Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Can’t Add Up

One of the running jokes amongst political geeks like me concerns the seriously dodgy statistics and bar charts used by the Liberal Democrats in their leaflets up and down the UK. Don’t take my word for it, just do a Google search, there’s loads of it. Now, I’m not at all sure if our local variety are using the same orange handbook simply because I don’t get anything shoved through my letterbox from them, so I’m not in a position to judge. However, we do have one of their number taking issue with a newly elected Labour councillor accusing them of “dirty tricks” and returning the compliment.

I am then reading in the Ilford Recorder that the new Labour leader, Bob Littlewood [pictured], is disappointed that he has been given the elbow by the LibDems, who favour the company of the Tories. Apparently “Labour generated 4,000 more votes in this month's local elections than the Tories.” True that statement does not specify whether it means ALL the local elections, those in London, or just here in Redbridge, but it is fair to assume that he is referring to the local situation, wouldn’t you say? So, I checked. I download all the election results into a spreadsheet; I told you I’m a geek, so it’s pretty easy. Guess what? It’s nowhere near 4,000.

Labour – 129,086 votes, Conservative – 127,595 votes. Difference – 1,491.

A margin that is less than the votes cast [1,949] for the ineligible Labour candidate who has, it is reported, finally accepted the inevitable and resigned. But just to be fair I also checked Cllr Bond’s claim that the present joint administration represents 60% of the votes cast. It actually works out to 59.25%, but what’s three-quarters of a percent, or a rounding error among friends eh?

I’m also quite surprised that there has been no mention, to my knowledge, and no acceptance from the Labour group, that the total LibDem vote was 78,450. This is almost 61% of the Labour vote, but the LibDems only got a relatively meagre 27% of seats as compared to Labour.

So, while we are sitting here on tenterhooks awaiting the announcement of the make-up of the cabinet, we are wondering whether residents feel comfortable with Mr Bond having control of the purse strings [as is rumoured] as opposed to a schoolteacher [not employed in Redbridge] whose subject is obviously not mathematics.

As Dirty Harry said “Do ya feel lucky, punk? Well, do’ya?”


  1. B21 it appears whilst you have been pointlessly playing with spreadsheets that you have for once been slow on breaking the news. The new cabinet is announced on the Redbridge website http://www.redbridge.gov.uk/cms/news_and_events/latest_news/2010/may_2010/new_cabinet_announced_for_re-1.aspx

    Keep your eye on the ball B21 :)

    Mark Santos

  2. I knew last night, but wasn't in a position to divulge. It's just popped up on my feed reader. I now feel another post a generating.....

  3. and I have been even slower as I just found it too. Ho Hum

  4. And the wording in the partnership agreement, which reflects my comments elsewhere, was "commands the support of nearly 60% of those who voted on May 6th" - which I would say is an entirely fair and accurate way to describe an actual total of 59.26%!

  5. The item on the Redbridge website was certainly not there when I looked earlier today.

    On another item I said on 24 May that leaked information, if true, suggested that "...there's at least one grossly inept appointment". The words "at least" can now be deleted: there's one grossly inept appointment.

  6. Ian, there is a difference between "more than 59%" and "nearly 60%"!

  7. Yes, B21 - a difference around 0.9%. Is that so significant that it causes a problem? Surely mild exaggeration is acceptable, even if gross over-statement is not.

  8. Just set your parameters: to the nearest, one, ten, tenth, whatever.
    Maths is a bit like the Babel Tower of translations, you can easily get your knickers in a twist!

  9. So what's new about that party fiddling the figures? During their spell in (national) government, it had become a way of life.