Patrick Watson shows how the British Council landed a contract in Malaysia as a result of special privilege. We have pointed to Libya and Tunisia - but it's an old story. It's the way the organisation has to work because when the playing field is level and the goalposts held in fixed positions, the British Council hasn't a snowball in hell's chance of landing anything. Patrick writes:
Is it the cultural arm of the FCO? Or is it a straightforward commercial operation? Is it charity, fulfilling a public benefit ie justifying its charitable status (it cant be both a charity and commercial operator can it ?) Or is it a quango, at arms length from the Government? Then again, maybe its an aid agency supporting our development goals and the DfID (its tapping in to the DFIDs aid budget after all).The answer is- it tries to be all of these things . Like a chameleon it changes its status to suit any given circumstance. And it has been allowed up until now to get away with it . But one has to ask, for how much longer?
Read his blog here.