“Anything you can do…”

british spymaster hague

UK spymaster William Hague issues recruitment call for future 007 candidates.

Following my surprise in learning about that section of the CIA website devoted to youngsters (The “Kids’ Page”), I had to laugh at an item I read one evening later.

William Hague, the esteemed Foreign Minister of the UK government, announces a grant of almost £0.5 million to Bletchley Park, the crawling estate / campus responsible for eventually cracking the Enigma Code of the Germans during WWII. (More on this, shortly.)

This donation (somehow) opens up another stream of cash (£5 mn) from the UK Heritage National Lottery, enabling Bletchley Park to restore and conserve the “historic code-breaking huts, and the creation of a world-class visitor centre and educational exhibitions”, according to the CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust (dare I name him?), Iain Standen.[1]

Conserving the past, sniping at the future

Hague (for once) attracted more interest when he took this opportunity to announce that the UK would be actively looking for a new generation of spies (sorry, intelligence-gatherers).

As The Independent points out, with a headline that reads:

“Britain needs spies: William Hague searches for the next James Bond”

“Mr Hague, who was visiting Bletchley Park with the Director of GCHQ  [the UK’s “intel” nerve centre[1]], Iain Lobban, announced a new scheme aimed at encouraging budding James Bond types to join GCHQ and the British intelligence agencies.

“He said: “Young people are the key to our country’s future success, just as they were during the War. It will be the young innovators of this generation who will help keep our country safe in years to come against threats which are every bit as serious as some of those confronted in the Second World War.”

“Following a successful pilot of the scheme the first young apprentices will walk through the doors of GCHQ this autumn.”[2]

I’m rewriting my CV, now!

I’m not (quite) in the target age-group of these “first young apprentices”, but I have some experience to offer, and it could be useful. During my media career – a great ‘front’ – of course, to so many people – I’ve worked in almost 40 countries, I’ve mixed with top media players and politicians, ambassadors, guerrilla fighters, opposition activists, Communists, Socialists, dictators, tribal leaders, the mafia – not to mention petty criminals and thugs. Oh yes, the university I attended was also (even earlier), a hotbed of UK  nobility that spied for Russia during the Cold War. Wow! I reckon I have a vibrant new career waiting for me!

The CCHQ recruitment page states: “(Regrettably, we are unable to offer general work experience due to the sensitive nature of our work).”

Despite this, my only question at an hypothetical interview as the next James Bond would be: ‘what shuper-car do I get to drive – a Trabant?’

“Shurely shome mishtake”?, as Sean Connery famously articulated it.

[1]: Bletchley Park Trust

[2]:  GCHQ

[3]: The Independent

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