back to article BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

As we all know, there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics". No doubt that line will be pulled out again to bolster the case for British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson against Sir David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, who has made it clear he's unimpressed with Boris's use of the stats. Norgrove criticised …

  1. astrax

    In the words of Homer J Simpson:

    "Oh people can come up with statistics to prove anything Kent. Forty percent of all people know that."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

      Thats the one!

      My partner is a statistician (even has a PHD), and at least twice a week, she points out to me Facebook posts.. and they always begin with "97% of people..", you look next time, it is always 95%..

      But I keep pointing out, intelligent people don't use Facebook, WTF is she doing on it!

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

        There's an advert for some sort of mascara on at the moment with (I think) Rita Ora on it, and it first states that "79% of 120 people agreed", then all of a sudden, it goes to "75% of 102 people agreed".

        But 79% of 120 is 94.8, and 75% of 102 is 76.5.

        Where do they get .8 and .5 of a person from? Is that biologically possible?

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

          Personally, I think I can forgive an advert under playing its stats by 0.17% and (hopefully) 0.49% for the sake of brevity.

          The changing sample size is harder to justify, unless 18 people didn't answer the second question.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

            I question 200 people, and find that 98 of then agree with me and 102 disagree. By discounting 100 who disagreed, I can state truthfully that, "98 out of 100 people, when asked, agreed ..."

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

          "75% of 102 people agreed"

          Actually it would more likely be "153 out of 204 people agreed" but that statistic looks like a a lot of people disagreed.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

            "Actually it would more likely be "153 out of 204 people agreed" but that statistic looks like a a lot of people disagreed."

            Like Ryanair. Which sounds worse. 2% of all flights cancelled. 50 flights per day cancelled. Marketeers and PR will fudge where they can, otherwise choose the "best looking" numbers, percentage or absolute, whatever they think plays best with the audience.

        3. Smooth Newt
          WTF?

          2 percent

          People make a big deal out of £350 million a week, or as I like to think of it, about a fiver a head. £350 million per week would be a lot of money if it was your personal income, but its not, it's in the context of public spending. It is a drop in the ocean in public spending terms, and I don't see why people get worked up about it. The Treasury estimates total public spending will be £814 billion next year. £17 billion is 2% of that, i.e. not very much at all. Would you turn your life upside down for a 2% pay rise?

          It isn't even 2% more for the Government to spend (or, more likely, fund corporation tax cuts) anyway, since lots of things that the EU pays for out of this - like scientific research and various agencies etc - will have to be replaced, plus the extra costs for increased customs personnel etc. The Government could "choose" not to spend it on these things, but in reality there is no choice - for example, who is going to approve new drugs if there isn't a shiny new British agency to do that (and ditto all the other EU institutions which will have to be replicated), the Government have promised to continue funding existing structural and investment projects, scientific research and farming subsidies, and all these extra border guards and customs people aren't going to work for nothing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Would you turn your life upside down for a 2% pay rise?"

            That is 2% more than the boss has given me for the last 5 years so, to answer you question:

            Yes, it would because I'd die of surprise.

          2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: 2 percent

            " who is going to approve new drugs if there isn't a shiny new British agency to do that"

            Why dont we just watch what the old agency in the EU does and go off their ruling?

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: 2 percent

              Why dont we just watch what the old agency in the EU does and go off their ruling?

              That would presuppose that drugs being sold in the UK post-brexaster will all be approved in the EU. In reality, if there isn't a sufficient regulator in place in the UK, it will mean the market being flooded with unregulated and/or untested pharmaceuticals.

              That prescription you just picked up from your pharmacist - is that actually what it says on the label, or is it a knock-off tablet imported from China made from talc and formaldehyde? Is it a well-tested drug that has been evaluated for safety, or is it something your GP prescribed you because he/she got a kick-back from a pharmaceutical rep so that they can gather data using you as a guinea-pig?

              I think most people would agree that medicines need regulating, and that the regulator needs to have the remit to regulate those medicines within the jurisdiction that they are being used. This basically leaves us with two choices - regulate those drugs ourselves, or join in with the EU regulator, which enjoys economies of scale, and harmonisation across an entire continent. I know which one I'd opt for...

              1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                regulation

                I agree medicines need regulating

                Just do what they do , hell , pick a country with the best safety record and use their "approved list".

                We dont have to get involved.

                We just use thier rules , dont have to be in the eu for that.

                Its duplication of effort

                and money

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 2 percent

                Why dont we just watch what the old agency in the EU does and go off their ruling?

                What, and let the EU agency get the drug company kickbacks?

          3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            People make a big deal out of £350 million a week

            As of Q1 (the first quarter of) 2015, UK government debt amounted to £1.56 trillion, or 81.58% of total GDP, at which time the annual cost of servicing (paying the interest) the public debt amounted to around £43 billion (which is roughly 3% of GDP or 8% of UK government tax income)

            Whenever people band around big figures of govt spend / loss / need , I always like to compare to national debt interest payments.

            3.6 BILLION per month , whilst may be only be 3% of GDP , still seems like a bit of a waste to me, and when I get into power , we're all eating spam sandwiches until its paid off!

          4. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: 2 percent

            But the point is that the 350 weekly megaquids were never there in the first place, at least, not in the way the UKIPpers said it was.

            As I understand it the deal was floated as "350 mq the EC makes us spend on unnecessary foreign stuff that we will get back every week", when the reality is "The EC makes us spend 350 mq per week on stuff we will have to buy anyway, Brexit or no Brexit".

            I dunno how anyone fell for this nonsense in the first place. When was the last time anyone was there when a politician actually gave public money back without closing all the town libraries or selling off the ambulances (while somehow keeping the same number of fact-finding missions to Cancun and Barbados)?

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              "I dunno how anyone fell for this nonsense in the first place. "

              Me either.

              But a lot actually did. Both in street interviews and of the Leave campaign leadership this is the "Big lie" that went over well.

              That sound you hear is Joseph Goebbells punching the air and chanting "Ja! Ja! Ja"

            2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

              Re: 2 percent

              The argument is that £350M will be returned to "UK control". I think that is true but the estimate (guess, lie etc) of actual addition to money spent in the UK seems to be between about £250M and zero.

              Bring back Michael Miles and take your pick. I doubt we will really have a rigorous answer until 2030 or so.

          5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            " I don't see why people get worked up about it." IE the £350m on the NHS

            Because the leave campaign have admitted it was the reason people voted leave?

            Because it was (and is) blatant bu***hit that was denied (by the leave campaign) within a day of it being seen on the side of the bus?

            Because instead of hiding or removing it they left this on the side of the bus, despite it being blatant bu***hit?

            Because leave voters might feel they'd been played like "A banjo at an Ozark hoe down," to coin a phrase?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

      The only people who got statics right were the researchers on "Family Fortunes", they always asked 100 people and you got the numbers of people that gave a particular answer.

      Can't argue with that sort of accuracy.

      They asked 100 people "Describe Boris Johnson with one word."

      The top answer with 90 was nob followed by a word I am unable to show due the family nature of the show.

      1. peejayReg

        Re: In the words of Homer J Simpson:

        I'm a bit surprised by that top answer. I'd have expected knob but perhaps the answer reflected Boris's Etonian education?

  2. ukgnome Silver badge

    Damn Statistics

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      And misquotes

      Even Paris would read the original before deriding with a misquote.

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        It wasn't a misquote - it was an amalgamation based on the fact that this is purely about statistics, Lies and damned lies never came into it.

        Also it's about BoJo, so what I probably should of written is this

        Ah Ah Ah well huff puff waffle snarf snarf damned statistics wot wot fuzzy wuzzy statistics bah

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Headmaster

          "should of written"

          <points and laughs>

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            <points and laughs> Issue with written? or do you think it should be wrote?

            Both are grammatically OK, maybe you left school a long time ago.

            Although "should HAVE" would of been the actual grammatical correction on this occasion.

            Pointing and laughing is all well and good, but if you can't be arsed to complete the tutelage then you are an appalling pedant and an equally appalling grammar nazi.

            1. Alister Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Although "should HAVE" would of been the actual grammatical correction on this occasion.

              Un-fucking-believable...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                and yet... you blink... and it's still there!

                p.s. I've just forwarded the last thread to me dea wify whose guter proper job (teach)

  3. James 51 Silver badge
    FAIL

    The only thing that Gove ever did that I was greatful for was stabbing Bojo in the front and the back at the same time. I know it's hard to believe but he would be even worse as PM than May is. The problem with lying your way to the top is that sooner or later you encounter a situation were the lies make things worse and he won't be able to change tac when that happens.

    1. Keef

      "The problem with lying your way to the top is that sooner or later you encounter a situation were the lies make things worse"

      Doesn't seem to be bothering Trump, not yet at least, but I live in hope.

