Feb 202010

I did sort of miss the opportunity to make a timely comment on the Conservatives monumental gaff in relation to figures they published regarding the number of teenage pregnancies amongst deprived communities. But it is such a good example of Tory stupidity that I am going to make a comment anyway.

Apparently the Tories claimed as an example of Labour failure that the percentage of teenagers who got pregnant before the age of 18 in the most deprived areas was 54%. The actual rate was 5.4% which itself was a decline since 1998 when the rate was 6%; or in other words the highest rate was during a year where Labour had little chance to correct the mistakes of the previous Tory government having only been in power for a year.

Now of course anybody can make a mistake, which is why in any circumstances where you need to avoid making mistakes you check and double-check your data. And when you have previously made yourself look a fool by making a mistake you triple-check things. And obviously an organisation would have these facts checked by someone other than the author.

So what does a mistake like turning 5.4% into 54% mean ? By itself, not a great deal but it indicates a certain lack of care about the details.

After all, 54% is a ridiculous enough figure that you would normally say to yourself “Eh?” and have another look. The Tories obviously came up with a figure that helped their claims and ran with it.

It’s the sort of carelessness that is not the sort of thing you would like to see the next government use.

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