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neil robertson

So British Council is now trying to tell H of C that 'the English language is almost a commodity language'?! Money, money, money.

neil robertson

I liked this question!
>

Q6 Chairman: In paragraph 2.34 we see ideas developing for having lower cost teaching. These are not particularly innovative ideas. Why has it taken them so long to roll-out?

neil robertson

Q89 Mr Mitchell: Were the premises being used for a purpose like spying, of which the Russians were rightly suspicious?

Mr Davidson: No, they were not.

Mr Davidson: You would say that anyway!
>
[Note that the last comment is from Scottish MP Iain Davidson!]

neil robertson

Q90 Mr Mitchell: Have you experienced that kind of difficulty in other countries?

Mr Davidson: What, difficulties like Russia?

Mr Bacon: Spying?

Q91 Mr Mitchell: No, sorry, difficulties of government suspicion of your activities.

Mr Davidson: There is no question that a number of governments do not necessarily like the development of a more open society. My personal view, I do not have a huge amount of evidence for this but you will perhaps remember that our offices in Ramallah and Gaza were burnt out about 18 months ago. Why? Because we were the only people at that time providing access to the outside world for young Palestinians. Undoubtedly there are forces around the world who do not want us to do that.
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NR points out: this is another load of cobblers as was pointed
out when Kinnock misled the FAC
on the same point at a previous
meeting!

neil robertson

This is classic!

Mr Davidson: I do not think we do have direct direction

Chris

Good to see Davidson getting a run for his money with some fundamental questions on the British Council's systems and target audience... relieved occasionally by his sweet-talking side-kick Lynes. (Cheers Rob)!

You can tell the left-leaning members of the Committee are uncomfortable the British Council engages with future elites. If Austin Mitchell had his way, they'd be teaching the workers to fry haddock on Shanghai dockside. (The last time I stepped in a British fish shop, it was run by Chinese anyway)!

From a staff perspective, some engagement with trade unions would indeed be welcome. When it comes to promoting British interests abroad, one surely has to concentrate on decision makers and opinion formers. Davidson ducked the issue, but he should have come out of his corner fighting.

neil robertson

The sidekick Lynes is described here as Regional Director of BC
in The Middle East? So why does
he not set the record straight
when Martin Davidson comes out
with this misleading statement:

" Mr Davidson: There is no question that a number of governments do not necessarily like the development of a more open society. My personal view, I do not have a huge amount of evidence for this but you will perhaps remember that our offices in Ramallah and Gaza were burnt out about 18 months ago. Why? Because we were the only people at that time providing access to the outside world for young Palestinians. Undoubtedly there are forces around the world who do not want us to do that. "

I can assure both him and Rob
Lynes that The British Council
was very far from being "the
only people at that time (sic) providing access to the outside world for young Palestinians"!

As for 'governments that do not like the development of a more open society' - I don't think
anybody in the region will take lectures from this secretive,
dishonest bunch of twisters
on the open society ... just
look at the HQ statistics for
unanswered e-mails and phones
slammed down on staff in Gaza!

'Non-existent' projects Mr Lynes,
being used to bribe Palestinian
elites? That is against the civil service code in Palestine and you and your organisation deserve to be condemned for your duplicity.

The torching of the BC offices in Gaza and Ramallah was I would also remind you a fairly direct
response to the withdrawal of
British (UK DfID - financed)
prison guards in Jericho just before the Israeli Defence Forces stormed the prison compound to seize Palestinian suspects. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Palestinian attitudes towards an open society but had more to do
with very strong suspicions that the British guards were tipped off by the IDF and told to make themselves scarce.

Perhaps instead of misleading Parliamentarians on such issues
Martin Davidson and Rob Lynes
should instead address my own
outstanding questions about the probity of BC DAT's operations
in Palestine - which frankly
stink to high heaven ... and
the British Council knows that.

neil robertson

British Council engaging with the trade union "elites" in Ireland!!

http://dblackie.blogs.com/the_language_business/2007/05/index.html

neil robertson

Davidson's sidekick Rob Lynes
does not seem to be huge fan
of BC employee rights either?

http://education.guardian.co.uk/tefl/story/0,5500,1220370,00.html

neil robertson

This is also not the first time a British Council official has told
porkies about that attack on the
BC offices in Ramallah and Gaza
- where some of us have worked!

Remember this blog item relating to the same incident?

http://dblackie.blogs.com/the_language_business/2007/07/index.html

On that occasion British Council
was trying to tell MPs that on
that day 'of all the international organisations operational in the Palestinian territories, the British Council was by far the most trusted."

That wasn't true either - but at least on that occasion Kinnochio
did acknowledge that there were
other international and national organisations operating there ..

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