    2. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @James 51 Re"....he won't be able to change......."

      No he won't. Mendacious is his middle name. He has a very clear pathology when it comes to his distant relationship to the truth much exhibited in his smug selfsatisfaction when he believes that he has gotten away with it regardles of what the rest of us think.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: @James 51 Re"....he won't be able to change......."

        Lies, as Boris Johnson is fond of, are self-advantageous in the short term. They get YOU personally ahead. But they're bad for the system as a whole. Boris Johnson would looooove to be Prime Minister and much as I don't hold Theresa May in high regard, Boris Johnson would find a way to stab a Jellyfish in the back.

        As Ian Hislop responded when asked if Boris Johnson was a smart person pretending to be a buffoon, or a buffoon pretending to be a smart person: "yes."

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: @James 51 Re"....he won't be able to change......."

          Give him a meaningless job like Mayor of London, where he can entertain us with his bumbling manner.

          Keep him away from actual sharp knives, pointy scissors, staplers and bleach.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: @James 51 Re"....he won't be able to change......."

            Keep him away from actual sharp knives, pointy scissors, staplers and bleach.

            And cable cars and zipwires and bicycles and bizarre post-Olympic structures. Oh yes, and bridges.

            Better yet, just return him to private life. He can then get back to the things he does best, like philandering and threatening old friends, away from the public eye.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @James 51 Re"....he won't be able to change......."

        @Arctic fox

        "He has a very clear pathology when it comes to his distant relationship to the truth"

        Does that comment apply to BoJo or Trump? Insufficient data to decide...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bojo has his faults but at least he's not Corbyn. Jesus, May's bad but Corbyn would be the ruination of us all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bojo has his faults but at least he's not Corbyn. Jesus, May's bad but Corbyn would be the ruination of us all.

        And there, in a nutshell, is the calamity the UK faces. Not a single, intelligent, high calibre individual anywhere on the front benches of Westminster, now, or in the past twenty years. All of them pissy PPE, history or language graduates from Oxbridge, who understand nothing, have not an ounce of talent, not the slightest empathy or understanding of public sentiment, indeed, they have a total disregard of public opinion if they think they can get away with it. Not to mention utter cowardice when dealing with anything controversial. Smug, privileged beneficiaries of the status quo (and this includes the opposition).

        On the basis of the political ruination they've rained on this country, I'd have all colleges of the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge privatised, and sold to the highest bidder, to do with as they wish.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          "...pissy PPE, history or language graduates from Oxbridge, who understand nothing..."

          Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel were both research chemists.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Both Thatcher and Merkel at least recognised climate change when they saw it, unlike the Lawsons and Redwoods of this world.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel were both research chemists.

            And Thatcher, for all her faults, stuck to her beliefs, and was at least largely honest, unlike today's politicians.

            Her failing wasn't that of all the bullshitting PPE graduates we have now, it was that she was a ruthless capitalist and believed only in the market, whilst claiming that there was 'no such thing as society', thereby doing a pretty damn good job of breaking society for the advantage of the well-off. In other words, a Tory.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              claiming that there was 'no such thing as society'

              That particular soundbite, much loved by Grauniad readers, is frequently taken out of context. It was said during a debate on the NHS in which someone said that if we wanted a better NHS "society" had to pay for it, and Maggie pointed out that when it comes to paying bills there's no such thing as society, because every penny comes out of individual taxpayers pockets. It's as true today as it was then.

              1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Unhappy

                "because every penny comes out of individual taxpayers pockets. I"

                IOW every penny of "Government" money is in fact a penny of taxpayers money.

                Which is a fair point.

                However the actual quote does give quite a good sense of her inability to connect with human beings.

                Something which May seems to share, although frankly I think Thatcher was somewhat smarter.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          I'd have all colleges of the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge privatised, and sold to the highest bidder,

          Er, who do you think owns them now? (hint, it isn't the state)

        3. nijam

          > PPE

          "Politics, Philosophy, and Economics". Or, as the rest of us say, "unsubstantiated opinions".

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Politics, Philosophy, and Economics". Or, as the rest of us say, "unsubstantiated opinions"

            But very convincingly argued unsubstantiated opinions (which require no machinery IRL to implement).

            And as we know in software if the system doesn't have to produce the correct answer it can run as fast as you like.

            And a system that does not even have to exist can be be as cheap as you like, as fast as you like and have as much capacity as you like while being as easy to develop as you like.

            The clusterf**k that is "Universal Credit" looks much more understandable once a few of these types got involved, does it not?

      2. Solarflare

        Bojo has his faults but at least he's not Corbyn. Jesus, May's bad but Corbyn would be the ruination of us all.

        You got that right buddy. Zany ideas like "lets fund our underfunded, critical services properly" and "let's treat people better" are just madness and must be stopped!

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Zany ideas like "lets fund our underfunded, critical services properly" and "let's treat people better" are just madness and must be stopped

          Or "let's just say whatever people want to hear to get votes, we can make our excuses later"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Zany ideas like "lets fund our underfunded, critical services properly"

          For some value of "properly" that translates to "with imaginary money from my very own magic money tree", that is.

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Actually AC, as a sovereign nation with control over the money supply this is exactly what the UK has. What would happen if we used it is another story. Of course if companies like Google and Amazon started paying tax at the rates they'd be paying if they were based in the UK and not in magic money island just off the shore of far, far away the funding gap would be much smaller.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            What, like the £1 billion that the Tories found in their 'magic money tree' to bribe the DUP.

            And after Amber assured us that there was no such thing!

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              What, like the £1 billion that the Tories found in their 'magic money tree' to bribe the DUP.

              It is worth noting that the DUP have not yet received their windfall from the magic money tree, and that it will require an act of parliament to shake that tree so that they get it. IIRC, the bill for this is due to be debated next month. No doubt this will pass, as the DUP aren't going to vote against Christmas, but it should be interesting watching the Maybot trying to justify it in the House.

          3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            For some value of "properly" that translates to "with imaginary money from my very own magic money tree", that is.

            I seem to recall at the not-so-distant last election, that one party had a fully costed manifesto, and one did not. The party that did not then proceeded to pull a billion quid out of their collective arse to gift to a bunch of science-denying cultists in order to desperately grasp onto the last threads of power.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Hey downvoter - read this, and then show me where the Tories costed their manifesto promises:

              Manifesto costs

              Otherwise, you're down-voting me simply because you don't like being told inconvenient facts that risk invalidating your world-view...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                read this, and then show me where the Tories costed their manifesto promises

                You're using a document from the labour party website to "prove" that they had a costed budget and the Tories didn't?!!

                What next, a paper from BoJo's website to prove that Brexit can't fail?

              2. werdsmith Silver badge

                @Loyal Commenter

                "Fully Costed".

                You seriously believe that propaganda? If so why are you selective about the propaganda you choose to believe? Even after the post election back-tracking that happened.

            2. IDoNotThinkSo

              I can "cost" a Bugatti, but that doesn't mean I can afford to run one.

            3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Coat

              "to a bunch of science-denying cultists "

              I think they would describe themselves as following the "One True Religion."

              Mine's the one with a copy of "The Apocalypse Codex" in the pocket.

          4. PapaD

            The magic money tree

            We've previously established that the Tories currently control the magic money tree, which is why, when there was no cash for anything, they were still able to pony up £1billion to bribe the DUP into backing up their minority government.

            Tbh, I'm not much of a Corbyn fan, but what I'd really really like to do is prosecute any politician, or newspaper, that lies - granted, that would be almost all of them - I've seen articles in newspapers claim one thing about Corbyn that was so easily shown as bullshit that it was laughable, and then other newspapers do the same about May

            I've seen a Scottish edition of a newspaper have the exact opposite headline and slant as the English version of the same newspaper, purchasable within a mile or two of each other.

            It seems our politics is all about media and lies, used to further drive the people apart until neither side can understand the other (because all the information they are given about the other side is just made up rubbish).

            Personally, i'd much rather we all be given the facts, and left to make up our own mind, but unfortunate that wouldn't sit with the people in charge, who want us polarised and unable to come to a consensus.

          5. Paul 195

            Look up "quantitative easing". Now tell me there is no magic money tree.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Treat people better

          As far as Corbyn is concerned that doesn't include Venezuelans.

      3. Richard Boyce

        "Bojo has his faults but at least he's not Corbyn. Jesus, May's bad but Corbyn would be the ruination of us all."

        I immediately thought, where's our Angela Merkel. Then I remembered the last chemist we had.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Just a small reminder to all you contractors that down voted the Corbyn post: it was a Labour government that came up with IR35. The fabulous and fair hand of Mr Gordon Brown.

      4. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Most of the policies in Labour's last manifesto wouldn't be out of place in one written by Angela Merkel.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Mike Richards Silver badge

      The only downside was that he didn't topple over and crush Gove once and for all.

