Friday, July 06, 2018

Never Say Novichok Again

This recurrence of the novichok nerve agent in Wiltshire just goes to reinforce my theory that the whole Russian connection is just a smokescreen and that the UK government is actually being held to ransom by some SPECTRE-like international crime syndicate.  Clearly the government didn't pay up after the first poisoning in Salisbury, so they've upped the ante, targeting not ex-Soviet spies this time, but ordinary people.  They're sending a message: nobody is safe - you can decontaminate as much as you like, but we can still get you.  Believe me, right now Number Ten is in panic mode (although, these days, one has to ask when it isn't), with all these cabinet meetings supposedly about Brexit a cover for hastily convened crisis meetings.  Why else do you think that the government are getting nowhere with Brexit (other than their utter incompetence)?  As I write this, M is on the intercom to Miss Moneypenny, telling her to recall every double O agent in Europe, no matter how vital their current mission might be.  Which will be a cue for a middle aged man in a dinner jacket to have a fight with a bloke with metal teeth on a plane, before jumping out without a parachute.

I know, I've seen far too many Bond movies (not to mention having read all the books as well).  I do have to say,though, that the bit in Thunderball where M does have all the OO agents in Europe has always left perplexed.  There seem to be a hell of a lot of them gathered together in the briefing room.  Bear in mind that in Moonraker (the book, not the film), Ian Fleming clearly states that there are only ever three OO agents active at any one time.  Even in the 1950s there weren't that many people that the UK government wanted killed.  That said, even Fleming seemed to become confused as to who the other two OO agents were.  Originally it was 007, 008 and 0011.  While the first two remained constant throughout the books, the third OO varies: 009 in Thunderball, 006 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Which, if nothing else, confuses the issue of how the numbering system works as it indicates that, unlike the implication in Moonraker, new OO agents aren't simply numbered consecutively from the last one to die or retire.  And, in the films at least, they do die at an alarming rate: 002 in Man With the Golden Gun, 009 in Octopussy (although 009 turns up again, apparently unscathed in World is Not Enough and Spectre), 003 in View to a Kill, 004 in Living Daylights and 006 in Goldeneye

But, getting back to this nerve agent business, there's no doubt that this latest attack is the most exciting thing to happen in Amesbury since, well, since ever.  I don't want to diss a town but Amesbury makes Salisbury look like an exciting big metropolis.  While it has expanded quite a ot in recent years, my childhood memories of Amesbury are of one of those 'blank and you miss it' places as I was driven past it in the back seat of my Dad's car.  I know that's undoubtedly an unfair assessment of the place, but coming from Salisbury, I was used to seeing lots of streets, shops and stuff.  Which Amesbury, to my child's eye view, didn't seem to have.  But hey, it's certainly on the map now.  It'll probably get even more coverage when half the OO section descend on the town in pursuit of Blofeld and the inevitable car chases and gratuitous sex and violence ensue.



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