PRIME MINISTER COMMENTS ON [I]NME[/I] ‘BETRAYED’ ISSUE

TONY BLAIR has made his first direct response concerning the NME cover story 'Rock'N'Roll Takes On The Government'...

TONY BLAIR has made his first direct response concerning the NME cover story ‘Rock’N’Roll Takes On The Government’ carried in last week’s (March 14) issue.

The story, taglined ‘Betrayed’ in which the NME joined in presenting the protests of over two dozen leading UK music stars against the treatment of young people by the Government, has kicked off a deluge of media argument and reaction in the UK in the last ten days.

Such leading pop figures as The Verve, The Charlatans, Cast, Primal Scream, The Bluetones and Creation boss Alan McGee (a member of the Government’s Music Industry Task Force) lambasted New Labour in print over their detrimental proposals towards young people in the UK.

Singled out for heaviest objection were Government policies on curfews for young people, the abolition of supplementary allowances for those without work, imposition of thousand-pound tuition fees for university students and a total rejection of any debate on repealing Britain’s outdated drugs laws.

Today’s Daily Mirror is virtually devoted to an interview with the Prime Minister by Mirror editor Piers Morgan. In reply to a question concerning media criticism of the PM over holding cocktail parties with certain pop stars at Downing Street, the PM replies: “There have been a whole series of receptions for disabled people, for teachers, the health service, for kids. The music business is a huge part of British industry. It’s quite important we demonstrate that.

“But you can never win. I’m not ashamed to be an old rocker… (a reference to his days as a guitar player in a university rock band) Pop stars are perfectly entitled to have a go at the Government as they did in NME. There is a certain element who attacked us when we created New Labour and they are attacking us still.”