We Lost, We’ll Keep Fighting

So the Lib Dem leadership’s wrecking amendment to make the party pro-Brexit while continuing to say it’s anti-Brexit won, despite even the amendment itself being unconstitutional (wrecking amendments are not allowed normally), and despite the policy itself contradicting the Lib Dem constitution.

I still intend to fight this within the party, and I still intend to fight for the party, but I accept both those fights currently seem futile. However, fighting for futile things is basically the story of my life. The alternative would be suicide.

As far as I can tell, the Lib Dems today voted both for Britain to become an authoritarian dystopia and for the party itself not to have a single policy that can actually be sold on the doorstep in a way to persuade *anyone* to vote for it. I fear 2017’s election results may come to look like some great golden age when compared to future ones.

(Those of you who are not Lib Dems will be glad to know this concludes the posts on Lib Dem conference for this year).

Nonetheless, the fight continues.

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Why #LDConf Should Vote For the Unamended Brexit Motion

Thankfully, the Lib Dem insurbrexion worked — the motion to suspend standing orders was won, by 377 votes to 96, so now there will be an actual debate and vote on policy tomorrow.

Now, I can’t be at conference for personal reasons, but I think it’s important that we actually vote for the new policy, and not for the leadership wrecking amendment which would return the policy to the one we have now. But several powerful people in the party, including the leader and a vice-chair of FPC, have been out in force today saying the opposite.

What they’ve been saying is that we don’t need to change the policy, because “under our existing policy we are fully committed to exiting from Brexit”. This is, frankly, a lie. It may well be what they hope to be the result of the existing policy, but it’s not what the existing policy actually commits us to.

Remember that our policies say *what we would do in government*, and imagine we somehow managed to form a government before the end of the negotiations after a snap election. Now what would our existing policy commit us to do?

It would commit us, first, to continue to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU and try to get a deal with the other EU members — even though we think it’s a bad idea to leave the EU and getting a good deal is impossible.

Then it would commit us to holding a referendum in which we would campaign against the deal we just negotiated, saying we hadn’t done a good enough job of negotiation.

And then, assuming that referendum resulted in people still voting to leave the EU anyway — and I see no reason to assume otherwise, and certainly not to be sure of it — it would commit a Lib Dem government to leaving the EU, even though we think that’s a terrible idea.

That’s not a policy. That’s an attempt at fence-sitting so torturous it ends up with the party impaled on a fence-post, writhing in self-imposed agony. It’s neither a principled argument nor a pragmatic one, it’s just an attempt not to have any position on a controversial issue.

The policy motion put forward, on the other hand, is not perfect (for example I’d have changed the wording about “a Liberal Democrat-led government” so it referred to any government in which the Lib Dems are even a junior partner), but what it commits any future Lib Dem government to is simple:

Not leaving the EU.

That’s it. Not “negotiating a deal we know to be bad and then campaigning against the deal we negotiated”, not “rerunning an ill-advised advisory plebiscite which was distorted by a massive oligarchal propaganda campaign in the hope that the billionaires will play nice this time and not try to asset-strip the country after all”. Just not leaving the EU.

And note that it doesn’t bind the party in any situation *other* than a Lib Dem-led government. It doesn’t prevent MPs from working with MPs from other parties while in opposition to get a referendum on the final deal. It doesn’t prevent MPs from amending government bills to soften the worst of what’s happening.

It doesn’t, in short, prevent the party from compromising with other parties to get an imperfect result that’s still better than the current one. It just doesn’t *pre-compromise* everything. It’s sometimes necessary to meet people half-way, but when you’re doing that you don’t *start* from half-way.

We can either claim to be opposed to Brexit, or we can say “we don’t really have an opinion either way, you decide”. Yes, having an opinion will alienate some voters, but since most voters are already alienated from us, perhaps we could try winning over those with strong opinions rather than the current strategy of being no things to no people?

Anyway, that’s what I think, and that’s what I’d say to conference if I had a chance. And I hope someone more diplomatic than I *will* say that tomorrow.

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The Prometheans: Atlas Shrugged

As a basic step of self-esteem, learn to treat as the mark of a cannibal any man’s demand for your help. To demand it is to claim that your life is his property—and loathsome as such claim might be, there’s something still more loathsome: your agreement. Do you ask if it’s ever proper to help another man? No—if he claims it as his right or as a moral duty that you owe him. Yes—if such is your own desire based on your own selfish pleasure in the value of his person and his struggle.

