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

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