  4. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    The closest thing to a . . .

    . . . Donald that we have?

    Never, ever admit any wrongdoing or errors ever.

    It is always everyone else who hasn't quite got it.

    Please - no PM job for him -- London has yet to recover.

    At least in his current main job he is regarded as a twat by the rest of the planet.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: The closest thing to a . . .

      Fun Fact: We don't actually know if Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor of London. They used electronic voting and the ORG (Open Rights Group) managed to get itself brought on board to monitor the integrity of the elections. I suppose saying "no" would have looked pretty bad. ;)

      Their conclusion? Multiple cases in which the votes could have been tampered with and a lack of measures that would prevent it.

      1. Jonathon Desmond

        Re: The closest thing to a . . .

        I voted in both Mayoral elections that BoJo won and both times it was pencil on paper old fashioned style voting. Not electronic.

        I understand that scanning was used to tally the counts, but that's hardly electronic voting.

        Besides the competition was Red Ken - so, no competition to speak of.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: The closest thing to a . . .

          >>I understand that scanning was used to tally the counts, but that's hardly electronic voting.

          It is. The moment you introduce a link in the chain that is electronic and subject to someone changing a 1 to a 0, that's electronic voting. You can't say "well, only the counting was electronic". As Stalin remarked, that's the part that counts. ;)

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: The closest thing to a . . .

            There was both electronic and hand counting of the paper ballots. Any discrepancy large enough to make a difference would have been very obvious.

            Any candidate could request that any block of votes be recounted by humans or machines, for any reason.

            That mayoral vote was fine.

            I quite liked Bojo as mayor. Little to no power, good entertainment, kept him out of real politics.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: The closest thing to a . . .

      ". . . Donald that we have?"

      I heard Boris described as "a Poundland Trump" somewhere recently.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU must be joking

    Boris of course was speaking the actual literal truth.

    If I give £35 to someone who gives me back a luncheon voucher for £16, when I actually wanted to buy a new pair of shoes, that is not net benefit. It's net loss of £35.

    The only people who lose are the person issuing the luncheon voucher, who is out of a job, and the restaurant owner who is part of the luncheon voucher scheme, who sells inedible muck anyway.

    What has the EU ever done of a positive and useful nature that could not have been done without its existence?

    Not much. Its all bluff and blah. CERN would still be there. Airbus industries, multi role combat aircraft...possibly even a Euro. Harmonisation of standards is simply common sense.

    Brexit is sadly showing the EU up for what it is, and that is a lot less than it pretends to be.

    Its got good propaganda though - that's where a lot of the money goes. telling people how wonderful and important it is.

    And they believe it, too.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: EU must be joking

      No, you had a deal with a restaurant and you paid 19 pounds and got 35 pounds worth of food. You can't then stop paying 19 pounds and claim you've saved 35.

      The EU became the framework for funding, standards harmonisation, and so on. Now the UK is leaving the club it doesn't get a say in funding, standards harmonisation, and 1001 other things. On the other hand, clubs cost money to run and you've saved club membership. It's pretty logical.

      But the UK actually likes most of the things in the club and now it's trying to get access to them without joining the club. That's quite difficult to do and probably turns out more costly than just having a weekly subscription to the club and getting unlimited use of the facilities.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: EU must be joking

        Dan, I think you need to read through what you wrote again - you appear to have gotten things muddled a little...

        To correct your analogy, this equates to a deal with a restaurant where we pay £35 a week, for which we get a discount so it's actually £25, and we get £10 worth of food. The remainder goes towards others in the scheme who need more food than we do. Net spend is £15.

        Or, in actual terms: We pay around £350M (last month it was £327M), get a rebate of 12% (which the BBC reported as £75M... a wonderful example of not sanity checking their calculations - Considering Thatcher got us a 20% discount initially, that's still a maximum on £70M), and we get around £106M back through subsidies (again, using the BBC figures). Net contribution (using the BBC figures, and this seems about right despite their £75 M rebate claim): £148M.

        The EU has two net contributors (I believe): The UK and Germany. However, as the EU has to agree a 7 year spending plan (this puts a cap on spending, and is what dictates the maximum the EU can bill members (which is where the £350M a week comes from - that's the maximum we can be asked to hand over) - so they'll just tighten their belts a little, then go looking for ways to get the deficit (most likely through charging the UK £175M+ for access to the common market).

        Does that sound more realistic?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EU must be joking

          >The EU has two net contributors (I believe): The UK and Germany. However, as the EU has to agree a 7 year spending plan (this puts a cap on spending, and is what dictates the maximum the EU can bill members (which is where the £350M a week comes from - that's the maximum we can be asked to hand over) - so they'll just tighten their belts a little, then go looking for ways to get the deficit (most likely through charging the UK £175M+ for access to the common market).

          The EU has more than two net contributors - the Dutch actually pay most per head of the 11 net contributors. From the Torygraph today - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/how-much-do-we-spend-on-the-eu-and-what-else-could-it-pay-for/

        2. tfewster Silver badge

          Re: EU must be joking

          @PatientOne Thank you, yes, £148M is a more sensible figure to discuss in the context of "£350M available for the NHS".

          Though you don't touch on what we get for the £148M (CERN, standards etc. as others have stated), it makes the EU look like an even better bargain

    2. Detective Emil

      Quite. What has the EU ever done for us?

      [YouTube].

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: EU must be joking

      What has the EU ever done of a positive and useful nature that could not have been done without its existence?

      As a consumer or as a business? As a consumer, the only reason you have what you presently get in a supermarket it Eu.

      Starting with:

      1. Goods themselves - the cost is so low today only because there are no customs to ship them across. I suggest you look up what was the cost of strawberries and flowers out of season 40 years ago. Hint - it was so high that it justified shipping by air from South Africa. Try that now (even with the reduction in cost of shipment by air due to technological improvements).

      2. Infrastructure to ship the goods across the continent.

      3. A recurring influx of cheap labour every 5 years or thereabouts since the late-70es (first Spain, Portugal, then Eastern Europe) to harvest and process the goods. Both locally in Britain and abroad.

      You will see the difference yourself next time you shop after BrExit and after the tariffs and delays at the border come up. You may hate or like BoJo, but he unintentionally said something honest recently: "Europe does not need us". That's right BoJo. There is no Prosecco and Audio pipe dream. Even you (albeit unintentionally) finally admitted that. While Mr and Mrs Meldrew may like the idea of "vegetable, how long do you boil this one", I would not be so sure about the younger generation of Joe average consumer.

      As a business, Eu changed the way business is done.

      It practically obsoleted verticals. Everyone is buying from everyone. That has its downside and upside. A monstrosity like British Leyland can no longer exist in this world. At the same time a small or medium manufacturer which would have never gotten any piece of the action in the age of monstrosities can compete as a supplier somewhere in the supply chain. The downside is that it has to be something high tech due to UK cost of labour. UK has chosen to exit this game. Any hopes that it will re-establish verticals are rather far-fetched. They cannot compete against a pipeline built around contract/lean manufacturing. It will, however, immediately kill all British SMBs which play the game at the moment and put all the people they employ on the dole.

      As a side effect that feeds back to consumer too - the complexity and raw cost of a modern car for example is orders of magnitude above a Morris Minor. The only reason a Golf today costs LESS than a Morris Minor in inflation adjusted money is because the manufacturing is no longer vertical and Eu has allowed that to happen. Once again, the moment UK exits the game (and especially the moment it decides to "protect" whatever it has left as car industry) it will learn this one the hard way.

      And so on. While for the poorer Eu countries, Eu has delivered mostly tangible improvements - roads, etc, the improvements major economies have seen are more subtle. They are however present and the only reason we can afford the standard of living we have today is exactly that - the demise of borders and the resulting demise of moribund verticals protected by the state.

      1. DontFeedTheTrolls
        Childcatcher

        Re: EU must be joking

        "A monstrosity like British Leyland can no longer exist in this world."

        You mean like Porsche (VW) Group. Or Mercedes-Benz. Or BMW. Or PSA Peugeot Citroën. Or Fiat.

        It was not the size of the organisation, but the incompetence of the Management and the Unions that led to the downfall. We might still have had a car industry if it hadn't been nationalised.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: EU must be joking

          We might still have had a car industry if it hadn't been nationalised.

          Forty percent of the car industry was nationalised because the component companies were too small to survive on their own in the face of Japan's rise. When parts of British Leyland were demerged and privatised in the 1980s most went to the wall. The fractions which survived are now mostly in foreign ownership.

        2. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: EU must be joking

          The British car industry wasn't nationalised for fun. It was nationalised because it was failing. Badly.

        3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: EU must be joking

          You mean like Porsche (VW) Group.

