A personal post from Graham Ellis
Lisa and Graham live in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

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Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning

Background - Jonathon Seed - Conservative Wiltshire Councillor for Seend, and resident of Bromham (in the Devizes constituency) writes in response to a post of mine """Your "clarification" misses the recent "issues" with your Liberal MPs expenses and of course the FACT that he was a shabby 609th in the league table of responsive MPs. Hardly a "great" MP!"""

Oh Jonathon - read the reports and don't just quote them. And please do include the caveats that the surveyors request of you!

The league table is of responses to queries submitted to MPs through one particular web site which were answered to completion within 2 to 3 weeks. It doesn't claim to be THE league table of responses - it's just A league table of that one way of contact ignoring work originating from surgeries, in person, on the phone, by the MP's own web site, by post, by twitter, by Facebook or by other sites. I suspect that a report covering all the various ways of approaching an MP, and checking replies 6 to 8 weeks later after there's been an opportunity for things to be seriously looked into, would reveal different results. What you're doing is seeing a full moon on just one night, and assuming that there's a full moon every night - flawed logic.

The round trip journey from Westminster to Duncan Hame's home in his constitency (where he has lived and fought three general elections from) would take between 3 and 4 hours daily - that's assuming that he can leave parliament in time for the last train home. It makes sense for him to stay in London during the week, and double sense where he shares the bills and the claims with his wife - also an MP with a constituancy outside reasonable commuting distance. The amount of money is 25 pounds per MP per day, which compares favourably with the standard class anytime return train fare from Chippenham to London of 160 pounds.

I'm so glad I'm not a politician - many of our MPs (from all parties) do a really hard job for us, and do it really well. And what they get back is a seedy misrepresentation of the facts to make soundbites intended to show them up in a bad light.

P.S. Mr Seed doesn't answer the question I raised with him - but then it's a rather good question and a difficult one to answer in favour of his party, so I xhould have expected an attempt to divert the discussion. Don't think I hadn't noticed!

Survey data is at https://www.writetothem.com/stats/2014/mps and includes the following which sets our limitations.

The survey asked whether people had had a reply (not just an acknowledgement) from their representative.

People were surveyed initially after 2 weeks, and if they didn •[99]t answer, were surveyed again after 3 weeks. Because of this, and because of the way different people interpret the survey, you should interpret the figures below with caution.

Journalists: Please feel free to use the data on this page, but if you do you must cite WriteToThem.com in the body of your articles as the source of any analysis or data you get from this site. Statistics without a referenced source are dangerous, so please do this.

Note: While some MPs are very slow at responding to constituents mail, that doesn •[99]t mean they aren •[99]t otherwise active in or around Parliament on behalf of their constituents. You can see MPs voting record, committee memberships and interests on their TheyWorkForYou page.

and in includes the following in the wider record data it has for Duncan Hames. Note that I'm quoting all stats from his record page, and not quoting selectively.

Has spoken in 93 debates in the last year  •[94] well above average amongst MPs.

Has received answers to 12 written questions in the last year  •[94] average amongst MPs.

Has voted in 80.47% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation  •[94] above average amongst MPs.

People have made 0 annotations on this MP •[99]s speeches  •[94] well below average amongst MPs.

This MP's speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 19 •[93]20 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.

139 people are tracking this MP

Has used three-word alliterative phrases (e.g. "she sells seashells") 120 times in debates  •[94] below average amongst MPs.
(written 2015-05-04, updated 2015-05-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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