A new HMIC report reveals that there are now no less than 1200 undercover cops operating in this country but that these wannabee players of The Great Game are headed up by senior officers who are woefully lacking in knowledge and expertise. Moles led by donkeys I suppose. We can only hope that at least some of these operatives are doing something useful other than spying on peaceniks and getting their leg over at every opportunity. Truth be told I have always been fascinated by those who are capable of leading a double life. Burgess, Maclean, Philby and the rest. How did they hold it all together? The fiction of John le Carre remains a favourite of mine for the same reason.
A few years ago some of us had gatecrashed the media village on St Stephen's Green opposite Parliament. Eventually we must have tired of baiting politicians and my mate Rik and I decamped to the Red Lion. We were followed by a somewhat the worse for wear and clearly disturbed bloke who, recognising Rik as a kindly soul, had attached himself. On the way to the pub our new friend repeatedly asked if we thought he was an undercover cop. Once in the boozer he downed the pint that Rik had bought him and wandered off to the Gents that was conveniently close to our table. On his return our friend hovered hopefully next to Rik and said, " But how do you know that I'm not an undercover policeman."
" 'Cos you've still got your trousers round yer ankles" replied Rik. "Now pull 'em up before you get us all chucked out".
Deep cover or what?