It’s time to topple the failed lockdown elites

A university student called Sophie Corcoran could not have put it more starkly when she described the devastating toll Covid has taken on her generation.

Welling up over Wednesday’s announcement that secondary school pupils would no longer be required to wear masks, the Durham fresher-turned-political commentator declared tearfully on GB News: “I watched and felt like my entire life was falling apart because of what this Government did to young people.” This was a woman who ran for the Conservatives in the 2021 local elections, folks.

Recalling being in her last year of school when the draconian restrictions were first introduced in 2020, she referenced the teachers who “yelled” at Year 7 students about their masks rather than concentrating on teaching them, adding: “The head union reps come on and say this is what the school should have put in place, but they didn’t care about what this did to us.”

Yet in yet another sign of how some in the Left-wing teaching establishment have spent the pandemic prioritising themselves over pupils, we now read that dozens of headteachers are defying the Government over face-coverings in the classroom by insisting that children continue to wear them despite the official guidance being changed.

More than 100 schools have written to parents to say that pupils must carry on wearing masks in lessons, despite the Prime Minister’s announcement that they are no longer necessary.

Boris Johnson has decreed that, from January 26, they will no longer need to be worn in corridors or communal areas, either.

Naturally, the teaching unions have accused him of flouting his “duty of care” to teachers – once again demonstrating their total disregard for the wellbeing of the children in their care.

The truth is that mask-wearing in schools has never made any sense to me. Notwithstanding the lack of clarity over the efficacy of wearing non-surgical face coverings – children are arguably the least hygienic, most ineffective mask-wearers of all.

On the rare occasions when they do put them on properly, they spend most of the time fiddling with them; then when they take them off, they stuff them in the dirtiest of all pockets.

There has also always been something uniquely idiotic about requiring them to cover their faces in the classroom – where they are mostly facing forwards – but not, say, when they are all crowded around a TikTok video at a bus stop or physically bundling each other in the playground.

Moreover, it seems to be completely contradictory for the unions to argue that children must wear masks to prevent staff absences.

If dozens of teachers are still catching Covid despite their students wearing masks – then surely it suggests that face-coverings in schools are nowhere near a silver bullet?

In any case, teachers – the vast majority of whom are tripled jabbed – do not appear to be any more vulnerable to Covid than the rest of us.

Do you know the average age of a teacher in England? It’s 39, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Yet the continued hysteria in the teaching profession unfortunately speaks to a wider societal malaise. Despite the triumph of the vaccination programme, and the clear evidence that the UK is finally getting on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, too much of Britain is still in the grip of virus terror.

Even though the vast majority of omicron sufferers only have a very mild illness, you’ve still got a unique cabal of lockdown fanatics clinging to masks and other measures for dear life.

Yet anyone with any sense – and frankly, the faintest respect for civil liberties – knows that it is not just time to end Plan B restrictions but all Covid measures.

That’s what learning to live with coronavirus actually is.

Mass testing needs to go. Thanks to the billions we are still spending on lateral flow tests to tell people with cold symptoms that they’ve got the coronavirus, we are still stuck in an atmosphere of fear.

Legally-enforced self isolation should be scrapped, too – not in March, but now. Let people use their own common sense about when they should stay at home or avoid vulnerable relatives. As the public showed at Christmas, we’re generally a pretty sensible bunch.

Holiday Covid-testing should also go – purely on the experience of France after Emmanuel Macron’s ludicrous closure of the British border when omicron first hit. The other day, the country reported nearly half a million cases of the virus.

What’s the point of the costly Test and Trace system? And I think we can all agree we’ve had it up to here with the daily Covid statistics – especially given that some of them appear to be increasingly unreliable.It has emerged, for example, that 70 per cent of coronavirus patients in hospital were primarily being treated for other problems.

We have to move on. The pandemic may not be quite over, but two years is long enough to be living under a cloud of restrictions of varying levels of intensity.

We want our lives back.

Specifically, we have to take back control of lives from people who should never have been put in charge of them in the first place.

The wrong people have been in control since March 2020.

Like the unions who have slyly used Covid as a way of encouraging bone-idle behaviour (you can take 28 days off without a sick note, comrades) while attempting to extract unwarranted concessions from ministers and businesses.

Like the country’s over-mighty HR departments, which tell employees that the most important thing in the world is them, not their firm – and which happily impose endless Covid risk assessments on every aspect of working life rather than asking more important questions like: is the business going to survive so we are able to pay our staff?

Like the socialist fearmongers on independent Sage, whose advocacy of yet more restrictions often seems to have had little to do with science and everything to do with trying to hold “capitalist” Britain back.

And all those arrogant Remainer types on Twitter, ridiculing the small number of scientists who dared to question the efficacy of the measures, while revelling in the fact that said restrictions did little to stop the UK’s 15.6 million cases, and 153,000 deaths.

Let’s not forget the so-called “progressives” who have used twisted morality to damn those of us who want freedom as selfish. Or the jumped-up politicians of the devolved administrations, who have used the pandemic for their own ends, seemingly imposing measures for reasons of politics not of public health.

Or the saintly Jacinda Ardern, whose failed Zero Covid policies have devastated New Zealand’s economy.

And while we should give a heartfelt thank you to all those who have cared for the diseased and the dying, please now spare us the militant medics (often closet Corbynistas) spouting anti-Tory propaganda on the BBC.

We’ve spent two years being dictated to by the sort of insufferable jobsworths who delight in telling others how to live their lives. This pandemic has been a gift to the invisible high-vis jacket wearers of the world. Now we finally have a chance to unmask them.

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