Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I Spy.....

Yesterday I heard an advertisement on the radio (Heart, not my choice!) not so unusual you may say, after all we are constantly bombarded by ads, in all forms of media, these days, but this one was just a little surreal. It was from MI5, yes that MI5, attempting to recruit what they describe as “Mobile Surveillance Officers”. That would be spies to you and me!

Thames House - MI5 HQ
I must admit that I thought I’d dozed off and awoken in some kind of alternative universe, after all , we all know that recruitment is very hush hush. Usually carried out through the old boy network and almost exclusively aimed at graduates of certain OxBridge Colleges.

This clearly needed further investigation. After some extensive research (I Googled MI5!) I found their, quite comprehensive, web site, and sure enough they have a recruitment section giving details of their requirements for a variety of jobs within the service.

Thames House
 All very well but I think a little caution wouldn‘t go amiss. This shadowy world thrives on misdirection, slight of hand, smoke and mirrors etc. So it would be wise not to accept anything at face value. There is great deal about extended working hours, multitasking, thinking on your feet and the need not to have facial tattoos (they make you too noticeable, apparently|), but nothing about getting shot at, being stabbed with trick umbrellas or fighting off exotic Mata Hari clones There seems to be so much they’re not telling us! 

Should MI5 not be your cup of tea,(or vodka martini) there are links to the sites of MI6 and GCHQ, so surely there is something in there for everyone.

 For those interested in becoming a spy, or even if you are just interested in what they are prepared to tell us about the service and its history why not visit the MI5 website.

I would imagine that the rejection rate among applicants is pretty high, but you never know, a new, fascinating, though potentially short, future may be there for the taking.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

24 Hour Tube

London Underground are apparently considering running the tube around the clock for the duration of the Olympics in order to cope with the expected influx of visitors. How is this going to help? How will we persuade these visitors to sensibly stagger their travel plans to make use of all of these extra hours?

We could, I suppose, hold all of the events late at night and time them so that they finish between 1.00 am and 6.00am in the morning, thereby forcing these visitors to travel at the dead of night, when the trains are completely empty.

Or better still, we could simply lock them into the venue, feeding them out into the underground at a steady and regulated rate. Thereby ensuring that the tube doesn’t rattle through the night like the world's least popular and least demanding ghost train.

Or, we could just put up our hands and a say sorry, we’ve made a mistake, we don’t really want the games at all. This last option, although the most sensible, is also the least likely!

In reality, the Games should have gone to Paris in the first place. I’m sure that the average Parisian would have loved the disruption, the crowds, the closed roads and the overloaded transport systems. The added bonus for Londoners would be that they would be paying for all of this for the rest of their lives instead of us!

Of course, some people actually like the Olympics. I'm not one of those people (surprise!) but for the record I would like to wish our athletes every success, we all hope that they will rise to the occasion and that they will be rewarded with fistfulls of medals, especially those nice golden ones, but personally I also expect outstanding results from those responsible for managing the finances and the logistics of the whole affair.

If it ever came down to betting on our gold medal successes versus a financial and logistical triumph, I think that my money would be firmly on the athletes!