Songs of praise

Reading Peter Smith's latest column for his union's Report magazine, one is struck by how unselfish the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' head is with his admiration. Almost everyone mentioned gets a fulsome tribute, increasing in gushingness roughly in line with their powerfulness. Sandy Adamson, the new education director at Hammersmith and Fulham, is "an intellectual architect", the former General Teaching Council chair David Puttnam is "charismatic and trail-blazing", Downing Street education man Andrew Adonis is "intimidatingly bright" while minister David Miliband is "immensely talented". Education Secretary Estelle Morris has "palpable commitment". "Is she to be admired?" Mr Smith asks rhetorically, as if the praise were insufficient, "beyond doubt". Tory education spokesman Damian Green is "articulate and increasingly impressive". Striking because of its difference in tone is Mr Smith's description of the "veteran" National Association of Head Teachers general secretary David Hart as the "prince of the sound niblet".

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