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Derek McMillan

A new leader for teachers?

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One of the candidates seeking nomination for the General Secretary of the NUT is Martin Powell-Davies of Lewisham. I must confess a personal interest - I contributed to his manifesto by suggesting he move an apostrophe :rolleyes:

Part of Lewisham's leaflet reads:

"As both Association Secretary and as a classroom teacher, Martin is in touch with the everyday pressures confronting teachers – and he pledges to remain so. He would remain on the pay of a classroom teacher, using the rest of the present General Secretary salary (of over £100,000) to support education and trade union campaigns. He will make it a priority to visit schools and Union meetings."

The whole thing is online on the Socialist Party teachers webpage as we are rather proud to have Martin as one of our members.

A change in leadership in the NUT is inevitable and Martin could make it a real change.

Any opinions?

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There is now a website for the campaign elect-martin.tripod.com with details.

I'd prefer someone who wasn't a Leninist

I hope the leadership of the teachers' union wont be decided by simplistic dismissal of candidates on the basis of crude labels. Some discussion of the issues might be appropriate.

One of the statements on the new website is from one of the teachers Martin has helped.

When I was brutally attacked by racists at my school, then continually harassed, Martin pulled out all the stops to support me. He organised a huge rally so that the community could show its opposition to racism. His personal support has since continued over many years. I will be backing Martin because I know he has teachers’ interests at heart”

Alison Moore, Lewisham NUT, primary teacher

An NUT leader with teachers' interests at heart would seem like a good idea. :)

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One of the candidates seeking nomination for the General Secretary of the NUT is Martin Powell-Davies of Lewisham.

Maybe Martin Powell-Davies should join the Education Forum. He could then post his views that are important to union members. That would give the opportunity for those teachers who also hold strong views on these subjects to debate the issues with him.

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I hope the leadership of the teachers' union wont be decided by simplistic dismissal of candidates on the basis of crude labels.  Some discussion of the issues might be appropriate.

Well you did invite opinions :)

My objection to a Leninist/Trotskyist leader of my own union is not however based on a crude label or dismissal of his candidature. I am sure he has many fine qualities, but being a Leninist is not one of them.

In my opinion Lenisim is an elitist, anti democratic, anti socialist and historically discredited and highly dated set of half baked political "ideas". It appears to be the corner stone of the Mr Powell -Davies' political party and is therefore highly relevant to any evaluation of his suitability to be General Secretary of the NUT.

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In my opinion Leninism is an elitist, anti democratic, anti socialist and historically discredited and highly dated set of half baked political "ideas". It appears to be the corner stone of the Mr Powell -Davies' political party and is therefore highly relevant to any evaluation of his suitability to be General Secretary of the NUT.

I am certain that teachers are too grown-up to be diverted from a serious evaluation of the candidates for General Secretary by "reds under the bed."

You also persist in using the term Leninism. Stalin (quite dishonestly) called himself a Leninist so the term is (unintentionally of course) misleading... The Socialist Party is fully committed to democratic rights: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, trade union rights. The same cannot be said of the New Labour Government which uses the pretext of "terrorism" to introduce draconian measures including imprisonment without trial and the suspension of all rights if the government decides there is an "emergency".

Perhaps NUT members will be more interested in what Martin proposes:

"For a General Secretary in touch with teachers.

A General Secretary on the existing salary - of over £100,000 according to the TES - cannot remain in touch with ordinary teachers struggling to pay their bills.

I would remain on the pay of a classroom teacher, apart from claiming necessary expenses open to members' scrutiny, using the rest of the existing GS salary to support local, national and international campaigns by teachers and trade unions.

DEFEND MEMBERS AGAINST MANAGEMENT BULLYING.

The Union has failed to adequately defend teachers against the pressures piled on to them by bullying managers and OFSTED inspections. Teachers need a strong Union to have the confidence to stand up to their unreasonable demands.

I would make sure that the Union puts the resources needed into a campaign to build strong Local NUT Associations and to win the facility time school reps and local officers need to support members.

For NUT action to OPPOSE EXCESSIVE WORKLOAD AND enforce a real "work-life balance".

