Our own worst enemy

February 17, 2011

UCU Left's timely reminder that this is the worst time for factionalism reeks of hypocrisy ("Save fight for real enemies", Letters, 10 February).

There are arguably other factional groups within the University and College Union but, unlike UCU Left, they are constitutionally validated, the activities of their elected committees are monitored and they have an inclusive membership drawn from the Left, the Right or the central ground of British politics.

Since UCU Left cannot claim any of the above, its Machiavellian plot to disproportionately influence the decision-making process smacks of tyranny of the minority. Some members of UCU Left genuinely appear to believe that the higher education sector is immune to the harsh economic reality currently gripping the country - thus their readiness to fight the "real enemies" on the beaches, on the streets and on the campuses.

Job losses in the higher education sector are inevitable unless employees are prepared to take a real pay cut. This is not the language of defeatism but a sober assessment of the problems facing the sector. In such a difficult climate, the UCU must focus its energy on defending the interests of its members. Being undermined from within is an unnecessary distraction.

L. Roger Numas, University of Brighton.

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