Fighting for flexibility on workers' terms;Letter

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
David Bell (TES, March 20) wants a "flexible dynamic profession" which gets "away from the spotlight of the soundbite". The irony of this betrays the weakness of this Blairite dogma, if not the real damage it causes.

If these New Labour salespersons of Thatcherism were to go to any sixth-formFE staffroom, to lecture about how the "vigour" of restructuring could work to their advantage through the leadership of the private sector, they would have to make a rapid exit. In this sector, the continuation of Tory policies has meant the same redundancies, and shorter holidays with less pay and longer hours. In an era of public spending, growth flexibility might help us; to believe it could in the present context is naive. If corporation tax were returned to the level of Nigel Lawson's late 1980s Budget, spending on education would be increased by a third. If this Government's key advisers weren't bosses and bankers ...

Bell is right, it is time to act; time to demand that Labour gives us what we voted for, not more of what we voted against. We must indeed look with "vigour and imagination" at the changing world around us. How about looking to the realisation that has been sweeping France - that flexibility will only be on workers' terms if we fight for it?

JAMES OLIVER, Clifton lower school, Rotherham, South Yorkshire

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