Who is Common Purpose?

(37 Posts)
Hummingbirds Tue 06-Nov-12 15:20:47

On another thread it was suggested that we start a thread for people to discuss what they know and think about the network called Common Purpose.

To start off the discussion, and to address the claims that Common Purpose is only criticised on whacko websites, I'll post a link to a Telegraph article that touches on the enormous concentration of power amassed by Common Purpose and some sinister illegal activity they've been caught in.

How Labour's 'favourite lobbyist' is pushing hacking campaign

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 06-Nov-12 15:43:27

Thanks for this - very interesting.

NapOfTheDamned Tue 06-Nov-12 18:34:26

It's an anti Leveson inquiry article in a Tory paper, alleging Hacked Off has labour links.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you how much heat David Cameron is getting as a result of Leveson.

As an aside, the article goes on to mention CP and how they tried to flag up multiple FOI requests from a hardcore of harassers and vexatious complainers - conspiracy theorists who have got a bee in their bonnet about CP as seen on various loopy sites. They passed on the details of the harassers. This was ll advised and fell ful of data protection laws. But I can see why they did it. They were getting a great deal of grief/harassment/vexatoious demands and requests and it is no joke when conspiracy theorists decide to mount a campaign against people whom they decide are implicated in a conspiracy. See the experiences of 9/11 survivors and responders whose testimony didn't fit with the conspiracy theorists wild ideas about inside jobs etc.

For more insight into CP you could look at this thread, which contains actual information from a poster who used to work there and didn't like it much.
www.urban75.net/forums/threads/common-purpose-why-the-paranoia.241883/

I have no particular interest in CP and think it sounds pretty wanky. But I also get irritated by wild claims and the amount of time and energy spent on them, particularly when it crosses into harassment and slander/libel, having seen someone close to me became the target of conspiracy theorist attacks after surviving a terrorism attack.

NapOfTheDamned Tue 06-Nov-12 18:39:00

And having said that I am not going to discuss it further because to do so will be an open invitation to read endless conspiracy site links and I have better things to do with my time TBH.

Hummingbirds Fri 09-Nov-12 00:43:46

NapOfTheDamned - are you genuinely trying to say there is nothing sinister about this?

"The organisation compiled a "blacklist" of individuals who had made Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests about it to councils and other public bodies.

"It is heavily funded by such bodies. In some cases Common Purpose the names were released to Common Purpose unlawfully through informal approaches to its contacts at councils.

"It then circulated the "blacklist," including the names, private home and email addresses and telephone numbers of the people concerned, to its other public sector clients, telling them that the individuals were "vexatious" people causing it "harassment and disruption" whose requests should be ignored.

"The circulation of such private details is also illegal under the Data Protection Act. The act says that personal data must not be shared with third parties without the person's consent."

NapDamnYou Fri 09-Nov-12 01:49:06

Why, do you think publishing and sharing the names, workplaces and emails of people who have expressed an interest in Common Purpose is sinister?

NapDamnYou Fri 09-Nov-12 01:52:16

Do you think compiling a database of people interested in Common Purpose and calling them unpleasant things like 'vexatious' and accusing them of unlawful activity such as harassment is not fair?

NapDamnYou Fri 09-Nov-12 02:04:02

Because if you think that, you might be interested to see that is precisely what the anti CP conspiracy theorists have been doing.

Compiling a database of people who attended CP courses.
Publishing their names along with their contact details and employers.
Making the allegation that they are 'corrupt and treacherous crooks who are totally untrustworthy'.

Sending off numerous FOI requests to attempt to discover more names of people who have attended one of their courses at work.

I am to surprised CO got fed up and tipped off the recipients of the endless letters. 'Have you been getting lots of letters from a Brian XXX,of XX Rd, XX town? He has been publishing defamatory and paranoid claims about our organization for years and publishing member names and contact details. You might want to know that we consider him vexatious and harassing.'

Etc.

Ill advised. Breach of DP laws. But still, understandable in a tearing your hair out way. They have since apologized.

Meanwhile the anti CP Internet warriors have not taken down their database and are still trying to add to it and 'expose' anyone who went on one of the wanky CP courses at work.

The hypocrisy of these conspiracy people is nauseating and their actions outrageous.

I'm not linking to the sad twats but googling 'stop common purpose find members' should show you all you need to know.

And I'm annoyed at myself for rising to the bait. Bedtime for me.

madwomanintheattic Fri 09-Nov-12 02:16:26

I'd suggest that Nap might have a point. grin

Sleep well x

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Fri 09-Nov-12 10:32:37

Thanks for the link Nap. 'New Labour Rotarians' - arf.

