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Archive for the ‘stats’


How to be goodest at numberology 128

Posted on May 16, 2019 by

Ruth Davidson led on numeracy (or as Tories call it, “numberacy”) at FMQs today.

And we can see why she’s concerned.

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Spilt black milk 393

Posted on May 07, 2019 by

Last week, Norway rubbed our faces in it again.

In just THREE MONTHS, the investment return alone from its national oil fund was around £64 billion – more money than the total annual budget of Scotland, including both Scottish Government spending and money spent by the UK “on our behalf”.

(If you click that link, you can see the value of the fund increase and – less frequently – decrease live in hypnotic real time. We watched it for a few minutes, during which time it added over 220m Krone, or around £20 million.)

That’s like making more from three months’ interest on your bank account than your yearly wage. It’s what Scotland could – would – have had if we’d been independent since the 1970s, because we’ve produced slightly more oil from the North Sea in that time than Norway has. We just gave all ours away.

But we know that that chance has been blown now, and rather than enjoy bountiful interest windfalls we make crippling interest payments on the UK’s debt, to the tune of around £3.5bn a year, while being told we’re scrounging subsidy junkies who should be grateful for having been relieved of the troublesome burden of our wealth.

None of this is any sort of new information, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves regularly of what being in the UK has cost us over the decades – and what it could cost us again in terms of the remaining oil and the potentially even greater resource of renewable energy that our naturally-blessed country sits amid – if we don’t have the courage to take responsibility for ourselves.

Context phobia 418

Posted on April 22, 2019 by

Alert readers will know by now that there’s nothing the Scottish media – and the Scottish Daily Mail in particular – likes more than printing scary-sounding figures with no context whatsoever by which people could judge how big or small they really are.

Nothing’s changed today (other than a rather sneaky inset shot of an old story about a different statistic which misleadingly makes today’s one look like a big increase), so rather than bang on we’ll just fill in the blanks: ScotRail runs around 760,000 trains a year, so this year’s cancellation figures amount to about 3.5% of all trains.

Which is to say, around one time in every 30 that you go to get a train it’ll have been cancelled and you’ll have to wait for the next one, which on the average commuter line will probably mean 15-20 minutes.

Which is still a pain in the hole, of course, but if it’s such a high number ask yourself why the Mail is so pathologically averse to simply telling you what percentage it is.

We’ll see you again with these figures in a few weeks, folks.

Independence for England now 547

Posted on March 31, 2019 by

The breakdown data from last week’s vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement:

ENGLAND: 266 MPs for, 256 MPs against (51%-49%)
SCOTLAND: 13 for, 45 against (22%-78%)
WALES: 6 for, 33 against (15%-85%)
NORTHERN IRELAND: 1 for, 10 against (9%-91%)

Once again, readers, the solution to Brexit is clear.

Quick context check 174

Posted on November 30, 2018 by

The front page lead of today’s Scottish Daily Mail:

As alert readers of this site will know, the Mail has a particular fondness for presenting statistics bereft of any context so that people have no idea how big or small they really are. So is 1,600 passengers a week receiving compensation for delays a lot or a little? Let’s find out.

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The Slide 239

Posted on October 07, 2018 by

Especially alert readers may have noticed that we’ve had a new page on Wings for a while, maintaining a current list of Scottish newspaper circulations.

We were just checking it today and noticed that – seemingly unreported anywhere – the Scottish “regionals” had had their biannual figures published, so we thought we may as well keep you updated.

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The fine art of self-delusion 172

Posted on October 04, 2018 by

When the news is slow, we sometimes steel ourselves and go for a little paddle in the Yoonstream – a private collection of the most unhinged hardcore-Unionist accounts on Twitter – and see what they’re getting themselves all worked up about.

For a good few months now, they’ve all been posting mad graphs like this:

And we’re not quite sure why.

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What isn’t a fact 253

Posted on September 18, 2018 by

God bless our dear old pals at the Labour-fronted Tory money-sink that is Scotland In Union. Fresh from their latest stirring morning office singalong of “No Pope Of Rome”, they’ve decided to belatedly get in on the fact-checking game.

As the established force in the field, we had to have a look.

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Getting no satisfaction 194

Posted on September 05, 2018 by

This year’s Scottish Household Survey is out, and the press is in an absolutely gleeful orgy of misery over it. Here’s the Times, for example:

The paper’s leading line is that “only half of those polled were happy with schools, the NHS and transport provision in their area”. So readers would naturally assume that the other half were DISsatisfied, right?

The reality is somewhat different.

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Dickie’s Taffy Puddings 74

Posted on September 05, 2018 by

Perhaps the single most striking feature of everyday non-constitutional Scottish politics is Labour’s constantly-recurring habit of highlighting some supposedly unsatisfactory statistic about the Scottish Government’s performance, only for it to be revealed that it’s vastly better than the comparable figure for Wales, where Labour has been in power ever since the Assembly was created in 1999.

So let’s crank up the machine again and see what it says, shall we?

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The National Enquirers 122

Posted on August 28, 2018 by

The data in this Scottish Government reply to an alert reader this week pretty much speaks for itself, so we’re not going to add too much to it.

The number of FOI requests submitted to the Scottish Government by the BBC in the past three years (112) is more than 25% higher than the total number submitted in the previous seven years (89).

The number submitted by Labour in 2017 was more than TEN TIMES as many as it submitted in 2008, and twice as many as any other year.

The number submitted by the Tories in 2017 was a third more than the total number submitted in the previous NINE years (92). They’ve also exceeded that total in the first seven months of this year alone.

And as the highlighted passage notes, the true numbers are considerably higher.

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The eternal mystery 141

Posted on August 27, 2018 by

It’s around this time of year that we always enjoy a delve in the impenetrable enigma that is the membership of Scottish Labour. (As gathered together in the picture below during Jeremy Corbyn’s last trip to Edinburgh.)

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