Guest Blog: authorised by the Foreign Office, London, United Kingdom
The Plaza Dorrego note dated 24 November
“Bond, the situation is grave, we are on the brink of war; they have managed to get vital information from the Argentine government. You must go to the rendezvous tomorrow, your local contact will meet you there as will Agent 012. Keep the girl handy, we have reason to believe she can be of use to us, but do not tell her more than she needs to know. Goodluck. M’’.
Foreign Office memo 26 November:
“Agent Moneypenny’s disclosure of the note in a public blog is highly regrettable. There is every possibility that it will be viewed as a credible leak. Our current situation and conflict with Russia following Salisbury is highly classified and should have remained confidential.”
What you may not know, dear reader, is the extent of ripples from ‘Brexit’. Until recently, the safety and security of the United Kingdom was little in doubt. To the west was ‘our special relationship’ with the USA (and Canada) under the steady, civilising leadership of Obama (and Trudeau). To the east was Europe (and Switzerland), a largely collaborative and affluent landmass, offering joint ventures for trade, defence planning and policing (with military protection to the Vatican). All of that was to change. Now, the Channel - a thin strip of murky water bearing ships and concealing submariners - is all that separates us from a hostile world.
The Foreign Office was fully aware of our risk of isolation. The ‘£350 million per week’ sign was hastily dropped from the Brexit Bus and replaced by ‘£100 billion loss by 2030’, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The Foreign Office needed to act quickly and decisively. And there was little point in turning to Merkel and Macron.
Worryingly with the Vatican falling into Argentine hands under Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and the US Supreme Court currently headed by Chief Justice John Roberts, supported by fellow catholics Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and now Brett Kavanaugh, the world order was changing in other ways. There were even beliefs that Prince Charles, on his accession to the throne, may convert to Catholicism, Islam (or both).
I know that it troubled you, dear reader - because you have asked why ‘M’ was sent to Buenos Aires, and with her, a collection of disparate, unusual agents. Predictably, the first to arrive was 007 Bond, meeting with ‘M’ in Recoleta cemetery. Then followed Sabrina, 009 Richard Hammond and his mysterious associate Paul. Even Mireille was to depart unexpectedly on the Hanjin Buenos Aires from which Cpt Nick Compton disappeared without trace. And who is the unknown Agent 012?
It is a matter of record that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, arrived in Buenos Aires in the early hours of 30 November. Her itinerary was tight, but before meeting Argentine President Mauricio Macri, she had a prior appointment arranged personally by ‘M’. Whilst a Presidential car and escort greeted her at Ezeiza Airport, a switch was effected when the cars left Av 25 de Mayo, diverted back down Av San Juan to the junction with Salta. The cavalcade came to a stop at Parilla Nuevo Gogy where secretly Philip May was waiting with asado con frites and a glass of Malbec. Later three radio taxis carrying the Mays and British Secret Service left for Mariposita de San Telmo at Carlos Calvo 950, the May’s boutique hotel for their visit.
Within 30 minutes a 1960 Bentley S2 Continental Standard Sedan seen to be driven by chauffeur Raul Morgado from Palacio Haedo delivers Theresa and Philip May to Calle Balcarce. Whilst the British Secret Service keep watch from the first floor of the public garage across the road, the Mays are taken between the twin lanterns of 725 and the tall double mahogany doors into Taconeando.
“Hello, Prime Minister”. The voice is Argentine, but with almost flawless English diction. The owner of the voice is a slim, striking Argentine woman, her fascinating face framed by black hair. Alongside stands her husband, a short intruiging Irishman with shining pate and winning smile.
“Prime Minister, this is the famous La Flaca Lucia and her husband Gerry. M secured the best for you. I understand this is your first time in Buenos Aires, and indeed to be your first Argentine tango lesson?”.
Philip May smiles uncomfortably as he balances on one foot to tie his shoelace. Theresa places her handbag on a chair. “Take your time, Lucia”, Theresa May announces, “Mauricio Macri can wait; after all, our Falklands misunderstanding will not be resolved in a day”.
From their position of vantage, the officers of MI6 are able to see directly into the studio. And the agents witness the start of an important transition, from a gauche dance at the Conservative Party Conference - to tanguera. Whilst Philip struggles with the embrace, Theresa launches herself into the moment, arguably the most civilising event of the G20.
An hour later, the Bentley S2 pulls away from Balcarce 725, swinging via Plaza Dorrego into Defensa. Bond looks down from the roof at Defensa 784 as they pass, muttering “her next dance with Macri and Trump will make tango seem like a walk-in-the-park”.
Moneypenny Corner of Balcarce and Defensa ‘Bond is standing in front of a Bentley; the window lowers and…. I can’t believe it, but...
Moneypenny I take the note, start to walk towards San Telmo while trying to make sense of what I had just seen. Was this a secret...
Mr Bond I flash a smile towards Nancy the waitress, and without a word she arrives with a second champagne glass for Moneypenny, who...