Hummingbirds Fri 09-Nov-12 22:40:10

"The circulation of such private details is also illegal under the Data Protection Act. The act says that personal data must not be shared with third parties without the person's consent."

So none of you believe in the Data Protection Act? You believe it's okay to break the law at whim? You believe a shadowy and secretive mason-like network should go about gathering lists of people who are interested in knowing more about their activity?

The number of people who are in Common Purpose is truly breathtaking: vast swathes of the BBC, newspaper journalists, headteachers of schools, local government, central government, NHS bureaucrats -- and all of their hugely expensive "leadership" courses are funded by the public purse. Yet Nap thinks we, the public, don't have a right to know about that and take an interest in it.

NapDamnYou Sat 10-Nov-12 00:26:37

Do as you would be done by, eh?

Hummingbirds Sat 10-Nov-12 16:38:06

Nap - what's that supposed to mean? Law-abiding citizens have the right by law to certain information that has a bearing on how our country is being run. It's called 'freedom of information'. And the Data Protection Act protects the privacy of those law-abiding citizens from sinister mason-like networks.

So, Common Purpose has been breaking the law by collecting information on law-abiding citizens when they have no right to do so and it is absolutely illegal for them to do so. What are their motives? What do they plan on doing with this unlawfully gathered information on private individuals? This looks truly sinister. These laws exist for a reason.

Common Purpose is deceitful in pretending to be an apolitical network when in reality it is fundamentally political and it is promoting a covert agenda.

Look at Common Purpose's cosy relations with the White House in the USA.

"A radical left-wing activist has confirmed Republican charges that the Obama administration runs an extensive and potentially illegal propaganda campaign from the White House. We noted yesterday that Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a 36-page report noting that the president has used taxpayer dollars to finance “a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign” made up of “inappropriate and sometimes unlawful public relations and propaganda initiatives.” Often, this involves “covert propaganda,” in which officials ask others to repeat White House talking points without mentioning their connection to the president."

www.westernjournalism.com/left-winger-confirms-obama-corruption-scandal/

NapDamnYou Sat 10-Nov-12 17:18:25

You do realise that White house thing is nothing to do with CP? They just happen to call a meeting for various groups 'common purpose'

- facepalm -

nice rabid right wing link there too

By the way, did you bother to read the link to thread with ex CP employee?

Have you anything to say about conspiracy theorists publishing names
and contact details of people who went on courses?

Are you able to provide any evidence at all that CP is not what the x employee states?

Are you just going to ignore whatever i write and just google
frantically?

In which case...yawn. Perhaps someone else wil help you ride your hobbyhorse. Is all a bit déjà vu for me and why I don't bother arguing with conspiracy types.

NapDamnYou Sat 10-Nov-12 17:20:49
Hummingbirds Sat 10-Nov-12 17:39:02

Nap - could you kindly point out where I have mentioned anything at all about a conspiracy?

You are telling me to read a link which has 'loon' in the title. That is deeply disrespectful. If you wish to have a serious discussion then kindly refrain from abuse and insults.

Common Purpose is an international franchise. The Common Purpose network is at work in the UK, the USA, India, the Middle East, all over the planet.

Can you provide a link showing that Common Purpose in the USA is separate from Common Purpose UK?

The reality is that you don't have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to find all and any secretive mason-like networks that cover vast swathes of the BBC, NHS, local government, central government etc etc deeply concerning. It is incomptaible with democracy.

Hummingbirds Sat 10-Nov-12 17:39:28

~ incompatible

NapDamnYou Sat 10-Nov-12 17:46:09

Oh God.

It's JUST a wanky overpriced leadership training thing set up by ex labour types. As the recession bites I doubt it will last much longer.
Just because a paranoid man called Brian Gerrish got refused council funding for a project, and decided that it was because sinister forces must be arraigned against him, and went off on a one man web campaign to satisfy a bee he had in his bonnet, does to mean I have to spend my Saturday trying to set you straight, if you can't be bothered to apply any critical thinking whatsoever and are just going to go googling whack job sites which regurgitate his fact-free claims. You might want to have a look at some of the other stuff Mr Gerrish believes in. And then get back to me when you can prove that the tentacles of this training organisation have been responsible for anything of note whatsoever, besides an ill-advised attempt to flag up the fact that a small number of conspiracy theorists have been spending day and night writing FOI requests trying to prove a conspiracy with no evidence to support any such thing.

I'm going for a swim.

Hummingbirds Sat 10-Nov-12 18:11:21

Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect someone who has a curse in their username to observe a respectful tone sad .

To any other people reading this thread, this is an article in The Telegraph by John Mitchell asking some very legitimate questions about the political charity known as Common Purpose. Excerpt below:

So what’s the fuss about?
‘Common Purpose’ - the name itself might be enough, as it conjures up images of triumphant workers marching to a glorious future, while Lenin sweeps monarchs, bankers and capitalists from the face of the earth. But there are probably better reasons...

