Scottish teachers being duped by former Stirling Uni 70’s cabal?

In the mid-70s, Stirling University had one of the first access courses, for mature students with ‘limited’ school-leaving qualifications.

I was there. So were Jack McConnell, John Reid, Mick Connarty and Richard Leonard. Larry Flanagan, EIS General Secretary was there too. They were all sort-of hard left back then but ended up in the Labour Party, to get a career.

Though my sentiments then were close to the hard left, I remained more a Groucho Marxist. All the hard left guys I knew were boring and humourless.

I was then a teacher and teacher educator from 1980 until getting a free transfer to a school of media, in 2004, too classroom-rusty to be of any use.

I knew lots of great people in schools but as a profession, they could be a bit moany, an embittered bunch. They were rarely, however, hard left. Indeed many were Tories though most, it seemed were kind of centrist.

Getting any of us to be active in the union was a struggle for the organisers. It was clearly a very different kind of life from teaching or curriculum development.

Those who did fancy it were sometimes ‘on the run’ from the classroom.

In some ways, enjoying being a union rep suggested that you hadn’t really enjoyed being in education.

So, to climb within it as Flanagan has, often needed little talent as you were up against little competition.

Jump forward to the 2020s and we see those not really leftist teachers being led sheepishly into confrontations with an SNP Government, on behalf of the leadership’s old pals in Scottish Labour based on embarrassingly feckless opinion gathering, to support campaigns foisted on a membership which will then reject them in a proper vote.

By that time, however, the publicity has been gained.

10 thoughts on “Scottish teachers being duped by former Stirling Uni 70’s cabal?

  1. As one of my contemporaries, who spent his entire career at the chalk face, has repeatedly told me. In education, they tend to promote the useless, or find some other way to get them out of the classroom – to cut down on their potential to damage the kids through daily contact.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The teachers have more sense than to follow the union leaders. They continually vote not to strike but negotiate with the sympathetic Scottish Gov to create improvement. The hierarchy educational administration often resist change and then complain. They collude with a system they have most to gain. They achieved their lucrative positions from a system from which they have most to gain, So they can be resistant to change,

    Trade unionist often collude with the ownership to the detriment of the workers. Especially in the 1970/80’s. Thatcher social unrest, violence and rioting. The winter of discontent. The dead not getting buried. Piles of rubbish in the streets. Three day weeks and lack of electricity, fuel and energy. People starving and homeless. Hardship. The Westminster Gov appalling legacy. The miners have get been given pardons nearly thirty years later. After false accusation and police corruption. Most of them will have died prematurely. Often from stress related anxiety and industrial disease.

    Thatcher wasted the energy and bounty. Invested in London S/E to get votes and keep her in power. The North/South divide. The London S/E congestion. Scotland emptied. They had to get rid of her for closer ties with Europe. To improve the economy.

    Some Trade unions financed illegal wars and banking fraud. Labour. hierarchy. Warmongers. Ruining the world economy. Supported the cause of the Brexit mess and shambles. Now unfolding to their detriment and the jobs of their members going. Higher unemployment


  3. The NASWUT, think that is the correct acronym, have also joined the chorus. They have been much to the fore over the past year or so when it comes to stirring the SNP-bad pot especially for such a small union – in Scotland at least. The Herald likes to give them space to moan.

    The EIS is represented on the Education Recovery Group set up by the SG and as such is part of the decision making process but you would not know that from the way they behave


  4. John , you may be right that the EIS has become a tool of the fast fading labour party hegemony . Certainly until fairly recently , the Scottish government had to struggle against Labour controlled local authorities to effect much needed changes in education . But I don’t recognise your caricature of teachers en masse as sheepish and moany . Of late , many teachers have burned the midnight oil on developing material for blended learning only to find their efforts largely ignored . I wouldn’t underestimate the appetite for collective action among rank and file teachers too readily .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The work by teachers in preparation for blended learning was not largely ignored.

      There was a campaign by parents to have the schools fully open even in a second spike. Lots of air time, lots of coverage. Where are they now? Don’t see them being interviewed.

      When schools were re-opened the blended learning option was held in reserve and is presumably being put to good use to help children if they are absent.


      1. You write: “There was a campaign by parents to have the schools fully open even in a second spike. Lots of air time, lots of coverage. Where are they now? Don’t see them being interviewed.”

        Are you referring to ‘Us for Them Scotland’? This organisation, founded I think in June 2020, has indeed had a lot of media coverage. Not without controversy: as you may recall there was a bit of push back for example in The National after STV gave the organiser, Jo Bisset a platform in September to argue that the use of face masks for pupils in schools was a very, very bad thing!

        This apparently new, grassroots organisation is still getting media coverage for its views, including in the Scotsman on 17 November. Perhaps this is because somehow it was quickly able to obtain professional support, in July, for its campaigning from a company called Shorthand PR. The latter’s website provides a profile of what its support has achieved in terms of media exposure:

        This must have been one of Shorthand PR’s first clients. The company was only formed in July 2020. It was established by a journalist called Adam Morris. From its website we learn: “He was health reporter, senior reporter and assistant news editor at the Edinburgh Evening News before moving to the Scottish Conservatives, where he was most recently director of communications.”

        Interestingly, we also learn from the Shorthand PR website that it: “.. ran the media operation for the successful leadership campaign of Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. The campaign was widely covered across all media, from the traditional right-of-centre media to left-wing publications.”

        And I thought Mr Ross was ‘crowned’ leader – unopposed – by Tory Party members in Scotland. Or was this PR effort really an investment made for after Mr Ross’ elevation?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Bah Bah Bah
    The poor wee lambs bleating away for their
    Miscreant BAD mummy
    But in their instance
    Forgive cause they know naught of how far less of
    What they do and in fact acheive


  6. Stewartb
    Yep, Us for Them is the one to which I was referring. Thank you for the very useful info on their origins and the PR group


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