Spy thriller author John Le Carre has announced that the title of his forthcoming book will be ‘Tinker, Tailor, Unemployed, Deliveroo’. The book will see famous spymaster George Smiley confound his Russian counterparts once and for all by closing down Britain’s secret services, forcing all the spies to find real jobs.
‘It just came to me,’ Smiley tells colleagues in the climactic scene. ‘All we ever do is try and plant moles in the Russian secret service and detect the ones they’ve planted in ours. And when we find them, all we do is leave them in place so we can feed the Russians false information. And even then we have to give them some real intel too, so they don’t get suspicious.’
‘The whole thing’s a complete circle jerk – our secret service creates the need for theirs, and vice versa. We might as well just go home, and they probably will too.’
The final chapters of the novel show former circus operatives struggling to adapt to civilian life. ‘I’ve got special instructions to deliver this mutton vindaloo with pilau rice to a dead letter drop located in a safe house known only to people with top level clearance,’ says one breathlessly, leaning his bike against a lamppost. ‘Though obviously, under Moscow rules, they can’t say that openly. That’s why it just says “Ring top bell”.’
Smiley’s real life counterpart at MI6 said that, while he saw the logic of Le Carre’s position, closing down the secret service for real would be politically impossible. ‘Still, we could do the next best thing and put Chris Grayling in charge of it,’ he added.