Concern about CP arises mainly from the widespread presence of its ‘graduates’ throughout government and public services, as well as charities and pressure groups. This, combined with the fact that it provides networking opportunities for its people, suggests unusually widespread influence for a charity.

Its charitable status derives from its provision of education. But its leadership
development courses appear to be of a left-wing nature, with emphasis on
’constitutional, civic, economic and social studies with special emphasis on civil and social awareness and responsibility’, and its founder, Julia Middleton, was influential in setting up the Fabian-linked Demos think-tank which helped Labour re-invent itself and gain power.

Course information suggests that to be eligible for training, applicants must already have attained some leadership status in their organisations, so instead of the customer choosing the supplier, it seems that this supplier chooses its customers.

Is this a normal for a training organisation? Is charity being dispensed to the
genuinely needy? Why should influence be a prerequisite?

Read the full article here

NapDamnYou Sat 10-Nov-12 18:57:02

Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect someone who has a curse in their username to observe a respectful tone

grin have you been on MN long? How are you finding it?

Delalakis Mon 12-Nov-12 23:37:48

Hummingbird, what precisely is your evidence for your statement "The number of people who are in Common Purpose is truly breathtaking: vast swathes of the BBC, newspaper journalists, headteachers of schools, local government, central government, NHS bureaucrats -- and all of their hugely expensive "leadership" courses are funded by the public purse. "?

KRITIQ Tue 13-Nov-12 00:21:17

I think Nap's on the right track, from what I know of the organisation. I went on a short residential training course, oh probably 15 years ago with the Industrial Society (later called [[ http://www.theworkfoundation.com/ the Work Foundation,)]] and the woman who founded Common Purpose (can't remember her name) who used to work for them gave a wee speech. It was pretty good as I recall actually, as far as leadershipie motivational speeches go. Detected nowt sinister about her or Common Purpose.

Some years later, they were offering discounts for some folks to go on one of their citizenship/leadership thingies and I sent my deputy. She found it a bit patchy - some good parts, some not very useful parts, interesting bunch of people in the group. At the end, she thought it was pretty worthwhile, but it did take up quite alot of time and effort being involved.

There are lots of management, leadership, inspirational, etc., training programmes out there - some good, some crap, some in the middle. Some are cheap, some cost a king's ransom. It's a bit of pot luck and yes, I'm sure quite alot of dosh gets wasted on these by managers sending people off either to spend up slippage money or thinking they can "fix" a staff member by carting them off to a course.

Never really "got" why the tinfoilhatwearers had it in for Common Purpose specifically! smile

Hummingbirds Sat 17-Nov-12 00:38:35
dapplegrey Sat 17-Nov-12 08:44:25

Why is Common Purpose a charity?

NapDamnYou Sat 17-Nov-12 11:25:35

Why oh why could the Daily Mail's Paul Dacre be kicking off about the Leveson Inquiry?

www.guardian.co.uk/media/mediamonkeyblog/2012/nov/16/mail-leveson

'Paul Dacre has a rivers of bile moment with Friday's Daily Mail splash. The dam of long pent-up fury at and loathing of the Leveson inquiry has finally burst, in spectacular fashion.

Channelling the barely suppressed rage apparent during Dacre's Leveson inquiry appearances and his contempt for a mythical "liberal elite" taking the country to the dogs, the green inker confects an equally mythical "quasi-masonic" conspiracy to bring down the popular press across – count 'em – the front page, five double-page spreads and the leader column.

In a mind boggling six-degrees-of-people-and-things-we-hate exercise, the Mail rounds up a Cecil B DeMille-esque cast of the usual suspects – including in no particular order the Leveson inquiry, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the BBC, FT publisher Pearson, the Guardian, Peter Mandelson, Chris Bryant, New Labour, Demos, Sue Akers, Robert Peston, Ed Richards, Hacked Off, Steve Coogan, Hugh Grant, Max Mosley, Johann Hari ... and unisex toilets. At the heart of this unholy cabal of bounders and ne'er-do-wells, the Mail identifies former FT chairman and Leveson inquiry assessor Sir David Bell ("A greying, dishevelled figure in an ill-fitting suit ... one-time SDP activist" – how shifty is that?) and not-for profit leadership training body Common Purpose ("They have a private website, which requires a password to log in" – sinister, or what?).

The Mail appears to be taking a leaf from the playbook of US rightwing broadcaster Glenn Beck – pick on an innocuous, little known figure or body and bang on incessantly about them being a communist, existential threat to civilisation. Times columnist David Aaronovitch, for one, is already taking notice, tweeting: "I was opposed to statutory press regulation until that Mail hatchet job on #leveson." Let's hope Lord Justice Leveson doesn't have the same reaction, eh Paul?'

