Iain Duncan Smith and his mouth

  carver 19:39 23 May 2013

It seems that Iain Duncan Smith is to be questioned over his misuse of statistics, not content with declaring he could live on £53 a week he then proceeded to falsely claim that 8,000 people had moved into work as a result of the introduction of the benefit cap.

Story here enter link description here.

Now what's that old saying enter link description here

  oresome 20:09 23 May 2013

Politician manipulates figures for his own ends.

Well I never!

  lotvic 20:58 23 May 2013

Perhaps they'll set up a task group to see what lessons can be learned.

  john bunyan 21:17 23 May 2013

Perhaps a member of this forum, usually well up on statistics, should be his advisor!

  pabby 21:30 23 May 2013

Might be one of the same.

  Forum Editor 01:32 24 May 2013

So, a Minister spouted figures that were prepared for him by an over-zealous person in his political office - it's hardly a game-changing gaffe.

No Minister can be expected to carry around meaningful statistics in a shirt pocket - they all rely on people in the office, and in this case someone crossed the interpretive line.

Worse things happen.

  Kevscar1 02:44 24 May 2013

and exactly how do you know he just didn't make them up

  lotvic 08:23 24 May 2013

To me it just re-enforces the view that you can't believe whatever figures/statistics Ministers tell us. It's not okay to shrug it off saying "Worse things happen" as if it doesn't matter.

Yes, worse things do happen, life changing decisions for the Country are made by Ministers on the backs of wrong figures.

  Quickbeam 08:32 24 May 2013

The Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Do Figure adage holds true...

  carver 08:33 24 May 2013

F.E of cause your right, why should it matter if he just makes figures up to justify a policy that effects tens of 1000's of people.

  fourm member 08:42 24 May 2013

The New Statesman piece in the original link begins;

'With deceptively little fanfare'

That says it all really. There was little fanfare because the way politicians use numbers is regularly wrong either through ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate the debate.

These days, anyone with a computer has a pretty good chance of getting to the raw data with a little effort. If a politician says something that sounds surprising take the time to look deeper. If more people did that it would, in time, lead to politicians being more careful about how they use numbers.

When the government announced how many private sector jobs had been created, the figure looked high. A little effort soon showed that it included former public sector jobs that have been outsourced or reclassified. If yesterday you were a civil servant and today your department has become a pseudo-independent agency you are in a newly created private sector job.

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