“Was Nick Clegg’s aunt a Soviet spy?”

by fpman

Betteridge’s law of headlines says “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

An important qualification to this clever adage could be: “except when it comes to espionage.”

So when Guy Walters for the Daily Mail is asking the question in the title above, it cannot be answered with a definitive no.

Moura Budberg (born as Maria Ignatievna Zakrevskaya-Benckendorff-Budberg) surely had a long and interesting life (along with the equally long and interesting name) and it’s summed up well in the above article. Maura/Maria was very actively socializing throughout her life and this brought her into the company of mostly very interesting people. Or, as Walters puts it, we find her in “compromising” company with some “regularity” as we follow her story. From sci-fi writer H.G. Wells to actual Soviet spy Guy Burgess she was close to a lot of noteworthy members of the chattering (and gin-drinking) classes.

This probably doesn’t have too much significance as far as her “great-great-nephew,” Nick Clegg (UK Deputy PM and leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats) is concerned — unless it suddenly makes his person more interesting to you through a kind of positive halo effect.

Moura_bookNick Clegg may not be the best reason to get this book on Moura Budberg, by Nina Berberova