It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time! And here at TNE Towers we’re more than happy to assist our shrivelled, spasming, haemorrhaging shell of a “government” in their task of reminding the kiddies – and their parents – of some of the ESSENTIALS they should be stocking up on as we venture forth into a new academic year. First of all, let’s talk about…
In addition to the traditional mainstays, ie white shirts, black/charcoal trousers or skirts, white socks and those primary colour-coded sweatshirts that make it much easier to keep track of who’s on whose side when it inevitably kicks off with the neighbouring school, the following items have been added:
Steel-toed work boots
N95 breathing mask
This is because it has literally only just occurred to your wise and noble leaders that all your school buildings were built on the cheap 30 years ago, using a sort of system of interconnecting breezeblock Aero bars, which, everyone has suddenly remembered, fall to bits after 30 years, unlike proper, solid, reinforced (ie expensive) concrete.
There has, of course, been ample time – and many opportunities – to upgrade your schools to the sort of safety standard where if you sneeze in the corridors the assembly hall won’t wash away in the rain, but regrettably there simply wasn’t the funding available once the government had reaffirmed the charitable status (and tax exemption) of the sort of schools THEIR children go to.
Entertainingly, at the time of writing, the government does have a list of precisely which school buildings are in imminent danger of collapse, but is refusing to release it, on the apparent basis that it’s more fun to guess. Think of it as a new start-of-term school game; Roofbeam Roulette or Architectural Ker-Plunk.
Interviewed on the BBC about an estimate that as many as 7,000 school buildings might be, you know, death traps, the chancellor of rhyming slang, Jeremy Hunt, refused to be drawn on the matter, saying he wanted to avoid making comments that “might scare people unnecessarily”, thereby scaring people unnecessarily.
Labour, meanwhile, have seized the initiative by reviving their disastrously poorly received “Do you believe in (insert good thing here)? Rishi Sunak doesn’t” attack ad campaign from last spring, in which, you’ll recall, an entirely un-sinister looking photo of a smiling PM is accompanied by a vague but still slightly libellous accusation (in this case “Do you think your child’s school should be safe? Rishi Sunak doesn’t”) presented in such a tasteful and non-eye-catching font that, to the glancing eye, it looks more like a PRO-Tory ad, so well done there, boys.
Oh yes, back to school stuff. Let’s continue with…
Nestled alongside your pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners and rubbers (yes, rubbers, we’re not Americans and stop sniggering) in your zippy little K-Pop case this year should be the following items:
Personal alarm (so the soldiers can find you in the rubble like in that advert)
Dog tags (for easy identification)
There’s to be a new emphasis on practical skills in the curriculum, with additional classes being devoted to constructing large building-supporting timber frames in woodwork, and steel survival cages in metalwork. But there will also be a renewed spiritual element, with hourly prayer meetings being held to allow pupils to implore the Almighty not to drop the roof on their heads.
This school year will see a shift away from team sports such as football, netball and volleyball in favour of concentrating on developing core skills like running. And running. And more running. And yet more running, and not stopping running until you reach a minimum safe distance.
And remember kids; if, when your classroom ceiling inevitably caves in, you find any big chunks of blue-grey sponge, do NOT play with it. It’s asbestos. Actually you know what? Play with it. Go ahead, knock yourself out. Maybe even lick it and see what it tastes like. You’d be doing yourself a favour; the planet’s on fire and it’s not like you’re getting a job when all of this is over.
POEM OF THE WEEK
The Prince has been forgiven
Restored is his good name
He’s in the family bosom
No more to live in shame
But not the ginger prince who wed
A celeb, perish the thought
It’s the sweaty prince who had to bribe
His way right out of court.
How foolish Harry must now feel
His exile still in place
For the heinous crime of marrying
Someone not white of face
He’d be rehabilitated
And welcomed home at once
If he’d just been party buddies
With the world’s most famous nonce.
He was Her Maj’s favourite
Or so the rumours say
So it isn’t any great surprise
That he’s back on display
Before a nation’s disbelieving
Cold suspicious eyes
While H & M chill by the pool
And breathe contented sighs.