Friday 26 April 2024

With My Little Eye?

It is a class thing. We were more MI6 people at Durham. Each college and each department contained a recruiter in my day, and that is presumably still the case. But when it came to the 24 British universities of which MI5 might ever have heard, and I am surprised that there are that many, then I had always vaguely assumed that there was the vetting that is apparently being proposed only today.

China is Britain's third largest trading partner, and considering what it already owned in this country, then it must know everything before the British did. The Government publishes, "A detailed guide for British businesses on developing their overseas trade and doing business in Iran." Those fearsome agents of Fu Manchu, the Chrises Berry and Cash, are respectively 31 and 29, but the three men who have today appeared in court charged under the brand spanking new National Security Act, as if good old-fashioned arson had been perfectly legal until last December, manage to be aged all of 22 in two cases and 20 in the third. The Realm totters.

Honestly, as if Vladimir Putin, or anyone else in Russia, had nothing to do but direct the setting of factory fires in Croydon and Leicestershire by boys who were barely out of school. There is an 18-year-old on police bail. Eighteen. Under investigation as a twisted firestarter. Not exactly John le Carré, is it? Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi thinks that the ceasefire encampments also have "a Russian tinge", because of course she does. Side with Benjamin Netanyahu, and you are siding with that. Side with Volodymyr Zelensky, who remains in office even though his term has expired, and you are siding with Netanyahu. If you do not understand this, then you understand even less than Pelosi does.

Ukraine has long been at exactly the stalemate that some of us had predicted from the start, but no one has told certain people who have never been right about anything, so they are shrieking about that failed state and its lost, in Britain almost forgotten, war now that Alex Salmond is on television again. He always was a much better journalist than they were. Recall the interviewees on The Alex Salmond Show, as also on Sputnik and on Going Underground. The ones from or about abroad were objectionable enough to our betters, but the ones from and about real life in the real Britain were intolerable to them.

As TalkTV moves to online only, Freeview's channel 237 should be taken over by a station on which Salmond, George Galloway and Afshin Rattansi could take up where they had been forced to leave off, with plenty more in similar vein as a voice was given to those who were capable of electing a Member of Parliament against the political-media machine because we were not part of it. Rishi Sunak did not call an emergency news conference on the steps of Downing Street when Lee Anderson joined Reform UK, nor would he do so in the unlikely event that Reform ever acquired a seat by election. Centrism and right-wing populism are con tricks to sell exactly the same economic and foreign policies to different audiences by pretending to wage a culture war.

Ours is the real centre ground. The Official Opposition owes its purported legitimacy to the scam that was perpetrated by the same Gideon Falter whom the Government had wanted as an adviser to its Commission for Countering Extremism until even John Mann had threatened to resign if the appointment had been made. Everyone now sees Falter for what he is, so everything that he has ever done needs to be revisited as a matter of the utmost urgency. He delegitimised, it was assumed for at least two generations, the idea of using the power of the State to secure greater economic equality. Well, we shall see about that.

When I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. But if it did not contest North Durham, then I would. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. But there does need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. MI6 people at Durham! If you mean County Durham do try reading Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription. It is an enthralling unadulterated fact based autobiographical spy thriller and a super read as long as you don’t expect John le Carré’s delicate diction, sophisticated syntax and placid plots.

    What is interesting is that this book is so different to any other espionage thrillers fact or fiction that I have ever read. It is extraordinarily memorable and unsurprisingly apparently mandatory reading in some countries’ intelligence agencies’ induction programs. Why?

    Maybe because the book has been heralded by those who should know as “being up there with My Silent War by Kim Philby and No Other Choice by George Blake”; maybe because Bill Fairclough (the author) deviously dissects unusual topics, for example, by using real situations relating to how much agents are kept in the dark by their spy-masters and (surprisingly) vice versa; and/or maybe because he has survived literally dozens of death defying experiences including 20 plus attempted murders.

    The action in Beyond Enkription is set in 1974 about a real maverick British accountant who worked in Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in London, Nassau, Miami and Port au Prince. Initially in 1974 he unwittingly worked for MI5 and MI6 based in London infiltrating an organised crime gang. Later he worked knowingly for the CIA in the Americas. In subsequent books yet to be published (when employed by Citicorp, Barclays, Reuters and others) he continued to work for several intelligence agencies. Fairclough has been justifiably likened to a posh version of Harry Palmer aka Michael Caine in the films based on Len Deighton’s spy novels.

    Beyond Enkription is a must read for espionage cognoscenti. Whatever you do, you must read some of the latest news articles (since August 2021) in TheBurlingtonFiles website before taking the plunge and getting stuck into Beyond Enkription. You’ll soon be immersed in a whole new world which you won’t want to exit. Intriguingly, the articles were released seven or more years after the book was published. TheBurlingtonFiles website itself is well worth a visit and don’t miss the articles about FaireSansDire. The website is a bit like a virtual espionage museum and refreshingly advert free.

    Returning to the intense and electrifying thriller Beyond Enkription, it has had mainly five star reviews so don’t be put off by Chapter 1 if you are squeamish. You can always skip through the squeamish bits and just get the gist of what is going on in the first chapter. Mind you, infiltrating international state sponsored people and body part smuggling mobs isn’t a job for the squeamish! Thereafter don’t skip any of the text or you’ll lose the plots. The book is ever increasingly cerebral albeit pacy and action packed. Indeed, the twists and turns in the interwoven plots kept me guessing beyond the epilogue even on my second reading.

    The characters were wholesome, well-developed and beguiling to the extent that you’ll probably end up loving those you hated ab initio, particularly Sara Burlington. The attention to detail added extra layers of authenticity to the narrative and above all else you can’t escape the realism. Unlike reading most spy thrillers, you will soon realise it actually happened but don’t trust a soul.

  2. Do we think we could get the Talk TV frequency?