Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/276/24504

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2002

True Spies

DAVID SHAYLER has been given a six-month prison sentence on charges that he acted illegally in blowing the whistle on the undemocratic and murderous activities of Britain's secret state.

Ken Smith

Yet, Special Branch and MI5 officers have been revelling in recounting their own law-breaking and devious activities. The programme True Spies, broadcast on Sundays, BBC2, 9pm, has pulled together much information about the role of the secret state. How they spied on the trade unions, left-wing activists, political organisations and Labour MPs with legal impunity.

Other revelations include how union leaders like Joe Gormley and Ray Buckton reported to Special Branch on their fellow trade unionists and that MI5 intervened at the BBC to blacklist playwrights.

Of particular interest to many of this paper's readers, is the information that Militant (the forerunner of the Socialist Party) was extensively spied upon from the 1970s onwards.

Dave Nellist, the Militant-supporting Labour MP who is now a Socialist Party councillor in Coventry, was targeted by MI5 and Special Branch, precisely because of his publicly espoused links with Militant.

But Dave's support for Militant was no secret to the tens of thousands of constituents who voted for him to be Coventry South-East's MP from 1983-92, until he was expelled from the Labour Party for refusing to pay his poll tax.

Yet MI5 undemocratically spied on an MP and a political organisation which had thousands of supporters, among whom were other MPs and dozens of councillors.

The agent who spied on Dave Nellist also stole details of hundreds of Liverpool Militant supporters who struggled against the Tory government in the mid-1980s.

MI5 also claim they filmed a Militant conference. The spy was in a cubby hole for 15 hours with only a bucket to urinate in. How exactly such devotion to duty defended the security of Her Majesty's realm is hard to fathom.

One officer claimed the information they received from Special Branch and MI5 agents "beat the [miners'] strike there's no doubt about that."

Undoubtedly, the information they provided was used to undermine the strike but there were wider factors at work, especially the effective strike-breaking by prominent union and Labour leaders and the huge onslaught of the police and other state forces.

All the state's activities could not stop the huge public support for the miners or the overwhelming support that Dave Nellist had in Coventry or the Liverpool city councillors had in their struggle against Thatcher and the Tories.

Nor could the secret state's activities undermine the effective role Militant played in mobilising a mass movement of 18 million non-payers against the poll tax in the early-1990s. That ultimately led to Thatcher's downfall - something none of her secret agents could prevent.

Behind the agents' bravado is the true sinister nature of their role. Individuals' lives were blighted at Ford Halewood - Ford only agreed to invest in the plant if the unions were monitored and the plant kept free of 'subversives'.

The sinister and absurd nature of the secret state's behaviour continues. The number of applications for telephone taps increased by 15% last year. These activities are a disgrace and travesty of democratic rights and civil liberties, which have to be challenged by socialist and working-class organisations.

The Socialist Party calls for the activities of the secret state to be revealed, brought to account and for these agencies to be abolished. The government and the police should be held accountable and put under greater scrutiny at every level, through democratically elected bodies representing working-class organisations, local communities and the public generally.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 8 November 2002:

Fight Poverty Pay

No To War With Iraq

Top-Up Fees Will Increase Society's Class Divisions

Fight For The Full Claim

Turkey's Ruling Parties Routed In Elections

Building The Action Against The War

Brazil: Will The Workers' Party Live Up To Its Name?

Rob Williams - Standing For Socialism

Israel's Governing Coalition Splits

True Spies


 

Home   |   The Socialist 8 November 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Militant:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

triangleNHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: From Militant to the Socialist Party

triangleObituary: Maureen Mulhearn 1945-2018

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: A socialist look at the Vietnam war

State:

triangleSudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!

triangleTrump as Nixon: urgent questions about press freedom and the state

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

MI5:

triangleBook review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot

trianglePolice finally own up to spies' relationships with target women

trianglePrying Conservatives demand yet more powers to invade our privacy

Labour:

triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

21/2/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

14/2/18

Homeless

In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street

14/2/18

Pay

I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

7/2/18

Socialist

The Socialist inbox

7/2/18

Cinema

Darkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

7/2/18

Revolution

Bernie's book shows need for workers' party

7/2/18

Students

GCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

7/2/18

NHS

Tragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

7/2/18

Sexism

Fighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

31/1/18

Cricket

Capitalism v cricket

31/1/18

Film

Trump as Nixon: urgent questions about press freedom and the state

31/1/18

Sexism

Presidents Club sexism scandal: what you thought

24/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis exposes PFI chaos

24/1/18

Universal Credit

Universal credit: set up to fail

24/1/18

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999