Following the negotiations with IfL, UCU have stated that it intends to ballot its members on whether to accept the deal with the IfL. This deal seems to amount to little more than an extension of the period covered by the £68 from 18 months to 2 ears. Implicitly there is an acceptance that the following year fees will again rise to £68. None of the issues around governance, 'democracy', accountability are addressed. No agreement that the CE / her deputy should seek election, despite bringing the IfL to the point of collapse [isn't that in contravention of the Code of Conduct?]. The reference to the so-called 'reference group' involving the TUs, AoC and IfL - with BiS called in as and when - is shrouded in meaningless management-speak. Pragmatically, I accept the value of an 'independent' professional body standing outside of each employing institution (indeed, I'd like to endorse such a body with enthusiasm!). But this bullsh*t is just irritating. BIS and the employers are not independent voices - BIS has a definite privatisation agenda, and the AoC - whilst there are clear tensions with BIS - protects the interests of senior college managements who long ago re-invented themselves as an entrepreneurial (largely at public expense) caste within the sector. In its ambitions to be 'all things to all' in the so-called 'skills sector', the IfL are irrelevant and will simply stand by as the real struggles over jobs, conditions, the defence of public education are played out. (If they won't resign, the CE and her deputy should be held under water until they admit 'we are irrelevant'). Of course, if it goes to ballot - it could very well be rejected - which leaves UCU where? But where do we go with all this? Whilst I think most grassroots teachers are probably indifferent to the IfL except for the cost, a real issue around professionalism has emerged. Crudely - against the view that the IfL support a highly manageria(ised), bureaucratic and compliant kind of professionalism, there is this idea of 'democratic professionalism'. But what does this mean? As part of our struggle t defend jobs [etc.] should we developing this idea of 'demo. professionalism'? It's suggestive (of the revived college / community relationship, civic responsibility, peer support / development, genuine dialogue with students etc.) but it might just mean that teachers can be left alone to get on with it, without any real accountability?? Dunno. Be great if we could link up interested practitioners with researchers in the field (who I assume will be UCU members) to look at alternative forms of 'democratic' professionalism around which we can begin to mobilise. This would complement the trad. TU struggles by linking these in with pedagogy, practice and 'professional' identity. Counter-hegemonic is the term that comes to mind. Just a thought.