On Sunday night the British prime minister appeared on national television, clenched fists on the desk as he spoke to the populace in what was his best Churchill impersonation yet. Never mind that Johnson doesn’t know how to comb his hair and needs a regular reminder to tuck in his shirt, who wouldn’t trust a man with such impossibly blond locks and deep blue eyes? He’s practically the embodiment of honesty and gravitas.
With perfect clarity and total conviction, the prime minister set out the government’s plan for a gradual exit from the lockdown, so if you didn’t fully grasp the finer details of the plan, well, then it’s your own fault for not listening. Because the government is always very clear about its messages.
Go to work, but stay home, as long as you go to work, and don’t travel on public transport if you can avoid it, except we’re increasing the number of underground trains, so cycle if you can. Or teleport yourself to work if you’re a Harry Potter fan and have access to Floo Powder. But you should still stay at home. As long as you go to work.
With such extraordinary clarity of guidance given to Britain’s workforce, who would question the government’s plan to begin a phased opening of primary schools next month?
After all, the prime minister has fathered a lot of children, so he knows better than most people (teachers and headmasters included) what’s needed to ensure that four- and five-year-old kids follow the social distancing measures and personal hygiene rules required when schools reopen. No chewing on pencils in the classroom and absolutely no licking the water fountain. How hard can it be?
For anyone still feeling a twinge of concern over schools reopening, fret not. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, has it all under control. Trust him when he says the government’s plan is ‘responsible and sensible.’ Rest assured, Williamson is acting purely in the interest of pupils; his decision to start opening schools is motivated by his deep compassion for those not as fortunate as himself: ‘We recognise that children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are the ones that are going to suffer the most if we do not bring schools back when we are able to do so,’ he told the Commons earlier this week.
And it’s not like British schools don’t have plenty experience dealing with epidemics; yes, I’m talking about nits.
Williamson, Johnson and their fellow Tories are so worried about children’s education and well-being that they insist schools must reopen as soon as possible. Besides, they claim, studies show that children are less affected by Covid-19 than adults, so they’re less likely to die than their teachers. That’s good news for worried parents. And if a handful (or even multiple handfuls) of teachers, school staff and parents lose their lives as a result of schools opening, well that’s a price worth paying for education, isn’t it?
So don’t listen to the scaremongers – even if they happen to be teachers and union reps – who claim the government’s ‘responsible and sensible’ plan to reopen schools is all about getting parents and teachers back to work, and to get the economy going before Brexit finally comes to pass. No, you’ve got to have faith in those ol’ blue eyes.