hain is a long-term subversive of some kind.

Predictably, True Spies leaves out the most interesting bit of Hain's political CV directly relevant to the series stated purpose. In October 1975 Hain, already a public figure, was charged with robbing a Barclays bank in Putney, London. Gordon Winter, former officer of the South African intelligence service, BOSS, later claimed the operation was an elaborate BOSS sting to remove a redoubtable political opponent [54]. Over and above fact BOSS was created following recommendations from ex-MI5 Director Sir Percy Sillitoe, connections between BOSS and SB/MI5 were ongoing throughout the period covered in True Spies. The Anti-Apartheid Movement was infiltrated by Special Branch on Boss' behalf, according to Winter [55]. He describes the "relationship between British intelligence and BOSS [as] basically simple. They feed each other information about known communists in both countries" [56]. Simple in 1981: embarrassing now. Furthermore, in February 1987 Peter Hain "established through a serving British intelligence officer the contents of a record held by the security services in London. It states that the Metropolitan police were tipped off by security agents almost immediately after the bank theft that I was responsible....! was informed that it was on security service records that BOSS was involved as well" [57]. Hain's reference to an intelligence officer (MI6?) telling him about a security service (MI5) file may be just a loose form of words, but possibly not. MI6 were long believed by the South African apartheid regime to be hostile: and on that basis, especially in the regime's twilight years of 1987, MI6 reasoning may have been that my enemy's enemy (Hain) could be a friend. The claim that MI5 phoned police to incriminate him accords with the recollections of Hain and his solicitor [58]. Winter also points out that British spooks knew all BOSS' main agents in London [59].

The above evidence of BOSS links with Special Branch and MI5 puts into perspective True Spies silence on the 1975 plot to frame Hain, coming midway between two operations against Hain True Spies covered. The word plot is used advisedly: Hain's 'Putney Plot?' book marshals enough proof to show that not only was he palpably innocent, but a high level of chicanery was integral to the case coming to trial in the first place. At the very least, SB/MI5 would have been aware of the plot, yet did nothing to stop the fit-up and subsequent trial. This complicity goes a long way to explaining a curious aspect of True Spies. Whereas the Stop the Springboks Tour campaign was certainly a legitimate story, the ANL wasn't in the vacuous way it was covered, with Hain's gratuitous inclusion. This underlines the fact that True Spies not covering some stories they should have wasn't due to space reasons, but other considerations. The motive for Hain being hung out to dry by True Spies, put on the spot to defend a radical past long left behind, is not hard to find. In June 2000, ten months before True Spies reached the drawing-board, Hain reportedly asked MI5 for his 'bank raid' file, the only minister to do so since Harold Wilson, given neither Peter Mandelson nor Jack Straw have [60]. Release of this and related material would inevitably embarrass Special Branch and MI5: which is why Hain requested it. This political time-bomb would explain the attention True Spies gave Hain and the way he was portrayed: and also why the Putney Plot wasn't covered. Wriggle as Taylor and his apologists might, there is no legitimate journalistic reason for leaving this episode out, as (like Marriner infiltrating Labour) it goes to the heart of questions about spook interference in politics Taylor rhetorically claims True Spies is about. Nonetheless, there are excellent reasons from MI5/SB's point of view to avoid that story. So True Spies did.

BREAKING THE UNIONS AT COMPANY LEVEL

Anti-union measures in the 1970's and 1980's were an important strand in all three programmes. As usual, we are asked to take at face value operatives testimony, although it is noteworthy that no union assets/infiltrators, as opposed to SB officers, were shown. The unpleasant Tony Robinson (Lancashire Special Branch 1965-81) fills the gap by claiming he successfully spied on the 1970 Pilkingtons glassworks strike (St Helens). Supposedly, his cover was blown by a jealous colleague, sparking a confrontation with strike committee members following a mass meeting (Programme 1). The authoritative book on the strike by sociologists granted unique access to the striker's deliberations doesn't mention this incident. There is talk of one SB man "decked out as a 'leftie'—long hair and beard" getting "a thump on the jaw" when turning up at the picket line. "Another, posing as a press cameraman, was scared off by a genuine cameraman who tried to photograph him" [61]. Neither corresponds to Robinson's tale, which if genuine you would expect to be in a book, which (unlike True Spies) is rigorously researched. However, given Robinson is on record as stating "the whole business of being a Special Branch officer is based on lies and deception" (Programme 1), we shouldn't be too surprised.

