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When Bonio met Tonio
"TONY, TONY, Tony – out, out, out" was probably the first thing Tony Blair heard when he visited Quintin Kynaston school in London last week. His plans for a flattering ‘meet and greet’ fell through somewhat when news of his visit was leaked to the students and the NUT.
When members of International Socialist Resistance (ISR - the campaigning socialist group run by and for young people) heard that Blair would attend we knew school students would certainly have something to say about it. We brought our "Bonio for Tonio the Poodle" with us and the students, as the Daily Mail put it, "brandished it with gusto"!
We used the stunt to explain that Blair is the poodle both of Bush and of big business, which stands to gain from his trust schools and academy policies.
Police and teachers forced student protestors down the street but couldn’t force them out of sight or out of earshot. They tried to bribe them with trips to McDonalds and to threaten them with suspensions and exclusions but neither prevented the hundreds of school students from making every effort to get their voices heard.
The Metro quotes one student as saying "we understand some stupid people in politics are trying to kill the Lebanese and Iraqis". Many had taken part in demos over the summer against Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon. The horror of this attack which clearly aimed to crush a country has seared itself into young people’s awareness across the country.
While other left activists huddled in a group unsure how to best engage with the energy of the students, ISR members discussed with and listened to them. Many will attend the demo in Manchester (see page 12). Many are clear that this is a war for prestige, power and profit.
After another outing to Leytonstone Tesco (see below) the much-feted Bonio is resting having been reported on in the Metro, the guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the local papers.
If you’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet the now-famous Bonio in person, fear not! We will be making a special delivery for Tonio the Poodle when next we see him at Labour Party conference on Saturday 23 September.
In The Socialist 14 September 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis