5 Fibs You Were Told This Week

The list inevitably features education secretary Gavin Williamson as the government faced the music over its exams fiasco.

This week HuffPost UK presents its first instalment of a regular feature highlighting five fibs, mistruths or sometimes great big whopping lies that you the public have been told over the last seven days.

As the news has been absolutely dominated by the A-level catastrofuck, we thought it only apt to begin with...

1) Education secretary Gavin Williamson

But there was a problem – while transcribing an actual interview with him our brains melted and so this article has actually been compiled by the same grading algorithm that marked the A-levelworncdsk dxwnfk$&)oewfw vfqbijp@@@bveveo.

Here are the offending quotes: “When it became apparent there were unfairnesses in the system, is the right thing to act.”


“If there is an unfairness there is nothing that I will do to in order to address that unfairness.”

Now because we don’t want to be accused of misleading you with you catchy headline, here’s an actual fib from Williamson.

The education secretary said repeatedly during the week that he only became aware of the fiasco over the weekend, saying: “As we looked in greater detail over Saturday and Sunday, it became evident that further action needed to be taken.”


But this is not totally true – last month the Education Select Committee was warning that the proposed method of using an algorithm to calculate student grades could cause “significant problems” and “might hurt the disadvantaged”.

And on Thursday, The Times revealed a former director-general at the Department for Education, Sir Jon Coles, actually wrote to Williams and told him the algorithm would only be 75% accurate and hundred of thousands of students would get the wrong grades.

2) Nick Gibb

Presumably slightly jealous that Williamson was grabbing all the headlines, schools minister Nick Gibb got in on the act with an almost impressive bout of fibbing on Thursday.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast about Sir John Cole's intervention, Gibb said: "He felt the model as devised would disadvantage young people from poorer families.

"We discussed that in great detail and I was reassured that it would not – and, in fact, it turned out it that did not."

What makes this particularly brazen is the fact, TV, radio, internet and social media headlines had been blaring all week about how disadvantaged young people from poorer people had fared worse under the grading shambles.

An analysis of results by Ofqual itself suggests a higher proportion of poorer pupils – 10.4% – were knocked below a C grade than richer pupils – on 8.3% – after teacher assessed grades were moderated.

3) Test and Trace

Our second fib relates to the weekly NHS Test and Trace data and has a slightly evergreen angle to it that’s well worth knowing.

Every week the service, run by Tory peer Dido Harding and soon to be amalgamated into Matt Hancock’s new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), published the number of people traced by the system.

Jonathan Brady - PA Images via Getty Images

This week just 71.3% of identified contacts of new Covid-19 cases have been in the latest week, the lowest number since the service began.

But it gets worse – only 78.8% of all those who tested positive were contacted, meaning 681 people and all the people they’ve been in close contact with were never even in the system to begin with.

So each week when the government announces the figures, it’s worth a quick look here to see the full report and get the whole picture.

4) The Department for Health and Social Care

This week during research for an article on NHS privatisation, the DHSC sent HuffPost UK a statement that contained the following: “Collaboration with public and private sector partners has been an important part of the pandemic response and helped us rapidly build the largest diagnostic testing network in British history.”

Impressive stuff indeed. British history is long, illustrious and filled with building very large things.

Only it’s not very impressive for the simple fact it doesn’t work. Just last week, NHS Providers said it is not “fit for purpose, let alone world class” like a certain Boris Johnson told us all back in March.

5) Donald Trump

Let’s face it, President Trump is going to be a regular presence in these parts and he lies often enough to take up this entire feature.

But in the interests of variety, we’ll just pick the most mind-blowing and this week’s entry is...

Yes, that’s right – the president of the United States declined to condemn QAnon, a conspiracy theory so absolutely insane that the FBI has designated it a domestic terror threat.

Instead, he said: ”I heard these are people who love our country.”



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