Boris Johnson hasn’t mentioned university students in any of his Covid addresses to the nation

I, for one, am shocked

Boris Johnson has failed to mention university students in any of his televised Covid addresses to the nation.

In fact, across all 43 of his speeches and press conferences to the nation on the Covid crisis, just 10 mentioned university students. Before July, he had only mentioned students once.

With students feeling ignored and demanding more, The Tab trawled through every special coronavirus speech and press conference the prime minister has given since the start of the pandemic to see how often he has actually talked about students and universities.

Of the 10 times Boris mentioned students or universities, four of those were variations of his intention to keep universities open throughout the autumn.

None of the mentions outlined any support for students, but Boris did manage to thank students twice.

Keen watchers of the dread-inducing press conferences will know that Boris has obviously mentioned students a few times outside of this, in response to questions. This includes his vague promise this week to “look at” rent – which we imagine will be the same way you “look at” a week’s worth of washing up in the sink.

But his pre-planned speeches give an indicator of where the priorities lie – what he felt was important enough to mention, and would have done whether or not he was directly asked about it.

We didn’t include addresses to parliament, not only because they’re not directly addressed to the public, but because nobody really watches them.

While students were this week told to stay away from university until mid-February, this information didn’t make it into Johnson’s address – instead sneaking out as part of wider guidance released on the government website.

Johnson’s most fulsome praise came on 30th September, when he singled students out for praise, saying: “I want to pay a particular tribute to the students who are experiencing a first term back at university unlike anything they could have imagined.

“I can assure you, assure everybody at university, that plans are being put in place to allow students home safely for Christmas.”

Earlier that month, he had singled out students for a warning to follow the rules. “My message to students is simple,” Johnson said on 9th September.

“Please, for the sake of your education and your parents’ and your grandparents’ health: wash your hands, cover your face, make space, and don’t socially gather in groups of more than 6, now and when term starts.”

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