NapDamnYou Sat 17-Nov-12 11:41:25
claig Sat 17-Nov-12 15:33:56

NapDamnYou, see also

www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/16/daily-mail-dossier

It is Michael White's piece in the Guardian. It is a very good article which, I think, treats the Daily Mail (often referred to as the people's paper) with the respect it deserves for asking looking at elite left-wing charitable trusts, New Labour quangos and philanthropists as well as elite Etonian old-boy clubs.

MainlyMaynie Sat 17-Nov-12 15:50:45

Common Purpose provides very, very expensive leadership courses to many mediocre people in the public sector. I have never noticed any signs of improved leadership after people attend its courses. It is not a crazy conspiring organisation plotting world domination. Believe me, few of the attendees are capable of playing even a small part in world domination.

NapDamnYou Sat 17-Nov-12 16:43:10

That is a good article, thanks Claig.

NapDamnYou Sat 17-Nov-12 16:43:47

LOLat Maynie

Hummingbirds Sun 02-Dec-12 23:37:44

Guido Fawkes, a highly respected political blogger, has recently written about Common Purpose and their uncommon influence on the political elite:

Media Standards Trust: Unaccountable and Undemocratic

Hummingbirds Sun 02-Dec-12 23:45:18

Claig, thanks for the Guardian article, but it seems a pretty superficial response to the Mail piece. As Michael White openly admits,

'I don't know the full facts.'

'I must say I knew little or nothing about this.'

It hardly ranks as informed analysis.

Hummingbirds Mon 03-Dec-12 12:31:21

For those curious about why Common Purpose is known as 'the masons on steroids', take a look at some 'leaders' involved with them. This is a list from Common Purpose's own website of a 'leadership' event. Here we have the chief of a police force, a bishop, and many other people in positions of power.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, South Bank Centre
Charles Handy, Writer and Social Philosopher
Janet Gaymer, Commissioner for Public Appointments
Peter Tatchell, Spokesperson, Outrage!
Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair, Food Standards Agency
Zenna Atkins, Chair, Ofsted
Amy Fawcett, Chair, Pensions First
Bishop John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
Tarek Ben Halim, Founder, Alfanar
Albert Tucker, Fair Trade Pioneer
Oliver Nyumbu, Chief Executive, Carat
Rudi Bogni, Retired Banker & Philanthropist
Andrew Cubie, Chair of the Committee of University Chairs
Sarah Ebanja, Deputy CEO, London Development Agency
Peter Fahy, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police
Simon Fanshawe, Broadcaster and Writer
Sir Brandon Gough, Chairman, De La Rue plc
Chris Mathias, Founder, Arbour Ventures
Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Forward

Shouldn't these people be declaring their membership in the interests of transparency? Or are transparency and democracy out of fashion these days?

SchnappsDamnYou Mon 03-Dec-12 17:22:27

Guido respected? Lol. Right wing libertarian tittle tattle and you've just shown us yet another anti Leveson right wing briefing made into a blog.

As to the list of worthy and influential leaders from across the board speaking at a conference for people aiming to be worthy and influential leaders run by a company offering leadership training...erm. What sort of people would you expect to speak?

This is all a bit paranoid don't you think?
You could get just as excited about the networking potential of the W.I or the Rotary Club.

KRITIQ Mon 03-Dec-12 22:51:00

Agreed Schnapps!

Humming, I've only heard of Charles Handy, Peter Tatchell and Simon Fanshaw off that list. If that was the best that Common Purpose could come up with from their alumni, well, it doesn't say alot.

Catkinsthecatinthehat Wed 05-Dec-12 16:50:34

Shouldn't these people be declaring their membership in the interests of transparency?

But you just said yourself that you took that list of people from CP's own website!

So CP does 'leadership training' across the private, public and third sector. And publicly advertises a conference with speakers who are prominent in the private, public and third sector.

I've come across CP-trained people before. It's a very public sector thing to put on your CV. Private sector people are often similarly obsessed with their Myers-Briggs profile. I'm not sure that either add a great deal to your skill-set. CP is probably good for networking though. I do think the people who set it up are jammy buggers, who just happened to be at the right place at the right time and whose success snowballed. Very much like Emma Harrison and A4E. Or Capita.

Funnily enough their official website has a page on Common Purpose Conspiracy Theories.

Phineyj Sun 09-Dec-12 22:20:33

I went on a course with them once. It was useless and they are certainly weird, but no more than most other public sector training organisations. The main problem is that like Reader's Digest, it's impossible to get off their mailing list afterwards...

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