The Enemy Within

By Seumas Milne

Margaret Thatcher branded the leaders of the 1984-85 miners strike “the enemy within.” during this vintage account, Seumas Milne finds the astonishing lengths to which her executive and its intelligence machine were ready to visit destroy the energy of Britain’s miners union. during this 30th anniversary version new material brings the tale up to date with additional revelations about the key war against equipped labour and political dissent, and the devastating rate paid for the Thatcher administrations onslaught by way of communities across Britain.

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The Justice of the Peace quickly conceded the defence argument that facts supplied to the Lightman Inquiry, which had technically been a felony opinion, was once safe via ‘legal privilege’ and for that reason inadmissible in courtroom. Lightman himself couldn't testify, he governed, a result of privileged lawyer-client dating. it'd be ‘manifestly and blatantly unfair’, stated Crompton – a deputy pass judgement on with a name as a right-winger, but in addition a stickler for the finer issues of legislation – to exploit facts supplied in self assurance and with no right security. within the extra cozy political surroundings of 1991, the NUM leaders’ elaborately ready second-line defence – in response to belief legislations and facts of the high-level political thought at the back of the prosecution – proved solely pointless. with out entry to Lightman’s homework, Ter Haar was once left toothless. He may possibly provide no extra proof. After merely 3 days, the Justice of the Peace threw out all of the fees, disregarded the case and provided charges to the defence. Months of instruction by means of the Certification place of work, the dep. of Employment and the Treasury Solicitor had come to nought and the govt. was once left with a invoice for greater than £150,000. Crompton additionally refused an program for judicial overview of his judgements; and Matthew Wake, the Certification Officer, later dropped an try to release an allure. the full felony foundation of the case were destroyed. What had occurred, Geoffrey Robertson mocked, was once that the ‘Treasury Solicitors, sizzling from their makes an attempt to prohibit Spycatcher world wide, have come to Sheffield to get Mr Scargill’. they'd failed – during this, the 20 th court docket case to embroil the NUM and its officers because the 1984–5 strike. The monetary occasions commented: ‘Mr Scargill’s persistence within the face of a lot hostility is a extraordinary episode in union historical past. ’52 because the miners’ leaders walked unfastened from the courtroom, Gareth Peirce instructed journalists that the prosecution have been ‘brought for political factors … within the context of assaults approaching the union from all instructions final summer’. Her comments have been in accordance with greatly greater than rhetoric or logic. A senior accomplice in a global accountancy enterprise interested by the coaching of the prosecution case had given a testimony to the NUM’s attorneys describing a talk he had had in 1990 with Graham Osborne, the quantity within the Certification workplace. there has been a ‘terrific flap on upstairs’, Osborne had informed the fellow. strain used to be being wear the Certification workplace, that's backed through the dep. of Employment, to ‘do whatever’ in regards to the NUM. motion was once partially wanted, it have been stated, to attract realization clear of the destructive political impression of the Guinness fraud scandal, then at its top. The transparent inference used to be that the impetus had come from Michael Howard, the Employment Secretary, and the leading Minister herself. The accountant had agreed to copy his tale in courtroom and were status through while the case collapsed. either Matthew Wake and Sir Patrick Mayhew, the then legal professional basic, insisted there were no interference whatever.

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