While there are good points to Heinlein’s work – things about it that make it obvious to a sympathetic reader why it is he became so immensely popular, and things in it which can encourage a reader to become sympathetic – there’s nothing of the sort to the other book that jointly won the first Prometheus Hall of Fame award. Atlas Shrugged is a bad book on every conceivable level – bad on the level of craft, bad on the level of morality, and bad in terms of its influence and effects.

The basic plot is a simple one. An inventor named John Galt invents what amounts to a perpetual motion machine. The company he works for are impressed, and decide that since they would have a monopoly on a machine which would basically create a post-scarcity society, they might give some of the money they earn from it to charity, rather than keep it all for themselves.

Galt is horrified at the idea that anyone other than himself could possibly see any benefit from his machine, so he sabotages it and goes into hiding, spending years going around the USA persuading every competent inventor or manager to join him in a secret hideaway for rich people who think they’re the Nietzschean superman, and sabotaging all the major industries, so everything slowly decays and falls into corruption.

At the climax of the book Galt takes over all the radio stations and broadcasts a speech, lasting seventy pages, in which he berates everyone who isn’t him for their not being as clever as he is, and says that he is destroying civilisation because people who do physical work think they deserve a decent day’s pay in return for it, and because people believe that it’s morally incumbent on those who have money and power to help those who are suffering. He causes a massive civil war, and in the last few pages of the book, cuts off New York’s power and its transport systems, leaving people trapped there with no escape to die, panicking. Once enough people have died and the country’s collapse is complete, he intends to become ruler of the rubble along with his friends.

Oh, and he’s the hero of the book.

Rand’s book is, simply put, an attempt at arguing that supervillains are the real heroes. Her argument is that all progress happens because of men who are cleverer and simply better than everyone else, that they have no responsibilities whatsoever to the sheeple scurrying around them, that scale of achievement in itself is the ultimate good, and that anyone who tries to stop a genius from doing anything he wants to by imposing any kind of regulations is committing a sin against humanity and indeed against existence. Towards the end of the book, one of the characters rewrites the US constitution to include “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade”.

In other words, and to use an example from a piece of SF that my readers will mostly be familiar with, when the Doctor asks if he has the right to destroy the Daleks, Rand would argue that not only does he not have that right, but that by even asking the question he is making himself a leech and an impediment to progress. On the other hand, Davros’ speech about the virus would be exactly the kind of forward-thinking genius that makes humanity so great, and everyone should worship him (and women should have humiliating rapey sex with him because he’s so great and important).

This is not a distortion of the book’s meaning, and nor is it an oversimplification. It’s a book that takes the simple moral black-and-white-with-no-grey-areas view of superhero comics and simply reverses it. Greed is good. Power is good. People who try to restrain powerful greedy geniuses are the most evil people in the world. It’s a claim (I typed “an argument” at first, but it presents no argument, merely stating its conclusions as axioms) that health and safety regulations, taxation to provide public goods, and any other attempts to limit the harm that can be done by people who fit the comic-book (if not necessarily the real) definition of psychopathy are the greatest imaginable evils.

It’s not a book that has any literary depth to analyse, nor is it a book that admits of a nuanced reading – Rand explicitly argues against the very concept of nuance – it’s just a bald statement: clever people deserve to be worshipped by the stupid masses, who they are morally obliged to use and dispose of at their own whim.

And the “clever people” part of that is the secret to the book’s popularity – at least in the US (it’s never really made any impact anywhere else in the world, and only really came to the rest of the world’s notice as the Internet made the idiosyncracies of local cultures more readily available. Most people in Britain, for example, have still never heard of it). It says that if you think you’re cleverer than everyone else around you but you don’t make as much money as a plumber or a welder, it’s not because the plumber or welder has a more useful skill than you, it’s because you’re being held down by evil looters. On the other hand if you, as a computer programmer or an advertising copywriter or a politician, are making more money than them, that’s because you are a supergenius who really deserves even more, because the looters are still holding you back.

Of course, to anyone who feels even the slightest resentment about their position in life (and who has no basic empathy or understanding of social structures), this is a perfect excuse for every failure and justification for every success. It’s even better than blaming black or Jewish people for those purposes, because you can draw the lines however you want. Obviously you are one of the productive people, and obviously whoever you dislike is one of the looters. I’m OK, you’re a leech who should be killed for the improvement of humanity.

