A new report from the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released today concluded that MI5, MI6 and GCHQ aren’t very diverse, with only 37% of the workforce and 19% of senior staff being women. To solve this problem, it suggested that our nation’s spy agencies consider recruiting from new sources, including popular parenting forum (and home of Penis Beaker) Mumsnet.
Their logo might be an homage to Charlie’s Angels, but I don’t think it was designed with the idea that its forum users would become spies. Or was it? Let’s face it, mums (and dads) need to be great multitaskers, persuade difficult people to do things they don’t want to do (‘eat your greens’, ‘have a bath’, ‘go to sleep before I start screaming, you’re running me ragged’, etc), and blend into a crowd (so the head of the PTA doesn’t try to sign them up for anything).
And it turns out that quite a few of the site’s members would be up for living out their Veronica Mars/Sydney Bristow/Chloe from 24 fantasies. User CaTsMaMmA says, ‘I’ve always said that a crack team of Mothers could knock most governments into a cocked hat’, while BreconBeBuggered offers, ‘If they need someone whose special skill is getting melted chocolate down her dog-haired jumper and not noticing, I’m their woman.’ And JustForBlog suggests a genius twist on the site’s ranting area ‘Am I Being Unreasonable’ for Mumsnet spies: Am I Being Treasonable.
Other users rang a note of caution, though: ‘Yes, people who can’t help but type their every passing thought into an online forum would make great spies,’ said WereJamming, while HareRayZing’s been put off spying thanks to the BBC: ‘Well I’m not signing up. I’ve watched Spooks. Everybody I get attached to dies a horrible death.’
Meanwhile, ArcheryAnnie provides a reality check about the day-to-day drudgery of the job: ‘I bet ten roubles that real spy work is probably very, very boring, and involves a lot of paper-shuffling, and eavesdropping on utterly irrelevant phone conversations about whether the cat has yet to be fed.’
She’s probably right, but it would be nice to think that corrupt governments of the world are about to be brought down by a group of especially enthusiastic internet commenters.