Teachers are working intolerable hours without adequate protection from either the Government's "Workforce Agreement" or the NUT's existing workload guidelines.

I would push to strengthen our workload action so that NUT members can refuse to carry out excessive planning, assessment and other demands on their time outside the school day and campaign for real reductions in workload, not least to win our demand for at least 20% non-contact time for all teachers.

FOR AN END TO SATS AND LEAGUE TABLES

Despite an 86% vote in favour of a boycott, the Union has left members in primary schools having to put children through SATs once again. But parental opposition to tests and tables is growing. This must be the start, not the end of the campaign

I would maintain the campaign against SATs and build for a new ballot so that teachers could successfully boycott these damaging tests.

FOR TEACHER UNITY IN ACTION - FOR A CAMPAIGN TO PERSUADE ALL UNIONS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE "WORKFORCE AGREEMENT".

The Government's "deal" with other teaching and non-teaching unions has done little to reduce our workload or improve support staff pay but everything to allow New Labour to introduce "teaching-on-the-cheap". We need to oppose it with action.

I would support strike action to oppose unqualified staff taking teaching posts and campaign for all TUC Unions - teaching and non-teaching - to withdraw from the pernicious Agreement.

FOR THE FUNDS NEEDED TO MEET THE REAL NEEDS OF SCHOOLS. NO TO THE PRIVATE PROFITEERS.

New Labour have left schools without the funds they need to protect jobs, reduce workload, rebuild and repair schools, and genuinely meet the needs of every child.

I would organise with other TUC Unions to link local struggles into a national campaign to oppose cuts and privatisation and defend public services.

DEFEND EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.STRENGTHEN ANTI-RACISM

Cuts and selection have continued to undermine equal opportunities. Meanwhile press and politicians have encouraged parents and pupils to blame asylum seekers for their problems. The BNP gain from this racism and disillusionment with the main parties.

I would encourage NUT members to take up local campaigns against racist and fascist organisations and develop Union educational materials for use in schools.

THE RIGHT TO RETIRE ON A FULL PENSION AT 60. IMPROVE ACCESS TO EARLY RETIREMENT.

While more and more teachers are being pushed to breaking-point by the stress of teaching, the Government has announced plans that will force many teachers to work until they 65 if they want to retire with a full pension.

As a first step, I would demand the TUC implement the national day of action on pensions agreed by Congress and, if they won't, go ahead with Unions who will.

FOR NATIONAL ACTION TO OPPOSE PERFORMANCE PAY

The Union failed to organise a serious campaign to stop the introduction of performance pay and is now standing by while the Government introduces a multi-year pay freeze and threatens the future of Management Allowances.

I would organise a national demonstration as a first step in a national campaign of action to defend our pay and conditions.

10. OPPOSE NEW LABOUR'S ATTACKS ON COMPREHENSIVE

EDUCATION. NO TO SELECTION. NO TO TOP-UP FEES.

Teachers have been let down by a Blair Government that promised so much but in reality has continued with divisive policies that attack comprehensive education.

I would step up our opposition to Blair's attacks on education by calling for support for trade union backed candidates standing against New Labour.

11.TAKING A STAND IN THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

Like thousands of teachers, I was opposed to a war for oil in Iraq which has wasted thousands of lives and billions of pounds that could have been spent on schools and other public services. Yet the current NUT leaders refused to even allow the National Union Banner on the demonstrations.

I would make sure that the NUT took a full part in the wider campaigns of the trade union movement while seeking trade unionists' support for our campaigns.

12. VOTE FOR A CHANGE

For too long, the NUT has failed to defend members against the attacks we face.

I will offer a real change from the old leadership and build a Union that will be prepared to organise serious campaigns to defend teachers and education."

If that is Leninism then call me Vladimir Illych!

(More seriously btw Stalin assiduously assassinated ppl who advocated the ideas in "State and Revolution" you only have to read it to see why!)

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I am certain that teachers are too grown-up to be diverted from a serious evaluation of the candidates for General Secretary by "reds under the bed."

:lol::lol::lol:

Clearly my friends in what used to be known as Militant tendency have given up entryism and "hiding under beds" and now stand openly on the ideological platform they espouse.

