The Labour Lord, the Tory mum and their arithmetically challenged ‘think’ tank

I’m grateful to TuS reader John Jamieson for alerting me to this. I do loving patronising the thicker Scottish Labour and Tory representatives we see so often faithfully reported in ‘our’ MSM.

The above table is used in ‘Scrap the cap‘, today from Reform Scotland, the right-wing think tank headed up by Lord McConnell and former Tory researcher and BBC TV ‘mum’, Alison Payne. McConnell used to be a maths teacher in Alloa. Payne used to be a girl guide leader,

They have, with all the intelligence of a typical Labour MSP, leapt on that 83.7% in the bottom right-hand corner of the table above, to announce a 84% increase in the scale of rejection facing Scottish domicile students.

As John pointed out it’s meaningless and I feel sure UCAS would be horrified to see it used in the way they have, critically, out of context.

To be meaningful in any way, you need to compare the percentage of the applicants not accepted in 2006 (24.3%) with that in 2021 (28.7%). So, a 4.4% increase in non-acceptances. Not so dramatic now?

Also, as John pointed out to me, to identify a trend, look at the acceptance rate in the last 5 years (average 72.1%) with that for the previous 5 (68.2%). So, an improving trend with an increasing percentage of Scottish domicile students being accepted.

McConnell and Payne – fail 38%.


3 thoughts on “The Labour Lord, the Tory mum and their arithmetically challenged ‘think’ tank

  1. Before even having access to the figures, it was obvious these charlatans had conjured a figure of 84% solely to grab the headlines…
    As your piece on the David Bol article in the Herald exposed, the media were not interested in whether any of it bore scrutiny, only that they had a ready made headline piece which implied SG failure, and in that respect “Reform Scotland” played the media like a fiddle.

    “McConnell and Payne – fail 38%” ?
    Deerin and Payne – fail 20%.
    The Media – fail 10%


  2. Thank you for confirming and adding to my observations.
    I thought that I must be getting something wrong as the whole report appeared to be unintelligible with its headline grabbing 84% soundbite an indication of its quality.
    On further examination the report emerges as a good example of deciding the outcome then trying to find evidence to prove your point of view, resorting to selected quotes, anecdotal evidence and newspaper articles as sources.
    The report concludes “that deferred fees should not deter applicants” in the face of evidence to the contrary in its table that shows there were about 35,500 applicants in the years before 2008 when the SNP ended student contributions followed by a step change in the number of applicants to around 45,000 from 2010 onwards.
    Paying for university education in any form has been a pig in a political poke for years, accrued interest, variable interest rate and now it has been reported that the UK Government is contemplating extending the repayment period to 40 years and reducing the starting threshold for repayments.
    Scotland values education too much to put a price on it that could deter even one applicant, whose unknown future potential might be lost at immense cost to the nation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absolute nonsense. The Labour renegade and the statistics. Everyone attending university or college knows the reality.

    The 25% of mature students left out of the equation. 15% of EU students reciprocal. Foreign students as well.

    Scotland has the highest % of uni on the world 15 + colleges and apprenticeships. 100,000.

    Scotland has the highest no of students pro rata. There is no attainment gap. Followed by Canada 56%.

    It would be even better without Westminster colossal interference. The Condems cut Education £6Billion a year from 2015 to 2020. That has not been restored. Increased fees in the South. Placing massive debt on students. Half will never be repaid plus the admin fees. A corrupt corporate loan scheme. Oxbridge funded 20 to 1 of other institutions.

    The Tories ruining the economy and the education system. Clegg betraying the electorate. Now making £Millions at tax evading Facebook.


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