Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Showtime for Tony as He Faces the People

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Showtime for Tony as He Faces the People

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tom Patterson

It was billed as a round-table discussion with the chance to put a question to Tony Blair on any North-East issue.

Unless, of course, you happened to be a journalist.

In which case, you were invited merely to "observe".

Don't take part in the discussion. Don't prompt questions. Don't speak to Tony. Don't even worry about that last bit - we'll have you well out of the way before he arrives.

Tony Blair, playing at St James's Park yesterday, was not going to be derailed by any awkward questions. All of which was pointless really, because the people at my table - including an educationalist, a newly qualified doctor, a company director and a schoolboy - had some very pertinent points to raise.

They were actually raising many of the issues The Journal regularly covers - and Mr Blair's Government fails to adequately address.

Employment, the North/South divide, education provision, the region's skills base and crime all featured in the discussion. …

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