Letter: Michael Portillo's 'off-the-cuff' remarks on education standards abroad

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Sir: As a student who attended the now famous meeting with Michael Portillo at Southampton University, it was interesting to note the sudden and remarkable change of emphasis between what he told us, in what he thought was a private meeting, and what he subsequently told the media.

At the meeting it was quite clear that his remarks were not 'unintended' and 'off-the-cuff', but deeply felt and, like the rest of his speech, delivered with some passion and conviction. It is sad to note the distinction the Government draws between what it actually thinks and what it deems politically prudent to say.

After this experience, I have no qualms whatsoever about contributing to the 'sickness of national cynicism'.

Yours faithfully,



6 February