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New Left Review I/190, November-December 1991


Tony Benn

The Case for Dismantling the Secret State

smear, which describes in meticulous detail the activities of the security services, over many years, in seeking to discredit and destroy the Left in British politics, and Harold Wilson in particular, is by far the most important book that has been published on this subject. [*] It is based upon the most comprehensive research—which, in my own experience, is accurate—and connects all the sources available, adds new material, and backs it all up with an analysis of what was really going on, and what this meant in political terms. Fifteen or twenty years ago, when the political role of mi5 and mi6 was first identified and discussed on the Left, it was all dismissed as a form of paranoid, conspiratorial fantasy, while today it is accepted as quite normal and natural. These two, and quite contradictory, responses to what has been going on are equally wrong and dangerous, because both seek to discourage any serious examination or analysis of the constitutional importance of the issues raised by the secret state and how it operates within our system of government.

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