Captain Moonlight's Notebook: As pink as two Lobsters

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The Independent Online
TO THE secret world again and disturbing news. Lobster, the anti-spy's bible, is about to split in half. Its founders Stephen Dorril, 37, and Robin Ramsay, 44, have fallen out. From next month we are likely to see two Lobsters - one from Hull (the Ramsay version) and one from Holmfirth (the Dorril one) - each weakened as a result of the clash between these two conspiracy theorists who gave us a memorable Who's Who of British spooks.

Lobster is one of those delightful and worthwhile publications, more footnote than story, that hammers away at every bit of published fact on the security services. It delivers a comprehensive picture of a clandestine world which the Establishment would prefer remained secret. From time to time, though, Lobster does wander off into a rather dream-like world of international conspiracies, but that has never truly undermined its authority.

Its circulation of around 1,200 will surely suffer. And who will have the name? Dorril claims it is his. Meanwhile, Ramsay refuses to share the subscription list.

The break between the two men began in December when Ramsay told Dorril he was removing his name from the Lobster masthead and would run the twice-yearly magazine alone. Ramsay refused to answer Dorril's calls. He later told Captain Moonlight that he (Ramsay) did all the work. Dorril, Ramsay added, spent all his time writing books.

In fact a publisher's proof of Dorril's latest book, The Silent Conspiracy, an account of MI5 and MI6 in the 1980s and 1990s, has landed on my desk. In it he refers to Ramsay as 'my former colleague'.

The proof copy resembles more a guide to origami than a real book. Those pages dealing with Stella Rimington and Mark Thatcher's business deals in the Middle East have been murdered by scissors, paste and staples, leaving huge holes. Heinemann, his publishers, say that lawyers said the offending words were 'too sensitive'. I note Dorril has dedicated the book to a BT engineer who turned up at his home and 'repaired' an unreported and non-existent fault on his telephone.