Thursday, June 28, 2012

You couldn't make it up

But then you wouldn't need to. After all, we have known for some time that there were many ... ahem ... sources of information that the Communist states used when trying to winkle secrets out of Britain. Some of them were on the left and some on the right; some did it for money and some out of loyalty to one of the most evil systems in history (though, to be fair to the Soviets, they always preferred go "give presents" even to the most devoted servants, considering that to be safer). Many passed on information to agents of the East European People's Democracies, presumably understanding where it all ended up eventually. Or maybe they did not know or care.

The news that a little known Conservative MP of the 1960s, Raymond Mawby, was so anxious to get money that he sold information to some Czechoslovak agent made me laugh out loud. The whole tale is so preposterous. Don't get me wrong. I am aware of the damage Communist agents did to this country and the West in general throughout those and previous decades; I am also aware of the fact that there is still much to come out about people who were considerably higher up or in better position to pass on information than Mr Mawbey and that is not to mention agents of influence.

However, a glance at what Mr Mawby had to trade is enough to make one laugh:
In time Mawby would be paid directly for political information - normally £100 per time. One file in the archives has a receipt signed by Mawby himself for that sum.
Mawby later handed over lists of parliamentary committees, details of fellow Tories and a supposedly confidential parliamentary investigation into a Conservative peer. "Mawby has also promised to carry out tasks such as asking questions in Parliament according to our needs," the Czech handler wrote in a plan on how to use him in 1962.
That plan involved asking him to supply more confidential material from Parliament "gradually deepening the compromising of his position".
He also drew a floor plan of the Prime Minister's office. As the Czechs were not going to bomb the place, the only reason they might have wanted a plan would be to decide where to put bugs. Did they do so, one wonders. Did they use the information he passed on about some of his colleagues or officials in the party for blackmail?

Mr Mawby did not lose his seat till 1983 but it is unclear whether he went on passing information about his colleagues and officials in the Conservative Party to the end or not.

Meanwhile, let us not forget that brilliant episode of Yes, Prime Minister in which it transpires (among the world-shaking events concerning Benjy the dog) that a previous Director General of MI5, who had been cleared by an investigation conducted by Sir Humphrey Appleby, was, in fact, a Soviet spy.

From memory, a conversation went something like this:

Hacker: But if two of us are ... two of them then ... errm ... all of us are ....

Appleby: All of them?


  1. Some Soviets were capable of knowing when they were being ripped off. They once owned a US congressman but, after a while, they realized they were getting nothing but trivia they could (and did) get from the newspapers. So they went away and took their money with them.

  2. Following the logic of the Left concerning the odd National-Socialist-supporting Tory, presumably this means that the Czech Commies can now be kicked into “the Far Right” as well?