You what Polly?

When on God\’s Green Earth did this number come from?

Oxfam reported food prices trebling in five years as incomes fell,

You what?

There is an Oxfam report out there stating that food prices could treble in 30 years, this is true. That\’s before adjusting for inflation of course.

But seriously, where on earth could anyone get a number indicating that food has tripled in price in the UK in the past 5 years? That\’s just argle bargle.

19 thoughts on “You what Polly?”

  1. It’s a number in the even-less-numerate-than-they-are-literate Gruniard. So, pretty much by definition, you can assume it’s complete bollocks unless there is strong supporting evidence from other than the usual suspects. (Why is this the paper of choice for the academic professions? Is it just the job ads? What about the THES?)

    Then it is Polly is pushing it – her understanding of matters factual and economic (note the separation for any pendants reading) is so close to nil it is indistinguishable. Even with a really big magnifying glass.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    This would be a scandal if George H. W. Bush did it. But as it is Polly, meh. Been there, seen that.

    It is clear she simply never shops. For food anyway.

  3. Oh, and she* clearly knows it’s bollocks too. Which makes it mendacious bollocks.

    The previous sentence contains a link to a Guardian article containing a link to the DWP poverty figures. The next sentence contains a link to a Guardian article about, although not linking to, the JRF report on housing.

    * She might be honestly misled and the mendacity the work of an editor. But history suggests otherwise.

  4. I disagree about Polly. She has good understnig of matters factual and economic. Just doesn’t accept them as they are if they don’t support the column she is writing. If she can misrepresent published data or even make up new stuff to support what she writes, even better.
    Think of what her role is – its not to provide boring information, its to generate a response.

  5. Perhaps the price of organic houmus has tripled at her local collective deli? Maybe that’s where she got the figure from.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Martin Davies – “Think of what her role is – its not to provide boring information, its to generate a response.”

    I disagree. She would be better at it if she was faking. You can only get that level of malignant evil ignorance if you believe every word of it – and your place among the Elect of the world who shall dwell in righteousness for ever after.

  7. It’s a bad year for Polly.

    She doesn’t like the monarchy, and the Jubliee celibrations were sucessful.
    Shes doesn’t like sport and the Olympics will be the big story of the summer.
    Shes doesn’t like facts, and they still keeping getting in the way of what se want to write.

  8. Were you so outraged by the food price error that you missed the bit where she gets worried about the number of people with below median earnings?

    I reckon this number will be 50%, and it’s hard to see what policies could make it fall.

    What she is dimly recalling is a measure of the proportion below 60% of median earmnings, which does at least have the mathematical possibility of varying.

  9. Bydefinition 50% of people have below median incomes, that’s what median is and so yes it would be impossible for any policy to reduce the number of incomes below the median. Well, any policy that doesn’t ensure that everyone has the exact same income.

    Polly complains that food prices have trebled? Wouldn’t that be a good thing since people are eating too much? Or is she going to treat us to another polemic on how we need more government regulation to both ensure that food is not too expensive and that we (or rather you guys) eat only the right quality, in the right amount?

  10. “It is clear she simply never shops. For food anyway.”

    Maybe that’s the answer – her housekeeper is quietly gouging her by claiming fake expenses when grocery shopping.

  11. It’s been changed now, to a third instead of three times. But really, what’s a factor of nine when something simply must be done.

  12. Hmm. Gone up by a third. In five years. Okay, what’s that? If my maths hasn’t borked, that’s a compound inflation rate of a bit under 6%. Or, looking at it another way, less than double RPI inflation (18.3% over the last five years.)

    And where does this come from?

    All this comes at a time when the poor face steeper inflationary pressures: food prices have shot up by almost a third in the past five years,

    Steeper inflationary pressures than whom? Rich people? Who have similar calorific and nutritional requirements? Or “than in the past”? Inflation is currently reasonably low, on a historical basis. Or is this just another Guardian “fact” which we supposed to accept because they are clearly more moral than us?

  13. “Steeper inflationary pressures than whom?”

    The use of the comparitive here is in order to render the statement meaningless, without appearing to do so. Without something to compare it with, the comparitive carries no adjectival weight, a fact tumbled to long ago by advertisers: to say something is big, when it is in fact small, is a falsehood, to say that it is bigger, when what it is bigger than is not stated, cannot be false, unless it is the smallest possible thing known to man. Ditto the superlative.

  14. @ SE #14
    It is part of the Grauniad’s belief system that everything the Tories do is an attack on the poor, so the rise in food prices only hurts the poor. I shouldn’t like to argue this point, they are unusually, *less* than 90 degrees from the truth since those on low incomes (not the same as “poor” but you can’t expect Polly to notice) spend a larger %age of their income on food than those on high incomes. The rest of her article is riddled with lie sand mis-statements due to ignorance.
    More than 20% of households have incomes less than 60% of the median. 18% of children live in these households. The %age has decreased from 20% under New Labour in 2009/10: so Polly complains that the government is increasing the number of children in poverty. LIAR 18% is *less* than 20%.

  15. everything the Tories do is an attack on the poor

    It would take a particularly blinkered socialist (is this a tautology?) to believe that the UK government, of whatever stripe, is responsible for food prices. But, I suppose, that is the raison d’être of the modern incarnation of the Guardian.

    The darling EU, of course, with the CAP, CFP and other three-letter idiocies, plays a much wider role – but they clearly can’t do any wrong, can they?

  16. She probably means the rate of annual increase has trebled in five years – which, inflation being what it is, is quite possible.

    These people don’t know any maths, remember. Derivatives are a mystery to them – they think they’re something evil that bankers do.

  17. @ SE #17
    She accuses IDS of increasing child poverty from 20% to 18%, so blaming Cameron for the increase in food prices is comparatively reasonable. Food prices would be higher in £sterling if we followed Plan Balls, but to recognise that requires thought and the ability to do multiplication and division.

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