Undoubtedly poignant was the revelation Ford motor company only invested in the Halewood plant on Merseyside because SB vetted job applicants to weed out known union activists and Leftists (Programme 1). One blacklist victim was found, and the effects on him and others were unquestionably harmful. True Spies usefully highlights this practice--although given the motor industry and factories generally have been decimated, the impact of such disclosure is far less than it would have been in the past. Nonetheless, Taylor earns a brownie point here.

Of mixed utility is the way True Spies recounts secret state operations against Derek Robinson, Chairman of the British Leyland Combine Trade Union Committee in 1979, and based at the Birmingham (Longbridge) plant. True Spies coverage falls into two analytically separate parts. First is secret state input into Robinson's sacking by management and preventing his reinstatement. Second is the content of what Robinson actually believed: the truth of what was really going on.

Michael Edwardes (BL Chairman) was shown, at the Cabinet Office, minutes of a meeting between prominent Communist Party members and Leyland shop stewards in response to his plan for BL's future (Programme 2). Given general True Spies evasiveness, it seems unusual at first sight that this was revealed, even over twenty years later. A clue as to why is contained in the phrase a "political decision was taken" to reveal information from AUEW Agent 910, close to Robinson. This one, therefore, was down to the incoming Thatcher government. By letting this slip, SB/MI5 are warning other governments that any politically delicate operations might be subsequently publicised. An effective way of ensuring MIS and SB retain operational autonomy, including setting their own agendas. Aside from providing minutes, True Spies is vague about what Agent 910 got up to. He apparently 'greased the wheels' to ensure workers voted against strike action to secure Robinson's reinstatement. The methods used aren't gone into: an indication they (and perhaps he) are still in use and probably illegal. While SB/MI5 have no compunction about dumping politicians in it, full and frank disclosure about their own actions is something else.

The pretext for sacking Robinson, his signature on a pamphlet 'The Edwardes Plan and your job' isn't challenged. Nor is Edwardes' description of this document as aimed at breaking the company, bringing it down. This is far from the truth: it was a defensive text aimed at saving jobs. As they put it, in typical Left Reformist fashion, "in the interests of our members, workers generally, and in the national interest, Britain's manufacturing base must be defended" [62]. Disgracefully, Taylor put the proposition to Edwardes that it was either Robinson or the (new) Metro car, to which Edwardes agreed. Yet the inexorable decline of UK car manufacturing means trade unionists had it right all those years ago--"to continue along the present road will mean the death of BL as a major manufacturer" [63]. In Lobster, Robin Ramsay accuses Edwardes of gilding the lily by only retrospectively claiming the pamphlet and earlier minutes referred to bringing the country down [64]. In fact, for what its worth, at the time Edwardes saw "attempts to sabotage the 'Edwardes Plan' as an opportunistic gamble to cause disruption, which could well lead to total and final closure. Just the fluid situation required by the Party planners" [65]. Mistaken, but at least Edwardes is consistent. One reading of Ramsay could imply he also believes Edwardes 'gilding the lily' includes seeing minutes at the Cabinet Office. Unlikely, for Edwardes' memoirs came out in 1983, before MI5's existence was officially acknowledged. So he could hardly detail how he came by such information if it was in this manner.

BREAKING THE UNIONS AT NATIONAL LEVEL

The most headline-grabbing story in True Spies was the claim by Alan Day (Met Police Special Branch 1965-1983) that 22 or 23 trade union leaders talked to Special Branch (Programme 1). The most high-profile name offered was Joe Gormley, Arthur Scargill's immediate predecessor as head of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Allegedly, Gormley told SB in advance of the planned 1972 miner's strike which set in train the chain of events leading to the downfall of Ted Heath's Conservative government in 1974. Tantalisingly, Day claims this information was passed to MI5 who (according to him) reported to the government this strike would not take place. Shortly after reporting the strike plans, the SB industrial section garnering the information was disbanded, followed by a massive increase in industrial unrest. If true, this points to MI5 autonomously pursuing an anti-Heath agenda. Yet again, the implications of this are not explored by Taylor. He does not consider the possibility that Day, aggrieved his former squad was chopped, is now endowing them with foresight they may not have possessed. As it happens, it does look like the Heath governments initially confrontational attitude to the January 1972 NUM vote for an all-out pay strike meant they probably thought the miners would cave in. When they didn't, the government felt compelled to grant the 20% pay award recommended by the Wilberforce Inquiry in February 1972--with' disastrous political consequences [66]. These might have been avoided had the miner's determination been accurately gauged in advance.

