Further digging into Common Purpose to follow up yesterday’s post. I accept fully Lloyd’s observation (in the comments) that £150,000 spent by the BBC on Common Purpose over seven years is small beer, when you consider that BBC income was around £17bn in the same period. But John Anderson also made an important point. The BBC should surely not be sending anyone on courses that are not directly related to broadcasting. The fact that senior management is authorising such expenditure on a significant scale suggests endorsement (even if only tacit) at the highest levels of the corporation. And there is further evidence that very senior management do endorse CP – Richard Sambrook (whom I know well), the former head of news, and a pivotal figure in BBC senior management over the past two decades, has attended the course.

Such endorsement does not, of course, mean that the BBC is being run on CP principles. A staff of 20,000 cannot be herded like sheep. However, as anyone who has been involved in political organisation will attest, a 100-or-so dedicated individuals (the figure that have attended CP courses) – if they have support, or are not opposed, in the right quarters – can have a disproportionate and highly effective influence. It looks to me, from the fact that Mr Sambrook and Robert Peston have so publicly supported CP, that the highest levels of the BBC are very definitely not opposed to its agenda and aims.

And although Lloyd drew a blank in his search for further BBC connections, I am not so sure. I looked for example, at Futerra, an ultra-greenie PR outfit which I have noted in the past the BBC has also used for “training” purposes. This is run by Solitaire Townsend,who fully endorses the type of greenie-lefty agenda being pushed by CP. She also sits on the board of an outfit called Tomorrow’s Company, which – like Futerra – is up to its gills in sustainable development, UN goals and everything that the BBC holds so dearly. Also on the board of this outfit is a chap called Grahame Broadbent. He happens to be – wait for it – operations director of Common Purpose, and former managing director of think tank Demos, founded by Julia Middleton (and beloved by the BBC), the founder of CP, and the vehicle through which she has carved political influence.

This, of course, still looks tenuous and is circumstantial. But isn’t this how these organisations operate? And I say it again. Wherever there is vigorous prosecution of liberal-left greenie goals, the BBC also seems to be there. By contrast, has anyone yet found a significant BBC UKIP or Adam Smith Institute connection?

Update: I am happy to accept (see posting below) that Richard Sambrook has spoken at, but not actually undergone CP training. I am also delighted that he has posted here – the highest level (in his case ex-, because he now works in PR) BBC input I can ever recall to B-BBC, though of course, I was also threatened with libel proceedings some time ago by Richard Black.

What Richard doesn’t say speaks volumes. Why did the corporation spend £150,000 on sending dozens of staff on these courses when quite patently they have liberal-left, greenie, EU-supporting, take-over-the-world approach? Why do the BBC send staff on training courses to organisations like Futerra? He says he has spoken at many other groups – but why do anything at all that can be interpreted as endorsement of such a cause? When I worked at the BBC, back in the 1980s, I am pretty sure such actions would not have been sanctioned.

Incidentally, Richard, I do know you well (albeit from a long time ago), even if you do not recognise my name.

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44 Responses to MORE COMMON PURPOSE…

  1. Backwoodsman says:

    Robin, great work on Common Purpose – I’m amazed that you hadn’t come accross it before. CP is every Libertarians’ worst nightmare , the all enveloping local government style , uber bureaucracy , completely fooled by the suposed benefits of European integration and indivisible from nulab.
    The one thing you can be sure of with CP, is no one attending a course will have paid for it themselves, thats what taxpayers like you and me exist for !


  2. Dazed-and-Confused says:

    On YouTube the BBCs Robert Peston is all over the Common Purpose videos…


    • TheGeneral says:

      Is Robert Peston right in the head? He can drivel on in his absent minded way for ages and never come to the point or properly address the issue he is supposed to be commenting upon.


    • Sres says:

      A career as citizens?  Interesting comment at the end of the first video there.  What is a career as a citizen?


      • hippiepooter says:

        I would guess he means exercising our careers in a civic minded way? .. There again, being a BBC guy with ‘a mission to explain’, probably just spouting meaningless crud.


    • Sres says:

      Who regulates the regulators?  I agree with the food standards agency woman in the second video, you cannot stand on the shoulder of every business, you can set rules and regulations and it is down to the business to implement them.

      Natural wastage will win through, the problem is that regulation can help failing businesses stay in business (such as AIG), this is where the issue starts with regulation.


  3. stopcp says:

    “A staff of 20,000 cannot be herded like sheep.”

