Letter: Stop bullying Patten

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Sir: Isn't it time you and your readers stopped being so beastly to little John Patten (the one in charge of education, I mean)? He's surely no worse than most of his Cabinet colleagues; he can't seriously be expected to know much about the Dutch legal system (Letters, 12 October); and he handles his portfolio with no less aplomb and no less vision than Thatcherism has taught us to expect.

Moreover, since it is a portfolio about which those colleagues and others able to buy education don't appear, in the main, to give a fig, why not leave him be? At least he can be quite amusing; and none of his potential successors, for years to come, is likely to get either the nation's young or their teachers a better deal than current policies allow. It's a raw deal, but we're stuck with it, no matter how sage or silly the Secretary of State pro tem turns out to be.

Yours faithfully,


School of Modern Languages and International Studies

University of Bath