Blair was never a dude

17th March 2000 at 00:00
THE PHOTOGRAPH and the accompanying caption used to illustrate Jo Leak's letter about Chris Woodhead's dismissal of popular culture (TES, March 3) was singularly inappropriate.

Tony Blair (captioned as "All the young dudes: even the PM had a brush with youth culture") never has been a dude.

A quick glance at the song's lyrics, written by David Bowie but immortalised by Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter, reveals sentiments that Tony Blair would never have understood or been associated with; in fact the chorus is the very antithesis of Blairite spindoctoring: "All the young dudesCarry the newsAll the young dudesCarry the newsBoogaloo dudesCarry the news."

Ian Hunter, now an old dude (but still writing and performing), also has a message for Chris Woodhead. In (I'm the) Teacher, Hunter writes: "The question's arisen is this a prisonSome say it is, some say it isn'tWhy do I try? nobody listensI pass by like an intermission and (he) can snap your soul, blow it awayLike a fragile leaf on a windy day."

Hunter's song, recorded in 1984, offers a prescient view of Chris Woodhead's educational mission.

David Finch

13 Derllwyn Hill

Tondu, Mid Glamorgan

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today