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The NHS saved Boris Johnson’s life from Covid-19 and safely delivered his new son. Next, he should send the boy to a state school

Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

The NHS saved Boris Johnson’s life from Covid-19 and safely delivered his new son. Next, he should send the boy to a state school
The UK PM was saved from death by the National Health Service (NHS). Now he needs to have a middle-class crisis, burst his privileged bubble and not send his son to private school. That way, he’ll learn to value ordinary lives.

Congratulations to Boris Johnson on the birth of his baby boy and sixth child (the fifth that he’ll publicly acknowledge). Bigger congratulations to his partner Carrie Symonds, because, let’s be honest, she did all the work. The birth of a healthy child is always a wonderful thing and, from a PR point of view, the wee chap’s timing couldn’t have been sweeter. His mother, a former Conservative party press officer, must be very proud.

Also on rt.com From ICU to a new baby: Boris Johnson’s partner gives birth to baby boy after UK PM survives Covid-19 scare

As a gift on this happy occasion, I’d like to offer the Prime Minister some advice. I don’t know if he listens to any advice that isn’t from Dominic Cummings (I wonder if Dom was at the bedside, telling Carrie how to breathe) but here goes:

Send your son to a state school.

This isn’t money-saving advice. Four of his children are adults over 20, so their school fees are long spent and doubtless correctly accounted for with revenue and customs. Although his fifth child – the one he doesn’t talk about – attends a £30,000-a-year private school in East Sussex, we don’t know who pays for that.

No, this counsel is to save the PM’s soul and, by extension, the United Kingdom. It is to encourage him to break his family free from the champagne bubble of privilege that it – including the expensively educated Carrie – has been cocooned in for generations. Or at least stick out a toe to get even the slightest feel of what life is like for common folk.

Last month, by his own admission, Johnson’s life was saved by the NHS after he contracted Covid-19. This same NHS has just delivered his new son – let’s call him Boris Junior or Boju for now. This same NHS, whose workers are dying by the dozen, is keeping the country from complete disaster and thus making his government look more competent than it actually is.

This same NHS is the one that Johnson’s party happily starved of funding for a decade. His MPs even cheered after they defeated a parliamentary motion to lift a one percent salary cap on NHS workers. My hope is that his near-death experience will make him appreciate its work, and thus give it the attention and resources it needs.

But that same hope might exist if, in five years, all things remain equal and Johnson is still in charge of the country. It’s hard to imagine the PM, alumnus of Eton – aka the Poshest School on Earth – attending a state school himself, especially with his chosen initials (he was christened Alexander) and his habit of throwing out Latin phrases. It would have been a merciless, head-down-the-toilet existence. But it could be different for Boju (assuming they don’t actually name him that).

Boju would get to mix with a greater sample of humanity: more classes, races and religions, and fewer people called Toby (or Dominic). He could learn from the off to quote Homer Simpson, not Homer, and develop into a much more rounded man (or whatever he decides to identify as – we’re talking the late 2030s here, after all).

His parents, too, might learn that, like the NHS, most British state schools are marvellous, producing excellent results, despite savage cuts. That their teachers work their butts off for modest pay, often providing the only safe and nourishing place a child has in his or her life. And they might think, “Hey, let’s not screw these people over to the point where a fifth of teachers plan to leave the profession within two years!”

Sadly, this is highly unlikely. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his family epitomize the UK’s “elite”. The inverted commas are necessary because that word implies superiority, and Johnson’s type are superior only in self-belief. They feel they were born to rule, not serve. It’s why Boris said – when he was five – he wanted to be “King of the World.”

The chances of Boju turning up for an open day at St Joe’s Average Primary School in 2025 are slim to none – unless he’s going with his dad to officially open a new sponsored craft department-cum-sportswear sweatshop.

This is a crying shame. I don’t know if Boris Johnson has had a midlife crisis, or if his entire adult existence has been one, but this would be an ideal time for him to have an (upper-) middle-class crisis. For all our sakes.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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