Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Post, Post Truth

Apropos of yesterday's post on post truth, some examples from yesterday:

Firstly, I heard Ken Livingstone on the radio complaining that the proposed policy of combating election fraud by making voters present their passport, driving licence or a utility bill prior to voting would disenfranchise many voters, particularly those who are poor and would be natural Labour supporters. That sounds quite logical and is actually backed up by statistics (although not voiced in the interview, probably due to it being bleeding obvious). 

A Tory politician was then interviewed and, without any justification, said he disagreed - that's it - he just disagreed. In the interested of fairness (but not truth), the interviewer didn't question the politician's disagreement, despite the ONS website stating that 17% of the UK population does not have a passport and slightly fewer have no driving licence. The chance of these two groups overlapping by a substantial amount is non-zero, coupled with the fact that an unidentifiable percentage of those will be living in rented accommodation and thus very possibly not paying a utility bill either. 

The Tory politician is entitled to his opinion, but when every ounce of commonsense and available evidence says that opinion is plainly wrong, he should be made to justify it. Had this been a headline in my newspaper, it would have said; "Tory politician denies the bleeding obvious." Actually, there would be a lot of headlines of this nature in my newspaper.

Secondly, I spotted a headline in the Daily Mail on a news stand while waiting for Hay to  make a purchase. It stated that a new report had reached the conclusion that the UK would be £24m a week better off outside the EU. The report was by a group called Change Britain, which is actually the Vote Leave group under a different name and has attracted criticism for dropping Vote Leave's pledge to increase spending on the NHS. 

The DM was portraying Change Britain as an influential, respected and independent organisation, which it most definitely is not. Again, my newspaper headline would be; "Remnants of Vote Leave campaign still manipulating figures to back up false claims."


  1. My sister who is 20 years my senior has no passport, no driving licence or any document with her photo on it. She lives in a council house and would be able to produce a utility bill. I am not sure how she would prove her identity at the polling station, possession of just a utility bill is by itself no proof.

  2. Further to the Utility bill we get ours on-line and these printed out are not acceptable as proof of anything. I had to produce something for Bank/Income Tax/Money Laundering counter fraud. The copy had to be countersigned by our local village Mayor.