Category Archives: Coronavirus crisis

Covid jabs for kids is a bad idea

Many people won’t be familiar with epiglottitis. It nearly killed me when I was a baby. I was also very sick with measles in 1980, my first year of primary school, and contracted mumps as a teenager. One of my favourite teachers suffered from polio, so I was grateful to get the sugar-cube vaccine against […]

Interview about The Corona Generation, and other impacts of lockdown

With Talk Radio’s Mark Dolan, 7 July 2021.

Let’s not squander the summer

The British weather has a well-known impact on the national mood. Unusually long spells of sunshine made the first 2020 lockdown more bearable for many. By contrast, this year’s perishing spring made Step 2 of the UK government’s ‘Roadmap out of lockdown’ a sobering experience, during which a trip to the pub required determination, detailed […]

It’s time to get students back into lecture halls

When British universities compete for prospective students, they boast of state-of-the-art facilities, a vibrant social scene and accommodation designed to promote fun and friendship. Depending on where they are in the myriad ‘league tables’ designed to guide students through their decision-making, universities may also boast of excellent teaching, high levels of student satisfaction and holding a reputation […]

Generation, Interrupted

The Corona Generation, Coming of Age in a Crisis, which I wrote with my eldest daughter during the UK’s first lockdown, explores the impact on those coming-of-age under pandemic-related restrictions. In this video, Emma, Class of 2020, candidly describes how teenagers have been affected by school closures and restrictions on normal social activity while I […]

Lockdown: One year on

I wrote the article ‘Covid-19 is not a generation war’ the week before the UK’s formal lockdown announcement. As major political pressure for lockdown grew inside the country and internationally, disease spread rapidly. National school closures and the cancellation of public examinations had already been announced. Nonetheless, there remained a possibility that the UK might […]

Lockdown loneliness is here to stay

Now was supposed to be the era of the “new normal”: a brave new world that had learnt the lessons of a horrifying pandemic, that was epitomised by the death of the city, remote working and a new-found love affair with the “great outdoors”. And yet, I fear, we are entering a completely different chapter in our sociological […]

Another cancelled Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. The one day in the year dedicated to thanking the millions of women who have dedicated their bodies, hearts and souls to raising a new generation. It’s a bloody, smelly and often thankless task, which is (of course) intensely emotionally fulfilling, but frankly knackering. A ritual show of appreciation on one day a […]

Back to school: The urgent need for ‘normal’

As England’s children troop back to school after an enforced two-month absence, there is intense speculation about the likely impact on the Covid infection rate. The major questions that should be preoccupying schools, colleges and universities are swept aside by a focus on infection control strategies and logistics – lateral flow testing, mask wearing, and […]

Letters on Liberty: Growing up in lockdown

In a contribution to the Academy of Ideas’ Letters on Liberty series, I argue that although the costs of lockdowns are tremendous, especially for young people, we should be wary of narratives that frame young people as especially vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. This framing robs young people both of agency and of […]