Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lies, damn lies, and Tim Montgomerie's use of polling statistics

I missed this a couple of days ago - here's a classic example of how an opinion poll can be quoted accurately to give a totally misleading impression...

Tim Montgomerie :  80% of voters support Osborne's National Living Wage - @YouGov poll

You'd be forgiven for thinking from that statistic that 80% were backing Osborne against the criticism that £7.20 an hour is not a "living" wage, especially after the withdrawal of tax credits. But you'd be wrong. This was the actual question -

This week the Chancellor George Osborne announced his first budget since the election. Below are some of the announcements he made. For each one, please say whether you think it is a good idea or the wrong priority for the present time?

Introducing a new compulsory living wage of £7.20 an hour for over 25s, rising to £9 an hour by 2020 (compared with the current minimum wage of £6.70)


As you can see, anyone who thought that the "Living Wage" was a sickening con-trick had no option but to reply that it was a "good thing", because otherwise they were implicitly saying that the minimum wage should have remained at £6.70. So the public weren't backing Osborne against the criticisms that have actually been made of the policy in the real world, but instead against hypothetical criticisms made from a hard-right standpoint. While it's mildly reassuring to discover that the electorate don't think the Budget should have been even more regressive, I'm not sure that takes us much further forward.

* * *

STV's Stephen Daisley linked to my previous post yesterday, with this accompanying comment -

"There is nothing, not even a radio review, the Scottish Nationalists will not mine for grievance"

Stephen being Stephen, I naturally assumed that was one of his trademark pieces of hilarious postmodern irony, and it wasn't until half-an-hour later that the scary realisation dawned on me that he was actually being deadly serious -

"Nothing wrong with laughing at the radio review. Turning it into the latest tedious outrage is my problem."

Just by coincidence (or as far as I know it was coincidence), Grassy Knollington made a shrewd observation at roughly the same time -

"Pointing out errors & lies is mocked by unionists as "tedious grievance hunting". They hope to discourage you from doing it. Ignore them."

Other than the fact that Stephen Daisley isn't identifiably a unionist, I'd say that sums up the situation rather well.

36 comments:

  1. I can't point to anything Stephen Disley has posted that says he is a Unionist, but I would point to his sickening schmaltzy pre - Election 'don't abandon Labour for the sake of your Grandparents' articles and others that he is a tribal Labour loyalist with a penchant for the right-wing of that party

    They do not tend to favour Indy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He also bemoans the demise the Lib Dems, praises the SNP for listening to the Scottish People, likes both Mhari Black and Ruth Davidson and generally seems to be, dare I say it, not really on anyone's side at all.

      Which I guess makes him the enemy to some people. For us or against us seems to be the rallying cry of the true believer in Scotland these days.

      Delete
    2. He is clearly on SLab's side and has the usual vices, including persistent attempts to demonise cybernats, whining about "grievance seeking" and flippant sneering at anyone who doesn't agree with him.

      A typical sign of a "true believer" is ignoring evidence in favour of belief. Like your post.

      Delete
    3. Not sure if it's a step up that the trolls have started hiding their identity. (I refer to the first remark here).

      Delete
  2. Stephen Daisley is quite clearly a unionist & a Labour supporter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except, he has stated straight out that he's a Yes voter and didn't vote for Labour.

      Delete
    2. Daisley's most recent utterances against the SNP and its supporters belie his statement. How does he think Independence will be attained without the SNP?

      "There is nothing, not even a radio review, the Scottish Nationalists will not mine for grievance" Daisley.

      Hardly the comment of a YES voter.

      Delete
    3. Disagreeing with the SNP and the way their latest flock of supporters behave does not make someone a Unionist.

      Delete
    4. Hmmmm. There seems to be a subtext to your comment, Anon. Might be best to spell it out, so it can be tested and challenged.

      Delete
    5. Or it is a statement of the bleeding obvious. I'm as Yes as anyone. I canvassed and street campaigned with RIC that even extended to a day inside one of the panda suits as well as helping out with the very local Yes campaign's street stalls. Yet I'm not an SNP member. I voted as much for Stewart Hosie as a person, he came canvassing with RIC as just another pair of boots on the ground, as because he was SNP. Next year I'm inclined to vote Green/Green.

      I don't see why I have to have a subtext to state that. If you are Yes then you do not have to be SNP, that was as true in the referendum and wrt the formal Yes Scotland campaign as it is now. That you do not like this does not make it less true. Other opinions are available and perfectly legitimate.

      I'm fairly well to the left of the SNP and reserve my right to criticise them as much as my right to support them against calumnies.

      Delete
    6. He'sa journalist, and he's young. He thinks he can progress his career by seening to stand aloof and be prepared to conform to MSM norms by slagging off the cybernats and so on.

