Toby Neal: The day of liberation must come for the invisible generation

By Toby Neal | Opinions | Published:

Public Administration, Higher Level.

Please read the questions carefully. You have five years to answer.

  1. Multiple Hobson's choice. A global pandemic closes all schools and cancels all exams. Do you: a. Pass everybody. b. Fail everybody. c. Guess wildly at what results pupils might have got?
  2. Maths. Bournemouth beach is seven miles long. Applying two metres of social distancing, how many holidaymakers could you cram in? Show your working.
  3. Philosophy. What is more important – saving the economy and livelihoods, or saving lives threatened by Covid-19? If you believe there is a balance to be struck, where is the fulcrum – in other words, how many lives (to the nearest thousand) are you prepared to put at risk in reviving the economy?
  4. Genetics. In 150 words, discuss reasons why Boris Johnson is beginning to look more and more like his father.
  5. Geography. What do the following countries have in common – France, Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba?
  6. History. Name 10 historical figures who should not have been honoured by statues. In giving your answer you must identify the centuries in which they lived to prove you actually know the first thing about them.
  7. Entertainment. a. Explain why the property brothers always change the "countertop" and the "backsplash" and invariably knock down interior walls with a sledgehammer. b. For contestants in Four In A Bed, where is the most popular place to search for dust? c. Why do you never see repeats of the madcap 1970s antics of The Goodies?
  8. Environment. You buy billions of single-use items like face masks. Do you: a. Put them in landfill. b. Burn them. c. Dump them in the sea?
  9. English. What is the difference between confusion, a shambles, and a fiasco?
  10. Mystery round. Why don't we ever hear about Michel Barnier any more?

Actually, I feel really sorry for the young generation of today.

Their day of liberation must surely come. They are enslaved by their devices, imprisoned in their bedrooms even before coronavirus came along and locked everybody down, and are being steadily poisoned by a deadly diet of junk food which will make them the best customers of the NHS in future years.

They are continually brainwashed and bullied by so-called social media.

If you want evidence to prove my theory that they are profoundly deprived, consider this. It is the summer holidays. How many youngsters have you seen up trees? Or playing football in the streets and getting shouted at for doing so?

In fact, where are they? They are an invisible generation, away doing something or other.

And now we have the exams fiasco which has deprived them educationally, as they have not been able to show what they can do academically. There is a debate over how fair and useful the system which involves taking exams actually is, but after what has happened this summer it seems to be the least worst system.

When, long ago, I did my own school exams, I put my faith in exam technique, which in my case involved doing a bit of revision the night before (admittedly results were mediocre, in all senses).

This year they did not even have that option.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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