The Lords have issued their report on soft power and said what a jolly good thing soft power is, and what a lucky bunch we are to have the BBC and the British Council. In an excellent piece in today’s Scotsman, Tiffany Jenkins points up futility of using what the British Council refers to as “cultural relations” as a substitute for foreign policy backed up by robust values.
The context could hardly be more telling. This is the UK-Russia Year of Culture, the Russians are in Crimea, the British Council is trying to drown the concerns of their employers about accountability and fair trade, and anyway currently focused on how to pay themselves more, and the Lords are cheering them on. It is indicative and a symptom of the West having lost its way morally, militarily, diplomatically and culturally.
The good thing about the Lords report is that it reminds the Home Office that including students in their hallowed (and hollow) immigration statistics, and supposedly bringing down “immigration” by squeezing student numbers, is counterproductive, misleading and bad for Britain’s educational institutions. But any bloody fool can see that. The Lords also trot out the standard British Council lines about building trust, when – as we here and countless others have pointed out – it is patently obvious that you can’t build trust without being trustworthy, and in that regard the British Council falls at the first fence.
As Tiffany Jenkins says “The elephant in the room is that soft power has failed”. The Lords report is a typical irrelevance of a strutting government describing itself as a “modern-day cultural superpower” while it dismantles its armed forces, weary from being sent to fight wars which had nothing to do with Britain's defence, and puts its faith in the self-serving antics of the British Council. The loss of a sense of direction is palpable.The report, written by the overprivileged superannuated, is an exercise in navel diplomacy: of the effete, by the effete and for the effete.
Read Tiffany’s article here.