This I am sure will be a relief to us all.

I fear Derek has (perhaps deliberately) misunderstood my intentions. I am interested in political ideas and merely wish to establish the central ideas and beliefs of the candidates standing in the NUT elections. I find this helpful when I come to cast my vote. It is actually quite hard to ascertain what the ideological position of the re styled Socialist platform Derek has advertised so effectively is, as there does not appear to be a clear link on any of their pages giving a clear indication of their principles and/or objectives.

I am left to assume that they remain both Leninist and Trotskyist in terms of political theory. This is meant in a descriptive rather than any perjorative sense.

I am happy to debate with Derek the shortcomings of Leninist and Trotskyist ideology in a seperate thread, and rather hope now that this thread could be used to discuss the range of candidates in the forthcoming elections, their political philosophy and how this informs their approach to the issues.

Perhaps Derek could facilitate this by pointing us to some of the other candidates standing ;)

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The other candidates.

You will appreciate that there is a sort of STV voting system in the NUT so it makes no sense to talk about one candidate "splitting the vote" as it might in a parliamentary election.

(The American Socialist Labor Party always used to say it was better to vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want and get it :lol:

The latest addition to the website has the following information:

"MY OPPONENTS

The existing NUT leadership has failed teachers. During Doug McAvoy’s time in office, our pay and conditions have got worse, our lives have got harder, education more unequal. Even when the Union has taken the right stand in words - on SATs, on Performance Pay, on the “Workforce Agreement”- they have failed to follow them up with the actions needed to defend NUT members.

John Bangs and Steve Sinnott have been part of that failed leadership. They offer no way forward for teachers. Steve Sinnott’s election would move the Union further away from any prospect of action to defend teachers. Instead, I believe he would move to settle our differences with the Government and the leaders of the other teacher unions – but at the cost of ditching our principles and at the expense of the pay and conditions of classroom teachers. John Bangs, NUT Assistant Secretary, is Doug McAvoy’s preferred successor. He might continue with opposition in words to some of Labour’s damaging policies but, as under Doug McAvoy, those words would not be matched with action.

Vote MURCH 2

Ian Murch wants to change the Union. He has opposed the current leadership in his many years on the NUT National Executive. It is vital that they are defeated. That is why I would be calling for teachers to vote MURCH 2 so that my votes could be transferred to Ian if needed when the ballot is counted.

However, while calling for a new “strategy”, Ian has not yet spelt out exactly what this will be. Unlike me, he has not launched his campaign with a clear programme of the actions he would call for to defend teachers. He has not yet shown how he will distinguish himself from John Bangs and Steve Sinnott - who will also be presenting themselves as competent union men and promising to improve things for teachers. He has not shown NUT members how he has been in touch, and will stay in touch, with teachers.

SPLITTING THE VOTE ?

Failing to offer such a clear alternative is the greatest risk of defeat for those of us who want to change the Union, not the fact that there will be more than one opposition candidate. Unless more teachers are enthused to vote, and to vote for a new way forward, teachers will be left without the leadership they need once again.

I believe that it is my approach, my programme, my record over the years, that will provide the clearest appeal to NUT members looking for a candidate who will change the Union. I believe that, once elected, I will provide the firmest leadership, appealing over the heads of the current majority on the National Executive to classroom teachers, NUT Conference delegates and local Association officers so that we can also win a new National Executive leadership as well.

This is why I am standing to win in this election, and why I think I can win. Whatever happens, my stand will encourage more teachers to vote for a new way forward for the Union. So, even if I were to receive fewer votes than Ian, my campaign and my clear call for a transfer of votes to him, could improve Ian’s chances when the votes are finally counted. Of course, the reverse is also true, and so I hope that Ian will also be calling for a transfer to me."

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And for the benefit of those of us who like more balance in our intake of propaganda I have managed to ascertain that the 3 "other" candidates are:

John Bangs and here is his web site

Another Leninist "appears" to be standing as a "socialist worker". His name is John Illingworth But this web site does nothing to clarify the issue :lol: .

