Government rule changes are an attempt to tear down the establishment

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Saturday 29 August 2020 19:00
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Boris Johnson urges pupils to return to school amid face covering row

Yet again the government changes the rules at the very last minute, this time on education, issuing new Covid-19 instructions at 7.30pm on a Friday before a bank holiday and just days before pupils in England are due to return to the classroom.

It’s all too easy to dismiss this as yet another example of Boris Johnson’s fundamental incompetence; another example of the bumbling buffoon in action; but given what we know about his commitment to and reliance on Dominic Cummings, a man who wants to tear down the system, could there be something going on besides simply setting up others to take the blame? This time it’s headteachers, before them Ofqual and Public Health England; all have struggled with constant changes of government direction.

Or could it be part of a wider plot to destroy public belief and trust in all those in any position of authority or leadership in society, so as to create a vacuum that can be filled from Downing Street?

Not so fanciful when you remember that from the very start they have tried to tear down the establishment.

How long before all power comes from No 10?

John Simpson
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

Devolved control

If the Lib Dems want to rebuild support under their new leader then they should focus on reforms that will fix our broken democracy.

Under the previous and present governments, control has become increasingly centralised, one of the reasons we were so poorly equipped to handle the Covid-19 crisis. Westminster is just as much a problem as Brussels was. We need more control devolved to the regions. We need an English parliament equivalent to the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish ones. The English parliament should be located well away from London.

The UK parliament – much slimmed down – should then abandon the crumbling Houses of Parliament (a metaphor for the state of our democracy if ever there was one). The House of Lords should be replaced by a smaller, more representative body.

These reforms could well be the only way in which we can avoid the break-up of the union, and the Lib Dems – hopefully supported by Labour – could finally be seen as serious contenders for modernising our country.

They will of course face great opposition from the elite currently in power, who are well supported by rich media owners, but there is a slogan waiting for them to pick up: Take back control.

Geoff Hall
Alderley Edge, Chesire

Going Underground

I’m retired, but a volunteer for a City of London-based charity. I have been into the City several times now, and it’s not the office, not the City itself, nor the journey to the station, but the London Underground that makes me feel uneasy.

Mostly it’s those passengers who are not complying with mandatory mask-wearing – five on my Northern Line train last Wednesday – and the need to walk through tunnels and along platforms because the station is not fully open at Bank.

I can’t cycle so far, nor is driving or a taxi practical, so for me, it’s about making the underground safe – and I don’t think it will be until we have far greater compliance with the rules by passengers, and a better understanding by the management of what is putting people off. Both the national and London government are at fault.

With the return to school and the government’s drive to send people back to work from next week, I’m increasingly apprehensive about the journey. I can’t be the only one.

Chris King
London

Old normal

You are right as far as you go in asserting that it should be employees and their employers who decide when and if they should return to the office.

There are many benefits in addition to those you noted. It turns out that dry cleaning, sandwich bars and coffee shops are completely unnecessary, and in the long term those who work in them might be more productively employed, while those who use them have more free cash for things that matter.

We have proved that we do not need the current level of either private or public transport – let’s spend less on it, put the money to use righting some social wrongs, and cut our carbon emissions all in one go.

How I wish we had a government willing to seize the day, rather than desperately try to cling to an unsustainable old normal.

Rachael Padman
Newmarket, Suffolk

Activist lawyers

Regarding to the story about the Home Office’s use of the term “activist lawyers” – notwithstanding that the department has accepted that the words should not have been used – its use gives us an insight into the views held by some.

The words are unacceptable, and misleading government spin is being used in some attempt to gain public support for what perhaps will be a change of approach to immigration once we completely exit the EU.

Given the issues we are currently facing: coronavirus; damage to the economy; and a potentially massive increase in the numbers of unemployed people once furlough schemes finish, one can only wonder why a government ministry would waste time and resource on putting together such a ridiculous “cartoon”.

I doubt that immigration is the main concern of the majority of the population at the moment!

Richard Colla
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire

Trump nightmare

Trump says that Biden would bring an end to the American dream.

Actually, he’d bring an end to the Trump nightmare.

Philip Goldenberg
Woking, Surrey

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