The article considers arguments that address the changing forms of governance within which education and in particular English further education is set, focusing on the relationship of these to professionalism. Specifically the article draws upon and critiques analyses of the changing forms of governance which are considered to carry progressive possibilities. These changes are thought to prefigure new forms of inter-professionality that herald democratic relations with constituents. The danger with such arguments is that neoliberalism and its performative regime become conflated with capitalism. Any move away from neoliberalism towards a different education settlement is deemed progressive, rather than merely a different modality through which state power can be exercised and contested. At the time of writing a coalition of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has assumed governmental power in the United Kingdom. Their policies represent some continuity with those of New Labour but place a greater emphasis on marketisation. All educational settlements carry limitations and possibilities for the development of radical practice, with these deriving from political struggle at the site of educational practice and beyond.