Friday 26 November 2021

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics"


The BBC's home editor Mark Easton has an advocate's way with statistics. 

On Wednesday's News at Ten he made this statement:
There aren't more asylum seekers asking for sanctuary in Britain.
By Thursday's News at Ten - which began with the statement “Boatloads of desperation continue to wash up on Kent's beaches. Only a fraction of asylum seekers in Europe choose the UK” - Mark Easton added this, almost in passing:
Figures released today indicate asylum applications at their highest level for six years, at 37,000.

And there's a canny bit of jiggery-pokery here. The Times reports the same figures and says:

Asylum claims are higher than the number recorded at the peak of the 2015-16 European migration crisis at the height of the Syrian civil war, when applications hit 36,546.

That asylum claims are comparable or even slightly higher than they were in 2015 - at the very height of the European migrant crisis - is quite something.

It's all about how you frame it obviously. The Times's headline couldn't be further from Mark Easton's 'frame'

Asylum claims at highest level for 20 years as Channel crossings surge

I'm intrigued though about what was going on throughout 2001. 🤔 Ah, yes.

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