Speech

Bonded to Britain

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Speech by the British High Commissioner Sir James Bevan at 50 years of James Bond celebration, Saturday 15 December 2012, New Delhi.

James Bevan

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, friends and colleagues, welcome. I don’t have a Licence to Kill . But I do have a licence to open our house to friends for events such as this. And tonight, For Your Eyes Only , I also have a licence to mention the titles of every single James Bond movie in a speech. There are 23 of them: see how many you can spot. I have already mentioned two.

I can neither confirm nor deny whether I’m working tonight On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But if you catch me later, I might tell you about The Spy Who Loved Me – or at least tried to – when I was a young diplomat on assignment at NATO. I can assure you – and my wife Janet – that I resisted all enticement sent From Russia with Love .

2012 has been a great year for the UK. We didn’t want to let the Sky Fall on this year without celebrating with you. The success of The Queen’s Jubilee proved that Diamonds are Forever. Although as I watched Her Majesty sitting in a freezing cold boat in the driving rain going slowly up the Thames in a howling gale, I did think that she looked at the officials who had organised that trip with A View to a Kill. But Her Majesty is made of strong stuff. She survived, as did her officials, who will Die Another Day .

Then it was the Olympics. The Man with the Golden Gun who fired the starting pistol for the Games with that unforgettable Opening Ceremony, was film producer Danny Boyle. Danny’s Golden Eye brilliantly visualised Britain’s past, present and future. He showed he’s a man with the theatrical Midas Touch, a true Goldfinger .

For me the most memorable moment in that ceremony, a real Thunderball, by comparison with which The World Is Not Enough, was the arrival at the stadium of HM the Queen accompanied by our hero tonight, James Bond. Who but the Brits would have dared to scare The Living Daylights out of their Monarch by asking Her to arrive not as most Monarchs do, in a car, but by leaping from a helicopter in full evening gown with her most valued secret agent?

Of course during the Games there were one or two things which did not work. The original plan to stage the swimming races in the sea near Blackpool was called off because the water was found to be too…. Octopussy .

The device invented for transporting the athletes failed to work: it was a prototype lunar powered vehicle, known of course as the… Moon-Ray-Kar (Moonraker). Such moments we must just Live and Let Die .

We were all sorry when the Olympics were over. There was A Quantum of Solace for the Brits, in that we had won more Gold Medals than ever before. And we look forward to 2013 with optimism, knowing that Tomorrow Never Dies .

But tonight is a night to celebrate. We have lots to entertain you, including a Casino Royale. Take it easy with the martinis, because when I asked if we had arranged emergency medical assistance, I was told Doctor? No. And while we might be able to revive you once if you have too many Martinis, don’t overdo it because You Only Live Twice .

OK, that’s all 23 Bond film titles. Anyone who got more than 10 should participate in our Bond Quiz. Anyone who got all 23 should get out more.

Before I finish I wanted to be a bit more serious, and take a moment to recognise all those Indians here tonight who studied in Britain with one of the UK’s most prestigious scholarships, the Chevening Scholarships. You are the best of the best. We are honoured to have you with us, we are proud of you, and we hope to continue the close association we have with all of you. If you will forgive one more secret agent pun, we hope that after your time in the UK you are now – like many other Indians - Bonded to Britain. Because we are Bonded to You.

Finally I thought I would leave you with a Bond joke I heard recently.

James Bond is on a train with a glamorous secret agent ,Titania. They are each in separate bunk beds. Bond says: “I’m cold Titiana. Could you reach up and get me another blanket?”. And Titania says: “James, I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we pretend we’re a married couple?” Bond says: “Darling, that’s a wonderful idea.” And Titania replies: “OK, then. Get up and get your own damn blanket!”

Thank you, and have a wonderful evening.

Follow the High Commissioner on Twitter @HCJamesBevan