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Caveat Emptor

The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

UK Statistics Authority 1: David Cameron 0

I see that Mr Cameron has been telling porkies again and has been rapped on the knuckles by the statistics watchdog. The line between selective presentation and downright falsehood is actually not a difficult one to stay the right side of but politicians and journalists seem congenitally unable to perceive it (some academics do no better). That's why we need people like Andrew Dilnot to keep pointing out where the line is and when ministers have stepped over it (confession of interest, Andrew is the Warden of my college). 

We also need people like the NIESR's Jonathan Portes to take the fight to journalists and MEPs who refuse to distinguish fact from fantasy, people like Dan Hannan who shares all these characteristics. Portes is also involved in a twitter spat with the Spectator's Damian Thompson who seems to think that Dan Hannan is a pretty OK sort of chap. In the course of their full and frank exchange of views Damian tweeted:

Interesting thought I, apart from the fact that Portes doesn't claim that facts are left-wing or right-wing (at least not as far as I can see) I happen to know something about Damian Thompson's doctoral studies. In fact while he was a doctoral student at the LSE he took a course from me on Methods of Social Investigation. He was also a semi-regular visitor to my office-hours. Being a gentleman I'll say no more.

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