Walked into a Sainsbury’s the other day, should have known not to go for a walk blindfolded …

A rubbish joke for a confusing time. Yesterday morning, Monday, Sky News reported that TFL plans to end free transport for London’s under-18s. No doubt political rivals will pin this on the incumbent, Sadiq Khan when we finally have a Mayoral Election next year. This sacrifice is part of TFL’s bailout deal done with the government.

That’s not to say Sadiq Khan, formerly the MP for Tooting, volunteered to deny the disadvantaged youth of London one of their most valuable aids. Sadiq has appealed to the government to repeal this action, stating on Twitter:

‘The Tory government want to take away free travel from under-18s in London. They are punishing Londoners for respecting the rules during COVID-19 … Join me in calling on the Government to save free travel for young Londoners’. 

The most crucial element of this repeal, due to come into force in September, is that it will affect the poorest Londoners the most. Reports from the likes of Sky news predict that such will be the new cost of travelling to school, that some will forego returning. Amidst the GCSE/A Level crises, this is yet another punch in the stomach for young people. 

It also adds to the confusion. Particularly after Boris Johnson said in a speech last Friday that the next generation was, ‘one of the most important and influential generations in the peacetime history of our nation’.

But that’s the NEXT generation, not THIS generation. It’s like the government has chosen to write-off Generation Z, Zillennials and the youngest millennials. Are we really in a position where we must accept that we’re screwed, and do all we can for our possible future children? I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a young person, looking at another recession, who agrees with that. 

But this isn’t the only issue on which the government is apparently failing.

Facing the facemask

Facemasks, another issue on which Sadiq Khan has been campaigning since lockdown began, are slowly appearing on the faces of Londoners. But this is not happening fast enough. 

Only now, over half a year since the UK’s first Covid-19 cases, is the government considering making face masks mandatory in shops. This is almost facetious — especially when Scotland has already done this, as of last week. We’re too late in the game. They should have been made mandatory in enclosed spaces as of yesterday. 

And I get why people don’t want to wear face masks. They’re uncomfortable and if you try to exercise in them it feels awful. But they are something; particularly when you look at the statistics.

A recent study has shown that up to 80 per cent of people who get Covid-19 don’t experience symptoms. You can have Covid-19, get it, have no symptoms and pass it on. The face mask should be worn, not just to protect yourself but to protect others in case you have it. It won’t stop you getting it, but it will stop you passing it on. 

This is why it confuses me that they aren’t mandatory. It surprises me when I walk into a local cafe or shop (the pub has not, as yet, enticed me) and find I am the only one wearing a face covering. Just because you don’t experience any symptoms, does not mean the person to whom you give it will be as fortunate.

The reasons for this confusion are myriad, but the government is not helping things with its bizarre and procrastinating decision-making. Because of this government, carers who play a key role in helping those affected by Covid-19, and for whom thousands have clapped for every Thursday, are being denied visas in the new-look immigration system.

Another headstone to add in the rapidly-growing cemetery of mistakes this government has made.

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