There is a great article in the Times today, which although it focuses upon the Tories is probably symptomatic of most if not all current political parties. Part of the Conservative 'broken Britain' campaign is a document in which it is claimed that 54% (yes that's fifty four percent) of all girls in deprived areas become pregnant before they are 18....now that is an unbelievably bad statistic.......unbelievable - which is good because it is not true, bad because they got the decimal point one place too far right. The real figure is 5.4% (five point four percent). It wouldn't be too bad if it was a typo, but it is repeated three times at different places in the paper. However, anyone can make a mistake, and when one does the best policy is probably just to admit to it and reassess the situation..but not the Tories. A Conservative spokesman insisted that the error made 'no difference at all' to the conclusions of the report. I cannot better the conclusion of the Times article to suh a statement: "A political case that is unaffected if you over state a statistic by a multiple of ten does not rest on evidence. It is a faith based initiative" See the full article: http://bit.ly/ahRIqP . I can't wait to read their policy on the teaching of mathematics or one of their spokesman for the 'broken Britain' campaign bemoaning the current state of maths in this country.
The notion of policy being more of a faith based initiative than anything based on real evidence has resonance whichever party you may be thinking of...although as we approach the election date I have no doubt this will not so much resemble faith based activity as it will pure fiction, at best , fantasy in many cases....or of course, in the case of some manifesto promises, 'wishful thinking' (for the hard of imagining that is a euphemism for lies). Am I being too hard on our elected representatives and their intentions? You be the judge - BUT, the people I meet who I have known when they were working in large government departments but are now working elsewhere (by choice,not having been 'fired'!) have so many tales that reinforce this picture , surely they can't all be liars, can they?