Thursday 19 September 2002

"Trust me, I'm a politician"

The Edinburgh City Council decided to consult the public about a proposal to introduce road tolls. A majority favoured tolls for vehicles entering the city centre. Fair enough. But, hang on, what about this?

We read that:

The council had earlier announced that an independent survey showed a 51 per cent majority of people in favour of a city centre toll cordon. But in reality only 42 per cent of people who responded to a questionnaire were in support. The favourable majority only emerged once the figures had been "weighted". Researchers decided not enough people without cars had voted and adjusted the poll results after deciding that non-car owners would support tolling.
And in the full printed article:
It also emerged today that environmental groups in favour of congestion charges were given thousands of questionnaires for members to fill in.
Rightly, the local Tories are accusing the City Council of "cooking the books" but it occurs to me that we should now disbelieve any statistics put out by New Labour. The government has been making lots of noise about its success in combatting crime. The "statistics" prove that policies are working. Public perception is that crime is completely out of control. I think that the public is correct and that the national crime statistics are probably as sound as those of the Edinburgh City Council.