Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Boris Johnson's speech 'trolled' by 'legend' librarian's book arrangements

A school librarian has been praised for their ‘supreme trolling’ after they upstaged a speech by Boris Johnson with the strategic placement of several carefully chosen books.

Unbeknown to the Prime Minister, or any of his aides, he was made to look a bit of a ‘twit’ as he tried to stress the importance of getting children back to school after the coronavirus lockdown. 

Eagle-eyed commentators on Twitter quickly spotted the books on the shelves behind Mr Johnson may not have been chosen totally at random. 

Philip Pullman’s ‘The Subtle Knife’ was there to provide a not so subtle dig at the current Government. 

Dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by American writer Ray Bradbury also made an appearance. It’s about a society where books are banned.

Warming to their theme, the anonymous librarian also picked novels called ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Resistance’ to provide the most carefully curated bookshelf backdrop ever. 

Perhaps worried their point was not being made strongly enough, they rounded it off with a copy of Roald Dahl’s classic ‘The Twits’.

The Prime Minister was giving a speech to students at Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire, to reassure students, parents and teachers that it was safe to come back after the summer holidays. 

He also apologised for what he called a ‘mutant algorithm’ which caused so much confusion and angst when A-Level results were released earlier this month. 

Former Department for Education policy advisor Sam Freedman was one of the first to spot the theme emerging in the bookshelves behind Mr Johnson. 

He tweeted: ‘Whichever librarian managed to get not just the “The Twits” but also “Betrayed”; “Resistance” and “Fahrenheit 451” in the shot behind Johnson has my admiration.’

Actor and author Nicholas Pegg was another to heap praise on the librarian for ‘supreme trolling’ while others called for the ‘legend librarian’ to be given a pay rise or the rest of the week off.

It came on the day the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education, Jonathan Slater, announced he was leaving his post. 

Minister Gavin Williamson is still in charge of the beleaguered department, despite high profile U-turns on A-Level grades and mask-wearing in schools in recent weeks. 

Mr Johnson has personally taken charge of overseeing the reopening of schools after the fiascos. 

He used his speech to tell the students: ‘When you are struggling with complex questions, or something which you are worried about, somebody – very probably a teacher, a brilliant teacher – will say something and a light will go on, the clouds will lift and you will never, ever forget that moment.

‘And that’s why education is the great equaliser, it’s the liberator, it’s the transformer of society, and it’s the single most important way in which we can unite and level up across this whole country and deliver social justice.

‘And that is why we must, in the next week and the succeeding days, we must have every pupil back in school in the way that you’ve come back to school.’

It remains unclear how, in the age of the Zoom meeting, Mr Johnson failed to double check the bookshelves behind him before appearing on camera. 

Representatives from the school refused to answer questions from journalists about who arranged the books on the day. 

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