It's Blair-mania

11th May 2001 at 01:00
Hysteria greeted Tony Blair's arrival at St Saviour's and St Olave's Church of England girls' school - the south London stage chosen for his general election announcement on Tuesday - and that was just the press pack. Facing them on the school driveway, hundreds of schoolgirls were enacting scenes last witnessed at the height of Beatlemania. The spin doctors beamed.

But one old curmudgeon, watching proceedings on television, was unimpressed. NASUWT chief Nigel de Gruchy grumled that Blair did not even try to make his appeal for votes relevant to his non-voting audience, talking straight over the pupils' heads to the television cameras. All in all, he would have got low marks from inspectors for using inappropriate material and failing to tailor it to his class. As for taking his jacket off as he took the stage (prompting screams from the girls), what a bad example for the pupils! "It wouldn't have happened in my school," Nigel harrumphed.

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