Monday, 8 June 2015

Journalists and maths - things that don't really mix. The case of the boozy MPs.

It's from the Sun so all the gory details (doubtless given the source more of the former than the latter) are behind Rupert's paywall. However the point is this:

BOOZY MPs have sparked a fierce backlash from campaigners by splashing out £11,000 in just one week in Parliament’s bars.

Terrible. All these MPs clogging up bars, sloshing back copious quantities of booze while they should be running the country (or something like that). The problem here is shown by some basic maths. There are 650 MPs which means that, to spend £11,000 in a week, the average MP spent £16.92 - just £2.42 per day. A bear in mind that there are a load of other folk who can buy beer in the House of Commons. So MPs are drinking less than a pint of beer on average (the price list is here - the cheapest beer is £2.70 for a pint) and people are having a go at them?

The 'campaigners' in question appear to be folk working for Alcohol Concern - or so it seems. Quoted in the Daily Express, Jackie Ballard (a former Liberal Democrat MP and professional nannying fussbucket) the boss of Alcohol Concern showcased another lie to make a lame point:

Jackie Ballard, head of Alcohol Concern, said: "At a time when alcohol is causing grief to individuals and costing our society £21billion a year, Parliament should be leading by example."

Seems to me that Parliament is absolutely setting an example - the level of consumption is well within the guidelines of the health fanatics and reveals that, far from being a bunch of drunks, MPs are avoiding boozing on the job. The idea that spending an average of £6.62 on the first day back represents partying "hard into night following election gains" seems to be stretching the point given that this won't even buy half a bottle of the House's house sauvignon.

This is just another example of prohibitionist campaigners taking advantage of the seeming inability of journalists to grasp simple maths. With the result that we get shock horror headlines over takings that would represent a pretty lousy night for a typical city centre boozer.


1 comment:

Curmudgeon said...

And are we sure none of that £11,000 worth was consumed by MPs' families and guests or House of Commons staff?