Colonel Robin Evelegh retired from the British Army in 1977, having commanded his infantry battalion on separate tours at the Springfield Road police station in Belfast in 1972 and 1973. it struck him forcibly at the time that the Government's overall campaign to restore a peacetime level of order in Northern Ireland seemed doomed to failure, although most of the conditions that could be thought necessary for success- skilled and sensitive politicians, devoted civil servants and a disciplined army and police force- were present. This failure, it became clear, arose from faults in the constitutional framework for controlling the campaign against insurrection, and from shortcomings in the laws which laid down the operational rules for the Security forces to suppress terrorism and disorder. The constitutional faults meant that the government's campaign could not be managed effectively, and the shortcomings in the laws meant that a heavy political price had to be paid for draconian legal powers that were almost irrelevant, while the security forces were crippled by the lack of quite minor laws which would have made them effective, and which carried only a modest political penalty. The reasons for these uncertainties and inadequacies are complex. Colonel Evelegh analyses them ruthlessly, and makes their consequences clear - powerfully illustrating his thesis from personal experience in Northern Ireland, from the past, and from counter-insurgency campaigns of recent times. His remedies are argued in detail.
Rob Evelegh was born in 1932, the sixth generation from father to son to make his career in the British Army, and took a degree in modern history at Oxford University before becoming a regular infantry officer.He rose through the ranks and was promoted to