Johnson is correct that those were indeed very dark days, but that was because of an external agent. Our current dark-ish days are largely self-inflicted, by governmental incompetence. And let us not forget that Sir Tom became a hero again because he raised almost £33m (an amazing sum) for the NHS to help plug the massive hole created by the Tories. Let us never forget that.
So, Mr Johnson, while you praise Sir Tom, you should also hang your head in shame.
National hero and inspiration
I was very sad to hear the news of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who in a very short space of time became a national hero and an inspiration to us all last year. He was the eternal grandfather figure, who showed us all what the meaning of tenacious was, to keep at it and never give up.
I feel that he and his very supportive family did everything just right and handled his massive fundraising efforts so capably and efficiently. This was indeed a man who knew all about suffering, and was stalwart, brave and generous. These sadly diminishing elders in our society are men and women who have been through the war and experienced dislocation and world turbulence on an exponential scale. So they are mentally match fit for this ghastly pandemic, and never more so than Sir Tom who was always optimistic and looking forward.
We can all learn from every generation, young and old, in these dark times and come out the other side, more grateful than ever for what we took for granted and what we have been given back. They are not statistics who have tragically died from Covid-19 but men, women and children and, along with Captain Sir Tom Moore, we should honour and revere them all.
Judith A Daniels
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
A fitting tribute to Sir Tom
Following the passing of Sir Tom Moore, it occurred to me that a fitting tribute to his memory and work might be the erection of a statue in his likeness in Parliament Square. The statue could be funded by the public with any excess going straight to the NHS.
I also wondered if the RAF might consider flying a “missing man formation” (perhaps even from the Battle of Britain flight) during his funeral.
Gap year for all students
The “when should children go back to school?” debate rolls on with no clear strategy in sight. A common sense solution is to effectively give all students a gap year so that they may all have a fresh start and retake the year they lost, in September. It will mean that all young people would have one year more in education – in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and colleges – but none will be disadvantaged by having less online or private tuition throughout the pandemic.
In addition, I suggest that all exams be dropped for this year and deferred until 2022, which will take enormous pressure off all young people. Now may be more usefully spent in “educating” all children and students at home, or in the classroom, in the important life skills that are so often missing from formal education: an appreciation of the natural world; how to exercise and stay healthy; how to be kind, good-mannered and caring about other people, developing a moral compass; how to manage money and personal finance; how to be self-sufficient and resourceful; how to cook cheap and nutritious meals – the list goes on.
Many alternative approaches have been suggested as to how the whole schools/universities/colleges and examinations problem may be resolved, but none appears to be satisfactory. May I suggest that Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson et al seriously consider my proposal?
Cwrt Henri, Carmarthenshire
When the government describes the current issues experienced at the border in Northern Ireland as “teething problems”, they’re trying to create the image of a cute little baby having its first tooth push through. It's a bit painful, fairly loud, but it should be over and done with in a few months.
Really, the effects of those “teething problems” should be likened to the government hitting us hard in the face with something heavy. Very painful, totally unnecessary, done forcefully and requiring a lot of costly remedial work.
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