There’s been a story that I have been dreading having to respond to because it is so low, dishonest, and despicable. Truth be told, I expected to see it by now on Whaleoil or Kiwiblog. And I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. In not touching this story, they’ve proven themselves a step above The Truth*, which I certainly wouldn’t have credited of Whaleoil.
The story to which I’m referring goes like this: the weren’t no murders in January after there were all them murders last January and the January before. Looks like having a National government has stopped murders, and all Labour could do was blame the weather. Yay, National!
Of course, it would be absolutely beyond the Pale to take political advantage of tragedies like that, but it’s not necessarily something one wouldn’t expect nonetheless.
It would also be a fundamentally dishonest argument. There were at least three homicides in January. That’s fewer than the 6 in January 2006, 9 in January 2007, and 11 in January 2008 (all solved, incidentally). But that doesn’t mean anything in a statistical sense. Over the past 126 months, there have been an average 5.7 homicides a month (I exclude attempted homicides. For some reason, Stats includes that in its homicide category). When you have a large population (4.25 million individuals) and a very small chance of something happening to them (0.0001% per month), you are going to get large and random variations. In August 2007, for example, there were 2 homicides, the next month there were 11 but nothing had changed in the real world. In the last two years for which records are available, 6 months had the same number as this January or fewer. Despite some unfortunately statistically inevitable higher months, the consistent trend in homicides per capita is down.
Even if the variation wasn’t entirely random, and it is, the idea that a government that hasn’t even done anything significant yet could claim credit for it is just sad.
So, good on youse, David and Cameron, for not going there and surprising me on the positive side. Long may it continue.
*(yesterday, I saw, didn’t read, an article on this in The Truth during what I swear was the first time ever I picked up the rag ) (source for all stats)