      He's a good writer, but I don't think there's a real person with real opinions in there. He writes what he thinks will sell. Toom tabard, basically.

      Delete
    7. Now I do agree with your last para there.

      Delete
    8. to anonymous/muscle guy. "the way their latest flock of supporters behave". Pray tell how they behave which is any different than other political supporters. Or is your 'subtext' that you agree with the SLAB and MSM norms, ie, SNP bad, bad, bad, without having a shred of evidence to the contrary.

      Delete
    9. Musclesguy : "Or it is a statement of the bleeding obvious"

      Nope. It wasn't a statement, it was a subtext. You made a statement which we can test and challenge, Anon didn't. This is really simple.

      "If you are Yes then you do not have to be SNP, that was as true in the referendum and wrt the formal Yes Scotland campaign as it is now."

      Who is telling you that if you are Yes you have to be SNP? That's right - nobody.

      "That you do not like this does not make it less true."

      When have I said that I don't like it? That's right - never.

      How many more times do we have to go through this routine? You seem to have a persecution complex, so let me try to spell this out as clearly as possible - if the Greens are your favourite party, will you please, for the love of God, VOTE GREEN. That strikes me as being an overwhelmingly sensible idea. Why you have got it into your head that anyone is trying to prevent you from doing that is something only you can explain.

      Delete
    10. @James Coleman
      False dichotomy. As a non SNP I am free to criticise them where I think that is warranted. By you suggesting all such must be from a SLAB perspective and be SNP Bad you are outing yourself as a true believer and not a rational agent. I am not bound by anything that says I cannot criticise the SNP or have to think they can do no wrong. Suck it up.

      @James Kelly
      Simple, by your seeing a subtext where none has to be. You have also written in the past that it is stupid not to vote SNP/SNP if you want independence, which is a valid viewpoint but not one I have to share. I respectfully suggest to you that you are so far down the SNP rabbit hole that you are seeing opposition where simple reality exists. Anonymous's statement was a true statement and it stands by itself. It is obviously true. Whether you like it or not.

      At the last RIC meeting here in Dundee we had a new SNP member who had never been before come along, as was her right and she was welcome. We had Maggie Chapman, co-chair of the Greens speaking and of course being RIC there were SSP etc people there and the idea of running on a common ticket to the left of the SNP but as a constructive friend opposition was discussed. As was our right. But at the end this woman ripped into us because we were criticising the SNP, and was going on as though the SNP were responsible for the whole of the referendum. Apart from being disrespectful to a roomful of people who had campaigned hard in the referendum it was ignorant in the extreme. You and James Coleman remind me of her.

      People like me exist, we are not antagonistic to the SNP, I voted SNP in the GE. But we reserve our right to vote for who we like and to constructively we hope, criticise the SNP. I'm to the left of the SNP generally and distrust their sometimes authoritarian tendencies, but overall I think they are, currently a force for good, but they can be better and pressure from the left, from a Green perspective too can be brought to achieve that aim.

      Again, disagreeing with the SNP or some of their acolytes does not make you a unionist. That is obviously, factually and facilely true. By denying this you become fantasists.

      Delete
    11. "Simple, by your seeing a subtext where none has to be."

      Let's get this clear - are you the anonymous commenter? Is it your own comment you're defending? If so, this is really simple - you didn't make a clear statement, therefore it was a subtext. I don't understand why you're arguing the toss over this, because you've since made a clearer statement.

      "You have also written in the past that it is stupid not to vote SNP/SNP if you want independence"

      That is complete rubbish and you damn well know it. Provide a link which includes either the word "stupid" or a close synonym, or withdraw that claim, please.

      "I respectfully suggest to you that you are so far down the SNP rabbit hole that you are seeing opposition where simple reality exists."

      I don't think you have a clue what "respectfully" means. What the hell are you actually talking about anyway? What "opposition" am I seeing? Have I told you that I'm seeing opposition? Where did I do that?

      "Anonymous's statement was a true statement and it stands by itself"

      He/she/you/whoever we're taking about did not make a statement.

      "You and James Coleman remind me of her."

      This is utterly cretinous. Do you seriously expect me to take responsibility for the actions of a person I have never even met?

      "But we reserve our right to vote for who we like"

      Jesus. Did you, or did you not, see the bit where I said vote Green if the Greens are you favourite party? I helpfully put it in block capitals for you, but it seems even that wasn't enough.

      "By denying this you become fantasists."

      You're the fantasist, mate. You're inventing things I haven't said and then arguing against them.

