In the preface to New Money I wrote:
This book was written just as Wales was coming out of Lockdown and I have tried to make the setting as realistic as possible. Of course, things might well have changed by the time you read this, hopefully for the better. Most of the characters act in a cavalier fashion towards social distancing and other rules. This is not what I advocate! But then, I do not advocate promiscuity or violence either. Neither do I condone dishonesty in financial matters, whether you are a builder or in a lottery syndicate. Above all, I do not advocate murder. Please don’t do it.
Why does that need an apology?
I failed to mention the fiasco over exam results, or rather the fiasco of producing results when not having exams. Some of my characters are in their teens and would probably be discussing the situation even if it did not affect them personally. In that respect, the book, although fiction, fails to reflect the reality of life in the UK this year. Therefore, I apologise to any readers who feel I have let them down.
How did I come to needing to give an apology?
Once schools closed in Lockdown, I knew there would be problems for holding exams or finding an alternative. Various approaches were possible, as you can see if you look at other countries. I never imagined, as I wrote New Money, that this government, or any other, could have made such a mess. If I could foresee the problems, why couldn’t they? It is unusual for anyone to call me naive or overoptimistic when it comes to politics, but this government has fallen below my worst expectations. Quite an achievement.
Who else should be giving an apology
Some of the mistakes made early in the pandemic we can perhaps forgive. The situation was unprecedented, as they so often told us. However, Lockdown began in March and we are now in August. How long does anyone need to think of a solution to the problem of exams?
An algorithm does not give an apology
Some people blame an algorithm the authorities used to help them assess results of the non-exams. This may well be true. However, algorithms and other computer programs do only what humans instruct them to do. Someone has to decide what criteria should determine the outcome. If the criteria are wrong, the results will be wrong. Simple! I have written about this before. You may also find some relevant chapters in my book How to Avoid Being Misled by Statistics, especially Chapter 7. I hope you enjoy the book and benefit from its advice. I also hope you enjoy New Money, regardless of its failure to allow for government ineptitude.