Internet wags spot pointed choices on bookshelf behind Boris Johnson

‘Supreme trolling from the school librarian’: Internet wags spot pointed choices on bookshelf behind Boris Johnson during speech to pupils… including The Twits, The Subtle Knife, Betrayed and The Resistance

  • Books with politically unflattering titles were displayed behind Boris Johnson
  • Novels included The Twits, The Subtle Knife, Betrayed and The Resistance
  • Also in view on livestream were Fahrenheit 451, Guards! Guards! and Exodus
  • PM was making speech at Castle Rock academy school in Leicestershire today 

Did a disgruntled librarian take revenge on Boris Johnson today by displaying books with politically pointed titles behind him during his livestream speech?

The PM bizarrely told a roomful of Year 7 pupils at a Leicestershire school it is politically acceptable to sing Rule Britannia and ruled that Harry Potter is not sexist.

He was at Castle Rock school in Coalville today as he told the bemused schoolchildren how important it was they got back into classrooms in September. 

But Internet wags have spotted books on display behind him with pointed titles and are suggesting a librarian used the opportunity to ‘troll’ the beleaguered PM.  

Lining the bookshelf were novels including Roald Dahl’s The Twits, Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife and Betrayed by PC Cast and Kristin Cast.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 – a dystopian novel about a future American society where books are outlawed – stood prominently behind the PM’s shoulder.

Did a disgruntled librarian take revenge on Boris Johnson today by displaying books with politically pointed titles behind him during his livestream speech? 


Lining the bookshelf were novels with unflattering titles, including Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife (left), Roald Dahl’s The Twits and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (right)


Also displayed was Hero.Com: Crisis Point (right), a novel in Andy Briggs’ series where ‘super powers carry super responsibilities’. Louise Penny’s Glass Houses (left) stands second from the right, with some suggesting it could be a reference to the proverb ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones’ – itself a comment on the PM’s criticism of Ofqual

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, a novel about a plot by a secret brotherhood to overthrow a corrupt patrician and install a puppet king, was also in view.

Fifth along the bookshelf was Julie Bertagna’s Exodus, a story about dispossessed migrants who escape their island due to rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Also displayed behind the PM was Hero.Com: Crisis Point, a novel in Andy Briggs’ series where ‘super powers carry super responsibilities’. 

Louise Penny’s vampire novel Glass Houses stood second from the right, with some suggesting it could be a reference to the proverb ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones’ – itself a comment on the PM’s criticism of Ofqual.

And Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist – famous for its line ‘Please, sir, I want some more’ – may have been placed  just to the left of Mr Johnson to remind people of this Government’s free school meals U-turn earlier this year. 

Twitter accounts lined up to praise whoever selected the books – with some believing it was the school librarian – for their ‘supreme trolling’.

One social media said: ‘Why are politicians so bad at this? You’d think they’d have checked. They appear to be as bad at the small stuff as the big.’

Another said ‘some top trolling by the school librarian’ while one Twitter account simply posted: ‘Never mess with a librarian’.

‘If the librarian had also managed to find space for The Plague, and Paradise Lost, it would have been a full house’, one Twitter account posted. 

Twitter accounts lined up to praise whoever selected the books – with some believing it was the school librarian – for their ‘supreme trolling’

He was at Castle Rock school in Coalville, an academy school where pupils started back today for ‘induction and familiarisation’ ahead of lessons starting next week

PM’s back-to-school speech blaming ‘mutant algorithm’ for exam fiasco leaves class of 11-year-olds looking baffled as he goes off-piste to insist ‘Harry Potter isn’t sexist’ and ‘it’s politically acceptable to sing Rule Britannia’ 

Mr Johnson’s rambling remarks came as he attempted to strike a tone of credibility after his government’s disastrous handling of the exams fiasco. 

In an address lasting under seven minutes, the maskless PM apologised for A-Level and GCSE exam results affected by a ‘mutant algorithm’ that forced an embarrassing Government U-turn last week.

