Statisticians are a tool, not forecasters.

If we are going to use statisticians, we should also use common sense when applying those statistics. Politicians and TV presenters give out figures we take on face value that give the appearance of a massive change, because they are out of context. For example, yesterday on the news, they stated sales on the high street had gone down by 0.1%, and that sales on the Internet had gone up by 16%. The drop in sales of 0.1% while an indicator of slowing down is not going to worry the average viewer, but the rise of 16% in one area, given in the same sentence, without stating what the figures were based upon, could lead to a serious misunderstanding. Of course the Internet sales have risen, people are buying Christmas presents, while the figure for the High Street covers everything, so why not say so?

The party leaders are trumpeting, that they are going to reduce taxes to encourage spending, in order to get us out of the Crunch, something totally contrary to basic reasoning, or is it I who am a nutcase? The Web stated the government expects unemployment to reach the 2 million level by Christmas, and 56,000 young people will be unemployed, which is criminal at their stage in life. For starters this means that the cost of unemployment benefit will rise, the spending power of those unemployed will fall, there will be a knock-on effect causing people to hesitate before spending, resulting in more people being laid off, thus generating a cycle.

We get the impression government’s proposed policies are set in stone. Some might actually be legislated, but often they are withdrawn. These repeated switches can happen over a period of time, it is therefore hard for the individual, not only to know what the current situation is, but how to act. For example, the government has decided not to go ahead with a differential tax on gas-guzzlers, but the actual statement influenced some to think twice, who were purchasing new cars, and for domestic reasons wanted a large vehicle,. This is by far from being an isolated case. Government policy swings around like a weathervane in the wind of public opinion.

They are proposing to raise the threshold for inheritance tax to a £million. Brought up in the Home Counties, surrounded by large private estates with huge houses, and staffs, there was a totally unfair tax called Estate Duty. If two legatees were to die within a given period, the estate would have to cough up twice, which could leave the estate in ruin. Today the elderly save so that upon their death, the younger members of the family will benefit, therefore inheritance tax should be set so that average house values, not that of mansions, plus a reasonable amount of personal savings should determine the threshold. I suggest £500,000. This would maintain funds in the legitimate banking sector, and do a lot in these hard times for a family, presupposing they get on, otherwise there could be chaos. The government is dependent on inheritance tax to bolster its finances.

I think it was in Blair’s time that there was all the fuss about people like me living too long, and costing too much in pension costs. It was about this time that a lot of companies changed their pension arrangements to the detriment of their employees. Strangely at exactly the same time they were worried about obesity causing deaths among young people, and introduced school meals that didn’t work. This seesaw has persisted in a number of guises ever since, and now they’re complaining about the statistical increase in projected life expectancy, and at the same time giving vast figures of the number of people who are going to die through obesity. You can’t have it both ways. Also the guy who took his wife to Switzerland for euthanasia, irrespective of her religious beliefs, was, I believe, handed over to the police on his return home. Where has logic gone?

Categorized as General

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