More from the House of Lords on UK Soft PowerSeptember 5, 2013
Back from my summer travels back to the blog….
I’ve written before about the House of Lords investigation into UK Soft Power and Influence but if you’re keeping track they’ve posted transcripts of another five evidence sessions on the website
We’ve got a session on military aspects of soft power which contains the immortal line from the Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East, Lt General Simon Mayall
‘I very much go the ambassador and say that I want to be used as a golf club in his golf bag of engagement.’
There’s a session with the British Council, BBC and British Museum
The final session so far brings together three representatives of the NGO sector with a critic of international aid – unsurprisingly the spikiest of the sessions.
One thing that runs through all of these sessions is a concern with building and benefitting from relationships. The British Museum representative talks about their relationships with other similar institutions across the world while the military contingent point to the way that arms sales provide a basis for a continuing relationship that opens the door to ambassadors. There’s also a recurring issue between soft power as a property of the UK as a whole and as something that can be used instrumentally, unsurprisingly the representatives of the cultural organizations want to stay as far away from the latter as possible.
There is currently a public call for written evidence for the committee so if you’ve got anything to share you’ve got until the 18th of September.