THE latest chapter of the UK Government’s “Making It Up As We Go Along” Brexit strategy was revealed by Theresa May last Saturday. In a speech at the Munich Security Conference the Prime Minister warned the rest of the EU over the “damaging real-world consequences” if the EU let “rigid institutional restrictions” or “deep-seated ideology” be obstacles to a post-Brexit security partnership. This was the same Theresa May who, in a speech in Glasgow in 2013 at the height of the referendum on Scottish independence, insisted that an independent Scotland would not be guaranteed access to crucial intelligence on terrorism from the UK and other states.

The idea that a freshly independent Scotland would be cut out of the UK’s security arrangements would see Britain’s enemies falling over themselves to set up shop here. May of course knows this too but no lie was then considered too outlandish for the purposes of preserving the Union.

Of all the tasks and enterprises required to be undertaken in a newly independent Scotland, that of establishing an intelligence and security apparatus offers the most intriguing possibilities. What a lovely wee train set that would be to play with.

I’ll admit I’m no expert at the spying game but I’ve watched all the James Bond films and have read most of John le Carre’s novels so that just about puts me in the same place as most MI5 and MI6 bureau chiefs. In using the UK intelligence services as a benchmark it’s not as if there’s much to aim at. On my watch we wouldn’t have let half our aristocracy and royals get away with agitating for the Nazis as they did throughout the 1930s. Nor would we have permitted our most exclusive university to double as a KGB finishing school during the 50s and 60s.

To my mind there are a few essential components of a fledgling security structure. Obviously, we’d need to identify a few countries we don’t like the look of and the cut of whose jib we find to be wanting. After all, what’s the point of having intelligence agencies if you don’t have any enemies? The problem here of course is that Scotland is the most welcoming, enlightened and diverse wee nation on Earth. We tend to get along with most people. That’s why traditionally many of us use the British Army and MI6 to let off steam and get things off our chest.

Nevertheless, if we look hard enough we could come up with a handful of nations to keep a close eye on following independence. These could be ones with whom we have an unresolved, historical grievance or simply those that everyone else hates too. So, in no particular order I’d put Costa Rica, Iran, North Korea, Iceland and the USA on the list. I’ve never quite forgiven the first two for our World Cup exits in 1978 and 1982 while North Korea is on everyone’s list. Iceland is there because, quite frankly, their conduct during the Cod Wars was an absolute disgrace. The USA might surprise some people but let’s face it; they’re so busy looking for Arabs and Mexicans that they’ve left themselves wide open and they’ve got stacks of tartan societies that could easily be infiltrated. The Russians have already been filling their boots and we could get a slice of the action too.

To be taken seriously as a mature and functioning intelligence agency we’d also need to identify some enemies within. These are required to keep the people paranoid and on constant alert, which is where we need them to be if we were ever to declare war on someone at short notice. I’d be keeping tabs on the staff and students of St Andrew’s University; most of the Scottish judiciary; the Hawick Common Ridings; quite a few Robert Burns societies and the Royal Company of Archers.

Next, we’d obviously need some spies. Here is where I think a newly independent Scotland can really make its mark. I’d nominate David Pratt, the UK’s top foreign correspondent, to take charge of the recruitment process. Pratt is a veteran of every war zone on the planet and knows all the people worth knowing in these places. So that gives us a head start.

Traditionally, international spies have been irresponsible and indolent psychopaths who do very little actual spying but lots of shagging, drinking and swearing. Their carbon footprints are shameful. They also kill people at random intervals when sometimes a quiet word would have sufficed. The agents of an independent Scotland would be a different breed. Casual sex would be discouraged in case people got carried away and missed a connection or a bag-drop. If it was deemed to be unavoidable an approved list of safe, secure and sustainable sexual positions will be issued which must be memorised and then burnt in case it fell into impressionable hands.

Alcohol vouchers would be restricted to five per agent per year in order to encourage sensible drinking. Only a select band of hand-picked, highly trained agents (codename: The Buckfast Squad) will be allowed to drink until the cows come home and only for National Security purposes. Only travel on public transport would be allowed as it would be energy-efficient and there would be no danger of surveillance by an unfriendly operative. Foreign assets work to tight schedules where a lost second can be the difference between life and death. Scotrail’s time-keeping would keep them at bay.

Random acts of violence would be frowned upon unless the agent can prove a life-threatening situation backed up by signed affidavits from two witnesses. We’d also encourage alternatives to physical torture. In those cases though, where it’s deemed absolutely necessary, we would insist on the victim being given a wellbeing impact assessment questionnaire to show that it was nothing personal and that we’re really quite civilised underneath it all. Firearms would be banned but judicious use of the half-brick or broken bottle will occasionally be permitted and these will be included in the starter packs of all agents. In this way an independent Scotland would be a beacon of enlightenment to the global intelligence community.

A disproportionate number of Scots have been members of MI5, MI6, the SBS, the SAS and Special Branch. In fact it was a Scot, David Stirling, who founded the Special Forces while another, Gordon Jackson, was the boss of Bodie and Doyle in The Professionals. With such an illustrious bloodline I’m confident the security agency of an independent Scotland would be a formidable unit.

Welcome to the Sleekit Service, Scotland’s national security agency; motto: Who Cares Wins.