'Half-term' gave me a chance to sort out some of our household junk and I came across an album of photos taken by my father. The shots he had taken of Tredegar, South Wales, where he was living in the late 30's, are a real piece of missing local history. They have been posted on the town website: www.tredegar.co.uk.
Sadly, shots of 1930's poverty, unemployment and derelict factories aren't the ancient history that my father hoped they would be. Now, as then, the trade union movement has a responsibility to organise to defend our communities from the effects of recession. As teachers, we have a key role in defending not only our own working conditions, but to defend the comprehensive education system that was fought for by previous generations.
Unfortunately, the fax that I picked up from my NUT Office this morning shows that the present New Labour plans for public services are a long way from those that Nye Bevan and others fought for in Tredegar and beyond. It announced a 'consultation' on a new Trust federation linking three of our local secondary schools with Goldsmiths College - depsite the opposition of the Goldsmiths education department who have made very clear that they oppose Trusts being used to break-up accountable Local Authority schooling.
It will be yet another battle that Lewisham NUT and I will have to fight in the weeks ahead, just like campaigners in other NUT Associations around the country. As VP, I hope I can help link those local battles and strengthen our campaign to defend comprehensive education from the attacks that will come, in one form or another, from all the main political parties.