Jonathan Freedland: The Wilson plot was our Watergate | Comment is free | The Guardian That nice Mrs Thatcher commissioned an inquiry in 1987 which concluded the allegation about private armies and a planned coup d'etat, against Harold Wilson in the 1970s, were myths, untrue and conspiracy theory. So imagine how the news hit Mrs T that 21 members of Kent Territorial Army had been arrested, by Kent's finest, for their activity within a private army (The private armies that had just been declared mythical) Imagine too Mrs T's horror to hear that allegedly forged UDR enlistment documentation and ID cards seemed to be a prospective Kent's finest line of inquiry. Mrs T (Razor sharp memory) "But isn't Thanet where that tory cllr was convicted of forging documents. A Cyril Hoser" Imagine too her horror as she was told that the land used for private armies (there being no evidence the activity was exclusive to the group the TA men joined) was suspected to belong to a tory county cllr. Maybe Mrs T thought "is it something the ruddy FRU are up to" but it seems not. At the time high flying MOD civil servant Mrs Jack Straw was busying herself saving money by privatizing barracks security. And some say calculating savings by reducing soldier egg intake. Ration budget ration security. A genius. So imagine the Sir Humphrey of the day breezing in "Good morning Prime Minister. There is news from East Kent. Complaints arising from the arrests case about Deal Barracks security and security history" Mrs T "Is there anything of concern in the history vis a vis mythical private armies ?" Sir Humphrey "Well there is the matter of a very funny fellow called James Shortt"