The British Council claims to have a “deep commitment” to the “creative economy”. The attached job ad demonstrates that. Note the creative style of the first paragraph which opens “The British Council, a world leader in cultural relations”. Now compare and contrast that with the second paragraph which opens with “The British Council is a world leader in cultural relations”. Creative or what?
In reality the British Council is a lot more interested in creative accounting than in the creative economy. Because it is given a government licence to move into any sphere of commercial activity that it chooses, normally under diplomatic cover, it is most interested in securing the competitive advantage offered by that licence, and that cover, and of course the massive subsidy provided by the taxpayer in the form of the £200 million grant, the civil service pension arrangements, the diplomatic status abroad and the “charitable” status at home. The government, most especially the FCO but also the many others from the PM down, the Charity Commission and the National Audit Office are just three bodies which collude in this charade.
The reality is that the organisation uses our money to establish a commercial base which makes competition from genuine enterprise – the kind that risks its own money in a competitive environment while carrying tax and overhead obligations etc. - virtually impossible. It makes specious and false claims in Parliament that our money is not used to subsidise its commerce, and the parliamentary committees, like the NAO, adopt the Nelsonian blind eye. In order to get away with this it needs, like Tartuffe, to work on appearances, and so we are treated to this nonsense about “world leadership”. A packet of Smarties to anybody who can tell me one way in which this organisation shows leadership worthy of that term.
And now somebody, a “consummate networker” with "a real ability” will pick up 35K for 1.5 days per week and join those who are prepared to lend their names to supporting this hypocrisy. Give them their due: they’ve worked out that if it helps sustain status quo, the political endorsement, the mythology of “world leadership” and, above all, the public’s cash, it’s cheap at the price.