F (CHAIRMAN): So, onto our next item: Recruitment. As you know, the Home Secretary Michael Howard has authorised…
B: Excuse me Mister Chairman…
F: Yes, what is it, B?
B: Blunkett. It’s Blunkett.
F: You mustn’t divulge your real identity, Geoff.
B: No, not me, the Home Secretary’s name is Blunkett, David Blunkett.
F: Yes that very well may be, but his official codename, you see, is “Michael Howard”. Mr “Howard” has given the green light for a thousand new recruits to the service and we have to decide just what kind of people we are looking for.
H: Well, we need people who are tough, for one thing. There are all sorts of psychopaths, borderline delusional zealots and suspect characters around…
F: Well, surely, they’re just the kind of people we ought to be looking for aren’t they?
B: But more than that we need, among others, a lot of Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Turkish speakers.
F: Good God. We won’t be able to understand a word they’re saying.
H: They’re translators, F. They speak English.
F: Ah! Well, thank heavens for that. I thought for a moment there that they would all be gabbling incomprehensibly and writing squiggly reports that were utter nonsense.
B: No, no, no. That wouldn’t do. That’s the job of MI6.
F: Absolutely… hold on… aren’t we MI6?
H: The question we’ve got to ask ourselves is, just how do we recruit a thousand Middle Eastern and North African language specialists.
B: Well, that’s quite simple, actually. In the present political climate, anyone speaking those languages with an interest in national and international affairs is already in the database.
F: So we’ll just round them up?
B: Precisely. We put out a Code Orange Panther Alert...
H: What’s that?
B: I don’t know, I just made it up. The point is we put the fear of God into everyone as an excuse to round up the recruits. It’ll save us a small fortune in advertising.
F: Excellent. MI5 recruitment is settled. Now, I have a meeting at MI6. Would that be next door?
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