DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Arrogant unions are harming pupils again

It is becoming ever clearer just how devastating school closures during the pandemic were for a generation of children.

Despite being at minute risk from Covid, youngsters were collateral damage in the battle to tame the virus – their educations sacrificed, their life chances damaged.

And while insisting they had pupils’ best interests at heart, the teaching unions fought hardest to keep classrooms shut.

So it is appalling that as children still struggle to make up lost ground, the National Education Union is threatening to disrupt their learning again by striking.

The NEU wants to join the wave of industrial unrest to destabilise a Tory government it loathes

The NEU wants to join the wave of industrial unrest to destabilise a Tory government it loathes

This is the height of irresponsibility – and exposes its lack of commitment to pupils.

The motive is partly political. It wants to join the wave of industrial unrest to destabilise a Tory government it loathes.

And by refusing to condemn his union paymasters, Sir Keir Starmer also shows a shaming disregard for pupil welfare.

Of course, the children who won’t be hit by strikes are those at private schools, which Labour wants to undermine by stripping them of their charitable status.

But when state schools are held to ransom by the militants, is it any wonder parents make sacrifices to buy their children a better education?

Show sense on gender

The Mail applauds Rishi Sunak for blocking the SNP’s dangerously flawed Gender Recognition Bill.

The legislation would have allowed 16-year-olds in Scotland to change gender without the need for a medical diagnosis, contrary to UK-wide equality laws.

Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s howls of outrage, the PM has done the right thing and has widespread support on both sides of the border. He has also put Labour in a flat spin – as Sir Keir ducks the issue.

With a separate bill banning conversion therapy however, Mr Sunak is in danger of conceding the high ground.

Intended to stop the practice of gay people being browbeaten into denying their sexuality, it has been expanded to outlaw so-called transgender conversions.

Opponents fear such legislation could be used to prevent parents, teachers and doctors cautioning children about taking life-altering decisions they may later regret.

After opposing SNP gender reforms, the PM might think he is handing an olive branch to trans activists. But if a conversion therapy ban is rushed through, it could do untold damage to countless young lives.

Safeguard free speech

For many years, social media giants have escaped serious punishment for allowing horrific content to pollute their sites.

So plans to jail senior tech executives who fail to protect children from harm seem laudable. But ministers must not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

To avoid inadvertently committing a crime, managers might over-cautiously censor material – damaging free speech.

The Government’s badly-defined National Security Bill poses a dire risk to it too.

Under threat of jail, whistleblowers and reporters would be deterred from publishing information that ‘prejudices UK interests’ – even if it exposes a scandal the public ought to know. The law could be abused by ministers and officials who want to cover up uncomfortable truths. Redraft it, PM.

  • For a man so obsessed with people taking responsibility for their actions, Prince Harry is reluctant to accept blame for his own indiscretions. His stupid claim of killing 25 Taliban was not invented by the Press he hates. The words were his own, written in his memoir. Iran has now used his comments to justify the execution of a British-Iranian man. Harry should own up to this appalling error. He needs to understand such reckless pronouncements can have tragic real-world consequences.

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