Could James Bond Lose His License to Kill?

Scottish independence could leave the British super spy—and highlander—out of work.
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Scottish independence could leave the British super spy—and highlander—out of work.
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Next week, the stout men and women of Scotland will vote on an issue that has the potential to shape the future of financial markets, national identities, and—more importantly—007 movies in very real and very permanent ways. We’ll leave the economists and nationalists to hash out the first two issues and focus on the third, which has us a bit worried.

Follow this train of thought: James Bond, the great spy, womanizer and alcoholic, works for MI6, an intelligence service that only employs British nationals. Bond, who hails from Skyfall Manor in Glencoe, Scotland, isn’t English and, if a majority of Scotland’s five million residents vote for independence, won’t be a British citizen either. He’ll lose his job, his double-O status, and M will have to throw him an awkward going away party.

If Bond has to find a new gig, he’ll likely be sending his resume (“Other Skills: Artful Seduction”) to a newly created Scottish intelligence apparatus that would perform all the same functions of MI6 on behalf of England’s historically bellicose neighbors to the north. Sounds like a good solution, until you consider this, from the Royal United Services Institute: “An independent Scotland is unlikely to face the severity of threats currently faced by the UK.” Translation: Bond may get a new license to kill, but he probably won’t have anyone to shoot. Scotland cares more about North Sea oil (and sheep) than international intrigue, so Bond will likely spend most of his time in briefings about wellhead maintenance or handing out jaywalking tickets in Aberdeen.

Then there’s the CIA. No, Bond isn’t American, but it’s been relatively easy historically for rich white guys to attain U.S. citizenship (think: Pierce Brosnan). Once Bond is in the CIA he’d be tasked with taking on the same comically-named evildoers he currently battles. Sounds like a good solution, until you consider where Bond’s office would be. He’s currently based in the SIS headquarters in London. On the Thames, with a jagged facade, the building looks straight out of Bond film. It’s so imposing and cinematic it played itself in Skyfall. Compare that to the office park that houses the CIA in Langley. Bond is not going to get along with the cast of “Homeland.” He has a very different approach to saving the world.

So we’re left rooting for Bond to remain at MI6 and Scotland to remain part of the U.K. It might seem a trivial detail on which to decide such an important issue, but that’s only because it is. A united Britain is better for the feature of our favorite spy.

Photos by Flynet UK / FameFlynet Pictures