Sunday 4 December 2016

Stat's all, folks - telling fact from fiction is the real referendum game

Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30

Kate Bopp of Mothers and Fathers Matter launches the group’s ‘No’ campaign
Kate Bopp of Mothers and Fathers Matter launches the group’s ‘No’ campaign

To quote Mark Twain quoting Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics."

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Now, obviously statistics don't tell actual porkies - they don't creep up their stairs in the dead of night smelling of Irish whiskey and French perfume and swear blind they were just out with the lads.

But statistics can be cherry-picked to fit a desired narrative, with those which don't fit the bill left to languish like the unloved strawberry chocolate in a box of Roses. Statistics - along with their first cousins Research and Studies - are inevitably deployed with great gusto by both sides during referendum battles.

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