Establishing the truth of True Spies claims 22 or 23 union leaders were SB informants would be helped immeasurably by provision of their names. Yet to my knowledge Taylor only supplied two, Gormley and Ray Buckton of rail union ASLEF [67]. He did not even mention the still-living Brian Nicholson past TGWU President and informant during the 1970 Dockers strike [68]. Given Gormley and Buckton are dead, and thus unable to confirm or deny his claims, this is hardly impressive. It is possible many union leaders spoke to SB, and Robin Ramsay in 1996 handily summarised just how extensive spook penetration of the Labour movement has been, up to .and including MI5 happily allowing the CPGB to function with the help of 'Moscow Gold' [69]. For some union leaders, their own rank and file membership, especially anti-capitalist elements, were more a problem than employers they were cosying up to, whether it be with 'sweetheart' recognition/no strike details or more brutal collaboration, as sometimes practiced in the building trade for instance. Trotsky's description of the 'Labour Lieutenants of Capital' was (and is) still valid for these people. That said, a distinction can be made between union leaders prepared to talk to Special Branch: sources, and those taking political direction and money from SB, assets. In the real world, such nuances matter-but not for a propagandist like Taylor. Then there is also the intriguing question of trade union leaders in exclusive contact with MI5 rather than Special Branch.

STILL UNDERMINING THE NUM

Given its historic significance, and information already in the public domain, True Spies understandably dwelt on the 1984-5 Miners Strike. Not that details are always right or placed in proper context. Programme Two parrots unquestioningly the police line on the 1984 Battle of Orgreave that they were victims of union violence. Taylor interviews both Tory fixer David Hart and then Assistant Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Anthony Clement. Nothing was shown of these men's recorded views that the Battle of Orgreave was a set up by the state to fight the miners on their terms and chosen ground. While this view is not universally accepted any proper documentary would have examined the claim. Taylor doesn't [70]. To do so would have necessitated exploring the possibility that state assets inside the NUM were not merely reporting on union strategy, but had an influence in determining that strategy, including choosing Orgreave coke depot as a target for mass picketing. Equally, reference to Orgreave should have included discussion of the strong evidence that violence was initiated by police, and TV news footage doctored to present defensive action by the miners as if offensive. No hint of that debate in True Spies either.

Discussing high-level assets inside the NUM leadership during the strike, True Spies excels as a disinformation vehicle. Roger Windsor, NUM Chief Executive is widely believed to have been an MI5 asset [71] and went to Tripoli in Autumn 1984. He was filmed meeting Colonel Qadhafi, hardly a propaganda coup for the miners, given the 17/4/84 shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher by (it is presumed) gunmen inside the Libyan Embassy in London. Stella Rimington headed MI5 operations against the NUM at the time, and if Windsor worked for MI5, she was his ultimate boss. After showing TV footage of Windsor meeting Qadhafi, Taylor reports that Windsor denied being an MI5 agent, and won substantial damages to clear his name. Such legal action was never undertaken or won against Seumas Milne, author of the definitive book on MI5 and the miners, and in any event True Spies misses the main point, and not by accident. To win a libel action (if Windsor did: Milne cites cases he lost) is not the same as establishing truth-after all Jeffrey Archer won a libel action over claims he paid off a prostitute, but recently served time for being found out. Fully prepared to name dead union leaders who may have just passed information to Special Branch (like Gormley) Taylor fights shy of definitively stating whether Windsor did, or did not, work for MI5. Even worse, after evading that question, Taylor editorialises that "MI5 judged Scargill and the miners by the company they kept...to MI5 the Libyan connection confirmed Scargill needed watching". Rimington is then shown, unchallenged, stating that "when you consider Colonel Qadhafi's other connections with the Provisional IRA for example, it says something about judgement, if no more" (Programme 2). She is allowed to justify opposition to a Libyan connection on the basis that would be "interference by a foreign power in the workings of this country". The objection is not to Rimington making such claims, but Taylor not challenging them. After all, if Windsor was MI5 then the real 'interference' came from MI5 via their hireling. Rimington wouldn't like such questioning, and would probably lie about Windsor: but viewers could draw appropriate inferences. Compelling viewing: but instead Taylor allows her spook interpretation to pass as fact. Sadly, Milne's review of 'True Spies' did not go for Taylor on the NUM, when he had excellent grounds-but then, he writes in a spook-friendly publication that the previous day gave Taylor pages of free self-advertisement [72].