He told the students: ‘From now on, from getting back into school, the hours and days and weeks of this new term, you will experience things with an intensity and clarity, believe me, that is seldom repeated in your lives.

‘You’ll remember these days and weeks and months, you really really will. 

The PM today thanked pupils for their efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus, saying: ‘We have the number of deaths way down, we have the number of hospital admissions way, way down and it’s thanks to you and your sacrifice that we have protected the NHS and saved literally tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives’

The Government last night announced that face masks will be compulsory in the communal areas of secondary schools in parts of England which are subject to local lockdowns

‘And when you have been struggling with something in the classroom or whatever, some concept that you cannot get, like the supine stem of confetti or nuclear fusion or is Harry Potter sexist? Answer: no, by the way. Is it politically acceptable to sing Rule Britannia? Yes … 

‘When you are struggling with complex questions, or something that 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.

‘That moment is absolutely irreplaceable. It is invaluable and it can only happen in school.’  

Second head rolls over exams fiasco: Boris Johnson fires education chief Jonathan Slater 24 hours after Ofqual boss Sally Collier ‘stepped down’ – but cheerful Gavin Williamson stays as PM blames ‘mutant algorithm’ for cock-up 

Boris Johnson fired the top civil servant at the Department for Education today saying ‘fresh official leadership’ was needed after the A-Level and GCSE exam fiasco. 

Jonathan Slater has been effectively removed from his post and will leave on September 1, it was announced today, 24 hours after Ofqual chief executive Sally Collier resigned from her post in the wake of the grading U-turn.

It means that of the people in the top positions overseeing the grading for exams that were not sat because of coronavirus, only Education Secretary Gavin Williamson remains in his post despite numerous calls for him to go.

Boris Johnson has resisted pressure to get rid of his bumbling minister, with suggestions that the former chief whip, who worked on his leadership election campaign, ‘knows where the bodies are buried’. 

 

The PM today thanked pupils for their efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus, saying: ‘We have the number of deaths way down, we have the number of hospital admissions way, way down and it’s thanks to you and your sacrifice that we have protected the NHS and saved literally tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives.

‘No previous generation of pupils has ever done anything like this.’

Now, he said, ‘the risk to your health is not from Covid because, after all, statistically speaking, your chances of suffering from that disease are very, very low’.

‘The greatest risk you face now is of continuing to be out of school,’ he added.

Regarding the recent exam fiasco he added: ‘I’m afraid your grades were almost derailed by a mutant algorithm.

‘I know how stressful that must have been for pupils up and down the country. I’m very, very glad that it has finally been sorted out.’

But  Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, accused the Prime Minister of trying to ‘shrug away’ the A-level and GCSE results.

He said: ‘It is brazen of the Prime Minister to idly shrug away a disaster that his own Government created. Parents, students, teachers and heads will be horrified to see the leader of this country treat his own exams fiasco like some minor passing fad.

‘The public will not easily forget the emotional rollercoaster of this year’s results season. It is certain to put a long-lasting dent in the Government’s reputation on education.’

Teachers have warned the PM his face masks U-turn risks creating chaos in schools amid fears pupils will bully each other over their choice of covering.

The Government last night announced that face masks will be compulsory in the communal areas of secondary schools in parts of England which are subject to local lockdowns.

A decision on whether to wear masks in non-lockdown area schools will be left to individual head teachers.

The change in policy came after days of ministers and Downing Street insisting there were no plans to change the guidance in England which had said masks were not necessary if all other hygiene measures were adhered to.

But Mr Johnson’s hand appeared to be forced after Nicola Sturgeon said secondary school pupils in Scotland will be required to wear a mask when travelling between lessons.

The timing of the U-turn has prompted anger – schools in England are due to reopen next week – with teachers warning the wearing of masks could cause ‘mayhem’. 

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