          Check where Porsche obtains:

          1. Gearboxes - 60%+ are contract manufactured

          2. ECU - 100% contract manufactured

          3. Bumpers and plastic body parts - 100% contract manufactured, some of the processing is done in UK

          These are just the bits I know, I suspect it is 70%+ contract manufactured across the board.

          It was not the size of the organisation,

          Size != full vertical integration. What Eu has enabled (and what Leavangelicals fail to grok) is the demise of the verticals in favour of lean/contract manufacturing across the board. Leyland sucked so bad not only because of mismanagement, but because it sourced so much stuff internally including some seriously inferior parts - f.e. electrics. If you compare Leyland to today's Porsche, Leyland had 70%+ vertical integration. Porsche is the exact opposite - under 30%.

          Leaving the Eu erects the small, but sufficient trade and business barrier to stop participating in this. This is jobs and LOTS of blue collar jobs - most of the few that are still around.

      2. pxd

        Voland for PM

        Not sure what you do in your current position, but should you ever care to run for public office, you have my vote. Thank you for the clearest, most well-reasoned statement, either for or against EU membership, that I have seen to date. pxd

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EU must be joking

        Hint - it was so high that it justified shipping by air from South Africa. Try that now (even with the reduction in cost of shipment by air due to technological improvements).

        Had a look at where the veg in your supermarket comes from these days? Asparagus air-freighted in from Peru is only one example.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EU must be joking

        As a business, Eu changed the way business is done.

        Almost right. The EEC changed that, not the EU. The EU just added unnecessary central control and planning to a functioning economic system, which then started to stagnate.

        From 1973-1995 (EEC) average european growth was 2.4% per year. UK was 2.4, US was 1.1

        From 1995-2003 (EU), average european growth was 1.85% per year. UK was 1.8, US was 1.9

        That's what the EU has done to us.

    4. Cynical Observer
      FAIL

      Re: EU must be joking

      @AC

      Decorum stops me from shouting "Horse shit" but it certainly doesn't stop me thinking it.

  6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Meh

    How exactly did you spend an entire article complaining about Johnson's figures when you admitted in the first paragraph that he was correct in his wording?

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Meh

      Because the wording is totally misleading.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        RE: Sabroni

        The wording is exactly correct. We don't have control over the rebated money as we're told how to use it. Add it all up and it's £350M, just as BoJo has said.

        1. Mark 110 Silver badge

          Re: RE: Sabroni

          "We don't have control over the rebated money as we're told how to use it."

          We are not told how to use it. That is bollocks.

          We agree how it is used with our partners in the EU following democratic processes. Don't believe everything you hear without actually getting the facts - particularly if you read it in the Mail / Express / Sun (spit) - or it comes out the mouth of a politician trying to manipulate your views.

          1. SundogUK

            Re: RE: Sabroni

            "democratic processes"

            You are joking, right?

            1. Mark 110 Silver badge

              Re: RE: Sabroni

              ""democratic processes"

              You are joking, right?"

              Nope:

              - There's a democratically elected parliament that must ratify most EU regulations and budgets.

              - The treaties themselves are signed by the democratically elected leaders of the members.

              - I think all the members get ratification from their own parliament of treaty changes.

              Which bit do you think is undemocratic?

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: RE: Sabroni

                Which bit do you think is undemocratic?

                Democratic is not the same as representative. With 720-odd MEPs drawn from 28 countries the chances of any of them representing anything but their own snout in the trough is nil. The unelected European Commission decides what to do, and the members of the parliament club rubber stamp it because they'll never be able to agree on anything different.

                1. Mark 110 Silver badge

                  Re: RE: Sabroni

                  "Democratic is not the same as representative. With 720-odd MEPs drawn from 28 countries the chances of any of them representing anything but their own snout in the trough is nil. The unelected European Commission decides what to do, and the members of the parliament club rubber stamp it because they'll never be able to agree on anything different."

                  And that differs from the UK system how exactly? At least the EU parliament uses a system of PR so most peoples votes are actually represented in the parliament.

                  Unlike the UK system where most people didn't vote for most of the representatives. And we seem to be going through with this silly Brexit thing even though only 37% of people voted for it.

                  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    Re: RE: Sabroni

                    And we seem to be going through with this silly Brexit thing even though only 37% of people voted for it.

                    By that method of calculation only 33% voted to stay. That's on a par with the 350m figure...

                    53% of the 72% who cared enough to vote voted for it, which is a bigger turnout, and a bigger majority, than any European election in the UK, and most UK parliamentary elections. If you claim that the numbers make the result invalid, then you must accept that most UK elections in the past 100 years were even less valid.

                    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

                      Re: RE: Sabroni

                      Just doing my own little statistics play.

                      It is a pure and unadulterated statement of fact that a minority of the electorate voted for Brexit.

                      You can choose other numbers if you wish - which may also be true.

                    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                      Re: RE: Sabroni

                      If you claim that the numbers make the result invalid, then you must accept that most UK elections in the past 100 years were even less valid.

                      AFAIK, general elections don't tend to exclude people from voting on the grounds that the vote is only advisory, despite the fact that those people are likely to be the ones most affected by the outcome of the vote.

                      The referendum was, however, conducted on these terms (the bill for the referendum itself says it is only advisory, and referendums in UK law cannot actually be legally binding) and British citizens resident overseas for more than a certain amount of time (I think it was 8 years, but stand to be corrected) were excluded from voting.

                      So no, I'm not claiming it's the numbers that make the referendum invalid, I'm claiming that the referendum itself was defined as being invalid, and that the result was skewed by excluding a couple of million people who would almost certainly have voted the other way. To top that, I'll add that the leave campaign was based on a set of lies that those promoting it had been practising for 30 years or so, whilst the remain campaign was so ineptly run (through central Tory government) that there was never any possibility of most people being properly informed about what the vote actually meant in the first place.

                      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                        Re: RE: Sabroni

                        exclude people from voting on the grounds that the vote is only advisory

                        Sorry, you're seriously claiming that making a vote advisory in some way prevents people from participating? That has to be the most ludicrous sour grapes comment on the referendum that I've seen so far.

                        British citizens resident overseas for more than a certain amount of time (I think it was 8 years, but stand to be corrected)

                        15 years. Was 20, but Tony Blair decided that expats were more likely to be rightwing and reduced it. Cameron promised to remove the limit, but didn't.

                        there was never any possibility of most people being properly informed about what the vote actually meant in the first place.

                        That's perhaps the most damning comment about modern politics. You're seriously claiming that the vote wasn't valid because people weren't correctly told how they should vote by either side? I can see why you like the EU model, keep 'em voting until they get it right.

                        If people haven't got the interest and time to learn about the issues and make their own minds up then they shouldn't be voting. It's not a playground game, it's a serious matter.

                        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                          Re: RE: Sabroni

                          Sorry, you're seriously claiming that making a vote advisory in some way prevents people from participating? That has to be the most ludicrous sour grapes comment on the referendum that I've seen so far.

                          No, I'm claiming that the government justified excluding those couple of million ex-pats from the vote on the grounds that it was advisory and non-binding, so they didn't have to act on the result. If they had passed legislation form the start to make the vote binding, they would have had to include all British citizens, not just those it was convenient to poll. Arguably, they may also have had to include other EU nationals resident in the UK too, who also got no say in a major decision that directly affects their future.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: RE: Sabroni

                            If they had passed legislation form the start to make the vote binding, they would have had to include all British citizens,

                            That doesn't stand up. Elections and parliamentary votes in Westminster are legally binding, yet there's no obligation to consult citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years. There's no connection between the referendum being binding or not, and the eligibilty of non-residents to vote. I think you're clutching at straws to find reasons to ignore the vote, because you didn't like the outcome.

                            Ask youself, honestly: if the vote had gone the other way, and leavers were complaining that it was invalid for that reason, would you support their claims?

              2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: RE: Sabroni

                Which bit do you think is undemocratic?

                I'd go for the bit where our parliament gives us very little say (one vote every five years or so) and no control over how our money is spent. A parliament which is arguably much less democratically accountable than the institutions of the EU, as it is currently led by a monomaniac who is hell-bent on subverting the representative democracy of the parliament and ruling by edict.

                Of course leaving the EU will make this more democratic. I am also the last Tsar of Russia, and have this lovely bridge to sell if you're interested...

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: RE: Sabroni

                "Which bit do you think is undemocratic?"

                The ratification process.

                A constitutional change on such a scale ought to receive a popular supermajority* (as, of course should a decision to leave). It's possible that if Maastricht and Lisbon had been properly explained they would have received that. It's possible but I suspect it wouldn't have happened and that very different treaties would have had to be negotiated.

                That means that there is a democratic deficit that Leave was based on. However it doesn't justify the ensuing rhinectomy.

