Thursday, 25 August 2011

Case #6: I Have Foreseen It

Sometimes when I need cheering up, I'll have a look in the Daily Mail or some similar tabloid. Having direct first-hand knowledge of the research and figures that they cite when they cover the broad topic of welfare means every article on it they print is an invitation to rage at what appears to be persistent and deliberate lying. I still do get angry, but I also have a serene sense of bemused awe at the mental and mathematical gymnastics they need to perform to make the pre-determined story fit the facts. But that's the News.

Comment is another matter. I am and remain unemployed, so when I read wilful ignorance and dishonesty from pundits I'm always going to be depressed because I'm left with a limp sentiment: Why are they employed whilst plenty of 'smart people' (Me) are not? Not only that, they're actually paid quite well to write a few lines of concentrated rot. Reading it is the intellectual equivalent of drinking bleach. It's not just the content either; it's way they 'talk' in their columns. For one thing, why do they pretend to be like prophets? They set themselves up as Cassandra's that no one listens to (maybe if they actually worked in the offices for the publications that give them their platforms; every other output they would notice coincides with their views) and often prove this by citing some development which they predicted. And yes, they did predict such developments; they always do. But so do the horoscopes and they're blatantly nonsense. What columnists and astrologers share is that their predictions are first vague and second very, very numerous. You never hear about the hundreds of predictions that never happened and even then they are wide enough in their phrasing that given time they inevitably will in some form.

What would spoil their fun is if they had to set time limits. That would force them to keep it simple and straightforward. But they don't do that. I decided I'll give it a try and see if my ability to interpret events so that I can predict other events could be improved on. I've already predicted on the basis of a DWP press release being put out at a certain time meant the tabloids would inevitably be briefed so they could crank out some nonsense about benefit claimants by that Monday or at least sometime that week. I was wrong. I went back and started smaller: The DWP tabulation tool figures for February 2011 would come out in the next month is what I said in my last post. I know it's not impressive soothsaying, but it's a start. I did also predict that the figure for ESA claimants still in the Assessment Phase wouldn't change much.

By golly I was right:

Columns in order are: Quarter, Total, Unkown, Assessment phase, WRAG and Support group
So the share taken by the Assessment phase shrank about 1.31%, but you can see that whilst the Assessment group shrank by around ten-thousand claimants between August and November, it went back up again between November and February. It could be argued that's because the total rose faster than most of the previous quarters, but looking at the tables for duration of existing claims for February and November reveal the Assessment phase group is staying high because of existing claimants, not new ones. At this rate, the Assessment phase group will catch up with the WRAG group sometime around 2017.

Case File #6 says something still stinks.


  1. For Mason Dixon,Autistic-from the Independent .Put here as it happened to be last blog.

  2. Thank you for that Adrian, gonna have a look and probably a rant.