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Bring back Simon Caulkin

We were pleased to count Observer management editor Simon Caulkin among the speakers at our packed seminar at the Compass “No Turning Back” conference last weekend. We were less pleased when he announced that the Observer is scrapping his column - to “cut costs”.

This seems a particularly ill-judged decision on the Observer’s part. Simon’s writing has been extraordinarily perceptive, standing apart from the neoliberal jargon that passes for so much management theory.

Many others have come to the same conclusion - here are some of the bloggers who have come to his defence:

There are also Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Send your letters of protest to Observer editor .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and executive editor .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Read Simon Caulkin’s Observer column.

Update 1: 20 June 2008

Some more blogs to add to the list:
Human Capital Forum
Tax Research UK

And here’s the letter we sent to the Observer:

It is with surprise and disappointment that we learn that this week’s column by your management editor, Simon Caulkin, is to be his last.

Over the years, Caulkin’s unique and penetrating analysis has been required reading. Writing with wit and clarity, he has opened up his subject to non-specialist audiences, and offered a powerful challenge to dominant orthodoxies - before as well as after the crash. It seems particularly perverse that his final column coincides with an Observer leader stating “The City mustn’t slip back to its bad old ways”, for he is one of the voices offering an alternative vision.

This cost-cutting measure may become a revenue-cutting measure. Simon Caulkin is one of the reasons we read the Observer, and we are sure his presence has helped give the Observer’s business section a resonance and influence that stretches beyond the usual readers of business pages. Please bring back his column.

Clifford Singer, Director, The Other TaxPayers’ Alliance
Hilary Wainwright, Editor, Red Pepper; Director, New Politics Programme, Transnational Institute
Adam Lent, Head of Economic and Social Affairs, TUC
Dr Su Maddock, Director, The Whitehall Innovation Hub
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Neal Lawson, Chair, Compass
Ruth Lister, Professor of Social Policy, Loughborough University
Richard Murphy, Director, Tax Research LLP
Jonathan Rutherford, Editor, Soundings; Professor of Cultural Studies, Middlesex University
Billy Hayes, General Secretary, CWU
Tom Powdrill, Editor, Labour and Capital Blog

Update 2: 3 July 2008

The Observer apparently received more than 80 letters of complaint, and Caulkin received more than 200 emails of support.

Yet the paper chose to publish only a single, fairly mild letter of complaint.

If you’d like to add your voice, the email addresses are above.


Posted by Other TPA at 03:09pm on 16 June 2009
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On the principle of better late than never, I just sent the following to the Observer:

Dear John Mulholland,

Now that the government (in ‘Building Britain’s Future’) have recognised the folly of the target culture that has tied the public sector to often meaningless goals over the past decade, is it not time to reinstate Simon Caulkin, who has been a consistent and cogent critic of targets as a management instrument? His column was illuminating, informative - and the main reason I bought the Observer every week.


Erica Carter
(Soon-to-be former Observer reader, Birmingham)

Posted by Erica Carter at 03:20pm on 10 July 2009

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