Starting off on the wrong foot is no way to embark on an adventure

18th May 2001 at 01:00
As a teacher formerly employed in Glasgow I was somewhat disappointed to see what can only be described as a public "spat" in recent editions between the Glasgow local association of the Educational Institute of Scotland and the political leadership of the city council over public private partnerships.

It would seem that the news of the post-McCrone "new dawn" of mu-tual respect and co-operation between the teacher unions and local authorities has not yet penetrated the city.

I must also say I find it surprising that such a notable Labour local politician (and presumably a trade unionist himself ) as Bob Gray should mount such a vitriolic and distinctly unfraternal public attack on fellow trade unionist Willie Hart and even attempt to cast doubt on whether he is accurately representing the views of his members.

Perhaps he does not regard the EIS as a "real" trade union even though it represents over 80 per cent of Gasgow's teaching staff or perhaps, after ghost shirts and ghost pupils, Glasgow is now suffering from an outbreak of ghost writing.

I suppose that those of us in other local authorities about to embark on our very own PPP adventure should be grateful that the Glasgow experience presents us with a useful case study of how things ought not to be done.

But it is indeed very sad that the transformation of the city's secondaries into "state of the art" schools for the 21st century - an event which should have been cause for celebration by all involved - should result in a sour aftertaste in the mouths of disillusioned teachers and articles such as Bob Gray's last week consisting as it did almost entirely of self-justification, recrimination and petty point scoring, which added little to the debate and only served to demean the dignity of the office he holds.

David Liddell Kilpatrick Gardens Clarkston, Glasgow

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