Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Phallus Of False Cause

Short post. I will make a short post. This time it will be short. My over-long posts are not me trying to compensate for something Dr Freud, it's just that your great-grandson and his friends don't like playing fair. Why do you think it has anything to do with my mother? Because I'm talking to you? You've been dead for some time now? Ok then, but I just think it's because you're kind of known for bringing it up no matter how irrelevant.

Last October Chris Grayling put out this press release celebrating that the 'improvements' to the Work Capability Assessment were starting to be seen. What a great success the Harrington Review has been and Malcolm Harrington is not totally unfit for the job after all(this is me being unbiased, I'm terrible). Since then this has been re-stated by ministers, mainly Grayling and Freud repeatedly in the media and in Parliament. It rests on three claims about the data: more people are going into the Support Group, the number of successful appeals against 'fit for work' decisions is dropping and this is because the government listened to Harrington's recommendations and implemented them. Here is a case of The Fallacy Of False Cause.
Event x is related to (or is followed by) event y.
x caused event y.
Events of kind x are followed by events of kind y.
Events of kind
x cause events of kind y.
The truly wicked use the Truth to tell lies. The first two claims are true and those are the ones people tend to check because they believe ministers have only made two factual claims which turn out to be correct. The one that matters is the third one about the causes of the first and second. The thing is that the upward trend for those being put in the Support Group started before the first Harrington Review was even published in November 2010:

The same for the 'fit for work' appeals:

You can start from roughly the average number of appeals and then plot the trend as definitely starting at the end of 2009 for both tables. Freud has tried vaguely urging other Lords to just take his word for it that the figures, and possibly those unpublished ones for later dates, show some unique trend set apart from this one. I don't think they should.

Ok, that was a short post for me. I'll speculate on why appeals started failing more and Support Group got more input another time. I have some ideas though.


  1. I am unsure what the fourth amendment tonight which the Government won was about?Beyond relating to "youth" ESA I could not work out what the idea was.Was it a sting in the tail?

  2. And why have I gone back in time by 8 hours?

  3. Thanks for all the hard work on the report and your return to CiF for the article.

    I even went back there and read quite a lot of the comments.

    Keep it up. It's valuable and appreciated.

    - Atomboy

  4. Blogspot is having some clock issues.

    Ok, the adjournment was only for an hour(I misheard it) but the sneaky thing was Freud putting those amendments in there to begin with. I need to look to be sure but he got amendment 45a passed.

    Earlier in the evening, Lord Patel got amendment 45 passed which throws out Clause 52 of the bill("Leave out Clause 52"). That clause was the one that stopped disabled children receiving contributions-based ESA when they became adults. During the Grand Committee stage Freud added 45a to the list of amendments which reads as:

    "Leave out Clause 52 and insert the following new Clause—

    Condition relating to youth

    In section 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (employment and support allowance), after subsection (3) there is inserted—

    (3A) After the coming into force of this subsection no claim may be made for an employment and support allowance by virtue of the third condition set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 (youth)."

    Essentially, this reverses Lord Patel's successful amendment. Freud is being an effing bastard and getting peers to vote on the same issue twice but this time there were less peers in the chamber. Now from what I hear(I wish I had kept watching) he then tried to move Baroness Lister's, Baroness Meacher's and the Earl of Listowel's amendment 46 so it could be put to a vote which it would then obviously lose.

    Amendment 46 it seemed was what they introduced in committee after Freud played dirty with his amendment 45a:

    "Leave out Clause 52 and insert the following new Clause—

    Condition relating to youth

    In paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (condition relating to youth), after sub-paragraph (1)(d) insert—

    “(e) after the assessment phase has ended, the claimant has limited capacity for work-related activity.”

    This would have reversed Freud's dirty amendment, even if it means peers would be voting on the exact same thing three times. Freud wanted it to lose so he tried to move it right there and then.

  5. Scratched that last bit, amendment 46 was moved by Baroness Lister and relates to something else. Will look into it.

  6. I have it. I know what Freud did. It warrants a whole new blog post though and I'm supposed to be somewhere not long after the sun comes up but this can't wait.