As those of you who followed my previous blog will know, I am rather suspicious of the ‘leadership development’ organisation known as Common Purpose. It seems to me to be a kind of ‘right-on’ freemasonry for Guardianistas. A network of liberals and Leftists for promoting certain agendas, controlling certain spheres of public life, and influencing political and other thinking. (It would have been nice at this point to be able to direct you to some of my previous postings on the subject, but the cowardice of Google, in surrendering to pressure, and killing my previous blog, makes this impossible.)
In my enquiries I came across a very interesting website called Common Purpose Exposed. Now I’m sure many people would like to dismiss everything said on this site, and I suppose it can’t all be true, but one thing I found there is unquestionably correct. I’m referring to the list of Common Purpose ‘graduates’. How do I know? Because I went through it and painstakingly extracted those with a Welsh connection. Having done that, there were many names I recognised; leaving me in little doubt that the rest were also correct.
This list, unfortunately, only takes us up to 2005; which makes it incomplete, rather than out of date. I say that because those who were ‘graduates’ in 2005 obviously remain graduates today. It’s just that we don’t have the names of those who have ‘graduated’ more recently. Even so, a clear pattern emerges of the kind of people who become Common Purpose ‘graduates’; the work they do; and the areas they live. The full list of ‘graduates’ can be found here, and the list of Welsh ‘graduates’ here. Regarding the latter, I should explain that, unable to access the original document (and perhaps sort it in Excel), the only way I could extract the Welsh connections was by going through the full list and then copying and pasting. This was time-consuming, but once I’d started I had no real alternative but to push on.
So what did all this work tell me? Looking at the bigger picture, over two islands, the following impressions were gained:
- Southern England, if one removes London, the public sector and the third sector, provides Common Purpose with little business. Or to put it another way, private enterprise – other than legal firms and a few other, ‘niche’ areas – seems curiously resistant to the claimed benefits of paying for employees to attend Common Purpose courses.
- A trend one sees repeated elsewhere in England, which results in CP being very busy in what might be termed Labour strongholds, or, another way of looking at it, in relatively poor areas. Those areas in need of a stronger economic base but which, instead, are lumbered with public and third sector bodies ‘preparing people for employment’ . . . employment that doesn’t exist, and wasting money that would be better spent on building an economy. Cities such as Hull, Newcastle, Sunderland and, especially, Liverpool. In fact, so many ‘graduates’ can be connected with Liverpool that CP might be a major employer on Merseyside.
- Moving north of the border I was surprised by how active CP is in Scotland; and even more surprised by its level of activity in Northern Ireland. Indeed, flicking through the list I got the impression that just every public servant and Third Sector employee around Derry has been on a Common Purpose course. (The region referred to by CP as ‘Foyle’.) But this should not surprise us if Common Purpose does indeed serve the role many suggest, in being an organisation providing a very British mindset for those climbing the greasy pole.
Remove the small number of genuinely commercial organisations availing themselves of Common Purpose services and it becomes clear that the organisation is almost wholly dependent on a parasitic relationship with organisations funded with someone else’s money: charities, public sector bodies, third sector groups, local government, higher education, police and other emergency services. Is this right? If X amount is given to organisation Y to deliver Z is it right that some of that funding will be spent on Common Purpose courses? Is ‘Common Purpose training’ ever specified in an application for funding? If it is, then on what grounds does the funder accept it as a legitimate, or necessary, part of the project?
A couple of other things that struck me as I trawled through the list of Common Purpose ‘graduates’ were the size of the Welsh diaspora, evidenced by the large number of Welsh surnames encountered outside of Wales; and the surprisingly small percentage of Welsh surnames found among CP’s ‘Welsh’ alumni. Which supports personal, anecdotal and other evidence about the role and nature of the Third Sector in Wales.
The Third Sector in Wales is little more than a means of funding non-jobs for Labour Party members and supporters, most of whom appear to be English grant-spongers claiming to perform all manner of miracles but, in reality, simply creating jobs for themselves by exploiting Welsh deprivation. (And if they don’t find enough indigenous deprivation they import indigents, criminals, drug addicts, problem families, ‘the homeless’, and others.) Much as the Labour Party capitalises on ‘Poor Wales’ to rake in the votes of the intellectually challenged. Giving both Labour and its Third Sector allies a vested interest in keeping Wales poor.
Because if Wales has a healthy economy who’s going to fund Lucinda from Islington and her holistic vegan workshops for the unemployed? And how can Welsh voters be persuaded to ‘send a message’ to the baby-eating Tories in London if Wales is doing well? Good God! if Wales ever became even moderately prosperous the Labour Party would have to work for its votes, have to come up with policies instead of gimmicks, and find it much less easy to rely on deprivation, dumbo voters and pantomime villain opponents to gift them victory.
Against such institutionalised corruption and nepotism we Welsh need a party to expose this scandal, to stand up for Welsh interests, to question why so much money allocated to ‘Wales’ achieves nothing beyond providing sinecures for Labour’s Common Purpose allies in the Third Sector. All we’ve got is Plaid Cymru, as committed as Labour to turning Wales into a ‘caring’, socialist, basket-case. At least Labour benefits electorally from this strategy, but what does Plaid think it’s gaining?