Britain: Blair uses schoolchildren for political propaganda

Tony Blair, cartoons by Martin Rowson

From London daily The Morning Star:

Pawns in their game

(Friday 08 September 2006)

IF teachers’ unions were to walk out and leave school students untaught for an afternoon, their names would be mud in the right-wing media.

And new Labour ministers would not be far behind, berating the teachers for their selfish irresponsibility.

But neither media nor ministers seem able to find their tongues over the scandal of Tony Blair using the Quintin Kynaston specialist technology college in the London borough of Camden as a prop for what remains of his political career.
Adolf Hitler using pupil as a political prop
The school was emptied of most of its pupils – ostensibly for induction of students and staff training – but was then made available for Mr Blair to deliver his spiel to cameras, framed by the adoring faces of teachers and a small number of pupils.

As an example of new Labour photo opportunities, it was a classic or it would have been but for the determination of school students to show just what they thought of the visiting war criminal who was encamped in their school.

Far from the students behaving in “an unruly, rude and disrespectful manner,” as Blair fan and head teacher Jo Shuter claimed, their behaviour put hers to shame.

Pots and kettles came to mind when she complained that political “rabble-rousers” had orchestrated the pupils’ protests, making them “fodder for a political campaign.”
Blair using Iraqi pupil as propaganda prop
Obviously, it cannot be the head teacher who enlightens Quintin Kynaston’s student body on the role of irony as a literary technique, since, if anyone was using her school and its pupils “as pawns for their own political ends,” it was the PM, aided and abetted by the fawning Ms Shuter.

If Ms Shuter remains, as she says, a big supporter of someone who she feels is a “man of integrity and honesty,” that is her right, bizarre though it may seem to most people in Britain.

But for her to take this admiration to the extent of denying young people their right to expound their own more mainstream point of view, by snatching posters from their hands and threatening them with disciplinary action, was overbearing and undemocratic.

Her priority ought to be providing an education for pupils not photo opportunities for her political hero.

See also here.

Anti Blair demonstrations in Lebanon: here.

Blair jeered at British Trade Union Congress: here.

And here.

And here.

6 thoughts on “Britain: Blair uses schoolchildren for political propaganda

  1. As we collectively bay for the political blood of Tony Blair and will
    him to fall on his sword, let’s remember the real trail of blood and
    devastation that he and George Bush are responsible for. Five years on
    from the slaughter of innocents in New York, these two masters of
    state terror have the blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands.

    In the 30-year “war” against the IRA no one contemplated the blanket
    bombing of Ireland because terrorist cells and training camps were
    based there, yet such was the military action taken against
    Afghanistan in the aftermath of the twin towers assault. Some
    20,000-30,000 Afghan civilians are estimated to have perished under
    the rubble of smart bombs aimed at routing the Taliban. Far from
    dousing terror, the war served to fuel its appeal across the globe.

    The carpet bombing of Afghanistan was an act of state terrorism. Of
    course the pulverising of one of the poorest countries on our planet
    was only a training exercise: Iraq was the big prize. No weapons of
    mass destruction, no link to al-Qaida, no matter. Blair and Bush lied
    to the world. Bush was determined to seize control of Iraq’s oil and
    show the rest of the world who was boss. Blair’s part in Bush’s
    illegal and immoral war on Iraq makes him war criminal number two
    across the globe. For providing Bush with such cover, Blair should be
    in the dock for war crimes.

    That essential fact is the backdrop to the growing and irresistible
    demands for Blair to go. Sure, his treatment of our pensioners and
    pensions has been a disgrace. Under his watch, millions more senior
    citizens have been forced to endure a humiliating means test to
    receive a pittance. The growing gap between rich and poor is a badge
    of shame for New Labour. While bonus levels in the City have reached
    record levels ordinary workers are forced to work ever longer hours to
    survive. The single biggest growth area among the official poor are
    the ranks of the low-paid.

    While the well-off pay less in tax than under the first nine years of
    Thatcher, a growing army of workers is stretched to breaking point
    with unfair council tax bills, bloated utility bills and the cost of
    helping their children get a proper education. New Labour’s
    privatisation of public services for the benefit of its big-business
    friends, coupled with its refusal to take back essential industries
    such as water, railways, gas and electricity stolen by the Tories,
    have led to massive losses in support and trust, not to mention members.

    Yet it is not the domestic agenda that makes Blair the most despised
    prime minister in British history. It is his warmongering and slavish
    obedience to the US on the international stage that inspires the
    deepest distaste.

    As a socialist preparing to fight next May’s Scottish parliament
    elections under the new banner of Solidarity, I should plead with
    Blair to stay. Many vote Labour in Scotland because they support the
    kind of policies we stand for and think Labour will return to them.
    Blair is driving them away in droves.

    But Blair going now is what millions of us want – and Blair going
    won’t stop the mass desertion of supporters from Labour. New Labour is
    essentially a New Tory, pro-rich, pro-privatisation, pro-war and
    anti-trade-union party. Gordon Brown is no socialist. He has been
    Blair’s chief partner in crime against everything Labour, at least in
    theory, used to stand for. By this time next year, New Labour could be
    in opposition in Scotland and a referendum on independence on the
    agenda. We and our supporters will benefit from New Labour’s demise as
    we build support for an independent, nuclear-free, socialist Scotland.

    · Tommy Sheridan is leader of the Solidarity group in the Scottish


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