Double agent

Betrayal was a routine business for George Blake

Kim Philby once remarked to the journalist Murray Sayle that ‘to betray, you must first belong. I never belonged’. Kim, as usual, was lying. Westminster and Cambridge, the Foreign Office and SIS: for all his attempts to pose as an outsider, Philby was a thorough-paced member of the British Establishment. George Blake — who is quoted using exactly the same phrase about himself in Simon Kuper’s wise, engaging biography The Happy Traitor — was telling the truth. Blake never belonged to a country, and communism was probably the closest thing he ever found to a spiritual home — even if he was deeply disillusioned by the reality of the workers’