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Jeremy Jacobs

Does the British Council do any good, anwhere?

David

Jeremy - as we know various worthies have struggled to answer variants on that question. I think it's likely that here and there, where the organisation has allowed somebody good to get on with things that they perceived would be of benefit, some good is done. But that is conjecture. The organisation is addicted to spin, and when it comes to dealing with criticism or anything off-message it offers either obfuscation or denial. If the organisation was either a company, or a government department, or a charity we could nail it down and articulate what could and should be done to monitor it. Since it slips between all three, using diplomatic cover for commerce, being a charity funded compulsorily by the taxpayer, with no scrutiny (or even management) worthy of the name, it blunders on while we pick up the tab. It needs root and branch reform, and since that is not going to come from the inside (why would any organisation want to give up such an array of privileges, such guaranteed comfort or such generously funded lack of responsibility?) it has to come from the outside. Having as a mission to advance understanding of the UK abroad, and trying to improve understand of abroad in the UK is clearly an absurdity, and cannot possibly justify the investment or the cushy privileges or the damage done.

neil robertson

It seems particularly important to respect 'due process' in the
UK's relationship with Libya as
judicial processes are in train.

Let's hope HMG understands that.
There is a huge ongoing row with
Scotland over HMG's 'dodgy deals'
over prisoner exchange and Libya.

And the whole world is watching!

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/06/07165510

http://www.sccrc.org.uk/viewfile.aspx?id=293

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/05/nlockerbie10.xml

http://www.terrorismcentral.com/Library/Legal/HCJ/Lockerbie/Lockerbieappealjudgement.html

neil robertson

There is also a Libyan dimension to Guantanamo as Clive Stafford-Smith reminds us ...............

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/clive_stafford_smith/2007/01/post_898.html

neil robertson

For Emily Maitlis on the British
'branding' campaign in Libya see:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/print/the-magazine/features/575581/the-soft-diplomacy-of-belgian-chocolates.thtml

http://www.justradio.ltd.uk/ourproductions/production/149/inside_the_british_council.html

Note that 'Just Radio' lists The British Council as a 'key non-broadcast client'.

neil robertson

More Libyan sweeteners from Emily!

http://www.spectator.co.uk/print/the-magazine/features/575581/the-soft-diplomacy-of-belgian-chocolates.thtml

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