“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Conservatives, Facebook and MI6

with 16 comments

Conservatives come in many shapes and sizes, and are not always found on the political right. If you hunt around your acquaintances, friends and relatives then you will probably have a few, small c, conservatives amongst them.

They might be those people who often look back to the past to some almost mythological golden age, or seek guidance from worthy but irrelevant tombs. They are far easier to spot when modern technology enters the frame, they may be the last people to discover the Internet, have a mobile phone or even use Facebook.

The latter innovation almost caused a breach of security at MI6.

The mandarins in Westminster hadn’t thought to check the Facebook pages of its senior staff for potential security leaks, or information that would have compromised the security of their operatives.

The wife of the new MI6 Director, Lady Sawer had included many personal details in her entry, and although it has been scrubbed by now I wonder if they will have learnt any lessons from their rather conservative attitude towards technology.

The Guardian reports an interesting snippet for all antifascists and scrutineers of the Far right:

“The Mail on Sunday had claimed its story – which also revealed that Shelley Sawers’s half-brother is a researcher for the Holocaust-denying historian David Irving – showed that Sawers had left himself open to a potentially catastrophic security failure.”

Hugo Haig-Thomas, apparently is a former diplomat, anyone say Maxwell Knight?

Written by modernityblog

05/07/2009 at 23:50

16 Responses

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  1. They might be those people who often look back to the past to some almost mythological golden age, or seek guidance from worthy but irrelevant tombs.

    That’s very silly.


    06/07/2009 at 00:03

  2. ha ha, OK, but do you want me to define it that tightly?

    Hint: I am not talking politics now, as in “and are not always found on the political right.”


    06/07/2009 at 00:31

  3. I think mesquito had it right. Sounds like you have a penchant for putting silly labels on people.

    Heres another one : Likes to see Britain destroyed from the inside out – Labour supporter. Ok, except mine’s more accurate 😉

    Bertie Humbug

    06/07/2009 at 00:56

  4. I am reminded of John Stuart Mill’s

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    Might I suggest reading it more carefully and making an extra effort to see my point?


    06/07/2009 at 02:53

  5. You’re saying luddites, or ultra-late adopters of technology are ‘conservatives’. And your point is?

    Bertie Humbug

    06/07/2009 at 03:11

  6. nearly, the KEY part is:

    “and are not always found on the political right.”


    06/07/2009 at 03:24

  7. Please, Mod, please, please, please tell me that is the real NO. ‘Sharer of common sense’. Delightful. I feel honoured to nearly share the same city. Alas I and billions of others can never share the same universe.

    If no one mentioned it on the Spycatcher thread, I believe the book was banned for the Verona detalis and over possibilities of Hollis as ‘Elli’


    06/07/2009 at 10:45

  8. Then the MI6 job should be offered to someone else and he should divorce his wife.

  9. funny IUA, that was my first thought

    PS: socrep, don’t think it is, but Mills was right, given the above evidence.


    06/07/2009 at 13:42

  10. I tell thee. I would actually set up the blog for him, something like ‘Spade but not neutered’ or ‘No, No, No, You’re an Arsehole’. I miss a good dose of daily petulance and spit themed self-absorbence


    06/07/2009 at 13:49

  11. Just think, chief of the Secret Service yet out there intelligence consisting of photographs and information on his and his familys’ whereabouts is easy to come by… talking of intelligence, or lack of it… the Lady (yes her title) must have been aware of his job promotion?

    I thought this was basic stuff that even bottom level spies kept stuff secret (not that much is kept secret these days, data losses etc.), the biggest concern I would have thought was disclosing the location of their children and their home.

    A while back there were exaggerated plans of kidnapping the then PM’s child – this could have also happened in this case, but I suppose they would be fine, the flat must have security and I guess he has a gun (where MI5 don’t carry one).

    A Sir and a Lady, I thought they “networked” at posh dinner parties, not common facebook… I guess she is lucky to be alive as if I was in the same position as him, I would have likely organised an agent to take care of her (much better than a divorce)

  12. exactly IUA,

    that’s my point about conservativism, with a small c, it is a mentality and the Secret Service, a lot of Whitehall are infected with that slow disregard for technology and the modern era, almost living in the past

    They find it very hard to grasp and so don’t foresee the bleeding obvious, until it is too late.


    06/07/2009 at 17:03

  13. I am not sure even you knew what you were trying to say in this post, though eventually a point was made, i think.

    I would say that conservatism with regard to not embracing new technology because its ‘new fangled’ or something is a retrograde step and i imagine we agree on that. However, institutions that have existed for a long time are likely to be behind the curve somewhat, though that isn’t much of an excuse when you’re dealing with the defence of the realm. I expect they wouldnt have thought that anyone could be so daft as to put C’s personal info online – especially his wife!

    Bertie Humbug

    07/07/2009 at 01:24

  14. Well Bertie, thank you for that.

    It is a pity that you and others of your ilk can’t really be troubled to read the central point of the post, which is an attitude towards technology.

    The introduction was essentially a few throwaway lines and not central to my argument, it was however related to conservative *thinking*.

    And when I use conservative in this way I am not talking about politics. Not talking about politics, but how many people are set in their ways and can’t respond to the modern age.

    In fact some of the most conservative people I have run across have been alleged “revolutionaries”, unable to cope with the pace of change in society and unwilling to adopt new methods of communication, but that was not my central idea in the post, and I do hate having to belabour these rather trivial points.

    If you and other Tories, right-wing Conservatives, US Republicans, ex Republicans, etc are offended when people use the word ‘conservative’ and expressly say small c, then can I suggest taking your deliberations elsewhere 🙂

    I don’t like Tories, I don’t like their ideas, I’m not too keen on US Republicans, etc either so if you want to have an argument over trivia, then this is not the place for you. As the Americans say, have a nice day!


    07/07/2009 at 02:06

  15. TBH Moddie, I am not sure the main point was particularly well put and i can say that as someone who doesnt put main points particularly well either sometimes. Blogging is a time consuming process and its hard to get across what you’re trying to say in a time frame which actually allows you to manage all of the other demands like work, life etc.

    However I understand you were referring to people who “people are set in their ways and can’t respond to the modern age” with regard to the c word and you explained some further context in your last comment about this characteristic not being monopolised by any particular political identity.

    Anyway, I am a Tory type but i hope we can have some nice constructive arguments at some point 🙂

    Bertie Humbug

    07/07/2009 at 02:25

  16. aye right enough


    07/07/2009 at 22:37

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