This seems like an eminently sensible rule to have at the centre of the security services. It’s also something that solves itself rather than being something that requires a solution:
Britain’s security services are not diverse enough, the head of GCHQ has warned, following revelations about a historic colour bar.
The Director of GCHQ says Britain’s intelligence community needs to be more diverse “to reflect the country that we’re here to serve”.
Jeremy Fleming was speaking at the Atlantic Future Forum, the annual defence and security conference between leading military, intelligence and public policy figures in the UK and US.
On Tuesday the official history of GCHQ was released. The new book said that until the 1980s the government policy of ‘four British grandparents’ meant a de facto colour bar existed for new civil service entrants.
This was not, of course, a colour bar. It did not apply to the civil service as a whole, just to the civil service part of the security services. It also did not apply to all of the security services – we’d have had very few agents if that were so – but to the civil service backbone of it.
Colour? Even in 1945 there was a black population of some 30,000 in the UK many of whom could trace back two and even four generations in this country. Also, the waves of refugees from Nazi Europe and or their children would not qualify.
Sure, it had the effect of a colour bar as the population changed. This being something that has ballooned in recent decades. The country is now some 13% or so BAME, very few of whom (see the 30,000 in 1945) are two generations here.
So, what’s the solution?
Priti Patel’s children would qualify under this rule – I think. The successive waves of immigration will do so as they age into it through the generations.
OK, maybe that’s not what we want to do. But it is a solution that works.