Can Boy George do his sums?

The shadow chancellor's £3bn mistake

The Guardian reports a rather embarrassing error in George Osborne's budget plans:

George Osborne's reputation as a would-be Tory chancellor is unravelling after his claim that he would save £13bn by raising the state pension age was challenged by the respected think tank that provided the basis for his figures.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said the shadow chancellor's proposed saving, outlined at the Conservative party conference this week, would take five years longer than estimated and fall £3bn short.

NIESR said Osborne's team had made a mistake in their calculations, misreading a paper written by the think tank earlier this year. Osborne's aides originally based their calculations on an NIESR document in the House of Commons library. After his speech the think tank sought clarification of his assumptions. It has recalculated the figures and will present them at a conference on Monday.

We all knew that Boy George was economically illiterate, but is he innumerate, too?

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

New Statesman
Show Hide image

Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.