Talk:Spycatcher

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Malcolm Turnbull[edit]

I have deleted the link to his article in the 'See Also' section because he is only marginally relevant. I'm not sure why somebody put a link to his page there in the first place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.8.74.178 (talk) 19:53, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

First comment[edit]

I have read Peter Wright and most of the other authors looking at the same subject matter. Peter Wright was the insider and together with Arthur Martin represented a true patriotic regard for the UK that I fail to find in these days of political correctness.

What a terrible thing to have only the BNP waving our flag, love of Country is for the silent majority and I wish they would exhibit it with pride.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.117.188.81 (talkcontribs) 12:32, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Economical With The Truth[edit]

Could someone add a bit about the trial in Australia in which a senior British civil servant famously had to admit that he had been "economical with the truth". This phrase is now notorious because of Spycatcher and I'd be keen to know the background. DaveDave 22:33, 11 July 2006 (UTC)


Do you mean Alan Clark? His admission during the Matrix Churchill trial that he had been "economical with the actualité" in answer to parliamentary questions over export licences to Iraq, caused the collapse of the trial and the establishment of the Scott Inquiry, which helped undermine John Major's government —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.152.3.106 (talk) 07:50, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

It was Sir Robert Armstrong. Mr Larrington (talk) 11:28, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Spycatcher: fact or fiction?[edit]

Didn't Peter Wright admit a few years after publication that much of the book was untrue, and that he made up certain "facts" to pad out the work and try to support the "true" (according to him) claims he did make? 81.105.27.137 09:41, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any admissions, and some googling on the topic doesn't turn up anything except some pallid denials by the British government. Do you have a cite? Justin Johnson 23:57, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
In a Panorama interview of 13 October 1988,[1] Wright said his claims in Spycatcher are "unreliable" and that only one person was 'serious' with him in getting rid of Harold Wilson.[2]--Johnbull 00:25, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Added wrong word? Please check.[edit]

In the 6th paragraph I found the following incomplete sentence: "The government appealed but in June 1988." From the context I'm pretty convinced the missing word is "lost" as in "The government appealed but lost in June 1988." However, I don't actually know this is correct --Fitzhugh 08:27, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

This has since been cited. They did lose. P1h3r1e3d13 00:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Australia[edit]

I'm not sure how the British Government ever thought they could stop the publication of a book in an independent country. Or did they think that Australia was still a colony? And why on earth did they send THE most senior civil servant, Sir Robert Armstrong, to attempt to persuade the Australians to ban the book. Was he some sort of fall guy?? Millbanks 17:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually, Australia is still officially under the rule of the United Kingdom. It's a Constitutional Monarchy, with the "monarch" being Queen Elizabeth II. Officially, she's the Australian Head of State. Her representative (the one who actually resides in Australia) is the Governor General. He is essentially just a figurehead, but he does have the power to dissolve both Houses of Australian Parliament and sack the Prime Minister (which has only happened once, and it was nothing to do with British influence). Officially, Australia is still under the rule of the British Crown and there COULD have been a case for Thatcher's goons to try and censor publication in Australia.Lontano 11:14, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Australia is fully independent of the United Kingdom and although they are in personal union under The Queen with the same woman filling both roles, constitutionally the Monarchy of Australia isn't the same as Monarchy of the United Kingdom or any of the other 14 Commonwealth realms. The Queen's reserve powers with respect to any realm can only be used according to the constitutional arrangements of that realm. I know people in republics seem to have trouble understanding this concept, but you're fairly close if think of it as being a bit like the American concept of "One Nation Under God" where the deity is only the titular ruler of the USA & has little influence and no control over the day-to-day administration of the country. Kiore (talk) 22:39, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
The British Government thought they could persuade an Australian court to refuse to allow publication. Its nothing at all to do with the constitutional position of Australia. Just people thinking they can launch a law suit and win. I think the British position was that Wright had obligations under the Official Secrets Act, and simply moving out of the UK did not release them from these obligations. The New South Wales court rejected HMG's case because the secrets were already out, as the bo0ok had already been published in the US. 59.100.85.169 (talk) 15:26, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Smuggled in?[edit]

Not sure that the book needed to be smuggled into the U.K., as the book was public domain in the United States. It was quite legal therefore to order a copy from the U.S. and have it mailed to your door. All you needed was a credit card. HM Customs couldn't intervene. Book Soup provided me with my copy, and Special Branch have yet to pay me a visit :) . I suggest that it was probably this ridiculous state of affairs that made Thatcher finally climb down about the ban. Willing to stand corrected though... Best wishes Geehigh (talk) 00:29, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Several mail order bookshops in Ireland took out ads in English newspapers for something called "flycatcher" while radio stations in Denmark and Sweden (which could be recieved at night in Britain) broadcast excerpts (in English) from the book. While visitors to Speakers corner in Hyde park (on Sundays) could hear the book read out. So one didnt need to go as far afield as the US to get hold of it. In any case back in the days before the masses had that internet thing the main way of paying for mail order books was by bank drafts or money orders rather than credit cards. 213.40.111.40 (talk) 17:45, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

₤2,000,0000?[edit]

The sentence that was "The British Government’s legal cost is estimated at £2,000,0000.[1]" didn't agree with the source cited, aside from being clearly miswritten. [1] said ₤250,000, so I have changed the article to reflect that. However, the source is from 1987 and says "...has so far cost at least £250,000," so that figure may no longer be correct. Does anybody have more current information? P1h3r1e3d13 00:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Radio detection[edit]

The claim that the detection of superheterodyne (the most common modern type) of receiver could be detected is not new. This is not novel. It was used in britain by "radio police" to find unlicensed radios (those who haven't paid their taxes). It has been known in the radio community for some time. In fact, I learned about it in 1977 from CB radio sources. Bobkeyes (talk) 05:04, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference bbc2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).