James Explains ‘Common Sense’


As lockdown restrictions ease in England, despite an apparent lack of clear guidance on…well anything much, the British government has made it clear, on multiple occasions that people should use their ‘Common Sense’.

But what it this thing they call ‘Common Sense’?

And do we all have it?

Or is it a bit like ‘The Force’ off of Star Wars?

Or is it nothing like ‘The Force’ off of Star Wars, but having spent the entirety of May watching and writing about Star Wars, I’ve started to confuse Star Wars with reality?

It’s more than possible.

But I don’t think ‘Common Sense’ is like ‘The Force’.

So we might all have it.

But, in case you’re not sure, why not try this multiple choice quiz to see if you have ‘Common Sense’?

Question 1:

You’re the Prime Minister of a country, a bit like the UK, and you hear there is a pandemic on the way. One of the key pieces of advice is that you avoid unnecessary contact with people and you wash your hands thoroughly. Do you:

a) Adhere to the guidelines and encourage others to do so?

b) Just shake hands with anyone you meet, including people who currently have COVID 19 and then brag about it to the media, before becoming the only world leader to contract the virus, which ultimately incapacitates you at a time when your country needs leadership more than ever?


Question 2:

You’re the Health Secretary of a country, a bit like the UK, and there isn’t enough equipment to support the frontline workers in the health service, or enough testing kits to adhere to advice about testing, as given out by the World Health Organisation. Do you:

a) Admit there is a problem and work with skilled and competent people to try and solve the problem.

b) Just lie about it and hope no-one really notices.


Question 3:

You’re the special adviser to the Prime Minister of a country, a bit like the UK and you’ve helped come up with the very regulations, which are guiding the country through this crisis. Do you:

a) Follow your own guidelines religiously, knowing that, during such difficult times, some people will probably only be able to follow the rules if they perceive that they really do apply to everyone.

b) Break the rules, then pretend that what you did was actually within the rules all along and if people didn’t realise that, it was their own stupid fault. Idiots!


Question 4:

You’ve been quite ill, and you think it might have affected your eyesight. You were about to embark on a fairly long journey, but you’re not sure if it’s really safe to drive. Do you:

a) Not drive, knowing that the only safe course of action here is to wait until you are sure that your eyesight is fine.

b) Go on a shorter, but still quite long, drive to a popular tourist attraction, with your wife and small child in the car, knowing that if you don’t have a road traffic accident on this shorter (but not actually short) drive, then you’re probably safe to attempt the much longer drive that you were worried about.


Question 5:

You’re the Prime Minister of a country, a bit like the UK and your special advisor has been caught breaking the rules. It’s a sensitive time, public morale is already quite low and people are understandably angry about the situation. Do you:

a) Insist on the special advisor resigning. Ultimately, even if there is some justification for his actions (and there obviously isn’t) it would be better to appease the general public and ensure that some kind of adherence to government guidance (such as it is) continues until this crisis has abated.

b) Just pretend that what he did was fine, allow him to keep his job and stick two fingers up to the public.



If you answered mostly ‘a’ then I’m afraid you don’t have one iota of ‘Common Sense’ and you can’t be trusted to make your own decisions. So you will need to continue to follow all government advice quite rigorously. Although most of that advice appears to be to use your ‘Common Sense’. Which is going to be quite difficult for you. Probably best to just get drunk in the park with some friends until further notice.

If you answered mostly ‘b’ then you do have ‘Common Sense’ so, according to the latest government advice, you can do whatever you want. I’d recommend getting drunk in the park with some friends. What harm can come from that?


If you have any questions regarding any of the above then feel free to ask for clarification from someone.

Obviously not me though.






  33 comments for “James Explains ‘Common Sense’

  1. June 2, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Sorry, been meaning to click, and somehow missed. Sorry, better late than never.
    I did the test, somehow my a’s and b’s mutated into other letters. I found I came up with T,O.R,Y,S. But that can’t be right, surely?

    Liked by 3 people

    • June 2, 2020 at 9:31 am

      I think what you’ve done there is accidentally read between the lines…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. June 2, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Perhaps my lack o’ learnings is coz’ I waren’t educated at a decent public school.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 2, 2020 at 9:41 am

      I think it’s more likely to be hereditary. That’s what a certain special adviser believes anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bear
    June 2, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I have uncommon sense. They don’t do common sense at Waitrose of course.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. June 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    After reading this I may have to get drunk in the park with friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. June 2, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    I answered mostly…….what was the question?

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 2, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      Congratulations, you passed with flying colours

      Liked by 3 people

  6. June 2, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Did the quiz. The force is strong with me. Getting drunk in the armchair – like the park, but less squirrels.

    Liked by 3 people

    • June 2, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      I’m not sure that’s sensible at all, how will you effectively social distance if there aren’t lots of people in the vicinity to distance yourself from?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. June 3, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Ha ha ha! Brilliant!! This is a fabulous post. And I’m going to follow you, partly because I also love your tagline. 😀😂 🇨🇦

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 4, 2020 at 9:02 am

      I feel the tagline sums the blog up pretty well in fairness 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. June 4, 2020 at 1:18 am

    Drunk in the park with friends, it is! I am a bit worried that your questionnaire may encourage a larger than safe group of people drinking with their friends in the park. Oh well, I am sure it will be fine…One must not think too hard on such things, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

      I’m just re-iterating the advice of the UK government as I understand it…
      And while I’m being facetious, it does appear that quite a lot of British people have interpreted it exactly that way, as I have discovered on more than one occassion when taking my almost-two year old to feed the ducks…


  9. June 5, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Should I ask the advice of my lab/retriever on your questionnaire? To answer my own question, probably not as he is absolutely hopeless at social distancing. He keeps demanding strokes and walks on a short lead (the latter is not long enough to comply with social distancing rules). Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 5, 2020 at 7:30 am

      Sorry did you mean lab/retriever? Because I think you meant prime minister. It’s an easy mistake to make…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. June 15, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Clearly it’s B all the way through. I’m not going to get drunk in the park with friends, I’m going to run the country. Surely I couldn’t screw this up any more than they are, could I? The fact that I have no relevant experience is my strongest selling point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 15, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      If anything you’re overqualified…

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 15, 2020 at 7:53 pm

        I kind of suspected that, but I’m not too proud to do it anyway. As a public service.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. June 16, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve been trying to become one of your followers, but the site keeps rejecting my email address which is really frustrating. It’s a valid email address and the site says it isn’t. I’ll bet your classroom is lots of fun. I enjoy your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Sadly I spend much more time in meetings than I do in the classroom these days (current situation notwithstanding) but I like to think it was a happy place when I did a lot of teaching. I would love to have you as a follower – big fan of your work too. I don’t have much in the way of technical knowhow but as you have a WordPress account, you should be able to follow me by clicking on the blue link that says ‘Follow James Proclaims’ without entering an email address. But I’ll use my non-existent expertise to have a look at things my end to see if I can spot a problem 🙂


  12. June 16, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I intend to get the situation with your blog resolved one way or another. Meetings are a drag, but a classroom definitely isn’t. I start teaching again in the fall and I hope it will be in a classroom and not on line.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. July 1, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I think you will enjoy this

    It is an obituary for the death of common sense. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 1, 2020 at 8:54 am

      It’s a fair assessment of our times

      Liked by 1 person

  14. July 1, 2020 at 8:58 am

    My generation watched it die …

    Liked by 1 person

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