The image and the impression

This post is not, essentially, about art.

Except the art of political deceit.

Until he was faced with the actuality, Malcolm had not realised just how wonderful a Gustav Klimt landscape could be. And then, in Vienna, in the Belvedere,  it hit him. Like a sledge hammer.


Similarly some graphs take a while for the eye to distinguish wood from trees.

Here’s one, lifted from the Economist web-site:

Look carefully. It says more, a lot more, than you at first think.

Before the Great Depression of 2007-10 Britain hadn’t done too badly. Admittedly, it was lagging the “Up like a rocket, down like the stick” wonder economies, those who had “freed their markets“, the likes of which “Gids” Osborne were telling us to imitate. Even so, even though the UK hadn’t gone all the way down the road to the Tory notion of untrammelled, unregulated, free-market capitalism, the medicine was apparently working. As late as the second quarter of 2010, it looked as if the UK economy could outgrow its debt problems.

And then it stagnated. Only two of those economies (Ireland and Greece) suffered a worse turn-around. The real cost was, and continues to be when a small reduction in unemployment transforms into the kind of horror only exceeded in the PIGS.

Lies, damn lies, and twisted statistics

Repeatedly Cathy Newman at Channel 4 News has done her Fact Checks on David Cameron’s claims about unemployment, and found them totally fallacious. See entries for the 14 September 2011 all the way to 25 January 2012 (last week). In each case the conclusion is the same (as right).

For those who cannot be bothered to click the hot-link, here’s the pants-on-fire conclusion:

David Cameron’s claim that employment has risen since the General Election of May 2010 has always rested on one crucial quarter: April-May-June of 2010.

In this quarter, there was a huge net change in private sector jobs of +311,000 (against losses in the public sector).

As the Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces these headline figures on a quarterly basis, and as the election fell bang in the middle of this quarter, Cameron has been able to ignore the matter of the separate set of “experimental” ONS statistics. This data indicates that the bulk of the jobs growth came before the election. You can read our previous FactChecks on this here.

However, today Mr Cameron didn’t make the distinction between public and private sectors. He lumped everyone together, to claim that there are more people in work now than there were at the time of the election.

For this overall figure, the ONS does have official statistics – it provides rolling averages that straddle the crucial second quarter of 2010.

These show that total employment for full-time, part-time and temporary workers over May-July 2010 was 29,145,000.

Yet in the last update, that number had fallen to 29,119,000, for the months September-November 2011.

That’s a loss of 26,000 jobs from the time of the election.

Full-time jobs are actually up 43,000, while part-time jobs have dropped by 70,000.

But don’t let the full-time figure distract you. Why? Because the number of people entering the job market during this time has continued to grow. And ONS data shows that since the election, more people are searching for part-time work because they can’t find full time work.

The number of people citing the reason for searching for part-time work because they could not find a full-time job, has risen from 1.12m to 1.3m.

The number of people taking on temporary employment because they can’t find full-time work has also risen from 570,000 to 590,000.

When will the Great British Public, even the Cameroon cheer-leaders at the Sunday Times, distinguish wood from trees?


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Filed under Conservative Party policy., David Cameron, Economist, economy, Ed Miliband, Europe, George Osborne, Ireland, leisure travel, politics, Tories.

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