Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow
In the last few weeks a group of Tory MPs made headlines for accusing British workers of "being the worst idlers in the world". They went on to complain that Britain was being held back by its public sector and suffered from a culture that avoided all risk and rewarded laziness.
Without wishing to dwell too much on these strong views, I wonder what this band of right-wingers would think if they were to meet a public sector worker from Rochdale called Kieran Heakin.
At the weekend, Kieran was hailed by the Daily Mail as Britain's bravest teacher and he is very much a living example of the best our public sector has to offer. He's been working at the sharp end in the teaching profession for 40-years and in that time has had to deal with horrific attacks and violence from pupils and parents.
He's had to have four metal plates put in his face as a result of one savage beating from a former pupil and has also been throttled and punched in his office by a parent. No one should have to experience this kind of abuse in their workplace and Kieran could easily be excused for wanting to leave his profession.
But far from wanting to quit, Kieran remains passionately committed to his job. "I love it," he says. "I like to see the children growing in ability, making good progress. And when you get what I call the 'wow' moments - when a pupil succeeds against all the odds - it makes it all worth it."
I find his words inspiring - and they are a reminder of just how committed and passionate about their work our teachers are. Far from holding the country back, as some Tories imagine, they are doing everything possible to drive us forward.
Of course, Kieran is not the only Rochdale teacher striving hard for a better future for our youngsters. There are many stories across the Borough of teachers delivering real success. I was thrilled to see Rochdale Sixth Form College recently achieve a 99 per cent pass rate in their A level results. And to see two former Hopwood Hall students win medals in the London Olympics is a great example of how good teaching and a strong education can be the platform for youngsters to go on and achieve great things.
There's too much lazy and ill-informed criticism of teachers and it's time they were given the praise they deserve.