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Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics Paul Morrison. Sometimes politicians don’t tell the complete truth.

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Presentation on theme: "Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics Paul Morrison. Sometimes politicians don’t tell the complete truth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics Paul Morrison

2 Sometimes politicians don’t tell the complete truth

3 Sometimes you can’t believe what you read in the Sun

4 Sometimes politicians don’t tell the complete truth Sometimes you can’t believe what you read in the Methodist Recorder

5 Cameron pledges to turn round 120,000 'troubled' families – Telegraph Almost 1.5million Britons have never done a day’s work in their lives. – Mail Revealed: How 1.4 million spent a decade on the dole under Labour - Mail Misleading

6 Britain hit by £10bn tax credit fraudsters, claims Duncan Smith - Telegraph Report reveals 120,000 problem households: Criminal culture at the heart of feckless families': Shocking report lifts lid on incest, abuse and spiral of alcohol abuse - Mail Meet the families where no one's worked for THREE generations - and they don't care - Mail Lies

7 Statisticians are nice people who tell the truth

8 Aims Evaluate statistics used in public debate Understand the process by which they get into the public debate Source and use for national or local statistics

9 Aims Evaluate statistics used in public debate Understand the process by which they get into the public debate Source and use for national or local statistics Make misleading headlines of your own

10 Aims Evaluate statistics used in public debate Understand the process by which they get into the public debate Source and use for national or local statistics Make misleading headlines of your own Make you really angry – If there is time

11 Plan Suggest how you could use stats Go through some examples Your turn: Save Barnes Nursery School? The worst use of stats I have ever seen

12 Death & Taxes

13 Understand

14 Death & Taxes Understand Describe

15 Death & Taxes Understand Describe Convince

16 Understanding Understand anecdote experience

17 Understanding Understand anecdote experience belief

18 Understanding Understand anecdote experience numbers belief

19 Understanding Understand anecdote experience numbers belief scaleconflict reliability

20 Understanding Understand anecdote experience numbers belief scaleconflict reliability Why are you looking? Can you reconcile the “soft” and “hard” evidence?

21 Describing Understand Describe

22 Describing Describe selective process

23 Describing Describe narrative selective process

24 Describing Describe narrative stats to reinforce selective process

25 Describing Describe narrative “forget” other evidence stats to reinforce Does the narrative fit the “hard” evidence? selective process

26 Describing Describe narrative “forget” other evidence stats to reinforce selective process

27 Describing Describe narrative “forget” other evidence stats to reinforce Does the narrative fit the “hard” evidence? selective process

28 Persuading Convince

29 Persuading Convince most selective process where stats are most abused

30 Persuading Convince most selective process where stats are most abused snappy & accurate is difficult

31 Persuading Convince most selective process where stats are most abused snappy & accurate is difficult the link between what was counted and the number is often broken

32 Persuading Convince most selective process where stats are most abused snappy & accurate is difficult the link between what was counted and the number is often broken Does it illuminate or obscure the truth?

33 Plan Suggest how you could use stats Go through some examples Your turn: Save Barnes Nursery School? The worst use of stats I have ever seen

34 Barnes Nursery School Closure is announced – 2 years time Your Sunday School Teacher Starts a petition asks you & your church to join in the campaign.

35 Barnes Nursery School “After widespread consultation the Richmond Council has decide that BNS should not take further pupils from Oct other providers will give the same level of service allowing the closure of BNS with its saving of and a saving of £0.4 million annually nursery schooling will remain available to the children of Barnes and existing pupils will not be affected....

36 Barnes Nursery School Get into Church councils of 5-6 and decide what you do you do next? What information do you want to help you make the decision? - I should be able to provide (and if I don’t in the grand tradition of the DWP I will make up something plausible)

37 Barnes Nursery School What do you do next? What information do you want? - I should be able to provide (and if I don’t in the grand tradition of the DWP I will make up something plausible)

38 Barnes Nursery School Half of the church councils support the closure Half want it open. You need to explain your decision to the church as a whole what new information do you want?

39 Barnes Nursery School You need to explain to the press in a few lines your position. -use an honest stat if you can - a dodgy but defendable one would do aswell

40 Sources of Information Local: Methodist Advanced Mapping tool: advanced-version Local Authority Website: budgets, local area plans and demographics Office of National Statistics:

41 Sources of Information National: Methodist Advanced Mapping tool: advanced-version Office of National Statistics: Department of Work and Pensions: Institute for Fiscal Studies :

42 Sources of Information National: Find a trusted interest group / think-tank: For Poverty: Joseph Rowntree Foundation Resolution Foundation Children’s Society Centre for Social Justice – influential but

43 “The lies we tell ourselves: Ending Comfortable Myths About Poverty” Baptist Union of Great Britain Church of Scotland Methodist Church United Reformed Church

44 GETTING YOU ANGRY no parent in the family is in work family lives in overcrowded housing no parent has any qualifications mother has mental health problems at least one parent has a long-standing disability family has low income family cannot afford some basics Think of a family with five of these problems

45 GETTING YOU ANGRY no parent in the family is in work family lives in overcrowded housing no parent has any qualifications mother has mental health problems at least one parent has a long-standing disability family has low income family cannot afford some basics Think of a family with five of these problems

46 mother has mental health problems Main characteristic of these families, GETTING YOU ANGRY

47 mother has mental health problems Main characteristic of these families, David Cameron pledges to turn round lives of 120,000 problem families in wake of UK riots - Mirror GETTING YOU ANGRY

48 mother has mental health problems Main characteristic of these families, It's time problem families took the blame: Pickles calls for tougher action on those who blame background and childhood for their troubles – Daily Mail David Cameron pledges to turn round lives of 120,000 problem families in wake of UK riots - Mirror GETTING YOU ANGRY

49 mother has mental health problems Main characteristic of these families, SCUM CLANS BLITZ - Daily Star GETTING YOU ANGRY

50 “Listening to Troubled Families” – Report published July selected Case Studies – completely unrepresentative of the 120,000 The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse [and sometimes child rape [1] ] was striking and shocking [1] GETTING YOU LIVID?

51 “Listening to Troubled Families” – Report published July selected Case Studies – completely unrepresentative of the 120,000 “Child Abuse Rife in Hell Families – report exposes 120,000 worst households” - The Sun The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse [and sometimes child rape [1] ] was striking and shocking [1] GETTING YOU LIVID?

52 “Listening to Troubled Families” – Report published July selected Case Studies – completely unrepresentative of the 120,000 “Child Abuse Rife in Hell Families – report exposes 120,000 worst households” - The Sun The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse [and sometimes child rape [1] ] was striking and shocking [1] The most commonly quote: “The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse and sometimes child rape was striking and shocking” GETTING YOU LIVID?

53 “The lies we tell ourselves: Ending Comfortable Myths About Poverty” Baptist Union of Great Britain Church of Scotland Methodist Church United Reformed Church

54 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far off. For truth has stumbled in the public square, and honesty cannot enter. Isaiah 59 v14


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