Wednesday 5 August 2015

Inspirational leader or cult figure?

The hanging and flogging brigade have always had it in for Camila Batmanghelidjh. Apart from the fact that she symbolizes their revulsion at the thought of hugging a hoodie, what particularly infuriates them is her get-up. 
There is something unsettling about her style. Defiant but with conformist touches, like wearing grim specs instead of goggles-gawn-mad like Iris Apfel’s. Stripey wristlets are eye-catching, but they must be a damn nuisance when washing up.


not practical for doing the dishes

Below. Camila looking relatively conventional, trying not to alarm Prince Charles.

How d'you do?

The negative publicity surrounding Kids Company seems to have caught the interest of  the general public. A lot of people seem personally affronted by the very idea of Kids Company. I’ve always thought it had the right approach, but it seems to have gotten too big for its boots.  I must admit I don’t know anything about its recent implosion other than the Miles Goslett revelations

I’m divided.  Inspirational leader or cult figure? Bit of both.
I can’t actually see anything particularly damning in those e-mails, and I kind of tend to side with Camila. (and Boris) She does seem to have got out of her depth, and if there are financial irregularities she really should have sorted them out. 

The one thing her critics don’t appear to have addressed is what are social services or anyone else doing about the problems Kids Company is trying to deal with? Not a lot, and at much more public expense, probably.
As this is supposed to be a blog about the BBC I’d better say something about Alan Yentob.
I don’t really care if he tried to influence Newsnight
Newsnight suffers from its own dodgy internal trouble and strife. Curses on the lot of them.


  1. Is the lady with the red glasses Barry Cryer's mum?

    You and I have always been Camillaphiles and have never understood the abuse poured on her, so this is all a bit saddening. As you say, it probably is simply a case of "inspirational leader, absolutely useless administrator".

    Your doubts about Miles G's 'Speccie' piece are shared by quite a lot of his commenters. I've read most of the emails myself now and, yes, they are UNexplosive. And why is he implying that he's being physically threatened? It's all very odd.

  2. ...and, regarding Image No. 3...

    Charles and Camilla.

    1. Haha.
      The BBC is going to town on the closure now. There’s a reporter waiting outside a Kids Company gate. Waiting for Godot I expect.

      Norman Smith says he’s been worried about the charity for years. “ever since Gordon Brown”.
      I think the BBC is divided too. The reporter seemed sympathetic but the Newsdesk seemed hungry for incriminating gossip.

      It’s all David Cameron’s fault, and the cuts, the cuts.

      On another note, Anjem’s been charged.

    2. I'm with them on David Cameron being in it up to his neck (over-ruling subordinates on vanity projects can backfire if not careful)... albeit along with them. Two sets of populist PR hounds seduced by another.

      Made for each other II. Or III.

  3. Fair points all. But she was handed an eye-watering amount of dosh to do good things that it appears did not get as well done as eye-watering amounts of dosh should ensure.

    All under the watchful eye of of of the BBC's worst and darkest, with years of BBC PR to steer money away from what could have been done better.

    They seem made for each other.

  4. Nah, sorry.
    Saw a documentary on St Camilla a few years back.
    A right shill and hustler, who-at heart doesn`t like kids-but likes to slum it among the poor on leaving her Barbican garret.
    Emoting truly pays-and her bizarre notion of kids needing a thermostat reset, as spouted on Radio 4 some time back is neuroscientific obviously gets plenty aeration on all BBC science forums.
    At least Susan Watts was a scientist-nearly all current BBC stiffies who dare to talk of science are Oxbridge liberal arts floppies.

    1. Chris H,
      I did try to focus on the media’s presentation of this subject rather than on the rights and wrongs of Kids Co, and in this case I think the BBC did comparatively well.
      As a ‘liberal arts floppy’ myself, it seems you and I are as far apart in approach as could be, so I don’t want to enter into a protracted and pointless exchange with you on this.

      Since neither you (I assume) nor I have had personal experience of severe emotional and material deprivation, or first-hand knowledge of Camila B, we’re both responding chiefly from instinct.
      In other words, we probably don’t know enough about the particularities - but then when has that ever stopped anyone opining on the interweb.

      I do know a little about psychiatry and child development, and my observation is that Camila Batmanghelidjh started out on the right track. Certainly the organisation grew way out of control, a victim of its own success you might say.

      Defamatory quotes from disgruntled members of staff and ex-benefactors seem par for the course wherever controversial methods are being pioneered.
      I also think journalists have been manipulating the story as well.

      I would have thought a critic of the BBC like you would have known better than to trust ‘a documentary’. We all know how misleading they can be.

  5. Sorry, I never feel under her spell and never rated this alleged charity.

    Did you see the facilties on offer to the kids? The table tennis table looked like it had been dragged out of a rubbish tip! This from a charity pulling in many millions each year.

    Follow the money I would say. See whose friends and families were getting employed on inflated salaries.

  6. This woman has been in over her head for years, and everyone knew it and facilitated her in wasting vast sums of money. It's rather shameful. Cameron handing over millions of taxpayer money against the advice of people who knew what was going on, Yentob and other top BBC brass on the board, ensuring the best publicity money can buy, and undoubtedly influencing coverage. For years. Imagine how many children could actually have been helped if this money had been put to better use.

    Listening to her being grilled by Humphrys today was also revealing. Humprhys quite rightly put it to her that she had mismanaged things, and simply had not run the charity properly. This is not addressing the ideology or the cause in any way, just straight up numbers and basic business practice.

    Camilla's reaction was hysterical. She started babbling about how her charity should never have been in the business of helping these children in the first place, and that she's only been doing the work that the government won't do. That was her explanation for the cash handouts. Humphrys was as baffled as everyone else.

    There is corruption going on here, and top BBC bosses are involved somehow. No way they didn't know what was going on.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.