I was going to post about my former boss’s interview with Fern Britton. Tony Blair said that even if had not thought there were WMD he would still have tried to make a case for regime change in Iraq. Whatever we may think of this opinion, it is simply wrong to claim, as many commentators seem to, that this is the same as saying ‘I had decided to invade and made up the WMD threat as a pretext’. That is like saying there is no difference between these two statements: ‘I didn’t rate our office junior and wanted to get rid of him’ and ‘I fabricated the evidence that the office junior raided the petty cash’.
Having said which, it is hard to rebut the criticism of TB that he thinks his own personal conviction is sufficient explanation for a cause or action. TB’s willingness to get to the heart of an issue, make a judgement and stick to it against powerful opposition is one of his strengths. But his unwillingness to listen to reasoned arguments against his conviction is the flip side. As I said in an interview conducted after I came out of Number Ten, about the only time I saw TB admit he’d got anything wrong was when he said he wished he had listened to himself sooner!
But maybe I’m being too political, but anyway what I have I got to add to all the miles of newsprint already out there?
Instead I wanted to share the great news that for our event with Ben Schott last week we had over 2,000 people tuning in for the live stream. Add this to the over 200,000 (rising by 25% a month) downloads a month we now get for our online video lectures, and the fact that we have staged a record-breaking 160 events this year and I hope you agree that our events team deserve a big pat on the back
Not only are they brilliant but they also have to cope with me having all sorts of ideas, very few of which are any good. My latest wheeze is to have an event pairing Alan Milburn, whose report earlier this year showed how little social mobility there is in professions (including those dominated by the public sector) with someone senior at Sainsbury’s or MacDonald’s, both of which are companies with an excellent record of people at the very bottom (burger flippers and trolley pushers) working they way up to be store managers or higher.
‘Why is it some private sector organisations are so much better than the public sector at social mobility?’ That is the working title for the event. When I told our Director of External Affairs, the awesome Nina Bolognesi, she looked at me as if I was a simpleton. But, dear readers, who do you back? Nina or me?
Ian Burbidge on the importance of learning from previous area-based funding initiatives to address inequality across the UK.
A recent workshop with RSA Fellows provided invaluable insight into the key concerns and opportunities facing cultural education workers and employers.