Molly Kingsley

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Mask Creep

by Molly Kingsley What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?Mahatma Gandhi An email received a few days ago into the UsforThem inbox reads thus: I wanted to inform you that my son’s secondary school is stating that after the October half term any child who is exempt must wear a lanyard in future to show they are exempt. The school up until recently was a mask choice school, but now has become masks in all moving spaces to be worn by all. Kinds regards, A Concerned Parent Sadly, there is nothing exceptional about this email. I’ve quoted it precisely because it’s representative of hundreds of messages we’ve received. The details vary, but the gist doesn’t: schools, often not in areas of high viral prevalence, requiring masks in situations over and above those recommended by the Department for Education (DfE). Masks in classrooms, masks for parents at pick-up and drop-off, masks for teachers and staff – including teachers of nursery age children and those with special needs. Proof of exemption required and exempt children made to wear identifying lanyards highlighting their status. The situation in schools is reflective of that in the country at large –...

UsForThem: The Birth of a Movement

Molly Kingsley Four months ago I saw a photo which changed me. That photo, now infamous, showed nursery age children sitting alone, looking lost, in two metre squares against the dark concrete backdrop of a playground. It was a photo taken in France but it was a portrait of a future coming our way. A future of regimented children, spilt from their friends; where play – childhood, in fact – was restricted. As a mother of a then three and six year-old, it was a future which I knew I must reject. Before that moment I had been an activist-in-waiting. I’d had many activist-in-waiting thoughts, had even committed one or two of them to paper. I’d a half-built website ready and waiting, biding time for the right moment, or the right people, to come along, and a half-baked vision to go with it all. Something about families, and making the UK a more hospitable environment for them. For, as anyone who is raising a child in this country will know, raising a child in this country is tough. Even before COVID-19 hit our shores, we’re a country with a ruling class apparently unable to make policy for a term spanning their children’s lifetimes as well as their own – a country whose cities and infrastructure cater to young professionals ahead...

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June 2024
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