                *Being told to vote again until you get the right answer doesn't count!

            2. batfink

              Re: RE: Sabroni

              Damn Mark110 beat me to it.

              Would I guess that you didn't vote in the European elections then? Can you name any of your MEPs?

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: RE: Sabroni

                Would I guess that you didn't vote in the European elections then?

                Correct. I live in a non-UK EU country and have not registered to vote for that pointless sinecure of a Parliament.

                Can you name any of your MEPs?

                No.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: vote for that pointless sinecure of a Parliament.

                  but bitching about it feels great! :)

          2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: RE: Sabroni

            It's not like the EU is forcing us to spend the rebate on chocolate teapots. The money will be spent anyway, probably on the same things that the rebate would cover anyway.

            If we had full and complete control of everything (which we're aiming to achieve by closing our eyes and pretending we're the only ones in the room), I'd expect the percentage of that budget that would be spent differently would be fairly miniscule.

            Boris, the human clickbait.

          3. Keith Langmead

            Re: RE: Sabroni

            " "We don't have control over the rebated money as we're told how to use it."

            We are not told how to use it. That is bollocks."

            Whether we're told how to spend or it's agreed democratically how we have to spend makes little difference, unless you're willing to stop funding all of those things in the UK that we currently use that rebate for, you can't claim to suddenly have extra cash. For instance some of it comes back to us as farm subsidies... we'll still need to find that money from somewhere unless there's some magical way to stop paying farmers without them all going out of buisness over night.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "We don't have control over the rebated money as we're told how to use it. "

          So the words are correct but the sentence is a lie?

          Yes, that sound like Bozzer at work all right.

    2. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Being correct in his wording does not mean that what he said wasn't intended to mislead. It was populist rhetoric using a truth to support a misleading argument. He was using the statistics to claim that leaving the EU will give us more money to spend - all experts agree that this is unlikely to be true.

      Will the UK get full control over how the £350 million is spent?

      Yes

      Will the UK have a net £350 million more available to spend?

      No. In actuality we are likely to have less to spend than we do now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >No. In actuality we are likely to have less to spend than we do now.

        I've seen figures suggesting that the currency devaluation is currently costing about £300m per week. It is near enough to wipe out any gains from not paying contributions.

        Add in the "divorce bill", and we are probably looking at an overall loss to the UK budget of £350m per week for the next 2-3 years.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        sadly, voting is based not on actual discussion of actual figures, it's based on, well, pretty paint job of a bus. Again, and again, and Britain is no exception.

        On one hand, hurrah for humans for being so consistent over the course of history. But then - why can't we so f... consistent at applying reasonal thinking?!

        by the way, I would understand why people who originally, in 1970s, voted to join the EEC, an economic club, now voted out, because the club is becoming something else entirely. But then, it wasn't the reason people voted out now...

    3. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Being 100% technically accurate and 100% misleading is the holy grail for a politician, isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        sadly, being 100% accurate, or even 1% accurate, doesn't matter (regardless of the misleading bit). Clearly, you can be inaccurate, wrap your shit in shiny paint and people will ignore the smell and vote for it anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          people will ignore the smell and vote for it anyway.

          At least they got a vote, which is more than we did for the particularly malodorous turds laid in Maastricht and Lisbon.

    4. codejunky Silver badge

      @ Tigra 07

      Being correct isnt enough. It must also pander to the preconceived conclusion of the reader or it is a lie. Personally I would prefer him to stop chucking that figure around and still think his official leave campaign was geared toward making the remain campaign look good.

  7. The Axe

    Words not stats

    Boris is right, Jane is wrong as is Norgrovery. The wording is the importantime bit not the figures. Control is the key.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Words not stats

      Control is the key

      Maybe, but some of us - frankly - trust Westminster to do sensible things with the money even less than we trust Brussels. The amount of "objective one" (or whatever it's called this month) funding that has flowed into parts of the UK that will simply disappear (note there have been no clear promises from Westminster about carrying on this funding) post Brexit is embarrassing.

      What I haven't seen yet is a proper calculation of the real net profit / loss of stepping outside the club, even one that makes assumptions about things like tariffs that haven't yet been decided (though I think More or Less did something around the time of the referendum?). Whatever the actual figure, one thing for sure is that it will be substantially less than £350M/wk. My guess is that it'll be below £100M, but I'm basing that on nothing more than a gut feeling.

      M.

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Words not stats

        You haven't because no one knows and you won't because it will be politically unpalatable.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Words not stats

        My guess is that it'll be below £100M, but I'm basing that on nothing more than a gut feeling.

        My guess would be that it might be in the ballpark of £100M, but if you look at it in any other currency - or purchasing power parity - it'll be closer to minus £2900M. Did you see how the pound tanked after the referendum?

        The pound in your pocket is worth about 80% of what it was at the beginning of last year. Spread across £772 billion of public spending, that means what the government gets to spend now - measured in terms of what it will actually pay for - is about £3 billion per week less than it was before the referendum.

        So yeah - if Boris has a plan to claw back every penny of that £350 million, he'll still be looking at a humungous hole in the public purse.

  8. Peter 18

    Journalists

    Sadly Johnson, like Gove, comes from a journalism background: Being accurate doesn't matter. All that matters is getting attention. Sadly when real solutions and substance are needed, their approach, like detailed plans for Brexit, falls apart.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Journalists

      "real solutions and substance"

      Are things he's not worried about in the slightest. He's involved in the classic power struggle, he wants to rule us like the kings of old. Executive power to amend the stuff he's "taking back control" of without asking either us, or parliament. And like the Kings of old, he's scheming, plotting, lying and cheating to get the crown. I'd like a general election please, early next year, before they ruin anything else : it's time for a change.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Journalists

        "I'd like a general election please, early next year, before they ruin anything else : it's time for a change."

        Much as I agree with you, in the greater scheme of things, the "other side" already see the UK as having a weak negotiating position due to Mays snap election and loss of her slim majority. Having another election any time before Brexit along with the uncertainty of our position changing and possibly having to restart some of the negotiations would almost certainly be far worse than leaving the existing crowd to muddle along as they are.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Journalists

          Having another election any time before Brexit along with the uncertainty of our position changing and possibly having to restart some of the negotiations would almost certainly be far worse than leaving the existing crowd to muddle along as they are.

          Personally, I'd far prefer Kier Starmer (a man actually qualified for the job) to be negotiating with the EU than the total imbecile that is David Davis. Davis has made no noticeable progress in the negotiations, so even if we started again in a years time and rewound the negotiations right back, Starmer would probably get us more progress in a week than Davis will have managed in a year.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Journalists

            "Starmer would probably get us more progress in a week than Davis will have managed in a year"

            That assumes there's something of value to be obtained.

  9. Old Englishman

    The EU demands something more than £17bn a year of the UK. Divided by 52, that comes to £350m a week. In fact we have "rebates", and there is also EU spending back in the UK. That brings our net contribution to £200m.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are also various industries that are based in the UK because it is part of the EU. Other EU countries are now bidding to be their relocation centres. So there will be a loss of revenues and earnings that must also be factored in to the cost of leaving the EU.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Yes, but since we're told how to spend the money that comes back Johnson's wording is correct that we will have full control of that £350M

      1. Can't think of anything witty...
        Stop

        No it's not.

        there are 3 main factors at work here:

        1) the money that we owe the EU each week

        2) The rebate that was negotiated

        3) money coming directly back into the UK from EU schemes

        there are also a bunch of other benefits which may/may not be benefits / costs - but lets look at the direct parts first.

        the figure for 1) is 350 million (or it was - it actually varies due to the economic output of the country, but we can use it to start).

        the rebate means that figure is reduced - i think by about 70.

        IMPORTANTLY, it is not the case that we sent 350 and get 70 back - we only send 280.

        we then get additional money back to spend on specific areas, as we pay into an EU budget for a program and then (sometimes) some of that money is spent in the UK. Estimates put this at about 50 (i think)

        my basic understanding of how accounting works suggests that in fact, we would budget to spend the 280, not the 350. Counting like Boris does means that you are effectively spending that money twice.

        To paraphrase Tim Harford:

        "You walk into a shop to buy a TV with a price of £350. But there is a deal on at the moment, meaning that the TV is only £280 and you can get 50 of netflix vouchers. the "true" asking price may be £350, but you only need to spend £280 to get it. you then get an additional benefit of the netflix vouchers but have to spend that on netflix. You decide not to buy the TV and spend the money on something else. How much money do you have to spend on the other thing? Answer: £280, not 350".

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        "we're told how to spend the money"

        Yes but, no but...We spend the money on agreed programmes. e.g. Agriculture, infrastructure, regional development, which we would want to spend the money on anyway. And which May and friends say they will continue to pay. So are they going to be 'in control' in the future? Or if they're going to NOT spend the money on the schemes they've promised to continue supporting, then perhaps they should have told us before last June?

