It’s a school, Jim, but not as we know it

We’ve learned over the past few months that schools are about much more than learning. The social interactions that they provide and the relationships that they nurture are essential to our children’s social development and to their mental health and wellbeing. And yes, they teach stuff, too. They also allow many parents to go to work. Or to get work done from home.

Consequently, it’s hugely important that we try to find a way to re-open our schools in September to all young people. Especially given that we seem to have found ways to open pubs. But only if – and, to be honest, it’s a massive if – we can do so safely.

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Just visiting

I don’t know about you, but while we’ve been ‘locked down’ over the past few months, I’ve made much more of an effort to catch up with people I know, whether they’re family members, friends, work clients or casual acquaintances. Not in person, of course (I’m not a monster), but with a mixture of phone, email and video calls.

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Why political philosophy matters

Political philosophy is hard to define. But it is easy enough to do. In fact, we do it quite a lot. We do it when we’re deciding who to vote for (if we have that luxury). We do it when we’re agonising over the latest news headlines. We do it when we’re yelling at the protagonists on Question Time. But what is political philosophy? And why does it matter?

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The key to unlocking the lockdown

I think it’s fair to say that we’re all getting a bit fed up with the lockdown. But like most people, I can see why we’re doing it and am happy to play my part in keeping people safe. If some of the newspapers are to be believed, though, things will be back to normal within days. I don’t think for one moment that this is the case. But it does raise the valid question of how, when the time is right, we’ll go about unlocking the lockdown. Continue reading

Every day’s a Tuesday

The COVID-19 outbreak and the current lockdown appear to be taking their toll on my ability to measure time. Natalie put it best the other day, when she announced that, essentially, ‘every day’s a Tuesday’. The hours, days and weeks roll together into one long period of foggy uncertainty. Thankfully, though, I’m slowly finding ways to manage my temporal confusion and to keep things on track. Continue reading

Improvise, adapt and (hopefully) overcome

As the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK continues, it’s starting to look like our shared efforts are helping to mitigate the impact of the virus. But still the disease has taken, and will continue to take, its heavy toll. I’m heartened, though, by our ability to come together at this time of crisis. By our ability to improvise, to adapt and (hopefully) to overcome. Continue reading

Taking the world as it is

I’ve seen quite a lot of speculation over the last few days – some of it, I’m ashamed to say, from people who are related to me – that it’s time to stop putting the economy at risk for the sake of protecting the elderly and the vulnerable from COVID-19. We need, they claim, to send the kids back to school. And to allow everyone under the age of fifty to get back to work. Continue reading

Hang on in there

I was going to write about how to work remotely or from home. After all, I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. But hundreds of people have beaten me to it. So you don’t need my advice about creating a work ‘zone’, managing your routine or making sure you stay in touch. Which is probably for the best, because it all somewhat misses the point. Continue reading

I wish to obtain the services of an armoured bear

Like pretty much everyone who’s been watching His Dark Materials on Sunday evenings over the last few weeks, I feel that my life would be enhanced significantly through the presence of an armoured bear. But the more I think about it, the more I have to admit that life with an armoured bear might not be as easy as one would like. Continue reading