Prezza Conspiracy Theory Debunked

Back in July John Prescott claimed he was the victim of an elaborate plot by the Tories to smear him over dodgy government credit card purchases. Central to Prezza’s conspiracy theory was a redacted letter from Gus O’Donnell, with Hull’s next top copper demanding an investigation into the apparent cover-up. The story was run by Political Scrapbook, and even the Observer weighed in. Now there is egg-on-face all round as the whole theory was debunked this morning, with an answer to Prezza’s Parliamentary Question in the Lords revealing the letter in question was censored simply to redact factual errors:

“A factual error in the Cabinet Office reply of 18 November 2011, incorrectly suggesting that departmental civil servants had been disciplined for the use of the Government Procurement Card under the previous Administration, was removed from the version of 21 November. In fact, the fraud stemmed from seven transactions on a cloned credit card. A second paragraph was also deleted from the version of 18 November in error. The Cabinet Secretary has written to the noble Lord to explain the background.”

Prezza can take off his tin foil hat…




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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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