Do you remember earlier this month when the Government “proved” that there is “no bias in the allocation of social housing to immigrants”? I do, because Radio 4 didn’t stop crowing about it all day.
“So this totally nails once and for all the evil and racist myth that white, indigenous populations are discriminated against by housing officers,” ran the general tenor of Radio 4’s – and for that matter, all the print media’s – reporting of the issue. “Which means that not only are white, working class people even thicker and more wrong than we thought. But also, very probably, that ethnic communities and immigrants are more delightful and vibrant and generally cherishable than we had hitherto imagined.”
One problem with this factoid (which was announced with great fanfare by the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in a report on July 7) is that it has no scientific, statistical or evidential basis whatsoever.
We now know this because a leading statistical analyst, Professor Mervyn Stone of University College, London, has done the homework the news outlets which uncritically regurgitated the EHRC’s nonsense should have done at the time.
His conclusion? That “the figures that EHRC has disseminated as if they were evidence for the claim are of zero inferential value.”
They are meaningless because they break one of the cardinal statistical rules of failing to compare like with like:
“In support of its claim, EHRC misrepresents the meaning of two factual assertions:
“1. That in 2007 ‘less than two per cent’ (1.8%) of social housing was occupied by migrants who arrived after 2002.
2. That ‘nine out of ten’ (87.8%) such homes were occupied by people born in the UK.”
“To make any sense at all, a comparison has to be like-with-like, but this contrast is no such thing.”
“In 2007, the social housing stock was four million of which 72,000 (1.8%) were occupied by migrants and 3,500,000 (87.8%) by UK born. To estimate the chance of a new-migrant applicant getting a home, you would have to divide the 72,000 by the total number of migrant applicants entitled to housing. To estimate the comparable chance for the UK-born, you would first have to establish the number allocated between 2002 and 2007, before dividing it by the number of UK-born applicants for the same period.”
“No calculation of that sort was done for the EHRC study. In fact, the extra data that would be needed to do it are nowhere to be found in the EHRC report. If it were done, the correction would almost certainly reduce the gap between the 1.8% and the 87.8%. Could it even be reversed and accepted as evidence against the EHRC claim? That is a possibility because, as the EHRC report concedes, ‘most new migrants have no entitlement to housing’ and because most of the 3,500,000 homes occupied by the UK-born will have been allocated before 2002.”
The weasel phrase which should have alerted us to this skullduggery, says the Professor, is the EHRC’s claim that its researchers “found no evidence to support the perception that new migrants are getting priority over UK born residents”.
“We have found no evidence that….” Yes, now I think it about it, its a lawyerly formulation you hear being used an awful lot by government ministers, quangocrats and liberal-left fellow-travellers on programmes like Today and Any Questions whenever they’re trying to wriggle out of a well-justified criticism.
This puts their critics in an impossible position: how can they ask for evidence that there is no evidence?
Civitas, the think tank which commissioned Professor Stone’s report, has now made a formal complaint to the UK Statistics Authority asking it to appraise the reliability of the statistical methods used by the report and the statistical reasoning that underlies its claims.
As Civitas’s director David Green rightly says: “Government agencies have a duty to use public funds to commission objective research but the EHRC has failed the meet even the minimal standards of statistical rigour that the public is entitled to expect.”
Fat lot of good his complaint will do. A lie is half way round the world before the truth has got its boots on. The Labour regime knows this. God how its politically correct Quangos know this! And they will go on lying and lying with virtual impunity till the happy day they’re booted out office.
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