Common Purpose – the new Bilderberg?

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Over the past few months I’ve become increasingly aware of the fact that a lot of conspiracy theories these days seem to revolve around an organisation called Common Purpose. Not a secret organisation, Common Purpose aims to “give leaders the skills, the connections and the vision they need to lead more effectively”.

It’s a training organisation. But it’s also a networking organisation and that’s where the wilder theories come in. My old friends EU truth seem to be doing a lot of the running here (their site is certainly the second Google hit, which suggests that David “EU plant” Cameron’s mates at Google UK aren’t doing their jobs properly). They have a pdf you can download and some stuff on YouTube. It all, um, seems a bit vague:

So my question to you dear reader is this: where’s the beef? If you have some strong evidence to prove that Common Purpose is indeed a “criminal organisation” let’s have it. I’m fascinated.

(The thing I realised from reading Them by Jon Ronson a couple of years ago is that the truth is often not what the loons think it is but is fascinating nonetheless).

59 thoughts on “Common Purpose – the new Bilderberg?

  1. With respect, SIP, I was suggesting that we have a discussion rather than swap press release factoids.

    Your condescending “just for you” remark — offered as a preamble to failing to engage with my comment — tells me a great deal about your perception of leadership and training.

    Anyway, as one of the few people who’ve shown an interest in Common Purpose training methodology on the whole internet, this must make me a stakeholder of sorts, and possibly even an opinion former. I shall sit tight waiting for my invite to a leadership training event.

    All the best!

  2. Neil – sorry you feel slighted by the “just for you” comment! I was being genuine, though – it was just for you as you are one of the few people commenting here who isn’t more interested in a upcoming intergalactic takeover by lizard men. And, really, you didn’t read the link, did you? It’s not a press release – it’s a personal blog by our curriculum director! He’d be most upset at being called a factoid!

  3. Thanks for your apology, SIP. I see that you genuinely want to discuss this matter. I appreciate that, like everyone reading this, you’ve limited time to devote to such discussions. I guess trawling for and responding to blog comments takes up more time than you’d like. There are more rewarding ways to spend time…

    I did follow the link and I did read the content. I should have been more expansive in my comment.

    I can see that the blog you linked to is all about discussing leadership and so on and I’ll be reading it with interest from now on. However, it seems heavy on facilitating discussion and a little light on content. For example, although I agree that “a written list with explanation, pointers to which elements of our programmes help a person to identify and then develop these” is a nice idea, surely that’s a matter for you and yours in your organisation, since you’re in charge of your own training programmes. Perhaps I’m not used to such reports of in-house discussions about policy directions: those sorts of meetings are outside my experience.

    Also, although I was grateful for the link to a current discussion about the methodology of leadership training — and I’m pleased to see that you and your organisation are having an open debate about this — I was rather hoping for a direct response to my questions in this independent forum. That’s what I meant when I wrote about “press release factoids: I regarded your link, perhaps unfairly, as a second-hand response.

    Having established a basis for sensible discussion about these matters, can we now please move the debate on from name calling? Viz. denigrating oppositional voices as those of people “interested in a upcoming intergalactic takeover by lizard men”? That tactic’s been used by both you and Stef Lewandowski — both of you are involved with Common Purpose training — and it’s getting old and irritating. Casting your opponents as such will help you control the debate in the very short term in small-scale forums, and will undoubtedly appeal to a lot of internet browsers, but it’ll not endear you in the slightest to thinking independent-minded people, or even those with ideological bents, and it may adversely affect your ability to communicate your message sensibly in the long term.

    Can I spot obviously flippant comments? Yes. But I reserve the right to say I don’t like them.

    Am I rejecting information given by you based on my preconceived idea about what Common Purpose is? No. I don’t have any preconceived ideas about your organisation: that’s why I want to discuss it! Like I say, I really appreciate your contact and I’ll keep reading the blog you linked to, as I’m interested in seeing how this debate on the methodology of leadership training develops.



