So a Remainer at the Treasury leaked a document claiming to predict what the economy would look like in 15 years time after Brexit, it assumes the EU would remain as it is now…clearly nonsense. The document was incomplete and didn’t include data that would show how Brexit might improve the economy but that didn’t stop the BBC et al from using it to tell us we’re all doomed #duetobrexit.
Curious then that the Bank of England’s Ben Broadbent on Wake up to Money, when asked why he couldn’t predict what the interest rates would be in one year, that’s one year not 15, he said …..
That’s why we meet eight times a year, because stuff happens.
‘Stuff happens’….‘stuff’ that they didn’t or couldn’t predict…In other words it’s almost impossible to accurately assess what any economy will do even in a relatively short period of time never mind over 15 years especially when the assumption is that nothing will change in the EU.
Also you might have noted the furore over crime going up according to police statistics whilst the British Crime Survey said it was going down. The BBC chose to use the police record as the gold standard whilst dismissing the BCS as useless. Might be because Corbyn is using the rising crime figures to attack May and according to the BBC that is a ‘crack in her armour’.
Whether crime is rising or falling is hugely important. It can affect how much is spent on policing and other related services, even how people vote.
How times change. When Labour was in power and the BCS showed crime going down but police records showed crime was going up with Tory MPs making political capital out of the police records the BBC, in the shape of Mark Easton in particular, went out of their way to explain the issues telling us that it was the BCS that was the gold standard, it was unchangeable and thus could be compared year on year and used over 40,000 interviews from crime victims as its basis. The police records however were totally unreliable, the methods of collecting and recording data changed and this meant there was no reliable means of assessing the true figures for crime from them.
So when Labour was in power the British Crime Survey was the gold standard as it showed crime dropping, when the Tories are in power the police records are the gold standard as they show crime rising. Funny that.
The BCS is completely unreliable…of that 40,000 or so crime report maybe 1,500 are actually used, and who selects which crimes are judged to be crimes? The Home Office…so hardly impartial or independent when drawing up crime figures. On top of that the methods and systems the BCS uses to record crime also change frequently thus making a lie of the BBC’s claim that it is consistent and thus trustworthy when it comes to comparing year on year. Naturally the BBC now see the error of their ways and have declared the BCS as a total waste of time…until Labour get in again and the BCS shows crime going down.
Here’s Mark Easton in 2008 beating the drum for the BCS:
Police figures go up and down depending on police activity. Crime may not be reported. But the crime survey gets round this problem by asking individuals what has happened to them.
It is regarded as the most robust survey on any subject in the country – tens of thousands of respondents and with a remarkably high completion rate.
And even in 2014 here he is again, telling us the police records are totally unreliable….
Now we know that the statistics watchdog doesn’t trust the police recorded crime figures, what faith can we have that crime really has been falling for the past 20 years?
The answer is plenty.
The UK Statistics Authority has said that police recorded crime data in England and Wales should no longer be designated as National Statistics because of accumulating evidence that they may be unreliable.
Recorded crime figures have always been a lousy way to identify crime trends.
So how can we be confident about crime trends?
The British Crime Survey (now the Crime Survey of England and Wales or CSEW) is a world-renowned invention. Using robust statistical modelling, it identifies far more crimes than are recorded by the police.
And yet today….
Labour, and the police, want to link an alleged rise in crime to Tory cuts to the police and the BBC obliges by making that link explicitly again and again whilst talking down the BCS figures…
The Crime Survey continues to show a reduction. But it’s increasingly clear that the survey, with a relatively limited sample, is not good at gauging emerging crime trends and offences which are small in number but great in impact, such as knife crime and robbery.
For now, the police statistics are a more useful guide as to what’s really going on.
Funny how the BCS, ‘world renowned’ and ‘the most robust survey’, is now so easily dismissed by the BBC when Corbyn goes onto the attack on crime figures and the BCS shows a fall in crime.