        1. Fonant

          Re: "we're told how to spend the money"

          We spend some of the after-rebate money on approved schemes, but the rebate is taken off the full-price EU contributions and is ours to do with what we will. We already have full control of the rebated amount - it's not part of any EU contribution.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36040060

      3. jabuzz

        No the £350 million is wrong. Firstly it is a figure that the UK has *NEVER* sent rebate or no rebate. It is currently way less than £350 million without the rebate. Secondly there is no dictation on what we send the rebate on. So aside the £350 million figure being wrong even without the rebate, with the rebate it is even more wrong and misleading. Sure we would have control over the majority of the money, but actually a significant chunk is going to have to be spent on replicating things that are taken care of by the EU, and putting in new customs arrangements (think a lot more like 5000 extra staff).

        Also while we theoretically gain control, in reality at least for some considerable period of time we will have to keep the same levels of spending in the same places as the economic dislocation of not doing so would be ruinous.

        Of course BoJo does not care, because he is sufficiently wealthy that it matters not to him.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "rebate"

          Yes, "rebate" implies that you spend the money and then later apply for and get some money back. What happens in reality is we get a discount, ie pay less than the full amount.

          I do wish the media would report this properly instead of parroting the politicians misleading PR.

      4. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        No. Boris is outright lying. It is flatly wrong, a lie, and if he wasn't a politician the ASA would have given him a ferocious gumming.

        It is 280 million (approx.)

        We have a discount voucher (instant rebate).

        Consider this:

        I join a club where the membership fee is normally £3.50 per week.

        I am special so I get a discount and pay £2.80 per week.

        If I leave the club, I have saved £2.80 because that's the amount I actually pay.

        I also can't use the members' bar anymore so my bar bill doubles...

      5. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Except that if Tories have control over how to spend extra money, it won't be on the NHS, Schools, Pensions, or Welfare. It will be on kickbacks to jails, banks, financiers, and offshore tax funds.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The EU demands something more than £17bn a year of the UK. Divided by 52, that comes to £350m a week. In fact we have "rebates", and there is also EU spending back in the UK. That brings our net contribution to £200m."

      And not forgetting that some of that net contribution pays for EU institutions that we used to have here and closed down in their favour and will now have to rebuild from scratch.

  10. John Lilburne Silver badge

    After you take the net figure having subtracted all the subsidies paid to agriculture and other EU payments to various schemes. There remains the additional costs of managing things that once were managed by the EU and now you have to do yourself. Like for instance ensuring that you have a workable import/export system in place, and that you can administer your trade deals between 190+ countries. They'll also have the additional expense of doing immigration control of EU citizens, etc. They'll need to manage the legal system that they are reclaiming from the EU and they'll need to police those laws too. The extra administrative costs they are taking on are substantial.

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Agree - those additional costs to the taxpayer could easily be more than £350 million a week. Theres also the increased costs to private business of trading with the EU - those costs will be deducted off the tax take.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Extra costs?

      Exactly - how much will it cost to create and run a Medicines approval agency, which will have to duplicate everything that the existing EMA does. At the moment we pay a proportion of the cost, now we'll have to pay the whole thing.

    3. Burb

      Apart from all of these concrete additional costs that you mention - and I have no idea how much they will add up to - unless we do manage to get all of these magical trade deals that offset the inevitable drop in our exports to the EU, the loss of inward investment in manufacturing that is currently predicated on our being in the EU, the loss of various jobs in the City and so on, it is likely that we will suffer a permanent drop in our GDP compared with what it would have been. IIRC, it would only need to be a 0.6% drop in GDP to wipe out the so called savings from our contributions.

  11. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Background

    This BBC Article tries to explain the £350 million rebate claim.

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36040060

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worth noting that Norgrove is hardly some neutral mandarin, either. Sir David served as Thatcher's private secretary and her personal policy wonk between '85 and '88. As such he's the brains behind such far-left and europhile policies as the Poll Tax, Right to Buy and opposition to the ERM.

    So when he tells you you're being a numerically illiterate partisan hack, you'd better believe he knows what he's talking about.

    1. Scary Biscuits

      Another worthless appeal to authority. Apparently because Norgrove was a civil servant when Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister, he's clearly far right. Actually, he was never 'her personal policy wonk' but her private secretary (think Bernard Manning in Yes Minister) responsible for organising her diary and personal correspondance.

      1. JamesPond
        Devil

        (think Bernard Manning in Yes Minister)

        @Scary Biscuits

        Keep taking the tablets.

        I have to say I never saw the politically incorrect Bernard Manning aka comedian and night club owner on Yes Minister or Yes Prime Minister. The Bernard Woolley character however was PPS to the PM.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "think Bernard Manning in Yes Minister"

        Sorry, but that exceeds even my imagination.

  13. Dr Stephen Jones
    FAIL

    Orwellian logic

    Johnson's original quote:

    "And yes – once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology."

    Jane Fae:

    "[Boris] is technically right: the UK will take back control of £350m which it could, if it chose, apply wholly to the National Health Service."

    Do you see the problem here?

    The ONS thought he was saying something else. Jane then waffles on, padding out the word count by giving The Register what it wanted, presumably, some Boris-bashing.

    "Pointing to the small print – to the scale on the left, to the explanatory footnote – simply will not do. "

    It is quite sufficient here since the ONS misread Johnson's quote, or didn't read it at all.

    Post-truth journalism. Orwell would be proud.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Orwellian logic

      Except we won't "take back control" of anything, for a two key reasons he's well aware of:

      1) We don't pay that much in the first place; it is well established to be more like £200m

      2) His maffs don't take into account the net loss due to slowing growth, predicted by the OBR and IFS and built into the treasury's models (i.e. official government policy -> his official policy)

      It would have been *technically* correct to say "we will no longer write a cheque to the EU to the tune of £200m a week" but that is not the same as "we will get control of that £200m back when we stop writing the cheque".

      That is why this is misuse of official statistics, that is why this is a breach of the ministerial code.

      Besides, we all know fine well what he was really saying - no one is here is so naive to believe Boris Johnson, famously sacked multiple times for presenting fabrications as fact, is a literalist and a technocrat.

    2. john.jones.name

      Re: Orwellian logic

      yes she was in advertising after all... Gruen would be proud !

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Technically right?

      Maybe I misread: I thought this wasn't Register saying that Boris is "technically right", it is Boris saying that Boris is "technically right". And he isn't.

      The sticker price of British membership of the EU is/was, let's say, £350 million a week. At the same time, the EU spends money on benefits to British activities such as agriculture, so the money comes back to Britain.

      That isn't the "rebate". The rebate is that we got a perpetual discount on the membership price, theoretically "thanks" to Mrs Thatcher but let's face it she probably spent the money on wars and abolishing British industry.

      So there isn't a £350 million cheque being written to the EU in the first place. It's £275 million, which is still handy money but a lot less.

      You can see why a careless or stupid person would think that the EU costs Britain £350 million that's the price tag. But it's not what we pay. Why a more intelligent and better informed person would keep saying that it's £350 million, is, clearly, that they expect to benefit by lying. For instance, by keeping up the lie, some people may believe, or may choose to pretend to believe, that it's the truth after all. Although it isn't. And then there's the "appearing to be careless and stupid" thing, that you acknowledge if you admit the mistake

      I say Boris Johnson isn't as stupid as he seems, and that's rather frightening.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah the old adage.

    How do you tell if a politician is lying?

    They open their mouths.

    Now for some simple logic.

    If we took out more than we paid in then what about the following questions?

    Do you think the EU would want us to stay?

    Would the remain campaign not have put it on a bus as well?

    I am not taking sides, the 350m claim should have been scrutinised and explained that it was net which then leads to another question.

    Why didn't the press want to take up the ridicule it deserved?

    Well, maybe it was this quote,

    "I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. “That’s easy,” he replied. “When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.”

    https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/anthony-hilton-stay-or-go-the-lack-of-solid-facts-means-it-s-all-a-leap-of-faith-a3189151.html

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      the 350m claim should have been scrutinised and explained that it was net

      I think you mean gross - nett is the £200 million (and falling).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good point, I got my net and gross the wrong way round, I could be a politician.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Net was about £160m at the time

      It's far less now because our economy is in the toilet.

      Why is it that we get downgraded every time Theresa gives a speech?

  15. ntevanza

    Affirmative Action

    Boris the clearest sign yet that the Tory party should finally consider limiting their affirmative action admission policy giving undue preference to airheads and bimbos. Those people have valuable contributions to make in other areas, like bake-offs, internet video and, in this particular case, shampoo advertising. Sadly, the Tories' worthy experiment in inclusion has shown that those skills do not always readily translate well into public policy.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £350 million is currently closer to £320 million (it varies).