  4. Thank you Neil. I am so used to irrational hostility that I can come across quite short. Today I received this comment: “Fuck off,you shabbos goy marxist cunt.” I receive several like this a week. Perhaps this goes some way to excuse my shortness… I realise that treating every exchange in the blogosphere with suspicion is playing right into these peoples’ hands – but, hey, I’m only human. Allegedly.

    I also directed you to the blog for a discussion because as the online manager my part in the philosophical basis for our programmes’ curriculum is simply as a sounding board – I think Oliver is far better suited to conduct a discussion on methodology. However, for what it’s worth, I’ll give it a shot.

    In reponse to: “I’m here to be persuaded that the difference between leadership and management does not stem from intra and inter-organisational personnel status crisis. I’d also like to hear more about how leadership training is not fundamentally divisive and elitist.”

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “personnel status crisis” so let me address the “elitist” proposal. If you are managing change within an organisation, one would expect you have a certain amount of defined authority to do so. This is “easy” leadership – you are basically calling down a chain of command.

    This isn’t the type of leadership we concentrate on (although most management training does). What interests us is how you operate when the issue overlaps boundaries. Some issues require multiple departments to solve, for example. And you can’t simply tell someone what must be done in these cases – you may be workng with people on the same level or higher than you.

    This is true on a societal level as well, of course. Campaigners, by definition, are always working at this level – they must use influential skills to engage – they don’t have the organisational authority to order change. This is what Common Purpose calls “leading beyond authority”. Further, I think the really important issues are always ones that cross “silos”, that require many fronts to be enagaged to solve. can the police alone solve knife crime? Or do we need youth organisations, schools, media organisations, government, independent campaigns and a host of others to come together?

    Good leadership HAS to be inclusive; it has to look outside of “your own patch”, it has to engage and influence beyond the people you can simply order around to really find solutions.

  5. By the way, I should point out in Stef’s absence that he has nothing to do with formulating Common Purpose training – he has completed one of our leadership development programmes – he’s simply commenting on the bewildering conspiracy theory that’s doing the rounds.

  6. Thanks for that, SIP. Much appreciated.

    It seems that leadership, CP-style, is a version of what used to be called management, which in turn replaced strictly hierarchical structures relying on… leadership, which was about getting things done.

    Overall, as I suppose you’ve guessed by now, I think we need fewer leaders.

    But if I were in favour of leadership, I’d probably choose your model, because it’s simple to understand and highlights the hierarchical structuration of intra and inter-organisational processes.

    Incidentally, by “inter and inter-organisational personnel status crisis”, I mean that people often like to have their work and status confirmed by new, or reconstituted, ideas that reinvent their operational milieu as one of limitless potential.



  7. The big issue here is really simple. These people should just not have charitable status, even though that might mean changing the rules.

    This is just not the kind of “education” that should be considered a charitable endeavor. They are a Management Consultancy re-packaging basic management training for profit and I’m sure the key staff are making lots of money out of it.

    Surely that is the issue people should be highlighting, not making up conspiracy theories about CP being some kind of Empire of Dark Forces?



  8. i know this thread is old now but i have some queries about this subject if anyone would like to answer them

    1 what does BG & Co have to gain from discrediting CP
    does he have his own agenda?

    2 why doesn’t CP raise their money from accepting donations/have fundraising events like most charities, instead of charging extortionate prices for seminars & trips to prisons,housing developments, businesses, hospitals and manufacturing plants

    3 why should the taxpayer have to fund this charity ? who agreed to it?
    & also clients from the private sector will be using it has a tax deductible expense

    4 since CP started, has there been any notable changes in society as a whole due to the benefits of CP ??

    5 why does CP quote this about there charity
    “It is political, but not party political”
    being political usually means that there are some believes one way or the other and aren’t charites supposed to be non bias & non political

    6 how else could you paraphrase julie middletons CP bible “Beyond Authority” ?

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