Forgive the facepalm, but after a drubbing in the general election for being evasive, I had hoped our questions to the government would be given the professional courtesy of attempting an answer.

Sadly the signs look appalling, after we received possibly the best example this week of a robot spewing out unrelated and misleading sound bites.

We reported on the DfE failing to publish comparable data, as they usually would, for apprenticeship achievement rates.

We asked them why they had not published it and how they would counter claims of a cover-up.

And remember, following a revision to remove loop-holes, it is a near five per cent fall in the headline rate, with one third of apprentices last year failing to achieve.

The DfE answer to our question was “Today’s figures prove that apprenticeships are equipping people with the skills they need to get on in life.”

So, no attempt to answer our specific questions and instead a comment that would leave you believing, incorrectly, that these latest figures show an improvement in outcomes.

The worst possible response. One that avoids the question completely and instead requests we publish a statement that implies the opposite of reality.

I was stunned, and uncharacteristically lost for words.