    The rebate is ~£100 million and that is money the UK government never passes to the EU, so has control over already.

    Then there is EU-directed (but UK-implemented, e.g. DEFRA) spending in the UK of ~£100 million that comes out of our actual contribution.

    So, we get to take back control of ~£220 million, of which almost half is currently spent on UK farmers, science, etc and would no doubt be better spent on shoring up our financial services industry (again).

  17. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Boffin

    88.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    (Vic Reeves)

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Yesterday's man is a busted flush…

    Sorry for the mixed metaphor…

    Bojo lost the Tory leadership election last year and probably knows he won't get another chance. But he's getting board being a Minister with not a lot to do: most of the main aspects of the Foreign Office have been given to other departments.

    There's not a lot of mileage in the £350 million a week line anymore, viz. UKIP's collapse in the recent general election. The point of the article was to stir things up before May's heavily trailed speech in Florence at the end of the week. After that Bojo is likely to act as a stalking horse for someone like Rees-Mogg once it becomes clear in October that wheels have come of the Brexit bus: no progress on citizenship and no progress on the budget mean no chance of a trade agreement before March 2019.

  19. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Lies, Damn lies etc

    Let's face it, this is a Tory politician we're talking about, so "Damn lies" is the only bit that applies.

    [I say 'tory' politician, but politicians of many other parties are just as bad. The only difference is that a varying proportion of Labour, Liberal, SNP, PC MPs are actually reasonably honest and morally sound. ALL tories (and kippers) lie as naturally as breathing, and not lying is as hard as holding their breath for 10 minutes]

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Lies, Damn lies etc

      I've always found Jacob Rees-Mogg very open and honest about his beliefs and policies.

      1. Spacedinvader

        Re: Lies, Damn lies etc

        May be true but he's an absolute cunt.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Lies, Damn lies etc

        But are you certain the eighteenth-century throwback is telling the truth? I remain to be convinced that he isn't a secret Pastafarian with shares in Durex

      3. JamesPond
        Unhappy

        Re: Lies, Damn lies etc

        "I've always found Jacob Rees-Mogg very open and honest about his beliefs and policies."

        I disagree, JRM uses comedy, whimsy, supposed eccentricity and latin to hide his vile far-right, racist, anti-equal-rights and anti-climate change views. He has similar political and theological leanings as the the NI DUP and the US Tea Party. He is an exceedingly dangerous politician who we ignore and laugh with at our peril.

  20. Sam Liddicott

    -50% / +100%

    The Boris figure is right to within -50% +100%.

    The actual amount is only an issue to those who don't care about the principle at stake.

    The EU cost could reasonable be as high as £660M per week: http://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/costs-and-liabilities-associated-with-the-european-union.

    But even if there were some idiots who somehow thought the referendum was on an NHS budget increase of precisely £350M per week, there were plenty of others who actually read the question on the ballot paper before voting.

    Even if the figure were not in dispute, as it was not on the ballot it would be part of the budget, debated in parliament (Gina Miller and the remainers would like that) and in fact could still be granted even now!

    On the other hand, Ted Heaths lies were lies in principle, not of quantity, but none of those remainers who get so very excited about "lies" care about that, it was before their time!

    http://www.theeuroprobe.org/2017-040-the-1971-fco-301048-heath-knew-it-was-treason/

  21. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Not backing up the buffoon but as he has set a precedent, I hope the Stats head honcho well be commenting on the numbers and claims by all other pols and civil servants.

  22. HmmmYes Silver badge

    I dont know why people are getting so excited about Europe.

    The EU is just a slush fund for farmers.

    Stop spending ~50% of a bunch of useless, corn chewing dossers - yes, I come from a rural background and know farmers - and Ill start getting a bit more excited.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      @HmmmYes

      A slush fund / insurance for farmers, the EU may be. Let me inquire: do you eat food?

      Even producing a product that everyone needs, farming isn't a great way to make money when your production is at the mercy of weather, pestilence, and the Berkeley Hunts literally riding roughshod over your goods in production in pursuit of what is now theoretically an imaginary fox. Pokemon Go with added horse crap.

      Subsidy uses tax to keep farms running to put food in our supermarkets whether each individual farm has a good or a bad year this year, which sounds smart to me.

      1. HmmmYes Silver badge

        Re: @HmmmYes

        The reason farming isnt a great way to make money is that the price of land has been bid up to use up the subsidy and the (UK) tax advantages.

        Treat farmign like a normal business rather than a expensive arm of the DSS - remove subs, remove the farming-only tax treatment and - TaRah! - you'll see farmers make profit.

      2. JamesPond
        Pirate

        Re: @HmmmYes

        @Robert Carnegie

        " in pursuit of what is now theoretically an imaginary fox."

        Not theoretical at all, definitely real fox. Driving between Whitby and Pickering (North Yorkshire for you saavaners) at the start of September and found myself stuck on a single-track road with a pack of hounds and riders chasing across it. Up on the hill was a definite real fox. So much for a hunting ban in the UK.

    2. John Lilburne Silver badge

      The EU is just a slush fund for farmers.

      Not quite true. It is a slush fund to mega agribusiness mainly located in the UK.

      For years the EU have wanted to cap the amount paid per farmer rather than having it based on acreage. The UK has always opposed this as the UK farming industry is dominated by just a handful of companies that own most of the industry. IOW the UK government has been supporting a transfer of money to the mega rich.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/farm-subsidies-blatant-transfer-of-cash-to-rich

      This is why BREXIT will NOT result in a reduction of payout to Tory sponsors.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BoJo is very right

    Let's use the EU figures:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/external/html/budgetataglance/default_en.html#united_kingdom

    The UK contributed €18.21bn after the rebate. It also collected €4.27bn in customs and farm trade duty of which 25% was retained as a collection fee and €3.20bn passed on to the EU. This means (including accounting for our rebate) the UK sent €21.41bn to the EU. Today's exchange rate is €1 = £0.89. This means the UK sent £19.05bn to the EU, i.e. £366M a week.

    On exit, we regain control of that money. Of course, some flows back into the UK in CAP and project payments, but the UK government does not control that money.

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: BoJo is very right

      "but the UK government does not control that money."

      I refer you to my earlier comment that our democratically agreed representatives agree how that money will be spent under treaty and budget. The UK also contributes to organisations like NATO, the UN, various Commonwealth organisations - we have very little control how they spend the money either.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: BoJo is very right

      "On exit, we regain control of that money. Of course, some flows back into the UK in CAP and project payments, but the UK government does not control that money."

      And a lot of those "EU mandated" projects are in the regions. Would you trust Westminster to spend it there or re-direct it to Crossrail or the Home Counties?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BoJo is very right

        I never stated in my original email about whether the UK controlling the money over the EU was a good or bad thing. Just pointing out that Boris was completely and totally correct in what he said.

        I know as well as the next man that the net figure (which is relevant in other contexts) is lower.

        Interestingly, when you think about the income tax that you pay. Do you net off the services you receive from the government? The healthcare you receive? The roads you drive on? etc. If you don't, then it is hard to complain about using the gross figure we hand to the EU as a country. You hand your income tax to the government and they then control it. If they reduce your income tax, or abolish it entirely, you might have to pay more for your healthcare and other matters, but you control that money.

        In answer to the other question that was raised though, would I trust Westminster more to spend that money than the EU. The short answer is yet. The EU has a very long history of mismanaging its money and failing to reform. The CAP is the best example yet of that. And frustratingly, as a UK citizen, I have no influence over that spending. My government gets to send one representative to the commission, who is over-ruled on virtually everything. Tony Blair gave back half the UK rebate to the EU in return for an agreement to review the CAP, which crucially has not happened. At least if I disagree with the way the UK government spends my money, I get to be involved in direct elections to remove that government.

        But frankly none of this matters. All I did in the original post was show the actual figures, as published by the EU, to prove that BoJo did not lie. I have actually read BoJo's column in the Telegraph, and I found it refreshing that he was taking the decision the British people made and looking for ways to make the most of the situation. Rather than constantly talking the country down. Should you disagree with that, you are quite within your rights to send your own 4000 word position to the newspaper and hope they publish, or to ask elected representatives with the same viewpoint as your own to do the same.

        I find it disturbing though on the focus on this figure. Which incidentally looks worse and worse as we go forward. The OBR has published estimates for payments going forward. 2019 when we are scheduled to leave the EU, Gross is £375M, Net is £300M. By 2022, Net exceeds £350M if we aren't out. Yet where is the focus on the downright scaremongering lies from project fear? We are supposed to have 500,000 more unemployed by now - yet employment levels have gone up. Each family is supposed to be £4000 worse off, yet they are better off. The economy was supposed to have crashed, yet forecasts of the economy are all up. The mass exodus of the city is not happening, in fact in the latest survey of financial capitals of the world, London is in first place, and even further ahead of NY than it was pre-Brexit vote. Project Fear lied left right and centre, and Cameron even used government money to send around Project Fear predictions. It failed. It is time that people, quite frankly, accept the result and get behind their country.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BoJo is very right

          >Each family is supposed to be £4000 worse off, yet they are better off.

