Welcome to the Westminster tractor factory

Today’s World at One on Radio 4 included a telling little insight into government thinking.

They reported that “Youth unemployment has risen to just over 20%, the highest level since records began in 1992“.  Their business reporter went on to observe that, “While there are a record number of 16-24 year olds out of work, that includes full time students looking for casual work who the government would like to exclude from the statistics“.

How convenient that would be!  Record levels of youth unemployments, if not exactly solved, at least vastly reduced by a statistical sleight of hand and all at zero cost to the taxpayer.

If only!   This is just plain dishonest; students need income just as much as anyone else.  For the next generation the need will be even greater with monster fees to fund.

But it is also problematical in a more subtle way.  As the published statistics get further and further removed from reality the government is fooling itself as well as its political opponents.   The great danger of propaganda is that you start believing it yourself and that is surely the case here.  

One of the characteristics of communist regimes was that their statistics were manufactured to hit targets handed down from on high, to prove a political point, to provide a factoid (actually a ‘fantasy-oid’) about tractor production or whatever.

A government of integrity would stop this soviet practice and return – however painfully – to honest data.


One response to this post.

  1. it we want clarity from the stats then we need consistent measures.

    youth unemployment loses meaning when published alone, so how about putting youth unemployment alongside the youth employment figure, as well as alongside a comparable measure such as 30-60 unemployment and 30-60 employment?

    In such circumstances raw data is less helpful than the wider context, so thats what’s needed.


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