Mike Ledwidge is a retired public sector employee who retired after 29 years in public service. On March 27th he paid personally for a full page advert in the Guardian in order to publish an open letter to express his anger about the state of our public services.
He believes that for the last 25 years there have been three assumptions undermining our public services, namely that you can measure their complexity in the same way as in relatively simple commercial businesses, that all public servants are lazy and motivated only by threat or reward and that private businesses are more efficient than public services. His 2000 word letter sets out to demolish these assumptions and explain the toxic effect this thinking has had on our public services.
The response to his open letter was overwhelming and you can now read it for yourself at www.targetsandbullying.com
The Guardian published a follow up article on Monday explaining how the response has left the unusual advertiser somewhat bemused. “I care passionately about the public services and I feel it’s important to try to do something to make sure they are still here for my children and grandchildren,” he says. “It’s gratifying to know that so many other people feel the same.”
You can read the Guardian follow up article at www.guardian.co.uk/society
Mike Ledwidge’s article – and the response to it – is a challenge to all political parties. It’s a reminder of the deep-seated revolution in attitudes which ‘Thatcherism’ has meant, and their destructive effects on public service.
“I want this to cause discussion at a level where we can start to make a difference,” Mike Ledwidge says.
We publish his letter and response to it here in the interest of precisely such open discussion.