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The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners
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The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  166 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Margaret Thatcher branded the leaders of the 1984-85 miners strike “the enemy within.” With the publication of this book, the full irony of that accusation became clear. Seumas Milne revealed for the first time the astonishing lengths to which the government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destroy the power of Britain’s miners’ union. There was an enemy ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published September 17th 2004 by Verso (first published December 1994)
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Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As good as this book is (and it's very good), my reaction to it is at least partially due to timing. The miners strike may have been in 1984, with the Scargill Affair following on its heels in the early 90s, but practically everything that can be learned from this book is directly applicable now especially in regards to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.

The way in which the left generally and leaders within the left specifically are demonised and the particular tone and direction t
Simon Wood
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Seamus Milnes book takes as it's starting point the 1990 Daily Mirror/Cook Report "scoop" regarding Arthur Scargill and his National Union of Mineworkers associate Peter Heathfield. They were accused of embezzling monies to pay off their mortgages from donations made by Libyan Trade Unionists during the 1984-85 Miners Strike. The story led to Scargill and Heathfield being subjected to a number of lawsuits from their own Trade Unions executive, as well as a variety of Government bodi
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book thinking it was about the miners strike itself, the event, and though mistaken I wasn’t disappointed. It actually focuses on the aftermath of the strike, and the government and press collaboration (particularly Robert Maxwell’s Daily Mirror) in their attempts to discredit and criminalise the National Union of Mineworkers leadership, especially Arthur Scargill, with the aid of ever complicit security services. The lengths that the government went to in their witch hunt were tru ...more
tom bomp
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-left
not a general history of the strike (although it has some stuff about it, and what it does say really whet my appetite for more - basically all the popular ideas about it are bullshit) it focuses on the manufactured scandal in 1990 of supposed embezzlement by scargill and shows how it was manufactured by intelligence services and with the acquiescence of Labour and the TUC. the extent of intelligence service infiltration and the dirty tricks campaign is kind of incredible and is the big takeaway ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book because I am a Union Rep and Activist and I wanted to learn more about the history of Trade Unions in The UK. What I took from it was an explanation for some previously inexplicable behaviour. There are a lot of people nowadays who disapprove or are afraid of Trade Unions. I believe that the various dodgy dealings of the press and government towards Scargill and The NUM are behind these peoples' negative opinions of the Trade Union Movement. History needs to be re-written to exp ...more
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Can only be 5 stars. An excellent account of the 1984/1985 miners strike and the depths that the Thatcher government went to destroy what was a very profitable industry just because the awful woman had got into a hissy fit about the Tories being defeated by the miners in the seventies. The fact that the secret service MI5 etc spent time trying to discredit the NUM insyead of concentrating on more important issues is a lessonn from history that we shouldn't forget
Jonathan Norton
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
By 1983, all of the British Left was working for MI5, apart from Ben Elton, who was entirely sincere in his socialist principles. The Soviet leadership was also controlled by MI6, and the stage was set for a sinister inter-departmental squabble to be played out by proxy using innocents who had no idea of the real meaning of their actions. When Thatcher realised the truth and couldn't accept it, she had to be removed.
Andy Walker
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written 23 years ago and with a new preface, The Enemy Within is an absolutely essential expose of the role of the intelligence services during the year long 1984-85 miners' strike. The author, Seumas Milne, was a columnist on the Guardian when he wrote this book and its 400 pages are a masterpiece of investigative journalism. The extent of intelligence service infiltration of Labour and trade union organisations during the miners' strike is laid bare and it's truly astonishing. You can't help t ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lob
Really interesting read, and really important to understand the role of "counter-subversion" in the role of the state against any form of social change. The book does not discuss the actual strike much, rather focuses on the scandals surrounding Scarlgill and the NUM after the strike. It starts a little dry as it establishes the facts of payments, however this is necessary to know the facts before the scandals are dissected. Milne goes into great detail to illustrate the entire array of tricks t ...more
Madeleine Herkes
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading on the extreme lengths the British establishment, and the security services on their behalf, will go to to cling to power.
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fact
If only half of what is claimed is true... then we should all be afraid.

I am under no illusion that there are differing degrees of freedoms and have long held the view that the freedoms that we have are those that are permitted and the views that we are allowed are those that can be controlled. I am not so naive that I believe all law enforcement and government bodies work tirelesly for our individual benefit... no.... I understand that governments of all hues undertake actions that they believe
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The popular mantra is that Scargill was an idiot, picked the wrong battle and Thatcher did good in seeing off the nasty Yorkshireman - but history is starting to tell a different story.
With careful investigation and checking of facts - two things that didn't happen when the press were used against the miner's leader back in 1990 - Seumus Milne shows us how the establishment took action against the one man trying to stand up against it.
With well-written prose that is never dull but also never ove
Russell Jones
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting tale of duplicity and double dealing both within the ranks of the NUM, the trade union movement and the U.K Security services and police.

I chose to read this book following Seumas Milne's appointment at Director of Communications for the Labour Party by Jeremy Corbyn. This book pretty much explains the roots of Corbynism and the leftist backlash against the neoliberal economic consensus of mainstream politics that has been prevalent since the Thatcher administration.

This book wil
Chris Hall
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Been meaning to read this book since it came out but never got round to it. I really, really wish I'd read it sooner though. It's a book that will change how you view the country that you dwell in, how your thoughts of the benevolence of the state crumble to dust.

How a book that exposes such corruption and malpractice at the heart of government, the state and the establishment didn't create an impetus for massive changes is beyond me. Now even in 2012 we can see and know that such duplicity and
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
On the back of GB84 (David Peace) I was intrigued to learn more about the Miner’s Strike. Somebody else reviewed that "The Enemy Within" was more about the 1990 aftermath and it's true but it draws extensively on the events of 84-85. The book itself is somewhat heavy going but is well worth persevering with. Tons of detail describing the lies and spin levelled against Scargill and his team. How dare the Government allow this? Scargill was a great man and nothing will ever change my mind about th ...more
Keith Walters
This was more enjoyable than I thought it might be. Not definitive account of the strike despite what Naomi Klein says on the back of the book as mainly focuses of the intelligence and propaganda war waged against the miners union. It very effectively disproves the accusations of corruption against Scargill et all and is properly referenced. It's nice to read a book with proper notes that are easy to refer to and a decent index .
Interesting walk-on part for Alistair Campbell when he was still at
Sean Perry
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Owen Jones captures it in one line, "terrifying, frightening indictment of the British establishment". For anyone brought up to believe that you lived in a democracy, think again. Shows just what scant regard the establishment gives to the democratic process, and the lengths that they went to in order to destroy what they perceived to be their greatest threat. How different history would have been if the NUM hadn't been destroyed in this way.
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone who lived through the miners strike and knows what happened first hand saw the effects that it had and still to this day is having this book is an interesting read. This is a. Book that should be in every school library.
Jacob Andrewartha
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Provides a very comprehensive case study of how the media, the police, the federal security force are used as tools by the state apparatus to repress working class organisation and dissent.
Fiona Ranson
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this and them feel very afraid.
Hamish Mack
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good book that fills in the background to the 1984 UK miner's strike. Read it and you will never think of the UK government the same again.
Peter Webb
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