While ducking fundamental questions about Windsor and MI5, Taylor happily casts aspersions elsewhere. Programme 2 refers to a highly-paced SB informant 'Silver Fox' who passed police detailed information on the disposition of flying pickets, and thus frustrated them. Who was Silver Fox, if not Windsor? Disgracefully, Taylor sneeringly asks Arthur Scargill whether he knew, and palpably didn't tell him or us. A typical Taylor insinuation is speaking of "an agent, very close to you, at your shoulder almost, who was feeding information to his or her Special Branch handler about the movement of pickets". Taylor's 'gender neutrality' leapt out here—in a male institution like the NUM, only one female could fit the bill, Nell Myers, long-time Scargill personal assistant and confidante. In other words, Taylor was subtly fingering her in words whose significance would be lost on most viewers-but not those with close knowledge of the NUM. There is no reason to suppose he is correct, and every reason to suppose this is just mischief-making. Essentially, while Taylor masquerades as a journalist, his fundamental orientation is spook apologist. Thus, he did not query Scargill's claim he wanted to legitimately bring about a change of government 1984/5. Yet legitimacy sharply contrasts with legality in bourgeois political discourse. Perhaps the main True Spies agenda required no such journalistic exchange.

FOOTNOTES

44) e.g. The Sun TV Magazine 26/10/02 p.21
45) Peter Taylor The Guardian 23/10/02
46) see 'The ANL--A Critical Examination' (Colin Roach Centre 1995) p.6-7 & 'The Anti-Nazi League & the Struggle against Racism' (Revolutionary Communist Group January 1979) Postscript p.13-15
47) Paul Anderson Tribune 1/11/02
48) Lobster 25 June 1993 p.11
49) 'Inside Left' (Derek Hatton/Bloomsbury 1988) p.116
50) 'Inside Left'p.116
51) 'The March of Militant' (Michael Crick Faber & Faber 1986) p.251
52) see'Inside Left' p. 117-119
53) The Guardian 13/5/86 (Martin Linton)
54) 'Inside BOSS' (Gordon Winter Penguin 1981) p.460-464
55) op. cit. p.418
56) ibid, p.417
57) 'A Putney Plot?' (Peter Hain Spokesman 1987) p.150, see also 'Inside BOSS' p.460-461
58) op. cit. p.135
59) 'Inside Boss' p.416,/415
60) Sunday Times 11/6/00 (Nicholas Rufford)
61) 'Strike at Pilkingtons' (Tony Lane & Kenneth Roberts Fontana 1971) p.176
62) 'The Edwardes Plan & your job' (Leyland Combine Trade Union Committee 1979) p.13
63) op. cit. p. 13
64) Lobster 44 Winter 2002 p.22
65) 'Back From the Brink' (Michael Edwardes William Collins Sons & Co.) p.109
66) 'The Whitelaw Memoirs' (William Whitelaw/Aurum Press 1989) p. 124-5
67) Daily Mirror 25/10/02 (Tom Newton Dunn)
68) see file referred to above, also The Guardian 1/1/01
69) Lobster special issue 'The Clandestine Caucus' (1996)
70) see Seumas Milne 'The Enemy Within' (Pan 1995) p.371-2
71) see Milne (op. cit.) esp. p.190-241
72) Seumas Milne The Guardian 24/10/02

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN "NOTES FROM THE BORDERLAND ISSUE 5" - CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP

 

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Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then.

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