They’re trying their best!
Why criticism of the government’s handling of students is unwarranted
Like all good Brits, I tuned in to watch the Prime Minister’s announcement last night. It was a shame that he did not mention anything about brexit, but I suppose there was no need to mention how great a success it has been when that would just be stating the obvious. As always, I found the measures he announced to be firm, but fair. Yes they will be hard on us all, and the new lockdown needs everybody to make big changes quickly, but there was absolutely no way for anybody to predict that we would end up in a situation where such strict measures would be necessary. However, I don’t wish to spend too long talking about the lockdown in general when far more erudite voices than me will address it (I recommend Allison Pearson’s excellent Telegraph columns).
I want to talk instead about a rather unpleasant reaction to the announcement. I saw a number of people online claiming that the government had forgotten about students with no thought being given to what will happen to universities. I must say, I was rather dismayed to see such a harsh reaction to the lockdown announcement, most of all because we students have actually been treated incredibly well over the course of the pandemic.
To start with, we have our own minister in the form of Michelle Donelan. Nothing shows the government’s desire to represent student interests quite like giving us our own representative at the highest level. Having a voice in the front bench solely standing for us is hardly ‘ignoring’ students is it? But for me, Michelle is not just a minister, she’s practically family. Specifically, she’s that aunt who lives in Australia who nobody hears from apart from an annual Christmas card in which at least two names are misspelt and the dog, who died five years ago, is still thought to be alive and well.
I was even more disappointed to see my peers saying that university students were somehow being treated unfairly, given the amount of attention that was being afforded to schools. Once again, I find myself having to defend our leaders against such absurd claims. The Department for Education is not treating university students any worse that it is school and college students.
In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to praise the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, for working tirelessly to ensure that no matter their age, all students are treated with exactly the same amount of contempt by the government regardless of whether they’re in primary school or postgraduate education. Williamson should not, as the far-left mob want, resign. Frankly, if I were him, I would retire instead. After such a stellar performance during these most trying of times, he deserves to spend the rest of his life in luxury.
Impressed though I am with Williamson’s work during the pandemic, he is by no means the only member of the Cabinet who has stood with students during these times. In particular, I would like to draw attention to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. The Treasury’s furlough scheme has been a lifeline to millions across the country, helping to preserve jobs and keep families secure. There is one group who haven’t seen the benefits of the scheme though and that is student landlords. Students, radicalised by the cultural marxism that is endemic on our campuses, have stated they do not believe that being a landlord counts as a job.
Though I’m sure Sunak would privately agree with me that this is nonsense, he nevertheless listened to students and did not furlough landlords. To now see students complaining about the fact that they have to pay rent for their student housing does nothing but rile one up. You simply cannot insist that landlords are both undeserving of furlough since they don’t have valid jobs while also complaining about the fact that you have to contine to pay rent since the government hasn’t furloughed them. I know that standards have dropped considerably with increasing admissions numbers, but I must say even I was surprised just how little logic the current student body have.
Of course, none of the Cabinet could have worked as admirably as they have if they did not have an inspirational leader at the helm. Sadly, if not surprisingly, most of my student peers display a wanton hypocrisy when it comes to the Prime Minister. The ‘woke’ generation are quick to call out anyone who makes fun of their appearance so that merely pointing out the obvious is enough to get you labelled as all manner of ‘-phobic’. Yet none of this moral outrage was to be found when cruel jibes were made at the Prime Minister’s appearance.
His hair is messy, this is true. However, I’d rather my Prime Minister spent his time leading the pandemic response rather than frittering away with a hairbrush. Besides, aren’t we meant to not discriminate based on appearance? Shouldn’t we look to find everyone’s inner beauty? Well, let me assure the hippy woke brigade that Boris is beautiful on the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with a brain as shimmeringly smooth as his.
I don’t think I’ll convince any of my fellow students that I’m in the wrong. Reason and compassion have been ruthlessly ‘cancelled’ by the rabid mob that I share my lecture theatres with. So this address is not to them but to the government. I know how dark things can feel when it feels as though the whole world is against you. I just want to say that I understand what ministers are going through, I know what it can do to their mental health, and I’m always here to listen if they want to talk.