I am the MP for Gateshead East and Washington West. I am PPS (Parliamentary Private Secretary) to Bob Ainsworth, Armed Forces Minister:
Sharon [Hodgson] is a Common Purpose graduate and was delighted to be able to go back and contribute something to the course. She was invited to speak to the latest graduates and It was great to see so many people benefiting from the work Common Purpose does. As an international leadership programme they can really help build peoples’ confidence and develop their skills careers.
A CP grad is PPS to the Army? I'm feeling faint. Wonko puts it nicely:
The problem with Common Purpose is that the attendees are not allowed to talk about what happens on their courses and no minutes are taken at Common Purpose training courses or meetings. Attendees may have been encouraged or induced to promote Common Purpose but there will be no records to confirm this and the attendees have agreed to keep what happens a secret.
This certainly doesn’t encourage open government, transparency or accountability. How does the Ministry of Justice know that what the attendees have been taught and agreed to do in their secret meetings is in the best interests of the department or the electorate, especially when the course teaches attendees to lead beyond their authority?
The mentality of a CP graduate is what interests me and looking at Ms Hodgson, one really wonders. Possibly a nice PC lady in herself with the good of humanity and her family at heart but representing a very suspect organization nonetheless. Wolfie, who's dealt with such people even more than I have feels, in effect, that they they are limited people in themselves, high on ambition but lacking ability and prone to error.
I think events in the public private interface in Britain have borne that out. The excellent Wat Tyler puts it this way at his blog:
They spend 43% of our income, yet fail to deliver decent services. They promise prosperity, yet tax and regulate our economy into stasis. They talk up social justice, yet consign millions to welfare dependency. Enough is enough. We the peasants demand our high-spending, high-living, conflicted politicos mend their ways.
This is the sort of fine detail he gets into, should you wish to look into it. Others like DK and Mr. E do it in a more general way.
I worked for two years for the civil service in what is now HM Revenue & Customs and was that ever an eye opener. One thing for sure - they look after their own in there and I feel like a traitor ratting on them now, as I was protected more than once from "predators" from the private sphere.
There was an incident when an abrasive newbie shipping agent felt I was going slow on his company's application for exports and the truth was - I was going slow. I didn't like him or his pushy manner. You need to understand here that no boat sails without the paperwork stamped, every hour is further expense and I had that stamp in my hand.
I was duty bound to stamp it if everything was in order but there was no law about how and when I did that. The young buck saw it, said something about meeting me on the street, I offered my cheek across the counter for him to hit, he lost his nut and took a swing, sprawling across the counter.
Oh dear, I thought - I'm in trouble. My inspector hauled me in and wanted every detail, then told me to get back to the counter, adding, in parting, "Tell me if you have any more trouble." I noticed that next day the head of the company brought whisky and went to visit our inspector. He then came to me and apologized for the street-fighter and the young ASBO was never seen again.
This blog ran a profile of the mentality of the CP graduate without attaching the label CP and if you can wade through it, it's about the susceptibility of a particular type of person that departmental talent spotters latch onto.
The key mental components are PCishness, up-front work ethic but prone to the shortcut, limited real ideas of any paradigm shifting substance, susceptibility to acceptance of trite presented paradigms couched in PC friendly language, ambition and clubbability - a person strongly affected by inclusion in "the club" and viewing enemies of "the club" as her enemies too.
This last comes through strongly in Julia Middleton's infamous "jerk" remark. They really do believe they're the elite who are going to take over at local regional government level in "the emergency" they're training so hard for.
Of all the words written, of all the blogposts across the UK and NA spheres on the matter, the one which remains with me is the Scottish Arts Council. At the time "the leading figures in the Scottish Arts had been led in a "debate" which was not a debate":
After an obviously unwanted debate (chaired by Mrs. Jack McConnell, Labour Party) in which the audience clearly did not accept what they were told, the final words from Seona Reid (then Director of the SAC) conveyed the impression that some form of transaction had taken place, that "SAC was working to ensure the arts were incorporated into the range of Government policies - but arts organisations and artists needed to play their part in making this a reality".
In other words, funding had been reduced, a crisis created, in came the CP and put a deal to salvage "the arts" but it involved artists knuckling down to certain new rules of the game.
Do you actually wish to be led in your local area by someone like Sharon Hodgson? Would you entrust your life, the bread on your table and even your children to her maternal care? Or are you just a "jerk" who'd like to be left in peace to run his/her own life, thank you very much if it's all the same to you?
In praise of my countrymen and women
They have a wonderful way of resisting that which is not liked, which I was on the receiving end of in the Blogpower thing in January. They simply shut out the troublemaker, ignore, go about their own business until the thing just dies away or becomes unworkable.
While one half of me was up in arms at the time, the other half was affectionately smiling at my blogfriends. I fervently trust that when all this rubbish, from ID cards on, is foisted on us, the same process of resistance will take place.
Common purpose links
* This is one of the best, from Ian Parker and opens onto many others.
* This is my most widely read though I think later ones go into more detail.
* Some others are here, here and here.
Other excellent sources
1. John Trenchard said, on 14 October 2007:
I'm doing my bit to spread the word about Common Purpose over at my blog
(video of the Brian Garrish presentation)
there're a LOT of returns if you search for it on TheyWorkForYou. Questions are being asked in the Commons - and its cross departmental, including the MOD.
They Work For You search
Why is Julia Middleton such a leadership guru when she's never lead anything in her life , beyond running Common Purpose.
Here's a video of her
Note the mad , staring , psychotic EYES... very very weird. If somebody like that started speaking to me I'd run a mile. Instead , the government is going in the opposite direction , putting thousands of public service workers on Common Purpose "leadership" courses.
3. The inimitable Ian Parker can't be missed.
If you prefer to make your stance more politically, there is a party called the UK Libertarian Party: