CHERUB: The General - Robert Muchamore

CHERUB: The General - Robert Muchamore


The anarchist organisation known as Street Action Group (SAG) first came to light in summer 2003 when its leader Chris Bradford hijacked the rostrum at an anti-Iraq-war demonstration in London’s Hyde Park. Bradford urged a peaceful crowd to attack police officers, before setting light to straw-filled effigies of Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush.

By 2006 SAG had built a cult following and was strong enough to begin staging its own anti-government protests. These culminated in July with the Summer Mayhem March through central Birmingham. Dozens of cars were vandalised, windows were broken, more than thirty protestors were arrested and a police officer was stabbed.

In the months that followed, prison sentences were handed down to several senior SAG members involved in the rioting. Heavy police presence wherever SAG planned to appear made staging violent protests increasingly difficult.

Chris Bradford became bitter at what he called ‘state oppression’ and an MI5 agent sent to infiltrate SAG made a shocking discovery: Bradford was trying to acquire guns and bomb-making equipment in order to transform SAG into a terrorist organisation.

(Excerpt from a CHERUB mission briefing for James Adams, October 2007)

It was December 21st, the last Friday before Christmas. The sky was purple and strings of lights dangled between Victorian lampposts on the pedestrianised London street. The pubs around Covent Garden tube station were crammed and office workers huddled in doorways smoking cigarettes. Teens gawped into shops well out of their price range and The Body Shop was full of miserable-looking men buying last-minute gifts.

Shoppers and drinkers ignored a rectangular pen made from metal crowd barriers as they shuffled past, though some noted the irony that two dozen police officers in fluorescent jackets lined up to face thirteen protestors inside the barriers.

James Adams was one of the thirteen. Sixteen years old, he was dressed in a bulky army surplus jacket and twenty-four-hole Doc Marten boots. His hair was shaved down to a number one on the sides and a shaggy, green-tinted Mohican ran from his forehead down to the collar of his jacket. He banged his gloved hands together to fight the cold as cops gave him stern looks.

Chris Bradford stood three metres away. Well built, Bradford had scruffy ginger hair, a baggy hoodie worn with the fluffy lining on the outside and two cameras filming him. One was held by a cop, who walked the perimeter with a titchy camcorder. The other was a more impressive beast. It sat on the shoulder of a BBC cameraman and a lamp mounted on top shone its light in Bradford’s face.

‘So, Mr Bradford,’ BBC correspondent Simon Jett said. He had a silk scarf tucked into his overcoat and a microphone in hand. ‘Today’s turnout must be a disappointment. Many people are saying that the Street Action Group is on its last legs.’

Bradford’s green eyes bulged and his shovel-sized hands shifted towards the correspondent’s lapels. ‘Who’s been saying that?’ he growled. ‘Gimme names and addresses. It’s always certain sources, but who are they? I’ll tell you who – it’s people who are running scared of us.’

Jett was delighted. Bradford’s combo of slight menace and fruit-and-veg-seller cockney accent always made good TV.

‘So how many protestors were you expecting to see here today?’

Bradford snatched a glance at his watch and bared his teeth. ‘Trouble is, most of our crew are still in bed three o’clock in the afternoon. I guess I set the kick-off time a little too early.’

Jett nodded with fake sincerity. ‘You sound like you’re taking this lightly, but you must feel that the wind has been taken out of SAG’s sails. Especially when you compare the turnout here with the thousand-plus people on the streets of Birmingham last summer?’

Bradford batted the plastic hood over the camera lens. ‘You wait and see, Mr BBC,’ he snarled, sticking his face right up to the camera. ‘Inequality breeds hatred. There’s more poverty and inequality in Britain today than ever before. If you’re sitting at home in your nice house watching the likes of me on your thirty-two-inch LCD, you might not see the revolution rising up from the streets. But you mark my words: we’re coming to get you.’

Jett could barely contain his smile. ‘Do you have a timescale? When can we expect this revolution?’

‘Next month, next year, who knows?’ Bradford shrugged. ‘Things will change radically before the end of this decade, but if you only watch the biased rubbish the BBC churns out, the first you’ll know it is when my