No surprise, is there: it’s ‘bad news’ only for our country when looking at this morning papers. No, not ‘news’ about new CV-19 cases or about people dropping like flies from Covid – no, it’s the ‘news’ presented by ‘Our MSM’ about another government failure: GCSE and BTEC exams. ‘Our MSM’ are baying for the scalp of Williamson but aren’t asking why this department’s failure happened.
Williamson, according to ‘Our MSM’, is the only culprit and must fall on his sword. Well, yes, he should’ve done so last week – not because of the outcry by a handful of pupils plastered all over the MSM, but because a clever politician would’ve used this as a statement: his department and the attached quangos have made governing impossible. An opportunity missed!
Tory MPs have joined in this scalp-hunt, documenting their blessed ignorance while being encouraged in their attitude by ‘Our MSM’. Read this quote carefully:
“Senior backbenchers said the reopening of the schools in the next two weeks is so critical to any economic recovery that any mishap would make his [Williamson’s] position unsustainable following a series of blunders culminating in the A-level grading fiasco. Government sources have indicated that Boris Johnson will not sack Mr Williamson, despite unverified reports that he offered his resignation over the u-turn over A-level grading after an outcry from Tory MPs, pupils, parents and teachers.” (paywalled link)
Did you notice that there are suddenly ‘unverified reports’ as opposed to the ubiquitous ‘senior’ or ordinary “sources”? How does one ‘verify’ gossip? More: why would one do so if such gossip, cloaked in anonymity, can be used to damage the cabinet? Here’s another little piece, demonstrating that civil serpents are deeply involved in the campaign of getting rid of Williamson – read this quote carefully as well:
“Gavin Williamson was warned directly that the A-level and GCSE grading system could lead to hundreds of thousands of students being given the wrong results but decided to push ahead, The Times can reveal. A senior source at the Department for Education disclosed that Sir Jon Coles, a former director-general there, wrote to Mr Williamson early last month to express concerns about the algorithm used by Ofqual.” (link, paywalled)
Was Sir Jon Coles the only one who ‘wrote a letter’? Did Willamson’s ‘Sir Humphrey’ actually show him that letter? Well, others have also written in with warnings. It pains me to have to quote the Guardian but at least they put the blame where it belongs – never mind that they do so because of their agenda to uphold grade inflation:
“Ofqual was warned at least a month ago of flaws in the exams algorithm that left thousands of students devastated, but the regulator pressed ahead amid longstanding ministerial pressure to prevent grade inflation, […] External advisers told the regulator that its formula for deciding England’s pupils’ A-level and GCSE results after the cancellation of exams was “volatile” and risked producing erratic outcomes, sources said. Despite the warnings, that formula was kept in place” (link)
Ofqual is the culprit according to the Guardian – how interesting! Meanwhile, the broadsheets have suddenly discovered their heart for pupils sitting vocational exams (BTEC), wailing that these students won’t get their results today because at the last hour
“the exam board Pearson told schools not to publish Btec results as they needed more time to recalculate the grades.” (link, paywalled)
Yes, that’s Williamson’s fault, not that of the exam board! After all, how could that exam board know about the A-Level results U-Turn! They needed to be told! Officially! By hand-written letter! And now see this:
“BTEC students’ grades were not included in the Government’s original U-turn announcement on grades on Monday, […] On Tuesday, exams regulator Ofqual said its moderation algorithm used in A-levels and GCSEs was not used in the majority of vocational and technical qualifications, including BTECs.” (paywalled link)
Doesn’t this beg the question why the BTEC exam board hadn’t done their work already, given that the Ofqual algorithm hadn’t been used for ‘the majority’ of BTEC results? Doesn’t this raise the further question: are the civil serpents and quangocrats working ‘by the book’ in order to discredit their ministers? Or are they simply ‘not fit for purpose’?
Yesterday Lockdown Sceptics published an article by a civil servant which indicates that this may indeed be the case. It is a devastating indictment and worth reading in full. Here are the concluding observations:
“While it is easy to blame Ministers, and they have been shown in a poor light, it is their officers (the SCS) that have singularly failed the public. It is this largely anonymous body of well paid public servants that develop the policy options, advise on outcomes and manage delivery.” (link)
For comic relief (not!) I have to mention an article in The Times, under the gasp-inducing headline “Exams panel included Tim Leunig, maverick who was close to Dominic Cummings” (link, paywalled). Oh-My-Gawd! How absolutely terrible is that! Let me just point out that ‘smear-by-association’ is a well-known ploy used by communist regimes throughout their bloody history.
