Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Roy Greenslade – Destroyed Communities and a powerful man who said “sorry”

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Facts, stubborn things, are the friends of good journalists.

Smears, slippery things, are the friends of anti-journalists.


Roy Greenslade, then editor of Robert Maxwell’s Daily Mirror, ran a smear campaign against Arthur Scargill, leader of the British Miners’ Union (the NUM) in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Ten years later Mr Greenslade said sorry.

The unimpressed film-maker Ken Loach wrote a caustic letter to the British Guardian on May 31 2002.

Dear Roy Greenslade, it was good to read your apology about the Arthur Scargill story (Sorry, Arthur, Media, May 27). I wonder if you remember our film for Dispatches, which exposed those lies in, I think, 1991. It seems a bit late to come clean now.

Do you remember our doorstepping your hapless Mirror hack? Or pursuing Roger Cook – who had repeated the allegations on TV – as he fled his uneaten breakfast? Or confronting you on air to apologise and your steadfast refusal?

It’s easy to repent now, after the damage done to the miners when they were at their most vulnerable. Perhaps you should go round the destroyed communities and make your apology in person.

Ken Loach

Sixteen Films.

Margaret Thatcher branded the leaders of the 1984–85 miners’ strike “the enemy within.”

In this classic account, Seumas Milne reveals the astonishing lengths to which her government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destroy the power of Britain’s miners’ union. In this 30th anniversary edition new material brings the story up to date with further revelations about the secret war against organized labour and political dissent, and the devastating price paid for the Thatcher administration’s onslaught by communities across Britain.

“The Enemy Within” is reviewed here :

I have just finished reading Seumas Milne’s The Enemy Within, originally published in 1994, the fourth edition is from 2014. It examines the media campaign against National Union of Miners leader Arthur Scargill during the 1980s

Its quite a read! Highly recommended. And lets not forget Milne in 2017 is one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest political associates, an important mover and shaper…

1984-85 saw the bitter strike that pitted Britain’s most disciplined and effective trade union against right wing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. After the end of the strike when the NUM was defeated, the television programme The Cook Report and the Daily Mirror newspaper, ran a campaign accusing Scargill of corruption, initially suggesting that he had used money meant for the trade union to pay off his mortgage.

When it was revealed that Scargill did not have a mortgage the campaign eventually collapsed! Before collapsing the script was rewritten with new accusations against the NUM leader being proposed, revised and falling apart.

The complex story is discussed over 445 pages of lucid prose by Milne and is not easily summarized.

Roy Greenslade recently hit some headlines. Ed Moloney observes :

In recent days, former Guardian columnist and journalistic academic, Roy Greenslade has presented himself to the world as a secret but stout ally of the IRA’s political wing Sinn Fein. He has, however, been less vocal about his past support for Margaret Thatcher’s campaign in the 1980’s to destroy the National Union of Mineworkers and its leader Arthur Scargill, by running what he later admitted was ‘a major smear campaign’ against Scargill while editing the Daily Mirror, then owned by the distinctly spookish Robert Maxwell, himself suspected of being an asset of Israeli and other Western intelligence agencies. During that episode, Greenslade insisted that the Mirror pay a huge sum of money to informer Roger Windsor, an ex NUM full-timer suspected, based on a considerable amount of hard evidence, of being a British State spy. Perhaps Sinn Fein would be wise to have a closer look at their English friend. You can read more here.

An extremely fishy story.

John Meehan March 6 2021

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  1. […] This week former journalist and media academic Roy Greenslade announced that he secretly supported Sinn Féin and the IRA’s armed campaign from 1972 onwards. Greenslade was, in 1988, the Sunday Times line-manager of a journalist, Liam Clarke, who seems to have been an IRA assassination target. The disturbing Greenslade CV includes active participation in a well-documented British Secret State plot to frame the leftwing leader on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Arthur Scargill.… […]

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