Friday, March 14, 2008

More statistics and lies

Having looked at one lot of statistics relating to MPs' expenses—and having concluded that they were likely to be on the fiddle—Bishop Hill has decided to have another go with a different set.
TheyWorkForYou publishes figures detailing what proportion of letters sent via their website are actually responded to within a reasonable time. We would expect that MPs with large staff costs should be able to get prompt replies more often than their understaffed colleagues, wouldn't we? (Actually, given we think they're paying their wives and families to do nothing, we wouldn't expect this at all, but let's play along with the hypothesis, shall we?)

Can you guess what's coming? I bet you can't. Oh, you can? Pah, that's no fun.

Again, I've plotted a best fit line so we can understand what's going on a little better.

This time, there is a microscopic correlation, but even so, it's still not good news for our friends in Westminster. The slight downslope to the graph actually seems to show that an MP with low staff costs is more likely to answer his correspondence on time than his high claiming counterpart.

What possible explanation can there be for this anomoly?

I just can't imagine...

I'm equally in the dark: can anyone help? Oh, you mean...? No. No, surely not. Our MPs wouldn't be fleecing taxpayers in that way, would they? Who would be so evil as to take on public office and then deliberately abuse the trust of those they serve by unduly and corruptly enriching themselves and their families out of public funds? Who would do that?

What? "MPs," you say?

Oh. No, they wouldn't. Would they...?

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