MI6 says it doesn’t ‘do culture wars’ after finding itself in the ‘anti-woke’ firing line

‘Diversity brings greater creativity, better problem-solving,’ says the intelligence agency chief.

Sir Richard Moore

In a rare interview with POLITICO this week, Sir Richard Moore, head of the Secret Intelligence Service,  was asked why he had added the pronouns ‘he/him’ to his Twitter bio, and whether MI6 has ‘gone a bit woke.’

“I can say to you comprehensively that MI6 doesn’t do culture wars,” Moore said, “but what I do want is for my service to better represent the country we serve. That’s a noble aim, in my view, but it’s also an intensely practical aim. Diversity brings greater creativity, better problem-solving.”

The head of the intelligence agency continued that if “you have officers of ethnic minority, they might just give you some cultural insight that you might otherwise lack, as well as perhaps not looking like me on the streets of some other parts of the world.”

Unsurprisingly, GB News jumped on the interview, saying that the MI6 boss was ‘forced to defend organisation after being accused of ‘going woke.’

The article seized the opportunity to note how Moore had apparently ‘come under fire’ for posting a tweet championing LGBTQ+ rights just hours after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The GB News’ report generated a mixed response among readers, with some sharing their weariness of the constant stream of culture war content pushed out by the news outlet.

‘Ugh woke this woke that, change the record GB News is pathetic,’ wrote one exasperated reader.

This isn’t the first time that security services have been involuntarily entered into the right-wing backlash against so-called ‘wokeness.’ In February 2022, the right-wing blog Spiked dedicated an article entitled: ‘The security services have gone woke.’

The article claims that MI5, MI6 and GCHQ chiefs are reportedly encouraging spies to focus on checking their ‘white privilege.’ Similar to GB News this week, the piece in Spiked questions why, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence proceeded to explore the meaning of the terms ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transgender’, ‘queer’…’

MI6 and other security service agencies are part of in a long line of British institutions being targeted by the anti-woke culture war discourse escalating in the UK, driven, in part, by right-wing news outlets like GB News.

Universities have come under particular criticism, with the likes of the Daily Mail claiming universities are peddling ‘their woke agenda to students.’ Schools have also come under particular criticism this year for doing little more than promoting diversity and inclusion. At the NatCon UK conference in May, Katherine Birbalsingh, the self-styled ‘strictest headteacher in Britain’ urged Tory parents to take their children out of schools if they are ‘too woke.’

Gabrielle Pickard is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Twitter screen grab

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