Tuesday 22 April 2014

Dear Newsnight - Where is my right to reply?

Dear Newsnight

From the messages that I am already receiving from teaching colleagues, I have to warn you that your feature tonight on the 'Left in the NUT' has angered NUT members from right across its broad spectrum of political views.

In fact, alongside the anger, the feature was such a blatant distortion that it has perhaps also generated some mirth and certainly also much derision.

You chose to give most airtime to Fred Jarvis, who lost the respect of many delegates at this year's Annual Conference when he sought to take an undeserved side-swipe at me from the rostrum, and John Blake, who became so out of touch with the views of his colleagues that he was left almost in a minority of one at the last NUT Conference where he attended as a delegate. 

John's comment that the NUT was somehow extreme for extending our campaign to include workload was just one indication of just how far removed he must be from the everyday pressures facing classroom teachers struggling to cope with working 60 hours and more every week.

While you gave Kevin Courtney a limited time to try and defend the Union as a whole, I had no opportunity to respond to the attacks made on my character. An edited interview from questions thrown at me as I walked into the Conference hardly provides a real opportunity to answer Fred and John, nor to speak up for all those teachers who support their Union's campaign to defend teachers and education against this Government's divisive and damaging attacks.

Far from being 'elected unopposed' as Fred Jarvis implied, I have just been democratically elected to the NUT's National Executive in elections contested in March. If the programme's aim was to persuade teachers not to vote for me in the NUT General Secretary election in June, then its crude attacks may have had an opposite effect.

The unacceptable attacks on children's education, cuts to pay and pensions, and rising levels of workload, mean that teachers are rightly backing their Union's call for action - and why many are also supporting my proposal that we need to put in place a more decisive action strategy.

I ask that you respond to offer me the opportunity for a right of reply on a future edition of Newsnight

Martin Powell-Davies 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And the reporter was an ex special adviser to tory minister david willetts