A response to Ed Milliband’s blog
Wow. I’ve not felt such disappointment in a statement by the leader of Labour party since the removal of clause 4. Whilst I agree with a lot of what he has to say in the post regarding the mishandling of the process by the Conservative led Government, I cannot hide my disappointment and dismay at his criticism of striking teachers.
The Labour party which you lead Ed, may very well “be the party of the parent trying to get their children to school, the mother and father who know the value of a day’s education”; and that is very commendable and I share those sentiments. But when spouting rhetoric, don’t forget that those teachers you criticise are parents. Parents who want to be able to provide an education for their children that is consistent, engaging and world class. Who better than a teacher, who strives at the coal face day in, day out to understand the value of a day’s education?
Unfortunately, with the aggressive tone that has been used by this Government, Danny Alexander leading the way, telling us striking is “a colossal mistake” and that this is the best deal the Government will offer “for many years to come”. The teachers and indeed other members of the public sector have been left with very little choice. It is clear from his tone that actually, there will be no negotiation from the Government. Indeed given the fact that the Government has made so many u-turns on policy in recent months, I’m sure they feel they need to dig their heels in somewhere. This would appear to be that spot. We hear them vilifying public servants for wanting to stand up for their rights. This is fundamentally wrong.
The Labour party and it’s leadership should be rallying around our teachers and giving them the support they need, not criticising them for taking the only action they can to protect their rights. I believe the following replaced clause 4 in 1995:
‘The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.’
Before we jump on the populist, poll improving bandwagon, criticising strikes, let us make the difficult decision and remember our roots and heritage and look at that statement above. Let us support our Teachers & civil servants, and make their common endeavour, OUR common endeavour. When we have bankers like Sir Fred Goodwin, who played fast and loose with our money, sitting back and enjoying not only an excellent pension but a golden goodbye payment as well, lets remember the Teachers, tirelessly striving to improve our children’s education.
And a final thought. One of the proposals teachers have before them is for their final salary pension to become an average earnings pension. MP’s currently have final salary provision. Will they loose their final salary pensions in these reforms also? Or is that a little too much like turkeys voting for Christmas.