Tendentious Nonsense

There have been three more General Election leaflets put through my door.

Another from the SNP – no literacy errors.

There was one such error in the Tory leaflet. (Their candidate’s main aim is listed as to stop another independence referendum. The local economy, schools, public services and young people’s employment prospects are apparently of lesser concern.)

The error was contained in a bar graph purporting to show the Tories are in a position to win in my local constituency. Its y-axis was labelled “% increase/decrease in vote GE here in Glenrothes” which is simply gibberish. “% increase/decrease in GE vote here in Glenrothes” would have been more sensible.

The overall graph was a huge attempt to mislead though. Its bars showed the % increase or decrease in the parties’ votes in 2017 compared to 2015. The Tories 11.8% increase appears huge while Labour’s 4.1% and the Lib Dems 1.1% look tiny. On it is emblazoned the words “Labour and the Lib Dems are just too weak to beat the SNP here,” with an arrow from those pointing to the bars, as if % increase is the actual % of total votes.

This is, of course an utter distortion. In 2017 the Tories had 7,876 votes, the Lib Dems 1,208 and Labour 14,027. In other words the Tories had half the votes Labour did. The SNP meanwhile had 17,291 votes.

Assuming everything else stayed the same, in the somewhat unlikely event of the Tories doubling their vote (a 50% increase – about five times the one they achieved last time) they would still only just beat Labour into second place and not come near the SNP total.

The graph (or rather the words describing it) is tendentious nonsense and a deliberate attempt to mislead. Its use and depiction in this way is a piece of mathematical illiteracy, albeit cunningly deployed. Even without all the other stuff about the Tories which I dislike that would have been enough to put me off them.

I’ve ranted too long. Lib Dems another time.

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