Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The long history of spies going into politics

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Further support for my theory that the Conservatives' problem is that they are no longer Conservative came in the shape of a Telegraph front page the other day:
Did Rory Stewart spy for MI6? Intrigue surrounds Tory candidate's past as leadership race intensifies
That the paper thought that revealing that Rory Stewart had served his country in this way would damage him in the eyes of his fellow Tory MPs tells you all you need to know about those MPs.

The subject of spies going into politics is an interesting one and there is an article about it on The Conversation.

As Christopher J. Murphy and Dan Lomas say, some spies have got to the very top. There's Vladimir Putin and the elder President Bush from the KGB and CIA respectively.

The nearest Britain has got to a spy as prime minister is Roy Jenkins, who was at Bletchley Park during the war and later served as chancellor and home secretary under Harold Wilson.

I am more interested in the many near-forgotten British names that crop up in the article: Kenneth Younger, Anthony Courtney, Julian Amery, Douglas Dodds-Parker, Patricia Hornsby-Smith.

And, of course, our own Paddy Ashdown gets a mention.

If you want to know what Paddy was really doing in Geneva, read the tribute Denis MacShane wrote when he died:
After a tour in Northern Ireland he left the army to work for MI6 and was the link-man between the UK and the Swiss for the highly secret cold war Operation Gladio. This set up arms and supplies caches all over Western Europe ready to be activated if the Red Army swarmed in, as many feared between 1950 and 1990.

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