An ‘odious’ but slender wedge
It is commonly suggested that policy rhetoric in general and that of lifelong learning in particular is grandiose. The same claim is also made in relation to the realities of the flexible and learning organization, and learning society. The rhetoric is grandiose, but the reality is far more complex and messy. Suggestions such as these tend to assume that the goals of policy are achievable, something to be striven for and that it can produce intended outcomes. There is often an implicit suggestion that, if only the government and intra-national organizations got it right and put in more resources, a learning society, a flexible economy, flexibility in learning for full choice or access and equity, would be both possible and achievable. Lifelong and flexible learning could play a role in achieving all those goals of personal fulfilment, social inclusion and economic competitiveness that are to be found in different ways and different sites of policy rhetoric.