And so this book has become massively successful, and has permeated the culture in ways that are often so all-pervading it’s hard to realise just how much it’s harmed the world. Alan Greenspan, who was in charge of US monetary policy for decades (and who was pretty much single-handedly responsible for neoliberalism being a thing) was a devotee of Rand, as is Paul Ryan, the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Nathaniel Branden, who largely invented the concept of self-esteem as it’s applied in self-help books and feelgood memes, was a devotee (and lover) of Rand trying to popularise her ideas. As a result, her ideas have become so mainstream, even though when looked at directly they’re evil, that they often become an unacknowledged frame for discussion.

The odd thing is, though, that Heinlein, the Libertarians’ other favourite SF author, anticipated and parodied Atlas Shrugged seventeen years earlier. His short story The Roads Must Roll involves a technician who has convinced himself that he and his colleagues should be the ones to run the world, because society can’t function without them and therefore they’re the most important people in the world. He gathers a cadre of like-minded technically-skilled people around him, and then sabotages the workings of the transport system while broadcasting to the world about how the sheeple need to be ruled by the technicians who are the real workers.

The difference is, Heinlein’s “Galt” is the villain, and loses at the end, because all the sensible characters realise what a stupid and evil plan it is.

Heinlein was parodying Mafia-run US trade unions, but the plot is the same, and Heinlein even manages to sum up Atlas Shrugged‘s appeal:

The author…disclaimed the “outworn and futile” ideas of democracy and human equality, and substituted a system in which human beings were evaluated “functionally” – that is to say, by the role each filled in the economic sequence. The underlying thesis was that it was right and proper for a man to exercise over his fellows whatever power was inherent in his function, and that any other form of social organization was silly, visionary, and contrary to the “natural order.”

The complete interdependence of modern economic life seems to have escaped him entirely…

Functionalism was particularly popular among little people everywhere who could persuade themselves that their particular jobs were the indispensable ones, and that, therefore, under the “natural order” they would be top dog. With so many different functions actually indispensable such self-persuasion was easy.

If only the people who worship Heinlein had bothered to actually read him, maybe a lot of unpleasantness could have been avoided…

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Important LDConf Update re Brexit Motion

Further to my last post, FCC have thankfully reversed their decision to oppose suspension of standing orders in view of the reaction. BUT, in what those of a suspicious nature might see as yet another attempt to stack the deck, while everyone else might see it as an attempt to respond to an unusual level of interest, they have not gone back to the original deal.

The original plan (as understood by those who agreed to it) was that Julian Huppert would speak in favour of suspension, no-one would speak against, and Andrew Wiseman would sum up saying that FCC as a whole were neutral but he was personally in favour of suspension.

Now, on the other hand, the plan is to have several speakers at the debate. (This paragraph edited after some discussion of what the rules are).

Get there early — the earlier you get there, the less work you’ll cause for the moderator of what will be a very difficult debate. While I think this is absolutely necessary for the party, we should be very mindful of the voluntary nature of the people who are having to deal with this upheaval, and create no more work for them than necessary.

Please note, as well, that this is the situation *as of now* — 6:50PM on Friday. Whether that is the situation at 9AM on Saturday, we shall have to wait and see. I wish I could be there.

(Prometheans post will be up in an hour or so)

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Back Tomorrow

Sorry for the lack of new posts around here. Since the start of this month I’ve written about 15,000 words of fiction you’ll eventually see (10,000 words to finish The Basilisk Murders and the last 5,000 of a 10,000-word Faction Paradox story), a script you almost certainly *won’t* eventually see unless you happen to be an eight-year-old girl who watches the YouTube channel I ghostwrite stuff for, and that long post the other day about the Lib Dem leadership. And I’ve also been out of melatonin for most of that time, which has made coherent thought almost impossible.

But my melatonin has arrived, and everything I had a deadline for is now done, so I plan to get some actual sleep tonight and then tomorrow post a review of Atlas Shrugged (spoiler: it’s not my favourite novel of all time)

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Why Are The Lib Dem Leadership So Keen on Brexit?

This is not a blog post I wanted to write. I have been working behind the scenes to fix this, as have many others, for months. But it has become apparent that many of those at the very top of the Lib Dems are far more interested in going along with the Westminster bubble’s opinion that Brexit is great than they are in opposing the government or representing the membership.

