Is this the worst graph of the election?

  • 28 April 2015
  • From the section UK
Graph from Liberal Democrat manifesto titled "Falling crime"

Is this the worst graph of the election? It is given a whole page in the Liberal Democrat manifesto but frustrates on so many levels.

PROBLEM 1:

The third column, labelled Lib Dems 2010, is for the financial year 2009/10 which finished a month before the Liberal Democrats joined the government.

PROBLEM 2:

The last column, labelled 2014, should actually be much LOWER than depicted. Strange…

PROBLEM 3:

The Y-axis doesn't start at zero. This sends statisticians into frenzies. By clipping the height of the bars, it makes small changes look much bigger.

PROBLEM 4:

The graph focuses on a small part of the time series available. A longer period would give a much better understanding of the crime trend.

PROBLEM 5:

Read full article Is this the worst graph of the election?

Westminster: Where houses earn more than people

  • 17 March 2015
  • From the section UK
Westminster home

Members of Parliament heading home are greeted by a poster at the tube station that reads "£30,000 wouldn't even buy you floor space the size of this poster in Westminster".

It is a graphic reminder of the affordability crisis affecting housing in London and the South East - a disparity that has turned home owners in the region into lottery winners while those not on the property ladder are denied a roof over their head.

Read full article Westminster: Where houses earn more than people

Pressure on a 'strained' social service

  • 10 March 2015
  • From the section UK
Child on a swing

A week after the prime minister threatened social workers with jail if they fail to protect children, the man his government appointed to keep an eye on children's services has warned that growing criticism of social workers is adding to the pressure on a strained service.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills, Sir Michael Wilshaw, uses his annual report on children's social care today to suggest that social workers and managers "do not always get the support and recognition they deserve".

Read full article Pressure on a 'strained' social service

Savile: 'How could this be allowed to happen?'

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section UK
Jimmy Savile

"How could this be allowed to happen?" That was the understandable question asked by the Prime Minister David Cameron when presented with details of Jimmy Savile's abuse.

The answers are many and various, today's investigation into his activities at Stoke Mandeville concludes, before adding that "one of the most compelling is quite simply that the basic building blocks of legislation, policy and procedure designed to maintain both public safety and probity were bypassed".

Read full article Savile: 'How could this be allowed to happen?'

Where's the evidence for Lincoln's legal high problem?

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section UK
Lincoln at night

Are legal highs really causing anti-social behaviour in Lincoln's historic city centre?

The council insists they are and will rubber-stamp an area ban on their consumption at a meeting tonight. The move is being watched by local authorities across the country.

Read full article Where's the evidence for Lincoln's legal high problem?

Housing problems for the future

  • 19 February 2015
  • From the section UK
Derbyshire house under construction

With the release of the final housebuilding figures before the general election, we can judge how successful the coalition has been in its pledge to "unlock the housing market, get Britain building again, and give many more people the satisfaction and security that comes from stepping over their own threshold".

And the short answer is "not very".

Read full article Housing problems for the future

'Don't give up on us,' police tell ministers

  • 22 January 2015
  • From the section UK
Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino

With crime now having fallen to levels not seen since David Soul (Hutch from US cop drama Starsky & Hutch) topped the charts with "Don't Give Up On Us" in 1977, police are worried the statistics will cue even deeper cuts to their budgets.

The argument goes that, if crime remains historically low, we don't need as many officers.

Read full article 'Don't give up on us,' police tell ministers

UK government 'most transparent' in the world

  • 20 January 2015
  • From the section UK

The UK government is the most open and transparent in the world, according to global rankings looking at public access to official data.

But web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, whose organisation compiled the table, says the country has "a long way to go" before it has a fully open government.

Read full article UK government 'most transparent' in the world

Boxing Day Family Puzzler 2014

  • 26 December 2014
  • From the section Magazine
Illustration

Boxing Day wouldn't be Boxing Day without my annual Family Puzzler - now in its seventh sensational year.

This is the festive quiz for people who don't like festive quizzes because they worry they won't know the answers. In my quiz, no-one is expected to know the answers.

Read full article Boxing Day Family Puzzler 2014

Whitehall v town hall

  • 18 December 2014
  • From the section UK
Leeds town hall

The swirling wind of anti-politics that has swept across the Westminster parliament in recent times stems from a conviction that the politicians sitting on warm green leather in the House of Commons are oblivious to the harsh realities of ordinary life.

It is that sense of a London elite, out of touch with the real world, that has encouraged politicians of all stripes to talk of the importance of localism.

Read full article Whitehall v town hall