An influential account of the covert struggle between the security forces and the IRA.
Big Boys' Rules includes a neat diagram at the back of the book which details the evolution, through the 1970s and 80s, of Army and RUC covert units in the areas of surveillance, agent-running and firearms.
The substance of the book details the events underlying that diagram, the successes and failures of changing tactics, the political controversies they provoked, and the ever shifting lines of demarcation between Army and RUC responsibilities.
The definitive account of one of the most remarkable stories ever to emerge from Britain's secret state.
When the British Army arrived in Northern Ireland in 1969, the local knowledge of Antrim-born public relations officer Colin Wallace proved a godsend. As the conflict developed, information became a crucial battleground, and Wallace became increasingly involved with psychological warfare.
Initially, this meant working with MI6, but in 1973 the Northern Ireland role passed to MI5. This was followed by the initiation of project Clockwork Orange, a smear campaign intended to discredit paramilitary leaders.
However, as Foot shows using Wallace's contemporary notes, the project soon became a right-wing propaganda campaign aimed at British politicians, notably including the key smear that Harold Wilson was a KGB agent.
The campaign intensified in 1974, as MI5 set out to undermine the new Labour government and it's attempt at power-sharing in Northern Ireland, the Sunningdale Agreement.