Monday, 1 June 2009
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
Some attribute the phrase above to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Certainly it was popularised in the USA (and beyond) by Mark Twain. In the House of Lords today Lord Hamilton of Epsom is due to ask a "Question for Short Debate" which will "ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to secure confidence in the use of Government statistics".
There has been concern about statistics for some time. An interesting paper relevant to the issue was published by the House of Commons Library as background to the Statistics and Registration Service Bill - an attempt to address some of the concerns.http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2006/rp06-066.pdf
The website for UK Government statistics is http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/index.html