      Delete
    12. No I am not Anonymous. I do not engage in sockpuppetry. I am muscleguy all over the web and have been for well over a decade. Again you are seeing things that are not there, another example of your paranoia.

      As for Anyonymous's statement not being a statement. Well words fail me. You are so far down the rabbit hole you are now denying the rules of the English language. Stop digging man.

      "This is utterly cretinous. Do you seriously expect me to take responsibility for the actions of a person I have never even met?"

      Where do I do that? I clearly stated that you and James Coleman remind me of her. In what way does that make you responsible for her? I am increasingly feeling I'm discussing things with people who do not speak a common language with me. Read what I write, I write what I mean, do not impute to me things I do not write. Again you are seeing something that manifestly is not there.

      As for your last statement, look in the mirror. You are the people seeing something that is not there in a simple statement.

      At Westminster the SNP are rightly being praised for straight talking, for saying what they mean. However it seems that some of their acolytes (do I have to emphasise the some?) are unable to recognise when others do it too. Grow the feck up.

      Delete
    13. "False dichotomy. As a non SNP I am free to criticise them where I think that is warranted. By you suggesting all such must be from a SLAB perspective and be SNP Bad you are outing yourself as a true believer and not a rational agent. I am not bound by anything that says I cannot criticise the SNP or have to think they can do no wrong. Suck it up."

      I have quoted the full text of your answer to me because it is so much nonsense.


      I did not suggest that you should not criticise the SNP. And I should clarify that I believed that you had outed yourself as the "anonymous" who made the stupid quote "the way their latest flock of supporters behave," a quote which you appeared to support and did not deny when I attributed it to you later. I said that the text of your comments implied that you appeared to have taken on board the MSM and SLAB's view that SNP = bad, bad, bad without the slightest shred of evidence to support that point of view. The step from there to you claiming that makes me a "true believer" in the SNP and irrational, is ridiculous, and is the usual claptrap we get from people who have an irrational dislike of the SNP.




      Delete
    14. Sorry James, I'm afraid I'm someone else. Less muscle, certainly.
      Having said that, I've been taking a browse through muscleguysblog's blog and I can recommend it as a very interesting read. Very eclectic.

      As far as my post went, I'm afraid any subtext is entirely of your own making. It's not exactly a complex or contentious statement. Or is it a proposition?

      Delete
    15. "Again you are seeing things that are not there, another example of your paranoia."

      I simply asked you to clarify, and as you'll see from an earlier comment, I wasn't the only one who was confused on that point. A simple 'yes' or 'no' would have sufficed, but I'm so glad you didn't miss the slightest excuse for another aimless rant.

      "You are so far down the rabbit hole you are now denying the rules of the English language."

      I think before you make yourself look even more ridiculous, it might be an idea to look up the word "subtext" in a dictionary. Just a thought.

      "I am increasingly feeling I'm discussing things with people who do not speak a common language with me."

      Yes, I've got that feeling as well. What the hell was the point of mentioning this random woman at this random meeting if you're not suggesting I and James are somehow responsible for the behaviour of "that kind of person"? If there was a point to that anecdote, please explain what it was.

      "Read what I write, I write what I mean, do not impute to me things I do not write."

      That would be really, really, REALLY good advice for you to follow yourself.

      "Grow the feck up."

      You're abusing the tolerance I show by allowing you to post this stuff on my blog. I'm going to invite you to stop abusing my tolerance. Please stop it now.

      Delete
    16. I fail to see how I can be clearer. You claimed Anonymous did not make a statement. I called you on that as a matter of linguistic fact. As for not understanding what a subtext is I have a science PhD and did two first year papers in English in my BSc. And don't change the subject. You claimed a simple English statement was not a statement.

      You are one who is insisting there must be a subtext in a simple statement. Without specifying what it might be I note.

      And finally I am the person who jumped in here to insist that people read what is written instead of imputing things that are not there. So you do not get to lecture me on that point. Remove the beam from your own eye first.

      Oh and thanks to you and James Coleman. You have crystallised one of the issues that caused me to help RIC rather than join Yes Scotland and the SNP. The only thing I have joined (RIC doesn't have a membership, we voted not to) is SCND. I joined 2 weeks before the 18th. They are a broad church and nobody there has told me what to think like SNP people like you.

      But don't feel bad, a dislike of enforced groupthink has stopped me from joining any political party in my life. But look on the bright side, I'm unlikely to pop up as an elected representative either ;-)

      Delete
    17. @Anonymous

      Thank you for the kind words about my blog. I really must update it, you may have stimulated me to do so.

      BTW it helps with the anonymous setting if you sign with a name of some sort. As when more than one person uses it then things get confusing. Alternatively the name/url option doesn't require you to put in a url and you can use any name you want.