          Really? In relative terms my salary buys less than it did last year. With inflation currently at 2.6% and the average salary increase this year 2.2%, most people are worse off this year than last.

          In absolute terms, someone on the average UK wage (~£27.2k) could buy 35600Euro on May 2016 (average exchange rate May 31 2016 1:1.31). To buy 35600Euro today will cost you ~£31.5k. A person earning the average salary in the UK is now ~£4,300 worse off than they were a year ago compared to the Eurozone. In USD, its about £2,200. However, you want to sell it, we have all had a pay cut compared to our colleagues and peers doing the same job outside the UK.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BoJo is very right

            "A person earning the average salary in the UK is now ~£4,300 worse off than they were a year ago compared to the Eurozone."

            Which is, of course, only an issue if you go and spend your entire salary in Europe. Whereas Boris is not guilty of cooking the statistics, you definitely are.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BoJo is very right

              >Which is, of course, only an issue if you go and spend your entire salary in Europe. Whereas Boris is not guilty of cooking the statistics, you definitely are.

              But we are in Europe. Maybe not the Eurozone, but we are still part of Europe. And our money can buy us less stuff now than we could buy one year ago and less stuff than people who were on equal wages to us last year. So we are worse off, and compared to people in Europe someone earning the average salary is £4,300 worse off. Or in this global world of cross-continent business units should we only compare ourselves to our colleagues that just work in our country?

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: BoJo is very right

      "Of course, some flows back into the UK in CAP and project payments, but the UK government does not control that money."

      I recall on the morning the result was announced a Leave-supporting MP whose constituency was receipt of EU funding was demanding that UK gov replace that funding. So, as far as that particular Leave campaigner was concerned (a) control meant only that it be spent in the same way as if the EU were still in charge and (b) that money wouldn't be going to the NHS.

  24. kmac499

    BOJO'S ELECTION RESULT.

    BoJo was elected MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip with 23,716 votes (a moderately safe Con seat)

    a Fair old majority of 5,034 over the next candidate

    or even more fairly 50.8 % of the Vote.

    (from here on I approximate)

    But wait the turnout was 66.8% so of the approx 69,000 eleigible voters only 46,000 or so could be arsed to turn out at all.

    Iin fact out of 69k electors he got 23k votes or about 33% of the total possible.

    So using the BoJo statistical method 2 out of 3 people don't want him to be their MP.

    I trust Boris you will do the honourable thing and respect the overwhelming combined will and apathy of your electorate..

  25. Adam 52 Silver badge

    "the ONS line of responsibility is direct to Parliament"

    As of last week, Parliament gave control over Parliament committees to the Government. So that independence is now gone.

  26. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Trollface

    I notice

    that Boris threatened to resign and the pound got markedly stronger straight away. As though the markets felt that however bad Brexit is, Boris is just going to make it worse.

    Time to resign, Boris...

  27. TVU Silver badge

    "BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled. Norgrove was right: post-Brexit gross £350m a week? Nope"

    ^ In other words, the original claim was one big stonking lie. We know that but it was the only way that Leave could win; by lying or fear mongering such as the equally bogus claim that all 80 million Turks would swamp this country if the UK stayed in European Union.

    And to all the upset, selfish geriatric Leave supporters - I just don't care for your sheer ignorance, bigotry and intolerance.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "And to all the upset, selfish geriatric Leave supporters - I just don't care for your sheer ignorance, bigotry and intolerance."

      And I just don't care for your stereotyping. I may be on the old side but I'm not a Leave supporter.

  28. Scary Biscuits

    Surprisingly, for an article supposedly written by a professional statistician, no evidence is cited to support the claim that Boris has misused statistics, other than the allegation of the head of the statistics authority. As reg readers will know, this is nothing more than an appeal to authority, a logical error.

    The £350m isn't actually a statistic anyway: it's an amount, a bill we must pay in cash every week. Nor was there any small print, as this article misleadingly alleges. There was a sentence in the Telegraph that was clearly referring to the gross amount and the fact of control. The complaint from Norgrove and this article seems to be more about the referendum campaign, not the actual sentence in Boris's article. Whether you agree with this or not probably depends on your political views. Either way, don't be misled by people claiming to be experts, whether they be civil servants or journalists.

    1. JamesPond
      Trollface

      The £350m isn't actually a statistic anyway: it's an amount, a bill we must pay in cash every week

      @Scary Biscuits

      You've clearly not read the article.

      Mr Norgrove is head of the UK Statistics Authority.

      By definition, a statistic is " a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, presentation, and organisation of data." . Therefore doesn't matter whether it's an amount, a ratio, a percentage or a unicorn, it is still a statistic.

      I take it as you say the UK pays this in cash every week, you believe a lorry leaves the Bank of England every week full of tenners and drives to Brussels? Anyway as many have commented on here, it's no where near £350m per week as you have to deduct the 'discount' (it's not a rebate, we don't send a lorry with £350m cash every week and get £70m back on the return journey) plus other monies we receive back through direct and indirect investment into the UK from the EU. So depending upon which numbers you choose to believe, the actual amount seems to be £200m +/- £50m.

      And this is why Mr Norgrove is complaining that BoJo is misrepresenting facts as £350m p/w never existed, apart from as a 'fact' on the Leavers bus.

  29. Citizen99

    "Norgrove was right: post-Brexit gross £350m a week? Nope"

    Oh, should he have said £349, or £351 ?

    This is a side-load of politics into the Register; the views of one of the unelected 'experts' who see their power over us slipping away as we become a sovereign nation again.

    1. PapaD

      Erm

      "This is a side-load of politics into the Register; the views of one of the unelected 'experts' who see their power over us slipping away as we become a sovereign nation again."

      Are you suggesting that the head of the Office of National Statistics (a UK government organisation) is somehow actually an unelected european expert, and when the UK leaves Europe, we will no longer have the ONS (A british institution), because (and i hate to quote the moron who first stated this) we have had enough of experts?

      In all honesty, when i make a decision, i like to talk to experts in the relevant subject - i seek financial advice when making financial decisions, I seek medical advice when suffering a medical problem - I VERY much have not had enough of experts, and i really hope no-one is stupid enough to believe that ignoring experts is a good move when you are making decisions about things in which you have little to no knowledge.

  30. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Lies, Damned Lies and Politicians' speeches

    Like said one of them, "promises only bind those who believe in them", don't they?

  31. Roj Blake Silver badge

    With Apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan

    Boris is the very model of a modern Tory minister,

    He has information irregular, falsified, and sinister,

    Relieved of his duties for lying as a minister,

    Let me tell you how he became the prince of a town called westminster,

    He is barely acquainted with matters mathematical,

    His poorly crafted lies drive the ignorant hysterical,

    About unfounded brexit shit he is often in a lot o'news,

    With many dreadful 'facts' for those confirming their own racist views,

    Boris is the very model of a modern Tory minister.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No misuse

    https://icmvv6qxwpktq0do-zippykid.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Norgrove-fixed.jpg

  33. Jtom Bronze badge

    There's an old book titled, "How to Lie with Statistics," that is well worth the read. The basic rule is, don't believe anything you may infer from them. I have a second rule, never believe ANY numbers generated by a journalist (this after reading that crime had dropped 120% from the previous year. What? Were thieves returning items stolen from previous years?). Third rule, don't draw any conclusions from any percentages given without showing the actual raw numbers (story said, people diagnosed with 'x' jump 50% in one week. At that rate of growth, entire population at risk in just months. (Actual numbers went from two diagnosed cases to three, but wasn't reported.))

    Then there was an actual ad that said something like, "65% of smokers say "A" cigaretts are as good or better than "B" cigarettes. Perfectly true, but the numbers were: A better than = 15%; A as good as B = 50%; A worse than B = 45%.

    Look, most oeople are uncomfortable with numbers and oercentages, and you know if you are. If you are one, don't conclude anything by someone else's version of what they mean.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Your cigarette percentages add up to 110%

  34. Libertarian Voice
    WTF?

    Baffled

    I really don't get why so many in IT (so many on here at any rate) support the EU? In IT speak it is blindingly obvious that the EU is tantamount a global variable with input from all directions constantly changing things and no idea who is changing what; why; and more importantly how to stop it. There isn't even anything in place to limit its scope; the very foundation of the EU is what makes it the truly corrupt organisation that it is.

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