Big L's defence of his mate Bill

12th December 2003 at 00:00
In "Save Big L from the pop psychologists" (FE Focus, November 21) Frank Coffield tilted at imaginary windmills like a latter-day Don Quixote. The whole piece was surprisingly silly for such a clever and honourable man.

Frank took one of the 40 or so books that my friend Bill Lucas has written - Power up your mind - and played games with it. He held it up to the cold light of academia and concluded that it was far too accessible and much too practical for his liking. So he dismissed it as a work of popular psychology - a university man can bestow no higher insult - the kind of book that goes into many editions and is favourably reviewed by the mainstream press!

For heaven's sake he even put it through a political, social and economic analysis that would have made the Economic and Social Research Council proud.

There's just one thing that Frank might have noticed if he had read Power up your mind more carefully: it was written precisely to be a work of popular psychology! It seeks to engage the business community in the exciting subject of me, Big L - sorry, I mean lifelong learning, in ways that they have not been before.

Frank knows perfectly well that Bill has been a tireless champion for the underdog, especially while he was running the Campaign for Learning.

He must surely appreciate that Bill has a pretty full understanding of the structural issues affecting me, Big L. You only have to read the foreword he wrote to the book he commissioned in 1999, Understanding barriers to learning, to realise this.

But enough about Frank and Bill. I am bigger than both of them. In fact there are some days when I would sorely like to knock some sense into both of their heads.

I'd like to put their considerable persuasive powers to help bring about a situation where everyone is able to and wants to love me to bits. For I am sure that both of them care deeply about this really.

Big L aka Bill Lucas Wood Corner Lanskhill Road, Winchester

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