Don’t you just hate it when you infiltrate a dangerous paramilitary terrorist organisation - only for the rug to be pulled from under you?

Several years ago I joined the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery (code name: SMAG) because I suspected it was a front for various illegal operations.

This obviously involved high value art, but also - judging by the glasses of wine they plied their members with at their meetings - possibly illicit liquor, too.

Slowly but surely, over the years, I seemed to be winning their confidence, and I was even able to build a file on the current chair of ‘The Firm’ (as they are commonly known in this manor).

On the surface, Linda Kasmaty is just the sort of friendly, caring, hardworking, public-spirited lady that any decent community needs.

But don’t be fooled by her tireless unpaid efforts to support the arts and local heritage, nor her litter-picking and charity plant sales. They could be an elaborate cover for other things.

Indeed, I have it on good authority from certain people - a couple of her godchildren, no less - that some people call her ‘The Godmother’.

The Firm always managed to dodge my probing - even those awkward questions I asked at the AGM about the cost of tea and biscuits.

But just when I was on the verge of being able to publish my dossier, a rogue agent who doubles as a councillor beat me to it, and revealed what he knew.

The Friends of SMAG had, he said, “done nothing but cause concern and anxiety among the public over the weekend”, so “They can no longer be trusted.”

It was all the proof I needed to confirm my fears about their activities.

After all, what else but an organisation posing a serious threat to public safety and the future of the town could provoke such a vociferous reaction?

Sure enough, this paper reported how they had committed one particularly heinous crime: not realising that a ‘Cabinet member decision notice’ (CMDN) they were shown, suggesting the imminent closure of the museum, was classified as top secret.

It was a classic giveaway. If they were proper citizens, they would - like all of us surely do - make sure they understood all the inner workings of tedious Council procedures.

Joking aside: losing an (albeit imperfect) museum and gallery without a clear plan for a replacement any time soon is a terrible reflection on Swindon in the 21st century.

But even worse is for the people who care most about that to be treated with such contempt by so-called leaders.

In these tight-budgeted times, it should be obvious enough that if any major town has any proper ambitions, its only hope of delivering them lies not in treating decent, caring, smart people as if they were subversives, but by working with them.

So I apologise for making light of it, but if Swindon Borough Council’s approach to heritage and the arts doesn’t make you laugh, you’ll surely cry.