Thursday 2 September 2010

Shaken Not Stirred

Hafal Deputy Chief Executive Alun Thomas has been looking at the careers section of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) website (I know he has a box set of James Bond DVDs but...?) and points out that you cannot apply if you have ever experienced schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This rule doesn't just apply to secret agents but to administrators, IT wonks, general bottlewashers who never leave the building, etc. It is okay though to have been a user of heroin or similar (as long as you have been clean for just 12 months), to have a criminal record, etc. It was also okay in the last century to have belonged openly to organisations closely connected to the Communist Party as the Cambridge Five found out to their delight and surprise when they applied. Indeed when information was passed to the Service in 1950 that Anthony Blunt was a member of the CP itself they ignored this. Perhaps they were too busy checking whether any of the cleaners in their London HQ's cafeteria had experienced a mild, one-off episode of psychosis 30 years before they applied for the job?

I will ask them about this and let you know what they say.