Posts Tagged ‘spook’

Here’s a quote from Sherard Cowper-Coles’ memoir Ever the diplomat: confessions of a Foreign Office mandarin on the immediate aftermath of the case of Michael Bettany (a digruntled MI5 counter-intelligence officer who in 1983 made a ham-fisted attempt to get himself recruited by the KGB by delivering confidential documents to the letter box of the chief of the KGB’s London station):

The Prime Minister decided something had to be done about MI5, and a new, external, director general was appointed, in the shape of Sir Antony Duff, a senior Foreign Office official with a distinguished earlier career in the Royal Navy. […] I asked Duff what he thought had been the main problem with MI5. ‘The gossip factor,’ he replied at once. He explained that MI5 officers had been so security-conscious that they had never gossiped to or about each other, thus failed to detect the loneliness and unhappiness that had led Bettaney to go off the rails […] In Duff’s view, successful organisations needed an element of gossip, as a means of what would now be called team-building and as a safety valve.

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One Saturday last November, Mr H. and I went to London to go for a walk. G. came down too, to visit Kew Gardens with a friend, so it was convenient for our walk to start off in Kew.

Kew Station

Before I really get started, I possibly ought to mention that, whilst I’m generally interested in the concept of genre, I’m still rather finding my feet when it comes to the genre conventions of blogging. This is my attempt at a touristy “trip report” style of post, with lots of photos. G. thinks that about ten photos would be a sensible limit, but it was quite a long walk, so I’m going to exceed that. I’ll try to have a fair bit of prose mixed in there too.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Kew.

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Call me suspicious, but I’d hazard a guess that this might not be genuine.

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