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Neil Robertson

British Council geographical confusion continues? The BC Director in Scotland Paul Docherty's LinkedIn entry announces that he is now (apparently?) the BC "Director of UK2012" promoting London's Olympics from a base in Edinburgh ... which is of course only a Ryanair flight away from 'Scottish' Bournemouth ?!

" Paul Docherty
Director UK 2012 at British Council
Edinburgh, United Kingdom Nonprofit Organization Management

I have incidentally lodged a formal complaint with the BBC over the free ad-plugs they are giving to The British Council worldwide as part of UK 2012 and their 'Global Classroom' project which we are told at the end of the daily cartoon ads going out worldwide on the BBC News channel every night is 'arranged in partnership with British Council'. Lord Reith would not be amused at this free advertising!

Neil Robertson

However I did get a lovely copy of Czech journalist and novelist Karel Capek's 'Letters from England' (1925) in the post this morning from Eric T. Moore Books in Hitchin ... 'Hitchin's Best Kept Secret', 24 Bridge Street, Hitchin, Herts SG5 2DF suggesting that Hitchin is in fact in Hertfordshire - not Bedfordshire the county next door?! Not sure who in Capek's UK publisher (based in Manchester Square, London!) is to blame for the title 'Letters from England' (translated by Paul Slever) but after 'The Pilgrim Visits Cathedrals' he is on the train for 'A Journey To Scotland' and 'Terra Hyperborea' (a misty land well to the north of Bournemouth!) paving the way no doubt for one of Kafka's translators the poet Edwin Muir who was later to take the same escape route after he quit as Director of British Council in Prague!

Neil Robertson

Confusion continues ... a couple of days ago First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond announced a forthcoming trip to China - his third - as part of Scotland's well-developed 'China Plan'. There is no mention of British Council in Scottish Government's website announcement of this initiative. Yet Julia Armour who appears to be the new British Council Director in Scotland now that Paul Docherty is to promote the London Olympics from Edinburgh is quoted in today's Dundee 'Courier' as saying of this Scottish Government initiative: "British Council Scotland warmly welcomes the First Minister's visit to China in December, which provides an excellent opportunity to promote 'brand Scotland' (sic) in one or our (sic) most important target markets.' 'Great' one might comment while noting the ditching of any reference to either BC or indeed 'Great Britain' which (pace Ms Armour) her bosses in London are trying to promote on orders from David Cameron? Gone too - thank goodness - is any reference to 'Education UK'? 'Brand Scotland' now rules OK ... but I then opened up today's 'Guardian' and read this story which appears to have come out of Whitehall:

" Ministers in the UK government are attempting to challenge Alex Salmond's dominance of Scottish politics with a series of initiatives designed to reassert London's influence over the economy."

" UK ministers are setting up a new Scottish "trade and growth" board to promote exports and overseas investments, particularly in the emerging economies of India, Brazil and China, in a direct attack on the Scottish government's trade programme."

Confused? I certainly am. But as Scotland has a properly thought out China Plan perhaps it is time for British Council and UK MInisters to focus on promoting Bournemouth in England instead and leaving India and China to folk who know what they are doing in overseas markets?

Neil Robertson

Have just spotted that ad again ... 'World Class ... in partnership with The British Council'? Adverts on the BBC News Channel beamed worldwide just before the 1am News (GMT)


"No doubt Finland can be as exciting as anywhere". You've presumably never been there then, David.


I confess that I have never been to Finland. They surely have their moments though!

Neil Robertson

These free British Council 'World Class' ads on the BBC go out in Britain around 1am or 1.30 am but the time difference of seven hours means they will appear in e.g. Singapore around 8 am or 8.30 am just as kids head off to school I guess? Peak time in other words.

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