Letter: John Patten's bad example

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The Independent Online
Sir: Professor Timothy Brighouse, who was so unexpectedly denounced by John Patten as a 'nutter' yesterday, is my former pupil ('Patten calls schools chief a nutter', 7 October). He was an able, intelligent and level-headed young man. His public career, which I have followed at a distance, has been such as to tempt a former tutor to claim more responsibility than perhaps he should.

Mr Patten's attempt to dismiss mainstream thinking with which he does not agree in this fashion is a threat to more than the reputation of an individual. It is part of the insidious and unconscious trend towards the thinking of a one-party state which happens when a government has been in office too long. It is exactly the sort of thing we must resist the temptation to do to the Conservatives when they eventually go out of office. Mr Patten's example will not make this task any easier for us.

Yours sincerely,


House of Lords

London, SW1

7 October