And why is this ‘newsworthy’? Because ‘Cummings’ – or because of something else? Here are some relevant quotes – I am going into this at length because this report is a prime example for using one fact, blown up out of proportion – the connection between Mr Leunig and Cummings – which then isn’t supported in the actual text. We read that:
“A senior Treasury civil servant close to Dominic Cummings was on an expert panel that advised how to standardise exam grades before the model was scrapped. Tim Leunig, who is an economic adviser to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, was on the 11-person External Advisory Group on Exam Grading.” (link, paywalled)
Omigawd – Sunak is also contaminated by a Cummings connection? Keep that in mind – Sunak’s head will be next on the block come the autumn economic disaster, so I expect The Times to blame Cummings for that as well. Next we read:
“The group was established in April by the exams regulator Ofqual to give technical advice to its board on grading A-levels and GCSEs this summer. It advised on the standardisation model that saw nearly 40 per cent of pupils’ predicted results downgraded, […] Appointments to the group were made by Ofqual.” (link, paywalled)
It’s totally irrelevant that Williamson obviously had no hand in this appointment – it was Ofqual wot dunnit. See who else was in this group:
“Its members included education academics and statisticians, an executive head teacher, and representatives from Ofqual, Ucas and exam boards. Officials from the Department for Education were also permitted to attend the group’s meetings as observers. It is not known whether any did so.” (link, paywalled)
Since Ofqual hasn’t published the minutes of these group meetings, not its algorithm, nor indeed any other minutes we don’t even know if they took on board the advice of that particular group. The Times has however dug up a reason for his appointment:
“Dr Leunig, known in Whitehall as a maverick thinker, worked alongside the prime minister’s most senior adviser at the Department for Education during Michael Gove’s tenure as education secretary.” (link, paywalled)
This is a very carefully constructed sentence! It must have been very difficult to avoid the name ‘Cummings’, but The Times’ editor manages it nicely: we do know, do we not, who the PM’s ‘most senior adviser’ is – and we do know that yes, he worked with Gove during his tenure at the education department.
Never mind that Gove got replaced in 2014 and thus Cummings also left. The Times had to mention this because Gove needed to be got into this report, like Sunak, in order to demonstrate that all ills this government labours under have to come from Cummings. Will they next call for Cummings’ scalp, promising to let Johnson off the hook? Or will they keep on digging for any spurious connection in order to smear the whole cabinet, in the hope of heaving Starmer into No 10? Will the hapless Tory backbenchers fall for this? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit:
“The Telegraph revealed on Wednesday that the Prime Minister is resisting calls for an autumn reshuffle despite a mounting Tory backlash amid fears that coronavirus mishaps have left the Government being laughed at, with Mr Williamson having lost the confidence of parents and teachers.” (paywalled link)
There’ll be more “corona mishaps” because Hancock is setting up a ‘corona survey’, meaning that 150,000 people will be tested. This is a community survey, not including hospitals and care homes and its aim is to provide data to local authorities ‘to trigger restrictions to control an outbreak’ (link, paywalled).
There are now enough papers written about the validity of those tests. The latest was published by Lockdown Sceptics here – worth delving into. However, given the known hysteria about LOckdown and 2nd wave, we ought to worry about the powers handed to local authorities by this latest CV-19 infection survey, especially in view of the hair-raising experiences of the people in Victoria, AUS, where the Labour PM has gone power-mad, with the latest ‘legislation’ of giving ‘authorities’ the power to remove children “[…] to a hospital or quarantine facility, as the authorised officer thinks fit (and may, in doing so, use such force as is reasonably necessary).” (link)
Is this what ‘Our MSM’ hope to see happening in our country? Do they seriously believe that a Labour government under Corbyn would not have taken such extreme measures to ‘combat’ CV-19, that a Starmer government would not follow happily in the footsteps of that Aussie provincial PM?
I would like to ask if our esteemed MSM could find out if our equally esteemed Whitehall Mandarins might have drafts of similar coercive legislation in their drawers, ready to hand to another of Johnson’s hapless ministers or a no less hapless Starmer government?
We’re in a fine mess indeed – a mess created by inept ministers in thrall to their mandarins and by ‘Our MSM’ who are already trying to tarnish possible ‘Johnson replacements’ like Sunak and Gove with smears-by association.
You may have noticed that we, the peasants, are of no account in this Covid Game of Thrones.