What a relief Boris Johnson is treating a second lockdown as a ‘nuclear option’ only

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GOOD on the PM for playing down the prospect of a second national lockdown.

Yes, forcing the entire country into hibernation helped suppress Covid-19 in March. And given we knew so little about the virus back then, the belt and braces approach was probably wise.

But the draconian measures have had a catastrophic effect on the economy.

Successful firms have withered before our eyes — and as soon as the furlough scheme ends, unemployment will likely soar to a level not seen in a generation.

As we report today, the Tower of London’s Beefeaters — who have survived 500 years’ worth of recessions — now look set to face the chop.

It’s no surprise that government scientists like Sir Patrick Vallance support blanket lockdowns: they are trained to think about public health in the narrowest possible terms.

Mass unemployment, however, kills just as surely as the virus.

And even the ever-generous Rishi Sunak might struggle to pay the wages of eight million Brits a second time around.

We accept that if enough flout social distancing rules it’s just possible that another economy-wrecking lockdown might be completely unavoidable.

But what a relief that the PM is treating it as a “nuclear option” only.

WE welcome the news that the Treasury will hand headteachers £2.2billion to boost education following the Covid crisis.

The Government has let down pupils in England throughout the pandemic: if the Department for Education had been tougher on militant teaching unions, months of schooling could have been clawed back.

This cash bonanza won’t make up for those weeks of neglect. But it’s a sign, at least, that the PM and his colleagues haven’t entirely forgotten our kids.

That the Government will give the most money to historically underfunded schools is cause for celebration too.

Politicians and academics love to theorise on the yawning attainment gap between urban and rural pupils.

But a big part of the problem is brutally simple: plenty of small, rural schools are so chronically underfunded that their heads have to do tasks like gardening and cleaning just to keep the show on the road.

Now is the moment to sort it out.

THE Chinese ambassador’s brazen arrogance is nothing short of staggering.

When the BBC’s Andrew Marr asked Liu Xiaoming about horrific human rights abuses, he somehow brushed the issue aside.

More evidence — if it were needed — that Britain MUST keep distancing itself from ruthless Beijing.

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