Do you follow me, or have you lost the plot?

`We follow Al Fayed to make sure nothing happens to him. We're looking after him like a baby'

TODAY, WE continue our award-winning off-beat series:

Very Unusual Jobs Indeed

Number 47:

A man who keeps surveillance on Mohamed Al Fayed for MI5.

"That's right," says Tony Pastor (not his real name). "I keep surveillance on Mohamed Al Fayed (not his real name either). Night and day. For MI5. Course, MI5's not MI5's real name either. But people still call it MI5 because they can't remember the new name. Bit like MOT. There's no MOT any more, but people still call it the MOT. You with me?"

Tony Pastor's conversation is a bit like that all the time. Dodging and swerving. All over the place. Suddenly diverting to follow a stray idea. His job's a bit like that too. Switching and cutting back. Following Mohamed Al Fayed. Making sure nobody knows he's there.

Let's get this straight. You follow Mohamed Al Fayed for MI5 in order to find out if he gets into trouble, or what he's up to? Or just to get some incriminating material on him?

Tony Pastor stares at me almost goggle-eyed.

"You don't get it, do you? Listen. We follow Mohamed Al Fayed to make sure nothing happens to him. We're looking after him like a baby."

Hold on, hold on, hold on. Why would MI5, whom Mohamed Al Fayed hates, want to protect him?

"I'll spell it out for you very simply. Fayed thinks there is a conspiracy to get his family. He thinks Diana and Dodi were murdered by MI5. Now, nobody takes him seriously. We don't even take him seriously ourselves. And we don't have to try to incriminate him - every time he opens his mouth he incriminates himself. But just imagine what people would think if Mohamed Al Fayed were involved in some kind of accident. Imagine if he was killed in a car crash, to put it at its worst! People would immediately say, Oh, so there was a plot after all! Diana was murdered after all! It would look very bad for us, you see?"

I see. So you're looking after Mohamed Al Fayed in order to make sure nothing happens to him so that nobody can say there is a plot against him?

"Spot on."

But is it really part of MI5's job to look after its enemies?

"Everyone has to look after their enemy. Would it surprise you to learn that the Reverend Ian Paisley is guarded night and day?"

By whom?

"The IRA."

"The IRA guarding Ian Paisley???"

"Sure. Paisley is the best weapon the IRA have. Every time he opens his mouth he discredits his own side. It would be a tragedy for the IRA if he went. So they keep a secret guard on him. Paisley doesn't know this, of course. He wouldn't believe it if you told him. Can you imagine someone telling Paisley that the Pope was making sure he came to no harm?"

Tony Pastor chuckles.

"There was a time when we got really riled by Al Fayed saying that MI5 were murderers and hitmen. We even thought at one point of..."

Of having him rubbed out?

"No. Tempting, but no. What we thought of doing was suing him for libel. But then we came to our senses. After all, Mohamed Al Fayed seems to be driven by one thing only, by the urge to become British. To that end he is buying up all the most British things he can find - Harrods, Punch, Fulham FC, Diana, Princess of Wales. No point MI5 coming out into the open and suing a man like that. He'd probably try to buy up MI5 as well... Sorry - where was I?"

"Following Mohamed Al Fayed."

"Right. Well, the funny thing is that while we have been trailing him, making sure he doesn't get into trouble, we have picked up some pretty interesting information about him."

What sort of information?

"Let's just say, if we ever wanted to blackmail him, it would be no problem."

Well, why don't you?

"Maybe we will," says Tony Pastor. "Put it this way. If he ever does go very quiet, it is almost certainly because we are blackmailing him."

And then there really would be a plot against him? But for once he wouldn't be able to say so?

"Yeah," says Tony Pastor. "Be ironic, wouldn't it?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week