    CP does not need to be able to control everybody directly.

    They simply need to control the systems.

    This is a list of some BBC employees who have attended Common Purpose courses:



    • Backwoodsman says:

      Spot on – similarly with ACPO , Nulabour policing , brought to you by Common Purpose.
      These people are divorced from  reality. The commical clusterfuck which is the Hunting With Dogs Act, came about because some toytown acpo type told bliar the police could enforce it !
      Everyone who has attended a common purpose course at the public expense should be made to personally reimburse the cost plus interest and given a written formal warning about engaging in future quasi political actions.


  4. barrenga says:

    I have attended a CP course. I must admit, I was sceptical at first, but once I got past the anal probes and ham-fisted attempts at hypnosis, I came to realise that it is the most wonderful organisation. I can confirm that Julia Middleton is of course a Reptilian humanoid.

    I hope that’s helpful.


  5. Natsman says:

    The BBC IS the government, and not a right wing or conservative one.  The CP virus is already well established, and attached to the living cells.  It won’t be easily shaken off, and there is no known antidote at the moment. It’s a combination of religion and malicious viral entity, and is far more widespread than we imagine.  Watching, aghast, at the antics of the Global Warmistas, it’s easy to see how formerly ordinary, intelligent people are surreptitiously infected –  almost uncannily.  It’s reasonable to suppose that the policing system has also been infiltrated, as once this disease manifests itself, rebellious agitators will be required to be kept in check


  6. Lloyd says:

    I would be more concerned with the influence that CP may be having with senior figures within the tory party.


  7. David Preiser (USA) says:

    If too many Beeboids in key positions are CP mavens, it raises a legitimate question of influence.  Keep it up, Robin.


  8. Techno Mystic says:

    I reserve judgement on the conspiracy theories, but it behaves like a management consultancy, giving “leadership training” at considerable expense (reportedly £4,000 a time), which is always charged to the taxpayer, yet it is registered as a charity.  Go figure.

    Also you can’t get into it unless you are approved by other “members”.

    It is certainly management for its own sake, with the meaningless jargon to go with it, and appears to be a rather sophisticated confidence trick that fools those who are not as bright as they think they are.


  9. AndyUk06 says:

    The postings by ‘Atlas Shrugged’ while meandering, were not  
    too wide of the mark about CP.  Remember that communists/CP want nothing less than a world-wide revolution.  Knowing that they were unlikely to achieve this militarily, they have thus chosen more subtle means.  
    My main fear about CP is that if they get their way, they will impose upon us an economic system which we got rid of back in the feudal days. Is is a system whereby a priviliged few dispense the necessities of life to serfs who work solely for them and rely upon them for protection and leadership.  
    There are a number of things I notice about communism and/or  
    CP which I think form the basis of their philosophy.  
    The first is that they often pretend to provide a complete  
    explanation for the whole universe and every other bloody thing, when in those cases there just aren’t any satisfactory explanations yet, eg with regard to global warming. This they use an excuse for which to impose their system on us.  The communist thinks that there is no God and that everything came about by random chance as a result of ceaseless motion in nature.  
    Their second premise is that humans are nothing more than graduate beasts, contending that a human life is no more sacred than that of a centipede or a pig.    
    Their third major premise is that there is no such thing as right or wrong.  As a famous communist leader once remarked “To lie, is that wrong? Not for a good cause. To steal, is that wrong? Not for a good cause. To kill, is that wrong? Not for a good cause”. They look upon morals and ethics as superficial and fraudulent.  Thus it is highly important to these people to have every person obey blindly.  
    Fourthly, what the communist fears the most are those with deep spiritual convictions. It prevents them from capturing the revolutionary spirit in people in that it prevents them from lying, stealing, killing etc when leaders command it.  This is why Marx said “Religion is the opium of the people.”  
    For this reason, I would consider atheism and environmentalism to be a natural and inseparable part of Marxism / CP.


    • Cassandra King says:

      Great post Andy.

      All these Marxist cults require total loyalty and will CP be any different in the end from Khymer Rouge/NSDAP/USSR?
      One phrase connects nad binds them all to a shared fate and the eternal vehicle that always travels the same way to hell…


      Every well meaning cult from Marxist to CP all believe in they are somehow the chosen ones who fantasize about bringing reason and wisdom and order to chaos, this ‘reason’ is always an excuse to indulge in the darkest hellish desires of the darkest human soul, what starts out as a crusade of enlightenment always ends up mired in gulags and death camps and human misery.

