Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Revenge of the nerds

The Office for National Statistics released a report saying that "one in nine British residents was born abroad." Big deal, you may think, either it's true or it isn't, and to me that figure seems about right. Whether we draw any further conclusions from this nugget, and what those conclusions may be are a whole 'nother topic and not something on which the ONS opines.

However, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has got himself all hot and bothered. Showing a mastery of Double-Think, "... Mr Woolas said he tried to block the release of the figures, which he claims are "neither new nor informative". He says they resulted in the government being accused of "whipping up anti-foreign sentiment when it is the independent ONS who are playing politics"."

So who's playing politics here? The politicians or the ONS? Are they independent or not? And if they are, why did he try and prevent the figures being published, which by his own admission are not "new" although I'd hotly dispute his assertion that they are not "informative"? I'm a big fan of the ONS as it happens, even though their website's search function is rubbish - it's easier finding stuff on their website by going via Google.

So what's behind the ONS' newfound uppitiness .... ah, I see.

15 comments:

The Great Simpleton said...

"Insiders have warned that the department is in crisis, with nine out of 10 executives claiming the ONS is badly managed."

Have I missed something here? Isn't it those very executives who do the managing? That's what being an executive means - you make the decisions that count!

Mark Wadsworth said...

GS, it's executives from other departments complaining about management at th ONS.

Newmania said...

BLimey so many blogs I don1`t know which one to look at . Yes I have been following this and it gets curiouser and curiouser .

Snafu said...

If Phil Woolas is hot and bothered by the release of the information, he should try to further mass-immigration...

PS Can you remind me how many babies are born to foreign-born mothers!?!

Ross said...

The ONS is guilty of spreading Hate-Facts.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, more than one-in-five, allegedly.

For my own children the ratio is four-out-of-four (or is it four-in-four? Hmmm.) so I have no axe to grind here.

Anonymous said...

Who thought up the idea of moving English people to Wales? I'm sure it was designed just to get the employment rate up in the principality, but trying to get any English person with any experience to move there is just nuts.

Apart from the anti-English sentiment, your kids wasting their time at school learning a pointless language, having to buy a satellite dish because you get the crappy S4C instead of C4, and and that the weather is pretty shitty, you also have to face the fact that if you lose your job then there's a good chance you'll have to relocate again.

I'll bet if they relocated to somewhere else in England (or even to Scotland) that they'd have had far less resistance.

John B said...

"having to buy a satellite dish because you get the crappy S4C instead of C4"

You are living in 1997 and I claim my gpb5. Surely there can't be more than four people left in the (either) country who have kids and don't have Freeview?

Lola said...

I remember reading the Telegraph piece ( and others) at the time. It just seemed all of a piece with Brown's general deceit with all numbers. He and New Labour could not possibly have the ONS produce reliable data as it would very quickly reveal his total failures with managing the money supply and similar cock ups. My view was that traducing the ONS was just another policy to ensure than New Labour could retain power. If you can keep the truth away from the voter he is more likely to believe your lies.

IMHO any incoming administration has a massive rebuiilding job to do an all these important areas. Backing the ONS in the production of reliable numbers is vital to good management, as is keeping notes of meetings, which Zanu never do.

AntiCitizenOne said...

John B,

The digital terrestrial signal is more prone to interference, so I have relatives who have Sky instead.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JB, Freeview is indeed the best thing you can get for £30 or £40, but can you get English C4 in Wales? I mean, I can't get S4C on my Freeview boxes in England (I think).

Maybe we ought to set up a Fun Online Poll to find out?

Laban said...

On the other hand you get free live rugby on a Friday night on BBC2W.

John B said...

You can get C4 on Welsh Freeview. But you can't get S4C on English Freeview.

This is clearly an outrageous imperial conspiracy against the Welsh language and should be stamped out.

John B said...

Scotland is the most annoying, as for some reason they show a half-arsed crap Sunday League effort instead of football. At least in Wales the rugby is decent...

Snafu said...

Free prescriptions in Wales and lower university tuition fees!