President Obama’s ‘back to school’ speech to US schoolchildren attracted plenty of controversy, but in the end was classic ‘stay in school and study hard’ fayre.
“We need every single one of you to develop your talents and your skills and your intellect so you can help us old folks solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that, if you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country,” Obama said.
The opposition in advance of the speech centred around the spurious notion that it would be used to ‘brainwash‘ kids. Even unlikely supporters like former first lady Laura Bush and Newt Gingrich tried to play down the controvesy and called for respect of the President.
You could easily put the brouhaha down to ideologies and partisan politics, but what if a certain Mr G Brown fancied doing the same over here?
Is it appropriate for political figures to address students? Would there be a responsibility to ensure that all political persuasions were equally represented? Or is that just political correctness taken too far, when we should be promoting respect for our political leaders?
Admittedly having Gordon beamed live to the kids of the nation might not be as obviously inspirational as the first black president and ‘orator of his generation’.