Thursday 28 June 2007

Report from Bristol

It was fantastic to see Nina, Bristol's Divisional Secretary, back on the top table for her first general meeting for some time. However, knowing that the Branch usually relies on her for guidance, and that, in this case, she was backing the "agreed" "left" candidates of Roger and Gill, I did not have great expectations when I raised the notion of nominating Martin and Roger as an alternative. I was armed only with Martin's latest leaflet and a few words about how Martin was up for action in September and that he was a good campaigner.
My proposal was quickly seconded by a member who had met Martin at the June 12th Anti Academies Alliance enquiry at the House of Commons and must have been impressed.
The votes were as follows :- Martin - 9, Roger - 9, Gill - 7, Hank -7. Given contingents from the SWP opposing Martin ( largely by arguing for Gill solely because she was a woman) and supporters of the "Broad Left" backing Hank Roberts, this was an excellent result. It was won by the support from non-aligned teachers who wanted to back the candidates that were going to best stand up for classroom teachers.
I think the right decision was made by our branch. I also believe two factors are in play here. Firstly that Martin's campaign and the call for a ballot for action on pay in September strikes a chord with grass roots members. Secondly Martin's profile as a campaigner is stronger amongst members than even I had realised.
Rachael Thomas

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