LAST week I made more than my usual number of mistakes: I forgot to pay the Dartford Crossing charge on time, a double-booked evening meant I let down good friends, and the ‘uplifting’ book I gifted to a depressed chum went down like a woke joke.
In all instances I was punished: A fine, the experience of embarrassed shame and, of course, guilt. Fortunately, I paid my fine on time and genuinely apologised to my friends. Forgiveness has followed.
I will endeavour to avoid such ‘mistakes’ in the future, yet understand that were my errors to continue and intensify, I would expect criminal proceedings, social ostracisation and abject guilt at not getting my act together. Not so Nadhim Zahawi, the current Secretary of State for Education.
I noticed almost accidentally last week that he stated in an interview with the Daily Express that it was a ‘mistake’ to close schools.
What? A mistake? Well, that’s one way of putting it.
But let’s accept his readout and agree that the Government ‘made a mistake.’ What next? An apology? A fine? Social ostracisation? Court proceedings? Jail time? Anything?
I write this on the day that smacking children has been outlawed in Wales. And yet the closure of education to millions of children and the monumental damages inflicted on this generation has been written off as a ‘mistake.’
At the start of the Covid pandemic lockdown, the history department of my children’s school invited children and parents to keep a journal to preserve for posterity, recording this ‘unprecedented’ time.
I began to write: A splenetic screed of rage at what was being denied our children – friends, education, family. I have been unable to submit my diary because, as far as my children are concerned, the devastation of the ‘mistake’ of school closures is very much a live issue.
School trips are still being cancelled, ‘because Covid,’ certain staff members continue to wear masks, ‘because Covid’, there is no homework ‘because Covid’ apparently makes it too dangerous for teachers to mark books.
And that’s not to mention the 100,000 children who have disappeared from the school register nationwide, the revolting references to children as ‘vectors of disease,’ and the million children who have been referred for mental health treatment.
A ‘mistake’ you say, Nadhim Zahawi? Your admission is almost as hollow as Tony Blair’s recent statement that he ‘may have been wrong’ about the Iraq War.
How is anyone supposed to respond to this? Oh, well. Never mind. It was just a mistake … we all make them!