Leading article: The bumblingly ineffectual side of the Cold War


Most of the "information" which, it has just been disclosed, the Tory MP Raymond Mawby fed to the Czech secret service was extraordinarily trivial – generally available in Hansard and Who's Who. His account of the leadership machinations within the Tory party was not much more than low-grade political gossip.

Quite what the Czechs got out of it for their £100 bundles of cash is unclear. Their files admit what he told them was "of only limited interest". The idea that this was easy bait to compromise the MP before demanding something more substantial is undermined by the fact that the MP was in Czech pay for 11 years and never came up with anything significant. In the grimness of the Cold War, characterised by assassinations and the threat of nuclear mutually assured destruction, the bumbling ineffectuality of Mr Mawby and his handlers is oddly reassuring.