The Guardian today publishes an article headed “The British Council: friend or foe?” which touches very gently on how the organisation competes with the private sector. The writer’s depressing conclusion is that whatever the “gripes” of the education businesses the British Council is here to stay. I say he and / or The Guardian doesn’t get it. If you pay taxes to subsidise an organisation that can use your money to put you out of business, how is that a “gripe”? It’s not a gripe, it’s a gross abuse of privilege.
The “chief executive” of the BC describes this parasitic arrangement as “entrepreneurial public service” while the director of education, while showing the usual British Council combination of arrogance and ignorance in seemingly taking credit for the very existence of the education market place, says that objecting to the BC’s activities is “tantamount to a private university saying that all public universities should vacate the market”. The analogy is absurd, but it is just the sort of fatheaded remark you get from an organisation comfortable in its monopolies, its distortions and its multiple privileges. And the squidgy Guardian lets them get away with it. Sad.