Wednesday 20 November 2013

Thanks for your support - and achieving third place in the VP election

The results are in for the NUT National Officers Elections - and the winners were: 
Philipa Harvey (Senior Vice-President)
and Anne Swift (Junior Vice-President).

I polled the second-highest number of first-preference votes but eventually finished third in the final count. (*Please see below for the full results)

For all of the candidates awaiting the result of an election relying on a typically low turnout of individual postal votes, it was impossible to predict the final result. It was always most likely that, after transfers, I would be squeezed out into third place and, in the end, that's exactly what happened. 

I am happy that my vote, even if not enough to win, showed such a strong level of support for my stand and for the national action that we have been campaigning for.

Without the backing of any of the major 'blocs' in the Union, and without any other candidate calling for a transfer to me, to poll 7665 first-preference votes is a real succcess.

Certainly, right to the end, my opponents were clearly worried at the level of support that my candidature was winning.

That support could be glimpsed from the 38 nominations that I received to stand in the first place, and from the supportive comments from teachers unknown to me posted on Facebook and Twitter. One simply said, "if Gove doesn't like him, that's good enough for my vote". A Cardiff teacher even told me that one of her colleagues had left the NASUWT in order to vote for me!

I'd certainly like to thank everyone who has helped support me during the campaign - although, in truth, with a limited budget and the usual pressures of teaching, casework and local disputes for us all to contend with, there was only limited campaigning that could be done.

The support from LANAC, the Local Associations National Action Campaign was key to me standing in the first place. We did manage to mail leaflets to a fair number of schools, especially in the 38 nominating Local Associations. We distributed materials to striking colleagues in many towns and cities during the October regional strikes. I know that many individual teachers were also helping to 'spread the word' as well to their friends and colleagues.

Above all, my support was built on the underlying anger of classroom teachers at Gove's attacks and I hope that they saw me as a candidate who was serious about organising the action necessary to stop them.

When I submitted my election address at the beginning of October, I already suspected that the action in November might not go ahead, and that Gove would again be encouraged by further 'union hesitation'. Regrettably, Gove's provocative letters, making clear that no genuine talks to resolve the dispute were really on offer, have proved my fears to be correct.

Unfortunately, at the time of voting, many teachers were being told the official story that our regional action had 'wrung from Education Secretary Michael Gove an offer of talks'. Some may well have wondered why I was questioning the decisions taken by the majority of the NUT National Executive. Perhaps now, the real situation is beginning to dawn on them. 

Certainly, we now urgently need to reinstate our national action. We face an onslaught from a Government determined to steal back all the gains of the past. Pay, pensions, conditions and genuine comprehensive education are all under serious  threat. This election is just one moment in a continuing movement that we have to build if we are to stop those attacks.

At a meeting that I attended at City and Islington College this lunchtime, the determination of teachers to build that movement was clear. They were also engaged in a serious debate about what we need to do to win: How do we build united action with the NASUWT and other unions? What should an escalating program of action consist of? What other events, local strike action and work-to-rule actions can also be built? How do we get our message out to teachers, parents  and the public?

Those debates and discussions amongst classroom teachers will be key in determining how we now build the Union and the action required to defend teachers and education. I am confident that if we focus the anger and discontent amongst classroom teachers at the unbearable pressures facing them into a serious campaign of action, then we can succeed in defeating the attacks we face. 

LANAC, meeting again this weekend in Nottingham, can continue to grow and develop as an inclusive network to bring those discussions and debates together and to campaign within the Union to help make sure a movement of sufficient strength is built.

I will continue to use my energies and efforts, supported by those who have helped me in this campaign, to build that movement so that we can defeat the attacks we face and win an education system that teachers, parents and students can be proud of.

* The full results will be released officially tomorrow morning and so I will not yet post them here. All I would note for now is that, despite my differences with Philipa over some issues, I called for a transfer to her, as another candidate of the 'Left'. Regrettably, neither Philipa nor Louise were willing to indicate any support for my candidature. Looking at where the transfers from Louise ended up, a chance to elect two Left Vice-Presidents could have been missed.

UPDATE: Here are the published results:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done on a positive result....we appreciate your support and boundless fight for Education. We admire your guts and determination in inspiring others.