Christine Jardine: Tinker, Tailor, Tartan Trews

Christine Jardine’s tongue is stuck firmly in her cheek in her Scotsman column this week. You can tell she’s enjoying making fun of the latest nonsense advanced by a former SNP MSP – that the reason the SNP is doing so badly is that it has been infiltrated by MI5 to discredit the independence cause.

It seems that after 16 years in power, including one term with an outright majority, the failure of the SNP to persuade the Scottish people to jump ship from the UK was all because of unionist subterfuge.

Not because of dissatisfaction with the state of our NHS, anger at failing education standards or frustration at the growing cost of those ferries. Nor the results of realising during the pandemic that the strength and size of the UK Exchequer and the economy were positive reasons for the Union. Nor was it the emotional ties we all have to family in the rest of the UK that swung the argument. No, it was spooks. British spies in the nationalist camp.

A potential new spy novel, she wonders?

A sort of ‘Tinker Tailor Tartan Trews’ expose of a pro-UK cell acting as a conduit for vital information that Holyrood would prefer to keep clear of the clutches of ‘Big Brother’ in Westminster. That, in claiming the Security Service is anti-Scottish, the originator of this particular conspiracy theory – apparently a former MSP called Campbell Martin – is actually laying the groundwork for a piece of fiction.

It might feature a handful of operatives, presumably well-trained in the love of square sausage and Irn-Bru, which has infiltrated the inner sanctum of the SNP. There they have painstakingly won the trust of the leadership and encouraged them down an independence cul-de-sac, for which they will be rewarded with a cottage in the Highlands and a new identity.

The online version of the article is illustrated beautifully with a picture of Claudia Winkleman in full Traitors get up

One alternative, that it is true, is about as realistic as the notion that a Claudia Winkleman-like figure in a black cloak with oversized hood is manipulating the team around the First Minister. That only she knows who are the faithful and who are the traitors amongst the Cabinet Secretaries. I know. I know. It is ridiculous and laughable.

You can read the whole article here:

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Nonconformistradical 21st Aug '23 - 11:54am

    For those too young to understand the ‘Tinker Tailor Tartan Trews’ issue – a pity the original BBC TV drama series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy doesn’t seem to be available on iPlayer at present. Well worth watching if/when available. Don’t settle for anything other than this Alec Guinness masterly performance as George Smiley.

  • Nonconformistradical 21st Aug ’23 – 11:54am:
    …a pity the original BBC TV drama series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy doesn’t seem to be available on iPlayer at present.

    All seven episodes are available on YouTube (other video platforms are available):“Tinker+Tailor+Soldier+Spy”+1979&iar=videos

  • All seven episodes are available on YouTube and other video channels:

  • Sandy Smith 21st Aug '23 - 6:20pm

    MI5 exists to protect the UK from threats. The SNP is a serious threat to the continuation of the UK. Therefore, if it has not infiltrated the SNP, it is not doing its job properly.

  • Mick Taylor 21st Aug '23 - 8:00pm

    The former SNP MSP is asking people to accept that
    1. MI5 has infiltrated the SNP
    2. It has people at the very top of the SNP, who have sufficient clout to get the SNP to adopt policies that hinder their road to independence.
    Now, given that in the past MI5 has infiltrated the Young Liberals (dangerous anti establishment radicals) then 1 is plausible.
    However the very idea that they have been able to do 2 is laughable. It assumes the leadership of the SNP is so stupid that they wouldn’t realise that they were adopting such policies. Now I could say many things about the SNP leadership, but stupid isn’t one of them.
    So Christine is spot on making fun of such a ludicrous idea.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Joseph Bourke
    From the assassination attempt on Donald Trump to Joe Biden withdrawing from the US Presidential race in the space of a week, Harold Wilson's quip "A week is a ...
  • Alex Macfie
    "It now looks as if Trump will be elected president in November." November being 4 months away. Way too soon to jump to such a conclusion, especially when the f...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Thank you for a deeply felt article. Please do not despair. Despair is not good for you and is unlikely to help the rest of us. Please listen to the attac...
  • Fiona
    I'm fully supportive of changes to decriminalise and regulate cannabis for recreational and medicinal use. For practical reasons I'd favour prioritising the...
  • John Hall
    Some of us have been complaining about this situation for a number of years, but even "pro-Palestinians" have been reluctant to seriously challenge the Party to...