Office for Statistics Regulation accused of pedantry, conservatism and political bias

jackson carlaw
Image: Scottish News

At today’s Holyrood briefing, Jackson Carlaw made much of the UK statistics watchdog’s criticism of the First Minister’s assertion that coronavirus rates in England are five times higher than Scotland. This week they are demonstrably 4.7 times higher. Any fool can check that.

That they are, was not the issue for Carlaw but that the Office for Statistics Regulation has supposedly ‘damned’ the SNP because the statistics they used were problematic, for them as pedants.

The watchdog had two concerns. From BBC Scotland:

It said the first minister had used data from an unpublished estimate of the prevalence of the virus that was compiled by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and had used a “UK estimate as a proxy for England”.

The watchdog is sniffing up the wrong tree.

The London School of etc had to develop its own estimate because of serious concerns that Public Health England [PHE] is under-estimating the figures. The ONS with the FT have demonstrated confidently that they are only collecting about 66% of the deaths.

As for ‘unpublished’, that is positively archaic. Peer-review takes around two years by which time the data would useless. An esteemed university department’s figures based on transparent criteria are open to scrutiny. No one has questioned them.

The FM had to use UK figures as a proxy for England because the ONS, the UK Government and, in collusion, the BBC only present UK figures, in an attempt to shield the population of England from the awful truth of what their government has done to them. Tomorrow once the data for the 31st is in, I’ll reveal the UK death rate to be more than 30 times higher per head of population.

It’s clear from the daily data that 90% plus of cases and deaths are in England. England has 80% of the UK population. So, in the absence of data for England, it’s reasonable to use the UK as a proxy for it.



Surely using the UK figures as a proxy for England will bias the result slightly against Scotland, since Scotland’s better performance will improve the UK figures slightly overall.

The watchdog should be trying to get the English authorities to come clean before it wastes everybody’s time with pedantry aimed at supporting the Conservative party’s interests.

10 thoughts on “Office for Statistics Regulation accused of pedantry, conservatism and political bias

  1. I watched the abject performance of Jackson Carlaw today
    And for a moment i jumped into the shoes
    Of a commited Tory voter one who has been so since the 1950,s when we actually had majority support in Scotland
    And the unbiased conclusion i reached was
    OMG.what has become of us
    How on earth can we have sunk so low into such murky depths
    These Scot Nats.must be correct in much of what the they say
    I now must open my mind and review my
    Opinions on Independence
    What terrible dark forces are at work here attempting to hide the awful truth
    With regards the UK response and record so far in this pandemic and at the same time wishing to rubbish the sterling efforts of the Scottish government and my fellow citizens in acheiving so much
    In bringing this virus firmly under control
    And well managed sensible opening up
    Of our economy
    But i have commenced this process by returning my membership card along with a letter expressing my serious concerns
    That has led to myself no longer wishing to be a member of The Conservative & Unionist party which without doubt has become a very negative dangerous organisation
    And have done so with the only regret that i have not only been delusional but have actually aided and abetted the parties wrongful actions for so long
    And allow my basic belief in Honesty and the decency of my fellow humans to become so cloudy
    PS.i have just heard live the news that J.Carlaw has resigned
    Too Little Too Late
    The deed was done

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes there is statistics and the manipulation of them
        In this case it is blatant manipulation and solely for purposes none other than political
        And to quote W . Churchill
        Politics is NOT a game
        It is a matter of the gravest consequences
        Oh yes Winston knew his foes
        And so must we
        ABC are amongst the most serious of them
        After all it is nothing other than a most sophisticated State propaganda broadcaster
        Do not pay the licence fee

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Surely using the UK figures as a proxy for England will bias the result slightly against Scotland, since Scotland’s better performance will improve the UK figures slightly overall.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. UK published case data from –>
    July Average for England/Scotland ratio of cases is 7.8 times the population ratio, i.e. much bigger than 5 times.
    Would you like it in a graph? Can’t put images here, so see my tweet at –


  4. Seems a bit pedantic now that the UK Gov, and I use that name loosely, have shut down the North of England and proved Nicola`s point, what are Miss Reporting Scotland going to say tomorrow, and the advice given is as clear as shit, you can go to the pub, but it cant be with anyone who is in your supportive bubble, but you can meet with strangers etc and socialise with them in the assured knowledge that they will be Covid free, its almost as if they want the deaths to continue, maybe a saving on pension cost? my guess incompetence

    Liked by 2 people

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