Friday, 12 December 2008

Caught Fiddling the Figures - Now why is that a surprise?

Cynics amongst us may well have suspected that government statistics are 'massaged' prior to release, now it seems we have proof that figures are released unchecked and especially when they show the result that is wanted. The latest figures on knife crime published are a case in point.

Sir Michael Scholar, head of the UK Statistics Authority - yet another quango - said officials pleaded with No 10 not to release "unchecked" and "selective" numbers. But they were over-ruled by ministers eager to show a crackdown on knife crime in England was working. He said the decision to publish the figures was tantamount to a leak, which was "rather odd because it's made with the authority of the home secretary and with Number 10 Downing Street's authority". He added that the government had "breached" the code governing official statistics by publishing just "one part" of the numbers. Sir Michael said "There is a code designed to prevent political manipulation and my authority was set up to police this code. "I am sorry to say the Home Office and No 10 broke these rules."

Now the last person who was responsible for a leak and in so doing 'broke the rules' had 20 police officers from the Anti-Terrorism unit on his doorstep - so we can expect Jacqui Smith to be arrested? Maybe even Gordon Brown - he is after all 'Downing Street's' authority?

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