13 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. I don’t agree. Not collating the stat won’t stop lefties from trying to do something about “the issue”. Indeed the Courageous State finds objective statistics an irritating obstacle to its wider trutth. The Great Leader of the Courageous State has made it clear that making it all up is preferable to the objective data.

  2. Ironman,

    But it’s not even particularly good data. The 10 year census dates from around the same time that GWR was founded, when most people were born, raised and died in the same place and did the same job in the fields.

    He gives examples of families that have a car, how many people take the train to work, and I’m pretty sure that I could work that out using DVLA and child benefit data, or by offering a fairly small amount of money to some companies, and it would be constantly up to date, and over the period of a decade, more accurate.

  3. I have slowly come to realise why the right are accused of being evidence free – they/you specifically aim to be evidence free, at least when it comes to government action. Which is consistent with the belief that central planning is impossible. I’m not snarking – just trying to get my head round when sensible scepticism about central planning turns into self-parody.

    So what sort of things should government give up trying to find out? Genuine question.

    Here’s a few suggestions:
    Number of inhabitants of UK;
    Number of immigrants/emigrants;
    Rate of inflation;
    Rate of unemployment/number of unemployed;
    Number of Inhabitants in electoral districts (we can have an 1832 style Reform Act every few hundred years as before);
    Age of population – useless because we cannot plan for likely pension liabilities/new schools;
    Outcomes for NHS hospitals – patients will just stop going to crap hospitals

    Any others?

  4. @Luke… Most of the things you list are not covered in any accurate sense by The Census – which is the topic of the posting…

    Those that are, tend to be relatively time-sensitive and a ten-year period is obviously far too long. Even the “number of inhabitants”, about the only piece of data that relies on the Census, is useless – it appeared to have been a great shock to all “our betters” that the population of the UK had increased by about 7 million in the last ten years.

    All the other items you identify can easily be gathered from existing systems.

  5. Tim A, not a bad idea. Plenty of data will already be collected by NHS, councils, businesses, government departments etc. Cannot recall the form well enough to say if there are questions on there that are entirely new data not held elsewhere.

  6. Luke

    I agree with you, but I think Pogo gave you a pretty good answer. Personally I’ve only started to give it any thought today, reading Tim’s blog. It does strike me that in this day and age the whole idea of a census is just outdated. Maybe that’s why we’re discontinuing it.

  7. Pogo, either I wasn’t clear, or I misunderstood the original post.

    I thought Tim was suggesting, albeit slightly tongue in cheek, that having more information only encourages the government to do more. Therefore the sensible thing is for the Govt to have as little information as possible, so it doesn’t keep meddling. So whether the census is expensive or accurate is beside the point.

    I’d say that’s counter-intuitive, but not necessarily daft. I was wondering how far he or any passing Hayek fans would take the point.

  8. Luke, I see what you mean… As an old cynic I’d happily support the idea of leaving government in the dark in order to stop it interfering in things that are really none of its business. Government seems to make a cock-up of most things it touches, with or without data. Depriving it might just discourage ita bit.

    To look at your points one by one…

    Number of inhabitants of UK; Done late, and almost certainly wrong, by the Census. Useless.

    Number of immigrants/emigrants; Ditto and any “real time” data on emi/imigration seems to be utter fantasy. Useless.

    Rate of inflation; Quoted to tenths of a percent, derived from figures at best accurate to +/- 2%. Useless.

    Rate of unemployment/number of unemployed; “Massaged” heavily for political purposes. Useless.

    Number of Inhabitants in electoral districts (we can have an 1832 style Reform Act every few hundred years as before); Makes no difference how accurate they are if it’s impossible to do anything about it thanks to political childishness. Useless.

    Age of population – useless because we cannot plan for likely pension liabilities/new schools; Despite having 4 years notice of the reception class sizes, the system is still caught out virtually every year. Useless.

    Outcomes for NHS hospitals – patients will just stop going to crap hospitals A sensible idea – if the ratings were accurate, or at least founded on some form of reality other than box-ticking.. Useless.

    So, IMHO, we might as well save the money spent on collecting statistics – the ones that are produced are largely useless and now we live in the age of “Policy-based Evidence” there’s no need for them anyway, politicians, basically, just know. 🙂

  9. recalling one of the first censuses – Caesar decided that the world should be taxed and required every male to take their family to the place where they had been born.

    On the other hand, the landmass of the UK i9s “fixed” to within the tolerances required for taxation. LVT is just so much easier to enact than any other form of tax.

    And if you want to know the population, there are birth certificates and death certificates and everyone’s passport is electronically scanned at an airport or maritime port. And the data can be cross-correlated with water usage records, as error-prone as they are thanks to leakage.

  10. “recalling one of the first censuses – Caesar decided that the world should be taxed and required every male to take their family to the place where they had been born.”

    If we’re getting Biblical, King David of Israel was tempted by Satan to count his fighting men and pulled down God’s punishment on his kingdom (NIV). No word on whether the Almighty is a Hayekian, though.

  11. There seems to be an assumption here that we are still living in a Socialist State .Very odd. You lot got rid of that years ago. And we’ve never felt the lack of it since!(Sarcasm).Privatising everything has worked wonders (ditto).Tell you what: privatise the Census. All that private sector expertise will produce just as unreliable results at only twice the price!

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.