Jeremy Corbyn should dust down A Very British Coup and Spy Catcher. And hire a food taster

8 Aug 2015 at 15:00

Now here’s a little thought for conspiracy theorists. Way back in the early eighties long before Michael Foot’s famous electoral suicide note was even a twinkle in his eye, Chris Mullins was writing a novel, A Very British Coup. If Corbyn becomes leader of the Labour Party it might be a good idea to pick up a copy. Anyone under forty won’t remember it, but it was troubling and profound. The main character, Harry Perkins, was a Labour leader who won an election but never had the chance to exercise power. He wanted to unilaterally disarm, to leave NATO and introduce true Socialism. This terrified the armed forces and the security services. Poor Harry suffered a fatal accident. I am not for one moment suggesting that the British establishment would put out a contract on Corbyn if he was within a whiff of the Premiership, but it is worth making a list of whom he will seriously piss off. The rich, whose pips would be made to squeak. The middle earners who would see their taxes rise. The armed forces, who would be be cut to shreds. Israel, because of his links with with Hamas and Hezbollah. And America who could be terrified that sharing secrets with the British would undermine their security forces. Lastly, our own security services. They would be cut, their powers curtailed and rather than being at war with ISL they would be encouraged to invite them over for tea. It is a pretty impressive list of very dangerous enemies.

Yet the establishment isn’t the problem. Rogue elements within the security services, Mossad, American NSA veterans and a whole host of the weird and the not so wonderful could be very tempted to remove Corbyn and his chums from the scene.

The security services have always been suspicious of Labour and infiltrated the Parliamentary Party years ago. The obnoxious George Wigg was an MI6 man, as was that serial corrupter of young boys, Tom Driberg. Although Driberg was long suspected of being a double agent. MI5 had always fretted that there were Soviet sleepers on the Labour back benches. And they were right to be alarmed. Most people have forgotten about Peter Wright’s Spycatcher book. The Cabinet Secretary was sent to Australia to suppress it and became a footnote in history with his infamous ‘economical with the truth’ evidence. Spycatcher captured our fetid imaginations in those days. It is another book worth dusting down. There were many suspected Soviet spies, not just like Will Owen a backbencher taking £500 a month from Czech intelligence, but former Cabinet Minister John Stonehouse who was working for Czech military intelligence. And there was a very long list of suspects in and out of government.

In 1963 Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell died of a very rare and strange disease, Lupus Disseminator, which attack the main organs. His doctor was so concerned that he visited Porton Down and MI5 to discover that the only way to catch the disease was to visit climates that Gaitskell could not possibly have been to. He was succeeded by Harold Wilson who was wrongly suspected to be working for the Soviets. Most have forgotten that rogue intelligence officers, right wing nutters and that massive ego that was Cecil King hatched a totally bonkers plan to remove Wilson and have him replaced by Lord Louis Mountbatten who ran a mile as soon as he got wind of it.

I only quote this as history, not as anything remotely that would happen. But if I was Jeremy Corbyn I would re read A Very British Coup and Spycatcher. I would also employ a food taster. Andy Burnham might be offered a job after all.