Tim Farron’s initial response, the day after the referendum, was completely correct:

I believe our country’s future is still best served by our membership of the European Union, despite its flaws. Millions of our fellow citizens believe that. I also believe many of those people share our vision of a country that is tolerant, compassionate and positive about Britain’s role for good in the world. They share our vision of a country that wants to repair its divisions by working hard together, not by offering cheap slogans.

That is why I want to make clear that the Liberal Democrats will fight the next election on a clear and unequivocal promise to restore Britain’s prosperity and role in the world, with the United Kingdom in the European Union, not outside it.

However, within a very short amount of time, this commitment was watered down to a mere commitment to a second referendum while “respecting the result” (I have it on good authority that this is entirely down to the efforts of one MP who cared more about keeping his seat than about the principle involved). Lib Dem conference was not allowed to vote on actually opposing Brexit, despite calls for a separate vote, but after all we had five years to change the policy before an election, didn’t we?

We went into the election with this pathetic watered-down compromise of a policy, and actually managed to lose vote share as a result. The party — which has support for membership of the EU written into its constitution, incidentally — was reduced to talking about stopping “Hard Brexit” and meaningless fence-sitting nonsense phrases. There was a clear distinction between our policy and that shared by the Tories and Labour, but thanks to their politicians waffling about what their policy actually was, and ours refusing to make any kind of case against leaving the EU, those voters who wanted to stay in — nearly half the population — were denied a voice in the 2017 election at all. No wonder they mostly voted for Labour, since we were so afraid to actually have an opinion, because God forbid we might alienate fascists by saying something liberal.

Immediately after this, it was decided by people within the Westminster bubble that Vince Cable should be imposed on the party as leader without us getting to vote, despite him having been a *supporter* since late 2016 of even the “Hard Brexit” we were supposedly opposing — calling for destroying the economy by leaving the single market, in order to be crueler to EU immigrants. It was at this point that many of us decided we needed to start fighting back.

To start with, we wrote an open letter to Vince Cable, which can be viewed at https://openlettertovincecable.wordpress.com/ . To Cable’s eternal credit, he responded to the letter, backed down from the absurd views he’d spouted in the New Statesman, and started calling for “an exit from Brexit”.

However, this change in rhetoric was not matched by a change in substantive policy, and so various people submitted motions for autumn conference calling for the party to actually *oppose* Brexit as a policy, rather than just call for a second referendum (which as well as being a bad strategy electorally and something that would cause activists an unnecessary amount of additional stress, is also something that would almost certainly just lead to a repeat of the 2016 result. I also personally oppose referendums in all circumstances for principled reasons I explained here).

However, Federal Conference Committee (FCC, who decide what happens at conference) decided not to let the party actually get to vote on the most important issue facing the UK at the moment, instead scheduling a session for a Mrs. Merton-esque “heated debate” on the subject, which would just waste the party’s time with a debate which wouldn’t set any new policy. (And half of the conference agenda for this weekend is taken up with motions which merely reiterate other existing policies anyway).

So those of us who had put together the open letter to Cable got together again and (not without some disagreements) managed to hammer together a proposal to hold a special conference, which can be done under the Lib Dems’ constitution by getting a significant number of signatories.

Now, it’s important to note We did this in private to avoid any embarrassment of the leadership, party, or officials. We wanted to do what is right for the party, not to make a big show about our principles. And the idea we put forward was a simple one — this “special conference” could be held *during* the actual conference. FCC could simply take out the heated debate slot, replace it with an actual policy motion, everyone’s happy, no-one loses face.

We sent this, along with the signatures, to the FCC, and got no response until the conference agenda was published. At this point Andrew Wiseman, the FCC chair, contacted those of us willing to be identified as ringleaders by email, and said “sorry, we can’t do your idea now because the agenda has already been published” (it wasn’t published until quite a while after we sent the special conference demand in, so this was a deliberate decision by FCC, but let that pass for now). He went on to say that FCC had looked into the costs of holding a special conference immediately after the main conference, and that would cost the party £15,000, which was obviously far too much.

Now, personally, I don’t think a £15,000 cost to the party for *actually getting a policy on the most important issue facing the country* would be excessive — that’s around 10% of what’s spent on a Parliamentary by-election — but we agreed to let Wiseman try to come up with a compromise that would avoid unnecessary expense.

