Innumerate Polly

Anyone even vague numerate reading this article by Polly Toynbee would would have probably spotted where it went wrong. It is very hard to read it without thinking “surely that £5bn must be a reccuring annual amount whereas as she is comparing it to one off amounts”. David Smith confirms that this is the case.

It appears that the main qualification to be a “pize winning columnist” is the ability to fluently express opinions based on complete ignorance.

I have long had little faith in journalists’ abilities, but this is even worse what I have highlighted before. The numbers required no specialist knowledge to understand, simply the a appreciation of the difference between recurring and one-off costs. Anyone who has ever paid a utility bill should understand the difference.