Jane Bond. Art imitating life?

Not yet, but I reckon we're getting there.

Now, in common with a lot of you, I have been waiting for the on-screen character of James Bond to be updated to fit with our more modern times. Why shouldn’t we, after all, be treated to a more ‘woke’ James Bond? A one-legged, mixed-race lesbian with a body hair problem, for example, would be a nice change from a male in a dinner jacket, positively oozing white male privilege.


Now, whilst the world of film is having trouble getting to grips with this thorny perennial problem, it appears that the British government, somewhat surprisingly, is about to outdo the wokest of the woke, overtaking on the wrong side of a blind, hairpin bend. Yes, leading the way, in an area which I don’t think anyone truly expected, the government of Great Britain has seemingly given the green light for a 'trés moderne' twitter video message from, quite confusingly, the man who’s the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

Yes, secrecy be damned! This man, Richard Moore, appears in the 3 minute 23 second video without so much as a paper bag over his head. How things have changed. I still remember the days when the heads of crime-fighting organisations insisted on maintaining a cloak of secrecy about their person.

But that was then. This, as we can see by the video, is most definitely now. In the video, throwing caution to the wind by identifying himself, Richard ‘bagless’ Moore, issues an apology for the tardiness of the 1991 decision under the premiership of John Major to lift the government-wide security ban on LGBT+ staff.

Homosexuality in Britain has always been a bit of an issue. Until 1967, men could be expected to be prosecuted and jailed if they were discovered to be engaging in homosexual sex. The age of consent, originally set at 12 (in 1275), was raised to 13 in 1875, and in 1885, to 16. Given that homosexuality was illegal, there was no age of consent for homosexuals. In 1967, with the decriminalisation of homosexual sex (in England and Wales – decriminalisation came in 1980 for Scotland and 1982 for Northern Ireland), the age of consent for homosexuals was set at 21, reduced to 18 in 1994, and finally to 16 in England, Scotland and Wales in 2000 (in Northern Ireland that change came in 2008).

So, as we can see from those dates, this celebration of homosexuality, no matter what we’re told now, remains a very new phenomenon.

Perhaps this is why the British now feel the need for videos like this one from MI6, perhaps they’re making up for lost time. Even so, this is a very strange thing to do now. The celebration of a decision which came into effect 30 years ago, combined with an apology to all those who were denied the chance to serve their country’s secret service if they let it known that they were not heterosexual, to say nothing of the people who were kicked out for being gay before it was cool with the boss.

Perhaps the reason for this video apology is, indeed, to show how far the Brits have come since those dark days where understanding was scant and indiscreet behaviour could well lead to blackmail, ostracisation, a criminal record, public shaming and potentially jail time. As Richard Moore himself asserts, one of the reasons non-heterosexuals were frowned upon was the belief that they would be more susceptible to blackmail, and therefore less effective as spies.

This means that, according to MI6 at least, the world has moved on, put sexual discrimination of non-heterosexuals behind it, and now recognises that there is no difference when the ease of blackmailing spies is the topic of the day. Hetero, gay, lesbian, transgender, or gender fluid, all are grist to the mill of MI6’s foreign enemies, with no distinctions being made. But is it possible to state something as wide-ranging as that? Let’s not forget that in the minds of the public, spies and homosexuality were intrinsically linked by the activities of the British double agents who wrecked the Secret Service during the Cold War. Of the Cambridge Five spy ring, Burgess and Blunt were gay, whilst MacLean was bisexual.

Forrás: Képernyőfelvétel/CBC

Forrás: Wikimédia Commons

Forrás: AFP

When they were exposed as double-agents, a lot of people saw their sexuality as relevant. In actual fact it wasn’t. Not in any way, shape, or form, but the ideas of spies, traitors, easy targets for blackmail, and non-heterosexuality were welded together in the minds of the British public.

Truth be told, these traitors were won over by the allure of communism – their treachery had nothing to do with blackmail. These stains on humanity who sent hundreds to their deaths did so because they believed communism was the answer. Try to remember: if communism is the answer, it must be a fucking stupid question.

Nevertheless, that’s not to say that spies can throw their cares to the wind. In his memoirs, Cherkashin, the KGB officer who recruited Hanssen and Ames, recalled the KGB’s use of ‘swallows’, male or female agents sent to seduce enemy agents. It would seem logical to assume that things haven’t changed, and that Secret Services the world over spend time and money trying to find weaknesses in their enemies. If not sex, then some other vice.

Personally, I don’t fully agree with MI6’s congratulatory message to the British public. It’s one thing that MI6 is so proud of the progress British society has made as regards the lack of moral outrage that a transgender James Bond, in a nice, slinky dress might provoke, but it’s surely a bit early to start acting as though the whole world is on board with this policy of ‘woke’, isn’t it? By all means allow the British Secret Service its affirmation of British society’s maturity and growth, but surely not all societies, not all Secret Services are as woke as the British.

Essentially, this is a pat on the back to the whole of British society delivered, it must be noted, rather queerly, through the medium of an apology to non-heterosexuals: James and Jane Bond. What this apology is, or rather what this apology contains, is a secret message! How thrilling! Purporting to be an apology for rejecting those candidates who were suspected of eating fancy cakes, the ones who were both light on their feet and good with colours, this can be nothing less than a secret squirrel and undercover elephant-inspired message to the nation, a congratulatory note for leaving behind prejudice against a tiny minority of society.

A celebration of the wonderful way that the British have embraced non-heterosexuality. Odd. I think it’s very odd. I even went as far as to check for news items which might have been deliberately buried on the day this video stole the headlines. I couldn’t find anything of note, which either means that it was buried beyond my meagre searching skills, or that there was nothing to be covered by this headline-stealing video from the Secret Service.

And that means that it’s just what it is: a pat on the back for the great British public, delivered by the not-so-Secret Service chief.

Odd, peculiar, strange, and yes, queer.