The solution that Wiseman suggested was that a vote be put to conference to suspend standing orders and have a vote on the anti-Brexit motion. Such a vote would require a two-thirds majority of attending members to support it, and so would be dependent on what the FCC said about it. Wiseman said:

FCC has said it will not oppose the suspension of standing orders. Some members are in favour and other are against.but as a committee it has said it will not oppose and will be neutral. When I speak to the FCC report I will make it clear that FCC do not oppose this.

Now, I personally didn’t support this “compromise”, because it seemed like us giving up 99.999% of what we asked for in return for nothing (we could have called for suspension of standing orders ourselves, rather than go the special conference route, but given that the vote for suspension of standing orders is first thing in the morning and sparsely attended, it’s ridiculously easy for the leadership to get a bunch of MPs and tame Lords to pack the conference hall and make up more than 1/3 of the vote). However, others seemed to think that Wiseman speaking in support of the motion and saying that FCC did not oppose was enough of a concession, and so we pulled the special conference request.

Nothing further was heard until last week, when someone in the higher levels of the party briefed against us to the Daily Mirror. Note that this must have come from the FCC or leadership, not from anyone involved in the special conference call, because we were keeping it secret *precisely to avoid that sort of thing*.

Then, on Saturday, FCC voted to oppose the suspension of standing orders. That was a 5/4 vote, and FCC were either not informed or misinformed by Wiseman of what had been agreed (I have been told that at least one FCC member who voted to oppose would have changed their vote had they been given the correct information as to what Wiseman had agreed). They also voted to allow a wrecking amendment to be called — this despite wrecking amendments being against the party constitution.

That wrecking amendment is claimed to have been the work of the Federal Policy Committee. It was not seen by all of the FPC, and questions are being raised as to how it got submitted and who knew about it.

One of the group emailed Andrew Wiseman about this breach of the agreement after it came to our attention today (as he didn’t do the courtesy of bothering to let us know). His response was “At no stage did I say that FCC would take a neutral position.” I would argue that saying “FCC has said it will not oppose the suspension of standing orders. Some members are in favour and other are against.but as a committee it has said it will not oppose and will be neutral. When I speak to the FCC report I will make it clear that FCC do not oppose this” is indeed saying that FCC would take a neutral position.

After much back and forth, with it being pointed out to Wiseman what he had actually said, he kept saying he would sort this out and would try to find a solution. Personally, I no longer have any reason to trust Wiseman’s word, but he was given until 7PM to suggest something by members of the group who are more patient than I. It is, as I type this sentence, 7:34PM.

At this point, I can only take this as an open declaration of war upon the anti-Brexit elements of the party membership by those within the Westminster bubble.

I will not be able to attend conference this weekend for personal reasons, but I urge *every single member who can* to turn up to the motion on Saturday at 9AM, and to vote for suspension of standing orders, and then if that happens to vote for the motion unamended.

If the suspension isn’t voted for, we *will* be calling for a special conference. We *WILL* get the signatures, and we will do it publicly this time.

And more, if we want our party to be able to justify the “democrats” in our title, and our frequent claim that policy is made by the membership, we *urgently* need to reform the party’s decision-making, not least by making it transparent. Right now, we get to vote for (some but not all of) FPC and FCC, but we have no way of knowing what each of the members do during the decision-making. We do not know how they vote, or on the basis of what evidence. They are completely unaccountable, and that needs to change. You can’t vote someone off for consistently voting the wrong way if you don’t know how they vote, and until we do the democratic element of those committees is a complete joke.

So I plan to stand myself for every committee I can at the next elections, on a platform of radical transparency. We need to let the committees know they work for the membership, not the other way round.

ETA: There have been new developments. Click here for the latest.

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Destroyer: Chapter 15

Fleet Street in London is the traditional home of Britain’s newspaper industry, and as such it was the place to go if one wanted to meet up with a journalist. More specifically, one would visit one of a number of pubs in the surrounding area, as writing news articles and opinion columns to a tight deadline is often thirsty work.

Ian Fleming sat in one of those pubs, and started to wonder if he should just relocate to London, as he had been spending more time there in the past few weeks than he had in the area in which he was nominally based. This time he was down in the city to see Tom Driberg and to give him the documents from Hess, so that he could “accidentally” let them be found by the right kind of person.

Driberg was a committed anti-Nazi, but he had connections among the right-wing set, and was well known as being able to set aside his own politics if an opportunity for fun came along. What was less well known, outside MI5 circles, was that Driberg was also an agent who had spent much of the previous few years infiltrating the Communist party.

