People sure had it tough in the Second World War, from rationing to bombings, to making a Monday commute to the office - apparently.
In a piece for The Mailon Sunday, with the headline “In the 1940s they kept coming to the office – even when Hitler’s bombs were raining down”, former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said “all too many” civil servants and government employees “have failed to see Covid as a challenge’.
“And instead of rising to that challenge, as the wartime generation would have done, they have thrown their hands up in despair – before locking the doors and scuttling off home, of course.
“When I think of all the brave civil servants who went to work in the 1940s, determined to do their bit regardless of the threat from falling bombs, I wonder what has happened to us as a nation,” he wrote.
The comments are the latest remarks from a Tory MP encouraging workers to get back to the office, after Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said earlier this week that colleagues would “gossip” about them if they didn’t.
In this instance, though, IDS has been mercilessly ridiculed online – primarily because, er, people didn’t have computers in the 1940s, the internet wasn’t invented and the Blitz wasn’t a highly contagious virus:
My Grandma used to say they’d no alternative when the zoom link went down. On with the trilby and out Grandpa went. https://t.co/CfVSuJLuOR
— JOHN NICOLSON M.P. (@JOHN NICOLSON M.P.)
Hardly any homes had a telephone & only about two thirds had electricity… https://t.co/CLHtNY8WbZ
People in the war didn’t even have the internet, I’m not sure why we need to take their working patterns as salutar… https://t.co/bWuzbdmevY
— Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley (@Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley)
IDS’ article wasn’t the only bit of content from the Mail to trend on Twitter on Sunday, as its front-page headline, “Home working left Britons at Taliban’s mercy” also raised eyebrows, and led to ‘Pret’ trending on the social media platform:
Do you think your great-grandfathers stopped going to Pret just because they were at the Battle of the Somme? DO YOU?
— Max Morgan 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (they/them) (@Max Morgan 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (they/them))
During the Blitz, I ducked into Pret A Manger. Hitler’s bombs were raining down, but we formed genteel queues, laug… https://t.co/DQDPWgBzKs