Wednesday 5 March 2014

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Wednesday, March 05, 2014 with No comments | Labels: , , , , , , ,

There is nothing like a government to prove the old adage of "lies, damn lies, and statistics". 

In March 2014 a BBC Newsnight programme reported that the Tories were holding back a government report that would expose as untrue a key statistic being used to rouse a rabble of votes with tough talk on immigration. The report is said to show Tory claims that "for every additional 100 immigrants… 23 British workers would not be employed" were a gross exaggeration.

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The Tories were criticised in July 2013 by the Office of National Statistics for misusing statistics to back a claim that the benefits cap was pushing people back into work. In February 2013 Andrew Dilnot, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, criticised the government for being economical with the truth about the UK economy's debt and deficit figures.

The Advertising Standards Authority has long since washed its hands in relation to political fibbing. They regard Political Advertising as beyond their control:

"For reasons of freedom of speech, we do not have remit over non-broadcast ads where the purpose of the ad is to persuade voters in a local, national or international electoral referendum. Complaints about political advertising should be made directly to the party responsible for that advertising."

The key to statistics is not so much what they say, but who is saying it. The Office for National Statistics - still not privatised at the time of writing this post - provided an interesting statistic in its report on "Measuring National Well-Being - Governance 2014". The report shows that over the last 10 years fewer than 1 in 3 of us actually believe what the government tells us.

Which is about the same percentage that actually voted for the winning party in this period:


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