      Delete
    18. I used to, but I found things got derailed into personal back and forth with accusations and counter-quoting, something that tends to happen a lot round here. Once you fail the local purity test then it's hard to have any kind of proper discussion.

      I was rather hoping this would help focus on the content of the post rather than the personalities involved. So much for that plan.

      To mangle a quote from the movie Wargames :

      Arguing on the internet is like thermonuclear war. The only way to win is not to play.

      Good luck with the blog, great variety of posts there.

      Delete
    19. "I fail to see how I can be clearer. You claimed Anonymous did not make a statement."

      Yes, I did.

      "I called you on that as a matter of linguistic fact."

      And, regrettably, you were incorrect to do so. Why are we still having this conversation?

      "As for not understanding what a subtext is I have a science PhD and did two first year papers in English in my BSc."

      So bloody what? I've got a degree in English Literature.

      "And finally I am the person who jumped in here to insist that people read what is written instead of imputing things that are not there."

      Do you plan to take your own excellent advice at any point in the future? It seems not. Your contributions to this blog over a period of weeks have been a masterclass in putting words into people's mouths and knocking down straw men. For you to then start telling people that they should listen to what you actually say is, shall we say, an interesting tactic.

      "They are a broad church and nobody there has told me what to think like SNP people like you."

      You see, this is why I do get to lecture you on listening to what people actually say. I have not told you what to think, as YOU DAMN WELL KNOW.

      "But don't feel bad"

      I don't feel bad at all. I just want you to stop abusing the posting privileges I give you on this blog.

      Anon : I simply asked you to make your point more directly, so it could be tested and challenged. If you're unhappy with that, by all means go elsewhere.

      Delete
  3. What about the under 25s, or even under 21s, or the 16-18 year olds? Why no increase for them?

    ReplyDelete
  4. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and swims like a duck the chances are; it's a duck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Meanwhile in crazy unionist land. JKRowling gets headlines for defending the muscle bound steroid abusing freakzilla S Williams against being accused of being "manly" on twatter.

    Strange that she managed to avoid the thousands of racist messages directed at Andy Murray from her beloved fellow unionists. Including death wishes and no doubt death threats.

    The woman is just as much a demented witch as J Stephenson. What benefit do we get in Scotland for her presence apart from slavering insults and colonial propaganda?

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Other than the fact that Stephen Daisley isn't identifiably a unionist,"

    Are you joking? Daisley crawled out from the Unionist supporting woodwork into the daylight a few months ago when he realised no-one was taking his support Indy act seriously anymore. (Apart from a few notable exceptions!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. To the "Anonymous" who cites emotive stuff like "bemoans..." apropos "the true believers" as Scottish nationalists (in and of themselves "bad" as opposed to British nationalists who you imply are in and of themselves "good").

    Are you a BritNat a-empirical smearer projecting in an ad hominem fashion as a cover for lack of solid argument and evidence"?

    Is your position as cultic as it comes across to be (?) in its rendering of the British state as beyond mortal criticism (especially by "Jocks'", currently, given the negroes, Indian sub-continent peoples, the Irish (almost), and a wheen of others ejecting your world view and bahookies from their doorsteps ?).

    Maybe not given the Unionist moral and intellectual record is so fossilized. But, a favor, please: Post under your real name and not behind cloak and dagger skirts,

    Thank you
    David MacGille-Mhuire (Daibhidh)


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. British Nationalists are no better than Scottish ones, and the fact you feel I'm the former because I criticize the latter sums up my 'for us or against point much better than anything I could manage.

      I'm neither. You assume that criticism of your side is defense of theirs, but ideology is as ever the death of nuance.

      Delete
    2. You are a British Nationalist. Why hide it?

      Delete
    3. No thanks. Nationalism doesn't appeal to me at all.

      The world span quite happily before Britain existed and will continue to spin quite happily once it is no more. Scotland too.

      Delete
  8. I find Daisley a bit if an oddity. His humorous writing / satire is excellent but his straight pieces tend to be woeful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As I see it, the problem here is with the way the question was phrased. It looks as if the poll was a set up to get the answer that the poll buyer/funder wanted.

    When the polling industry was ethical, such a question would not have been entertained. Alas those days are gone. That is why we need James Kelly to look in detail at these polls and give us a heads up on the problems.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Muscleguysblog

    But at the end this woman ripped into us because we were criticising the SNP, and was going on as though the SNP were responsible for the whole of the referendum

    The SNP were responsible for the independence referendum though; they had it in their manifesto for the 2011 Holyrood elections, and won a massive mandate for said manifesto. I cannot comment on the behaviour of the SNP member at the meeting as I was not there.

    ReplyDelete