Monday 7 July 2003

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Why doesn't this surprise me?
JOHN McGrath, the socialist playwright who set up the 7:84 Theatre Company to highlight the fact that 7% of the population owned 84% of Britain's wealth, was a millionaire on paper.

He is perhaps best know for his militant theatre company that toured Scotland with works including the play The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil which told the story of the nation's exploitation from the Highland clearances to the oil boom.

Socialists routinely misuse statistics in support of their arguments. McGrath was at the forefront of this: ignore how people's relative wealth changes over a lifetime, don't count welfare benefits or the use of council housing as wealth, pay no attention to the difference between wealth earned in the free market and that obtained through political favour.

I say that the 7% of the population to be found in the New Labour/Guardian political complex controls the 84% of us who are trying to earn an honest living.