Love them or hate them, the one thing one could rely on with previous Conservative governments was that they would be competent. Conservative Prime Ministers were clear and articulate, even if one disagreed with every word they said.
The present government is incompetent and incoherent. The Prime Minister clearly does not read his briefings, preferring instead to rely on bluster and vague promises and a Micawberish faith that something will turn up. Newspapers that were once sympathetic to him now list his failings and point to the accumulation of broken promises. Remember that we were going to have a world-beating trace and test app by the beginning of June?
The proposals for the return of schools in September are the latest piece of confused thinking.
In secondary schools, year groups are going to be in pods. Each year group is going to be physically separated. There is a failure to appreciate the practical implausibility of this plan.
Even if the school buildings were big enough to facilitate such separation, how would you teach science if the science rooms were permanently occupied by one year group? How would you teach music if only one set of students has access to the music room? How is food production and nutrition taught with no access to the kitchens for more than a small minority? And the ICT rooms? And the Design and Technology rooms?
The government insists a broad curriculum can still be taught. How is this going to be possible if the pod system closes whole sections of the school to everyone except a single year group.
Even the logic of single year group pods has not been explored. What is its rationale and how can it be implemented?
Different years are expected to arrive at different times, so what happens to siblings? Peter is in Year 7, his brother Paul is in Year 9, and their sister Mary is in Year 11. Staggering arrival and departure times means an hour between Peter and Mary, which is fine if they walk or cycle to school, but what if they are given a lift? What if they live in a rural area and rely on a school bus? Where is the hour in the morning and the hour in the afternoon to be spent?
And when they go home, the siblings are obviously not going to be isolated from each other. Not that many students are making much of an attempt to be distant, as soon as they go out of the school gates, they revert to their usual ways.
The proposals are no more than lip service, window dressing and bluster by an administration that has no idea what it is doing. They are hard to recognise as Conservative.