The British Council’s “Chief Executive”, like his predecessor, sends out regular puffletters to British Council employees, who probably just yawn; the letters are boring and monotonous. But I am going to quote from the most recent one, just so any British readers who may be taxpayers understand the mindset of the management of this absurd organisation. If you read the press as it normally refers to the organisation, it tends to say the BC “which promotes Britain abroad” or “promoting British culture and the English language” or similar. In fact the instinct of the organisation is to stick its oar into everything. So, try this from the latest puffletter:
To start we will be celebrating Chinese New Year next week with the distribution of educational packs and lesson plans on Chinese language and culture to over 10,000 schools in the UK. We will also be running the 10th British Council/HSBC Mandarin speaking competition.
And as anybody who knows me will confirm, I am not even remotely anti-Chinese, anti foreign culture, anti foreign languages etc., so let’s not depart from the issue here. Is it the British Council’s job to decide what should be taught in our schools, or is there perhaps a government department that exists for that purpose? Is promoting Chinese the British Council’s business at all? Is there anything about this in the British Council’s charter? If so, let’s see it. We have learned to expect nothing of use from the “trustees” of the British Council, but perhaps one of those parliamentary committees which from time to time lob soft and obsequious questions in the direction of British Council management could ask them what they are doing.