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Neil

I note than on British Council's Venice Biennale website they say Tracy Emin 'is a storyteller with an extraordinary ability to scratch away the surfaces to what lies below' and that having found the original ochres in a Pavilion they manage in Venice she may well have a future as a paint stripper.

But is it not about time that a few of the celebs who prop up the hypocrisy of The British Council started 'scratching below the surface' of what this Quango is about? Instead of allowing her art to be skyjacked by this body, I would like to see her use part of her 15 minutes of Venice fame to take 'a principled stand' over British Council treatment of its staff in Europe, including its language teachers, for example.

Why does she not use this unique opportunity to say a few choice words about Amicus's official picket of the British Council offices in Dublin, for example - in a most 'ladylike' fashion of course, without embroidering the issue in the usual manner of The British Council when accepting an international accolade or prize?

Go on Tracy - dish the dirt and make a big splash in Venice! And remind the world's press too that there are other shows on in town: the Scots are on in 'The Palazzo Zenobio' and The British Council does not run The Venice Biennale!

Arthur

Quite right Neil. And once Tracey has started the ball rolling, other celebs could get involved too. Those that sit in the Council's numerous boards, for example. We could have Bill Bragg ('The Progressive Patriot') singing an anthem to Teachers' Rights, Will Hutton might be persuaded to use his 'Observer' column for an in-depth piece on 'The State the Council Is In', and Mark Thomson could encourage the 'Panorama' team to do some fine investigative journalism on the Council's interesting tax and finance structures in relation to its ELT work.

Neil

Arthur is absolutely right. Where is Benjamin Zepaniah for example? All these ads he did for The British Council - purporting
to promote them as a so-called
Equal Opportunities Employer do
now look a little sick, do they not? Why not rap the management
over the knuckles Benjamin? Get
on a cheapo flight to Venice man and gate-crash the Biennale - I'm sure Tracy would welcome a Rasta rapped British Council joint ...

More seriously, though: there is a Scottish show on in Venice too which also needs support. And I'm told that Sir Christopher Meyer's Press Complaints Commission is in the process of considering what to do about this claim that The British Council organises Venice.

Neil

Jarvis Cocker's 'Meltdown' is on at the South Bank Centre from 16 -23 June sponsored by The Observer.
Jarvis lives of course in Paris so the only link to The British
Council with his festival may be through Jude Kelly, CEO of South Bank Centre who is on the British Council's Board of Trustees. What is she doing about the meltdowns?
www.southbankcentre.co.uk/meltdown

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