The spycops experiment: from blacklisting agents to social pariahs – and next?


Recently it was revealed how the late Tory prime minister Edward Heath had not only been aware of but encouraged the broadcasting of a TV documentary critical of the Shrewsbury pickets. These were men who merely wanted better working conditions, including a minimum wage but jailed for doing so. It was an age when the intelligence services and the Tory press worked hand-in-glove to smear unions at every opportunity and disseminate disinformation to weaken them forever. But a decade or so on, despite the demise of the private blacklisting agency, The Economic League, attention switched to protest groups (and it didn’t take long before this new ‚enemy within‘ was labelled ‚extremist‘). Undercover ops were consigned to a new breed of James Bond wannabees – complete with licence to infiltrate – who would go on to portray themselves as ‚eco-warriors‘ and ‚anarchists‘, adopting libertarian guises (one spycop cheekily…

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