Government advert for a James Bond causes a stir

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 November, 2012, 4:01am

Ever wondered how much James Bond gets paid to whirl around the world killing enemies of the British state, in between motorbike chases and train-top fisticuffs?

An advert on Friday on the directgov website, used for government recruitment, seeking a "target elimination specialist" might have let slip the answer: £50,000 to £60,000, with "performance bonuses on completion of missions".

"From time to time the UK government has a need to remove people whose continued existence poses a risk to the effective conduct of public order," begins the advert, claiming to be placed by the Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6. "So we require particularly skilled professionals who are prepared to work on a non-attributable basis to deal with these problems."

Fake? Except that at a time when MI6 really does take out full-page recruitment adverts, one could suspect that this was a clever game of double-bluff. Perhaps it is meant to look like a fake job because it is actually trying to find the new double-O agents - until, that is, you come to the bit where it says that "the job holder will receive all necessary equipment, including passports, special watches, jet packs, mini-submarines and a Walther PPK."

And where should you apply? "Somewhere in the vicinity of the rather fake-looking rock in Regent's Park".

The trivia narrows down the list of potential creators of the faked job to someone who watched the older Bond films but not the new ones (and certainly not the latest, Skyfall which steered away from gadgets like jet packs and submarines).

Suspicion will duly fall on any civil servant over about 45 with access to the directgov website.