Friday, April 04, 2008

Equality For All

The old ones are always the best

Look at the chart plotting the history of average household incomes at different points of the distribution. Assume you are on the 10th percentile- ie you are among the poorest 10% in terms of income.

Now, would you rather be living in 1979 or today?

Take your time... think about it...

OK, you'd prefer today, right, because you're significantly better off than you were when Thatch came to power.

It's so blindingly obvious, it's hardly worth thinking about.

Except of course it's officially the wrong answer.

According to the Government's Chief Statistician, you should prefer 1979 because you'd be less poor relative to everyone else.

It's all in a paper published yesterday (Diversity and different experiences in the UK) where Karen Dunnell, head of the Office for National Statistics, opens with:

"Equality is recognised nationally and internationally as a key aspect of progress in society."

And over the next 15 pages she charts a wide range of measures (including the pic above) describing inequality in Britain, a key aspect, she says. of "societal well‑being".

But who is it who's recognising equality as being a key aspect of progress? Karl Marx and that hippy druid bloke maybe, but not us. Indeed, IIRC it was the lofty ideal of equality that drove Eastern Europe into 50 years of decay and poverty, from which it is only now recovering.

WTF is the National Statistician basing her work on such lefty ideas? Shouldn't she be focused on making sure the numbers are right, and leaving the interpretation for others? Isn't that what we pay her for?

It's a disappointing start for the newly relaunched Government Statistical Service as an objective reliable source of data, entirely independent of politicos with all their spin and hidden agendas. Surely the ONS could find someone to run it who isn't a fully signed member of Pol's "progressive consensus".

Must do better.

PS Barely a day goes by without coming across some new gob-smacker on immigration. Here's Karen's contribution:

Given that primary school kids are the future, all I can say is wow - I had no idea. I know I scoffed at the time, but after six months of research I now understand completely why the rellies were so agitated.


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