Letter: Those for and against 1

December 21, 2001

I did not protest a decade ago against the system whereby the Association of University Teachers executive seeks to keep control of the election of the general secretary. However, earlier this year I argued to the executive - before the current vacancy arose - that it is a human right to take part in an election on fair terms.

This weekend, newspapers reported a legal judgment on Westminster Council's efforts to use its executive power to control elections. Why is this treated as an outrage in local government but is all in a day's work for a trade union?

The bullying and pestering has come from colleagues rather than from HQ as you suggest. It has been put to me that an open, unguided election is a bad idea because the members do not have enough interest, that I would be overwhelmed by mud-slinging and that I should regain the "mantle of virtue" by joining the executive-led coalition against the other "unofficial" candidates. Oh my God.

Martin Hughes
Former AUT president

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