5 Fibs You Were Told This Week By Politicians, Pollsters And, Er, David Icke

Boris Johnson, coronavirus conspiracy theorists and Donald Trump are among the culprits.

Hello and congratulations if you’ve made it to Thursday.

Now, we’re not saying this last week has been the most despair-inducing week in political history, but the president of the United States did retweet an account called “Cat Turd”.

Elsewhere, the political landscape was equally as depressing with fibs aplenty, which is great news for a certain weekly HuffPost UK series, but terrible news for democracy, truth and the idea that humanity somehow actually deserves its place on earth.

So let’s start with Boris Johnson, partly because he’s the PM but mostly because we just can’t bring ourselves to kick things off with David Icke.

Boris Johnson, part 1: Offices

Amid fears that town and city centres will soon be filled only with long-dead zombie office workers vainly searching for a Pret, the government has for a few weeks now been pushing Brits to get back into their workplaces.

And this week, refreshed after the long Bank Holiday weekend, they did! Or at least Johnson claimed they had, announcing that “huge numbers” of people had returned to work on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Downing Street could not supply any evidence for the statement. And it emerged later that, in Greater London, bus use was up by just 6% and Tube use by 8% week-on-week.

“People are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country – and quite right, too,” he told ministers gathered in a socially-distanced room at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

But as social media users pointed to empty streets and train stations in big cities, his official spokesperson admitted that there were no publicly available statistics for any return.

Asked for evidence for the “huge numbers” remarks, the spokesperson said: “Schools have largely gone back today.”

Jeremy Corbyn voted best PM we never had

Our second entry is a cautionary tale that you would have assumed most people had learned around December last year.

On Monday, Times journalist Matt Chorley held an informal Twitter poll of “Best PMs We Never Had” which was won by Jeremy Corbyn.

Now, if there was one takeaway from the 2019 general election that was not in dispute, you’d have thought it would be that unbridled enthusiasm on Twitter does not translate into actual real-world political outcomes.

Despite still being relatively fresh from Labour’s biggest defeat since 1983, a sizeable and very vocal portion of Corbyn-supporting Twitter declared the completely unscientific poll as a weird sort of victory and it all got a bit out of hand.

In a further bizarre twist, Corbyn himself gave an acceptance speech, saying: “I’m not sure this Twitter poll gave the result that a lot of our media pundits really expected, or possibly even the one they wanted.”

It’s all just a bit of harmless fun, right? Well, not really. Many of the issues we face today are fulled by the distorting and manipulative effect of social media, so a former opposition leader perpetuating the supposed reliability of Twitter polls is a bit on the irresponsible side.

More to the point, in an actual professional poll Corbyn ranked bottom, with a net rating of -53%, so claiming him as the people’s choice is, basically, a fib.

Also, if you’re going to accept the result of that one, then you also have to accept the result of this one...

David Icke and oh my god how are we actually writing about David Icke in 2020?

For those of you not acquainted with David Icke, let us give you a brief overview.

David Icke used to play in net for Coventry City. From there things get a bit weird.

After leaving the world of professional football, he forged an absolutely stellar career in being completely and fantastically wrong about pretty much everything.

Here are some highlights:

  • declared he was the son of God and that the world would end in 1997
  • published a book which claimed a “small Jewish clique” was responsible for both world wars and had “financed Hitler to power in 1933″
  • claimed an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings called the Archons rule the earth
  • described how the moon is actually an alien spaceship that controls human thought
  • insisted Holocaust denial be taught to schoolchildren

It will come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever that he also believes 5G causes coronavirus and that everything is being controlled by the state of Israel.

Which makes the fact he stood onstage in Trafalgar Square on Saturday to be cheered by thousands of anti-mask protestors all the more concerning.

It’s difficult to pick one fib out of all the nonsense Icke said on Saturday, but we’ll go with the suggestion that the government is somehow controlling coronavirus to crush dissent.

He said: “We have a virus so intelligent that it only infects those taking part in protests the government wants to stop.”

OK, Dave, OK...

Boris Johnson, part 2: Schools

In a similar vein to his fib about office workers, Johnson also made a bizarre boast about schools this week.

During prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, the PM said teachers and pupils are “proving the doubters wrong because they are going back to school in record numbers”.

This phrase is pretty meaningless because *all* children are supposed to be in school unless they’re registered as home learners, of which there are believed to be growing numbers. Some 30% of 5,000 parents surveyed last month weren’t planning to send their kids back this week so it seems unlikely (and is at any rate not documented) that homeschooling rates are now suddenly lower than ever before.

There’s not much else to say on this peculiar phrase other than to introduce you to the Twitter account of Jason Hazeley, who had this absolute gem of a response.

Donald Trump’s thugs

As is customary, we end with a contribution from one of the biggest fibbers of them all – the president of the United States.

Donald Trump this week said an investigation is under way into a how a plane load of armed “thugs” made their way to the Republican Party convention with the sole purpose of “doing big damage”.

But it’s not clear who is conducting the investigation as there is no evidence the event actually took place, and the government agencies that would be responsible for looking into it have no idea what he’s talking about.

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Trump made cryptic claims about armed thugs he said had boarded an airplane seeking trouble.

The president, seeking re-election on a promise to restore “law and order”, said the plane was “completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that”.

The president did not specify a date for such an incident, detail what gear the individuals were carrying or say whether anyone was arrested or charged.

He added: “Here were, like, seven people on the plane like this person [a witness], and then a lot of [other] people were on the plane to do big damage.”

Asked for more details, Trump said: “I’ll tell you some time, but it’s under investigation right now.”

US security officials said they could not confirm such an incident and had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.


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