The headmaster of the secondary school I attended is a man by the name of Tony Hill, and there he is grinning down from the header of their site (one of the best-known designers’ techniques for getting the client to like the work you produce is to get a nice big photo of them and stick it everywhere—whether that’s what happened here I couldn’t possibly say). He used to use expressions like “Tremendous!” and “Jolly well done!” and “Over a hundred pupils!”, and probably still does. He’s the kind of guy that likes people to get involved, and this is probably why he makes a good secondary comprehensive headmaster.
For me, both as a pupil and now, the most interesting thing about Tony Hill is how similar he is to Tony Blair. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is they have in common, other than the fact that one always reminds me of the other. In fact, I once had a dream that I met Tony Blair, in which he shook my hand and grinned “Tremendous!”. I laughed so hard I woke myself up.
So why am I thinking of Tony Hill? I’m not sure exactly, but it could be something Blair said today while launching Labour’s new national consultation scheme, called the Big Conversation. Tremendous! Incidentally, I’ve just noticed that my old school now has something called a “Learning Resource Centre”. Jolly well done! Except I have no idea what a learning resource centre is. Surely a learning resource centre is… a school.
Anyway, I’m not really in any fit state to research learning resource centres in any great detail because at the moment I’m too amused by the phrase “big issues need a big conversation”. Is this not the most staggeringly amusing thing New Labour have ever proposed?! It’s so… Python-esque. Suddenly, Blair seems less and less like Tony Hill, and more and more like Reg from the People’s Front of Judea. He’s not some kind of well-meaning but woolly socialist, he’s just a tail-chasing bureaucrat. This new scheme may as well have been titled “Right! This calls for immediate discussion!” for all the difference it’d make.
While it amuses me, I also find it immensely frustrating. In the introduction, Blair writes: “Dear friend”. Dear FRIEND?! I’m not your friend, Tony, I’M YOUR BOSS! I pay YOU to work for ME! Blair goes on: “Do you feel that politicians are only interested in your views at election times, when you want to be able to have your say on the big issues now?” YES, you idiot! I’ve marched past your house a few times this year in the hope you might like to hear my thoughts on the “big issues now” for all the good it did me. Frankly, I’m tired of trying to get you to listen. It’s happening, Tony! Something’s actually happening, Tony! Can’t you understand?! Aaaaaargh!