Thursday, February 08, 2007

Communication breakdown or sour grapes?

A recent debate at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London mentioned on this site recently - A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations – featured Ken Livingstone and Salma Yaqoob squaring off against Daniel Pipes and Douglas Murray.

Given that many people were unable to attend the event there has been quite some interest in a transcript or video recording of the main debate being released. Particularly as many of the reviews of the debate on the blogosphere rated it as one of Pipes’ best ever performances in exposing the failings of multiculturalism and rebutting Livingstone’s ineffective arguments in favour of it. Apparently the debate was not Comrade Ken’s finest hour of oratory.

Despite the fact that this event was put on at the expense of London taxpayers – and apparently was recorded on video and transcribed - there has been no sign of a transcript so far. One commentator on Daniel Pipes’ website called Tom Power revealed he had contacted the Mayor’s office to enquire about a transcript and had been promised that the main speeches rather than the debate would soon be uploaded to the GLA website. Daniel Pipes replied to the comment some six days ago and said he had received a raw transcript to edit. As of 10.00am, I had not been able to find anything on the GLA or Mayor’s website.

So I emailed the Chief Communications Officer at the Mayor’s Press Office, Ben McKnight, and asked him about the availability of a transcript. His reply was succinct:
‘Apologies, but we do not have a transcript, I am afraid.

Well that confirmed that I had not missed it hidden away somewhere. Anyway, knowing a bit about communications I decided to push it a little more by replying thus:
‘Dear Ben,

Thanks for your quick reply. I had been led to believe that a transcript of the debate had been promised by the GLA, so maybe I have come to your department by mistake?

Do you have a contact I could get in touch with who may know if/where
there will be a transcript made available? Thanks in advance once again.

Yours sincerely'
But Ben was having none of it and replied with:

Not sure who would have promised a transcript in advance. In any event ther [sic] is not one available.

So what are we to make of these emails? Has Comfort Labeodan, the Co-ordinator of London Stakeholders who replied to the enquiry of Tom Power got it wrong? Or does Ken’s Chief Communications Officer not know what has been promised on his watch?

Or could it just be that Comrade Ken would rather withhold the transcript because he has sour grapes about being bested by Pipes in front of a large live audience? Stay tuned and lets see if anything appears on the GLA site.


Anonymous said...

They have to have the transcript. I smell something fishy...

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