      If R Sambrook was half as intelligent as he thinks he is then he would know that the ens never justify the means. But then again no Marxist eduated brainiac has ever been able to compute this.


    • John Anderson says:


      Time was, the English could recognise prats a mile off.

      Sadly, not these days.


  10. RSambrook says:


    For clarification, I have never attended a Common Purpose course. I did once speak at one of their courses – as indeed I spoke at many other events without necessarily endorsing the organisers.

    I’m delighted you believe you know me well. I have to say I don’t recall ever meeting you.

    Best wishes

    Richard Sambrook


    • Cassandra King says:


      “For clarification, I have never attended a Common Purpose course. I did once speak at one of their courses-“

      So you did not attend a CP course you attended OR you did attend a CP course you didnt attend? This answer is a perfect BBC evasion. You attended a CP indoctination session as a guest lecturer out of the blue, like opening a local hypermarket but you fail to mention who recruited you and why and through what common channels.

      If you were invited to speak to an audience were you paid and what was your chosen subject, I wonder if you spoke to graduates or inductees or principles?

      You seem unwilling to state if you support CP ideology or if you are a member, that I can understand but it must be obvious that if you were invited there must be some link between you, your ex colleagues and the CP ntework.


    • Marky says:

      “For clarification, I have never attended a Common Purpose course. I did once speak at one of their courses – as indeed I spoke at many other events without necessarily endorsing the organisers.” 
      But are you aware that Common Purpose has used you as an endorsment and are you playing word games here? Try a straight answers.
      The Official Common Purpose video

      “There’s a whole new generation who see both party politics and office politics as irrelevant to their lives. They’re looking for their own ways to change the world. And they’re looking to Common Purpose to help”


    • Roland Deschain says:

      How does one speak at a course without attending it?

      And sorry, but “without necessarily endorsing” is rather weaselly.  I suspect that if you didn’t, you’d have said so and explained how you came to be addressing CP.  A classic attempt beloved of politicians and their ilk to give an intended impression whilst saying nothing.  It doesn’t work here.


    • John Anderson says:

      Sorry Mr Sambrook

      It is polite of you to comment – if indeed it is you.

      I recall your evidence to the Hutton Commission, and the strong criticisms by Lord Hutton of your role in the Kelly affair.

      Frankly,  I was very surprised the BBC kept you on in any role.  Moving you sideways was perhaps the action one might have expected from the BBC.

      But BBC bias continues,  remorselessly.  I doubt if you would recognise it as bias.  Just like fish do not realise they exist in water.


  11. Techno Mystic says:

    I am reminded of this story which reports “catastrophic mismanagement” of school rebuilding scheme.

    The Learning and Skills Council spent over three quarters of a million pounds on Common Purpose management training between 2001-2008:

    Click to access CP_LearningSkills.pdf

    Did I mention that these taxpayer funded courses are also completely secret, being subject to Chatham House rules?


  12. David vance says:

    Very interesting.


  13. AndyUk06 says:

    I believe Richard Sambrook when he says he did not attend a CP course. Why teach granny to suck eggs?  He is off do the same sort of thing for some big-shot PR company anyway.  I think there is a LOT  more to CP than just some bunch of leftist do-gooders – I can imagine them becoming quite nasty whenever their ideas are challenged and motivations are exposed.

    What concerns me more is that Common Purpose is anything but common purpose, but rather something that is being undemcratically and stealthily shoved down a lot of unwanting throats.  This is subtle indoctrination on a mass scale, paid for by you and I.


  14. JRSIHG says:

    I’ve been concerned about what I’ve heard regarding Common Purpose for a few years now.

    It seems to me that sending senior public servants on training and “networking” events under Chatham House Rules (where they are honour bound to keep the proceedings secret) is directly contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of FOI legislation.

    The fact that we also have to pay handsomely for it is just salt into the wound.


  15. hippiepooter says:

    Reassuring to see so much overall scepticism about conspiracy theories on CP, as much as its worth delving into.  If only the BBC can manage to work up enough healthy scepticism about global warming theory.


  16. Dazed-and-Confused says:

    BBC 5 lives Jonathon Maitland did do THIS PROGRAMME about Common Purpose a while back, and Middleton and Co were furious that he’d mocked them for being so secretive..So much so that the BBC quickly removed the pod cast, just to prove how false that allegation undoubtedly was?????


    • John Anderson says:

      I am sure Robin will look at that stuff – good digging.