Now that role was more or less over, as he had been unceremoniously dropped by most of the Communist contacts he had so carefully cultivated, and he was sitting in the Bunch of Grapes, just off Fleet Street, nursing a pint of bitter.

Fleming looked at him with something approaching contempt. The man was a high society gadabout, and seeing him slumming it, drinking bitter in an attempt to appear working class, almost made Fleming shudder. Why pretend to be worse than you were?

After exchanging perfunctory greetings, the two men had made their way to the snug, where they were unlikely to be disturbed. Fleming disliked doing secret business in public – walls had ears, and careless talk cost lives, as the posters one couldn’t avoid seeing hammered home – but the risk was less great than if Driberg had been seen going into a building owned by the security services, and at ten o’clock in the morning the bar was deserted, as even the thirstiest of hacks usually waited at least until lunchtime.

Fleming himself thought that the earlier one had one’s first drink of the day, the quicker the hangover from the night before would wear off, and Driberg currently seemed to be of the same opinion. Certainly he appeared already slightly the worse for wear before Fleming had even arrived, although with Driberg appearances could often be deceptive.

Fleming had explained the job to Driberg, but Driberg remained unconvinced,

“So you’re asking me to worm my way in with the Fascists now the Communists have kicked me out? You must think I’m far better at espionage than I really am.”

“No, I think you already have an in with these people, and that they know you’re the kind of person who’d sell out your country for a shilling if you thought it might be amusing.”

“Oh charming.”

“Come on, Tom. You know your reputation as well as I do. You’re a communist, a queer, and a cad. Now, the first two I can forgive, and the last I rather like, but no-one’s going to think you’re a flag-waving patriot, are they?”

“So what do you want me to do with these papers?”

“Oh, just make sure they get to the right people. You know the types – anyone a little less than keen on our kosher friends. There must be plenty of them among those mumbo-jumbo chanters you hang around with.”

Driberg picked up the papers and looked through them, at the endless rows of gibberish.

“So I take it this is in some kind of code?”

Fleming nodded. “Best you not know anything more than that. The less you know, the less damage you can do.”

Driberg took a long drag of his cigarette, and blew the smoke towards Fleming’s face. Fleming tried not to look aghast at the fact that the man was apparently smoking Woodbines now.

“You really expect them to fall for these?” Driberg asked. “For them not to wonder where I got them? They’ll know they’re forgeries in an instant, and know that I’m trying to trap them.”

Fleming sipped his glass of cheap whisky while deciding how to reply, and wondered again what on Earth Driberg thought he was doing pretending to be working class in a place like this. The contrast between Wheatley’s club and this bar couldn’t have been greater, even though Driberg was of a far better family than Wheatley. Probably one of Driberg’s enthusiasms that he’d be over in five minutes, like all the others. Next week, no doubt, Driberg would be pretending to be the illegitimate heir to the throne or something.

He came to the conclusion that it was probably best just to tell Driberg the truth.

“No, they won’t know these are forgeries, because they aren’t. They’re copies, but all the text is taken from the actual papers we captured from Hess.”

Driberg boggled. “Why on Earth would you want to hand those to fifth columnists?”

“Because we want to see what they do with them when they have them. There’s nothing in there, as far as we can tell, that will actually damage the country, but if we know who gets the papers, and can see what they do with them, we might be able to mop up the whole fifth column in one go.”

Driberg looked thoughtfully at Fleming.

“The whole fifth column?”

“Or near as dammit.”

“You really think we can do that, with just these papers?”

“I do. This is something we’ve been setting up for months. Hess walked right into the trap, and now he’s given us exactly what we need.”

Driberg leaned back in his chair, and took a long drag of his cigarette. He held the smoke in his lungs a while, and then slowly let it out through his nostrils. Then he smiled.

“This could be a hell of a lot of fun, couldn’t it, Ian?”

Fleming smiled back. “Oh yes. Definitely your sort of caper.”

Driberg took the papers, and said he knew what to do with them.

This is an excerpt from my novel, Destroyer. If you like this chapter, please buy the book. It can be bought in hardback from Lulu. The Kindle and paperback editions are available from Amazon (UK) and (US). For non-Kindle ebook versions This Books2Read Universal Link will give you links for your preferred ebook retailer.

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