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It is the confusion of status, which you've noted elswhere, that is one of the key issues here. It would be much better for everyone if the BC was clearer that it was a public sector body. So it should only be carrying out projects which require a public sector body to implement them, which is likely to be quite a small area. That would mean, for example, it might legitimately partner with DFID or the FCO on projects in line with their respective missions (and, yes, the BC also needs to be clear on what it's mission is) but the BC should not be allowed to bid for contracts which require competition and are, therefore, appropriate for private sector providers.

It is the FCO, as the core funder of the BC, that should be dealing with this. The problem is that there will of course always be issues of greater importance faced by the FCO - so the political will to sort out this problem is not there.


Thank you for that Bill. I have always had the impression that FCO officials, MPs, BC trustees and others just adore the VIP treatment they get when they set foot in Bongoland, and so are tempted to give a positive write-up. The fundamental issues which we both identify are not addressed, and it is a shameful failure that politicians simply do not do their job. Hague is just one of the arch-problems in this regard.

neil robertson

" for example, it might legitimately partner with DFID or the FCO on projects in line with their respective missions" ? Problem with this, Bill, is not just the complete absence of ethical principles and expertise in this parasitical state-subsidised money machine but the fact that British Council is riddled with corruption and seems to think itself above the law of the land? Close it down I say and prosecute British Council officials who defrauded UK DfID by promoting and defending 'non-existent' projects in e.g. Palestine. Use the Theft Act on them. And keep them well away from any DfID development activity. UKDfID is supposed to have a 'zero tolerance' policy on corruption. Thieves need not apply ....... and UK taxpayers have frankly had enough of these people.

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