There is also some geezer called Steve Sinnott (currently deputy general secretary) for whom I cannot seem to find a web site. Current postholder Doug McEvoy is apparently less than happy with his deputy FOR DETAILS CLICK HERE

For some background information CLICK HERE

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Thanks for the clarification. In fact my list of candidates is more accurate. Ian Murch is standing and John Illingworth is not. I understand that this is because of illness.

Mysteriously Malcolm Horne had a letter in the TES describing John Bangs has "hard left" which is possibly the most bizarre description yet and shows the danger of dealing with labels rather than policies.

There is a general perception that the leadership of the NUT has been soft on Blair and soft on the causes of Blair although the union is not affiliated to any political party. There is a page of "news" and "media coverage" on the website which is not pretending to be "impartial" about this.

I do not think any teacher is impartial about issues such as SATS, Teachers' pay, performance management, OFSTED. In fact there is a considerable consensus on these issues....the differences are on what ought to be done about them.http://elect-martin.tripod.com

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The site has been updated again today.

I was busily touching up Martin's picture this evening!

We now have a picture of a candidate for General Secretary actually teaching...and it is not library footage either! (the touching up was to remove school badges)

This is the report from tripod:

PAGE VIEWS

Your site had 75 page views yesterday.

Total page views this month: 517

It will be updated thoughout the campaign.

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It would be helpful to get some of the candidates to post here. Perhaps Derek could ask his colleague and I will e-mail the NUT to invite the others. We could then quiz them on both their policies and political philosophy.

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There is very little I would disagree with about Martin Powell-Davies policy statement. I particularly agree with his comments that: “A General Secretary on a salary of over £100,000 cannot remain in touch with ordinary teachers struggling to pay their bills and mortgages. I would remain on the pay of a classroom teacher, apart from claiming additional expenses needed to carry out my duties, using the rest of the existing GS salary to support local, national and international campaigns by teachers and trade unions.”

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There is very little I would disagree with about Martin Powell-Davies policy statement. I particularly agree with his comments that: “A General Secretary on a salary of over £100,000 cannot remain in touch with ordinary teachers struggling to pay their bills and mortgages. I would remain on the pay of a classroom teacher, apart from claiming additional expenses needed to carry out my duties, using the rest of the existing GS salary to support local, national and international campaigns by teachers and trade unions.”

Yes it sounds good doesn't it?

One might however need to ask clarification on which particular groups and campaigns he intends to spend his "surplus" salary on

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I'm pleased to see the forum debating the election for NUT General Secretary and am more than happy to contribute now and again myself.

I am also encouraged that some of your contributors are supportive of my approach that a "teacher's leader should be on a teacher's salary". Certianly it is an idea that receives a lot of backing in staffrooms and union meetings alike. However principled you are, it is difficult to maintain your link with the members who have elected you if you are on a salary three times greater than they are ! (The same goes for some of my opponents who also have had little or no experience of teaching in the classroom this side of the introduction of the National Curriculum. My most recent experience was Year 10 Single Science a few hours ago (Friday afternoon - always a favourite slot in the timetable !) ).

Andy Walker asks a fair question as to what use I would make of my "surplus" salary. However, I can assure him that there is no shortage of campaigns that need support. Every NUT Association receives appeals every month from a wide range of places, from local education campaigns, trade union bodies and wider campaigns such as anti-racist organisations.

More crucially to the Union, there is a real shortage of money to support members taking strike action. I believe the Union should have a hardship fund to support members who, for example, want to take action to oppose the current plans to ration salary increases through performance pay, but are genuinely unable to afford to lose a day's pay.

Finally, if Andy is hinting that I might want to spend some of that money on the Socialist Party, then certainly that would be one very good cause that I would want to support. Most Socialist Party members are low-paid and their subscriptions support a wide range of campaigns and activities on a shoestring budget. Looking at the current funding crisis in many LEAs, the threat of top-up fees dissuading many young people from going on to Higher Education, as well as wider issues such as the lack of trust many voters have in any of the establishment political parties, there is a crying need to develop an electoral challenge from candidates that support NUT policies. In Lewisham, where I work, for example, the Socialist Party have just won a second Council seat in a bye-election in a seat previously held by Labour. So, yes, these are some of the campaigns that I would want to help !

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