Margaret Thatcher branded Arthur Scargill and the other leaders of the 1984-5 miners’ strike ;’the enemy within’. With the publication of this bestselling book a decade later, the full irony of that accusation became clear. There was an enemy within.
But it was not the National Union of Mineworkers that was out to subvert liberty. It was the secret services of the British state – operating inside the NUM itself.
Seumas Milne revealed for the first time the astonishing lengths to which the government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destry the power of Britain’s miners’ union.
Using phoney bank deposits, staged cash drops, forged documents, agents provocateurs and unrelenting surveillance, MI5 and police Special Branch set out to discredit Scargill and other miners’ leaders. Planted tales of corruption were seized on by the media and both Tory and Labour politicians in what became an unprecedentedly savage smear campaign.
In this new edition, published for the twentieth anniversary of Britain’s most important postwar social confrontation, new material brings the story up to date – and, in the wake of the Iraq war intelligence scandals, highlights the continuing threat posed by the security services to democracy today.