Dear Forge Press,


It seems there’s been some changes since we last spoke. I hope you’re all well and have been keeping yourself as busy as you can, given pretty much everything is online now. I couldn’t imagine spending hour upon hour staring at a screen in the name of education. You’d think the students would go out and Get A Real Job, but no, they’ve all been told to stay inside and ‘be safe’. Whatever that means, considering they reckon student halls are one of the most dangerous places outside hospitals right now. It’s madness, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve seen it all – students being left to fend for themselves all across the country – they’re now told they might have to stay put over Christmas! Thousands of students sat a few hundred feet from an elite university, all drilled by the older generation that ‘you’ve not had it bad, you should have seen the war!’ in the hopes they’ll suddenly cheer up if they snap their fingers. Surely the best idea would be to send them home all across the country, and build the economy that way. It’d bloody help me, I tell you. How else am I to afford the heating this winter?

To be fair, I saw how well the Tier 3 approach went in Sheffield. Why was it stopped? It was ideal! Shops are open, but closed potentially, but furloughed if businesses go bust, but you can eat if you go out, but distanced, but you can’t get a pint unless you have a substantial meal, but you must stay home to protect the NHS, but you must do your duty to keep business and ‘the economy’ going. Is that right? I hope your clever students can figure all of that lot out, because I haven’t the foggiest. They also went from paying one third of your wages, to two thirds, but only if you work one third of your hours, but then it was 67% if you’re on furlough, and now they’re saying it is back up to 80%, like in summer…which is no sodding good to those who have already lost their job or been made redundant! What’s worse is that they always make out like it’s easy to follow. Can’t they just let me work rather than have all this stop-start nonsense? In Sheffield city centre, hardly anything had closed anyway. I managed to get a coffee, something to eat and buy a few early Christmas presents for me kids. 

But of course we’re now facing a four-week national lockdown. Disaster of a decision made far too early, if you ask me. What sense does it make to bring everybody back inside again? Where will I work now? Here’s to the ‘selfish’ few who have no regard for the rest of the country, and still go out as much as possible, meet, and do all the things students do, like all the house parties I’ve seen in the news.

Speaking of kids, it was refreshing to see the government recently vote against feeding the poorest children in one of the richest countries in the world. At least Tories admit they don’t care now, it’s like being told: “You’re just gonna have to ride this one out” by a doctor rather than having a needle shoved in your arm. If it wasn’t for that decision, you’d almost be fooled into thinking the government’s job would be to look after it’s people. Otherwise, it’s everybody for themselves, like the days of the Victorians. What else are children good for if not being forced to work for their food? Don’t they know there are chimneys to sweep?

I must also praise the University of Sheffield’s Vice-Chancellor Koen Lamberts for doing the honourable thing and keeping the University open. Of course, taking the lead from this absolutely-not-shambolic-at-all government is only the logical process, but furthermore, I believe he must have had inspiration from watching Jaws on repeat to keep himself entertained during lockdown periods. In the film, Mayor Larry Vaughn opts to keep the beaches of Amity Island open in an attempt that the great white shark will just decide it’s had enough people to eat that day, and swim home. In the same vein, I hope he goes further and forces students into as many classes as possible. It would help me out, and then they’ll get their money’s worth, and not focus on the uselessness of not having anything to do all day. Not everybody goes to university, you know! Some of us have to work and keep up appearances!


Mr C. Ovid



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