Monday, 31 December 2012


Gosh, I'm tired. I've just spent the last couple of hours wading through a pile of paperwork, and I'm not impressed at having to red-line foggy and obtuse use of statistics to promote a cause.

That 'one in five' or 'one in three' may have been disadvantaged by whatever, looks good in tabloid headlines but it's factual rubbish.

How? In the first instance 80% of those who respond to the survey who expressed an opinion didn't feel that   they were disadvantaged, and in the in the second instance 66%. Both ignore the percentage of those who said "don't bother me" or "I don't care" or "the butler did it"

Just look at the contrast. It isn't that I don't care about about the other 20% or 33% . It's just that if peeps are going to use stats or percentages, just find another way of expressing it. The honest way is just to state the number of people, and why they're in the lower percentage?

It's all a matter of focus.

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue to red line and write in the margin "If it's the lower percentage cause you support, find another way to emphasise it and send it back".

Edit. 2nd January 2013

......and just to prove my point, the tabloids - The Daily Mail in particular - try to play the percentage game. Effectively, their saying that those on benefits have had an average increase of 20% in their income over the last five years while workers have only seen an increase of 14%.

The implication is that benefit claimants are getting a better deal that those who work.

However, let me put that in context, without blowing my top about the stupid use of 'means' and averages. It means that in practise, those who have had an increase in pay over the last 5 years have seen their pay increase by about £49 a week.

Those who have been on benefits for 5 years would have seen their income increase by £12.

But as always the real picture is much different. If someone has been using state benefits for five years they are severely disabled. I talk to a lot of people who use benefits, and if they are claiming (un)employment benefits, if they don't follow job centre rules, they get their benefits stopped. No if's. No buts. End of. So they aren't included in any stats.

For those in work, if they are on a low income they get their income topped up by various benefits, such as housing benefit. Then there are those who change jobs, who work in temporary work, and those who have been subject to caps on wage increase. So there's a cross over.

Forgive me for not posting referrals and links. I'd be writing this for months otherwise. 

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