The Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning held their lobby of Parliament on Wednesday to protest about the collapse of much adult education provision. I was not there, but those that did go felt that it went well. Around 400-500 people turned up, not a vast gathering, but enough to register the discontent felt at the loss of adult education around the country.
Again MPs were sympathetic, though NIACE report that, "Whilst CALL supporters displayed their passion and commitment for adult learning, DIUS Secretary of State - John Denham - gave a robust defence of government policy". And that sums it up. It keeps the issue on the agenda, but changes nothing. The government will not listen.
And this raises a problem with Paulie's determined defence of representative democracy against populism. If, when confronted by people who are well informed and in touch with reality in a way that those in power are not, elected representatives simply dismiss genuine concerns with platitudes, then we are witnessing a failure of representation in much the same way that giving in to a regressive populist media campaign would be.
I don't offer a solution, merely to raise the issue of a democratic dilemma that has left me bitter and frustrated about the ignorant destruction of something as valuable as adult education, despite blanket condemnation from those who know best.