TRADITIONALLY, the UK political establishment has come to rely on the guaranteed credulousness of the British people in matters pertaining to the rascally Russians. This is what you get for your money after a century of mass-produced anti-Russian propaganda spun by every arm of the British state.

No matter that Britain faced being assumed body and soul into the greater German empire had it not been for the sacrifice of millions of Russians in the Second World War. This was an evil empire bent on destroying our way of life and turning us all into automatons. The McCarthyite paranoia that turned modern America into medieval Salem was present in the UK too, but in a subtler form.

Here, successive UK Governments simply got MI5 to infiltrate the trade unions and CND and then secretly blacklist any workers who were deemed to be a bit too enthusiastic about state ownership or the music of Tchaikovsky. The judiciary and the police were willing participants in these soft purges.

The problem for the current Westminster administration when dealing with Russian affairs is that such blind faith in the morality of the British position can no longer be assumed. When your own modus operandi is to lie, distort and dissemble at every opportunity to the extent that it has become something of a national joke, then the fall-back position of portraying Russia as the Father of Lies becomes less tenable.

Thus, in 2014 when the official Russian state news agency Tass, claimed very carefully that David Cameron’s Government had solicited the help of Vladimir Putin in his war against Scottish independence, it could not so easily be dismissed. The news agency’s chief reporter cited a source in

the Prime Minister’s office for the tale.

Scottish independence would “send shockwaves across the whole of Europe”, the source had insisted. The report also claimed that Cameron and his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy had forged an “anti-separatist pact”.

At this time Cameron was exploiting the office of UK Prime Minister to drip poison in the ear of every world leader he met about the perils of Scottish independence: the Pope, the Queen, Barack Obama. President Putin would have been entitled to feel a bit miffed if he hadn’t also been invited into the parlour.

The prosaic and matter-of-fact nature of the Tass story lent it a degree of credibility. There was nothing to be gained in propaganda terms from such a tale and it was offered in a sort of “oh, and by the way …” sort of manner.

Nothing that has happened since then suggests the Russian president did intervene to tilt the outcome of the referendum in favour of “Net”. And if he had it still wouldn’t have topped the anti-independence propaganda of the BBC in London. Why bother with anonymous Twitter bots when you can have almost the entire battalion of the BBC’s politics team pouring over the border crying England, Harry and St George, followed by a dismal collection of D-listers from culture and media?

I’m entertained by the thought that perhaps, having observed both campaigns in 2014, the Russians became reacquainted with their historic links with Scotland and started batting for the wrong side. And that perhaps this explained the generous offer of a television show to Alex Salmond.

Indeed the former First Minister was yesterday elevated to a heady position when it was put to the authors of the Russia Report that he might now be considered an agent of Putin’s evil empire.

Salmond thus joins a noble band in the cross-hairs of Britain’s right-wing press that includes almost every UK Labour leader and former Prime Minister since the war and an assortment of obstreperous trade union leaders.

The Russia Report didn’t seem to possess any smoking gun pointing at the direct and specific knowledge of the British political elite that the Reds were, once again, assuming their traditional prone positions beneath the nation’s beds.

IT did, though, reveal a mosaic of behaviours and connections familiar to all who have observed the historical attitudes of the British right. Looking the other way? Tick. Not asking too many questions? Tick. Offering Westminster as a laundry service for the purchase of influence in British politics? Tick

British Tories and the privileged classes have a great deal of form when it comes to selling out the country to Britain’s enemies. The foreign secretary Viscount Halifax, who had been favourite to succeed Neville Chamberlain in 1940, was the leader of an aristocratic coalition eager to submit to Adolf Hitler and hand the UK to the Third Reich on a silver plate.

Indeed if it hadn’t been for the support of Labour leader Clement Attlee and his party, Halifax and not Winston Churchill would have carried the day and London would have become the western capital of the greater Nazi empire. Halifax was assisted in his appeasement of Hitler by much of Fleet Street’s right-wing media empires and business interests.

Senior members of the royal family, most notoriously King Edward VIII, had long been suspected of looking benignly upon European fascism. They too were keen to make peace with Hitler and to sacrifice Britain as a burnt offering in exchange for keeping their privileges.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, the Cambridge Five of Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross led a network of bored and feckless aristos who had passed secrets to the Soviet Union throughout the war and afterwards. If David Cameron had approached the Kremlin to seek help in defeating Alex Salmond he’d have been following a path well used by many of his predecessors in the UK’s political and cultural elites.

The Russia Report states that the UK Government had refused to act on warnings of Kremlin interference in the Brexit campaign. The report indicates they were afraid of finding out the extent of it. Of course they didn’t want to know, for that would have forced them to halt the gigantic gravy train greasing the business of commerce in London. Once more, it seems, senior members of the UK establishment and their rich donors have been eager to jeopardise our national security in exchange for a hefty commission.

These vipers and turncoats have one factor in common: they belong almost universally to the same small sliver of British society who preach patriotism and British values while pimping the country to anyone who’ll pay the asking price. They will always risk the safety and security of the British people for personal enrichment. The Enemy Within doesn’t wear boiler suits and donkey jackets but ermine robes and pinstriped suits. And if you’re surprised by this then you haven’t been paying attention.