      CP stinks of leftie elitism,  screwing OUR money out of mugs in the public sector.

      A Freedom of Information request to the BBC might give some info.

      The BBC is strapped for cash.  Courses like CP should be the first for the chop.


    • Dazed-and-Confused says:

      Here is a BETTER LINK to the BBC radio 5 live investigation with Jonathon Maitland.


  17. Dez says:

    The Common Purpose “conspiracy” is a result of nothing more than the paranoid delusions of (certifiable loon) Brian Gerrish.

    He was recently arrested by Grampian Police for handing out leaflets containing the names of children he suspected of being sexually abused, along with their supposed abusers (police chiefs, judges, MP’s etc.).

    All completely based on the testimony of one person who happened to have a history of serious mental health problems.

    But never mind…

    He didn’t even attempt to get in touch with the families or the children he suspected of being abused; let alone ask if they wanted their names to be published.

    Of course, for Brian Gerrish; his being arrested is just further proof of a global conspiracy.

    That’s because he’s an idiot. A complete and utter 100% moron.


    • Demon1001 says:

      Wow Dezzie, your cage has been well and truly rattled.  Is this a little close to home for you?  Have you already been on a CP course, or are you waiting to go on one?


    • Millie Tant says:

      What do this Brian fellow, the Grampian police and allegations of sexual abuse have to do with Common Purpose?


  18. Dazed-and-Confused says:


    A few words from Michael Tasrian on Common Purpose and New Labours Fabian movement

    My question about Middleton’s organisation has always been: Why was Common Purpose set up from the heart of Central government in 1997, out of fatty Prescott’s office, the then deputy Prime Minister, and how was it initially forwarded as a public charity, but under Chatam house rules?…As far as I understand, that would then make Common Purpose the first ever political charity, hatched by any British government, throughout our supposed long “democratic” history.

    And one final thought….What did Middleton mean when she blathered the words: “In the post democratic era we are ready to lead”?


    • Techno Mystic says:

      I understand that it started in 1989.  That was the year that the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, so just at the point when socialists were realising that going through legitimate political channels would not get them their socialist utopia and they would have to try different tactics.  I undestand that Middleton is a fromer senior activist in the Labour Party.


    • Millie Tant says:

      Julia Middleton was at the Industrial Society, a well-established  organisation dedicated to improving things in the workplace and raising standards through education, research and training in work-related skills, management and leadership. So what she started looks like a spin-off from that and maybe to some extent duplicating what the Industrial Society was already doing.

      Then the Industrial Society’s training functions were sold to Capita and what remained of it became the Work Foundation.

      All part of the wonderful world of Quangocracy.


  19. Guest Who says:

    The hairs on the back of my neck tend to raise the minute anything smacking of a ‘we’ that feels ‘they’ know better than others – and hence speak for or need to guide those who ‘need direction’ – oozes to the top.

    Especially with cack-handed attempts at inclusivity inherent in 30’s ra-ra moronikers like ‘Common Purpose’. Sounds pretty exclusive to me, and with a less than savoury purpose at heart.

    Those associated with it mentioned above, especially when stirred to turbo hole-digging ‘defences’ of singular ineptitude, do not not surprise but certainly are a worry if this is calibre of thinking the courses inspire.

    As to why I am obliged to co-fund such an entity via the BBC and ‘enjoy’ its influence in return is… as always… unique.


  20. John Horne Tooke says:

    I have been away for a while so I don’t know if anyone has posted this


    • Demon1001 says:

      That’s a lot of BBC names wrapped up in CP.  It’s no wonder Dezzie was squealing like a stuck-pig earlier – he knows that 2 and 2 have finally reached 4.  Now I’m really concerned about CP if it’s just another arm of the same undemocratic movement that includes the BBC. 


  21. Guest Who says:

    ‘It’s no wonder Dezzie was squealing like a stuck-pig earlier…’

    Not to mention picking a very poor corner to fight as more and more facts come to light.

    Anyway, s/he and his new tag-team partners seem to have decided to focus on safer territory… namely, and appropriately, opinion on bad jokes.

    Merely highlighting the vast areas of BBC output that they cannot go near with their ‘Don’t be… ‘ hissy fits on minor points of detail (often, and with hilarious irony getting smug critiques on accuracy wrong).


  22. Larry Brown says:

    Richard Sambrook used to select candidates on behalf of CP. I 100s of pages of BBC / CP info for anyone that mails me