The Indy’s Rape Statistics: Wrong Again!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had pick up The Independent over basic statistical errors and today they’ve made another absolute howler, albeit that at least part of the blame appears to lie with Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry:

Emily Thornberry, the shadow Attorney General, whose office uncovered the figures in the House of Commons Library, said: “Everyone with an interest in the protection of women is encouraging rape victims to come forward and it seems that they are starting to. It is therefore profoundly disappointing that we have not seen a surge in the number of decisions to prosecute. In fact, the proportion of rapes being sent for charges, prosecuted and convicted have been shrinking… Read more »

You Couldn’t Make It Up… unless you’re Richard Littlejohn

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the statement “Richard Littlejohn is liar” is closer to being a tautology than an observation but even by his usual pitiful standards his contribution to the burgeoning debate surrounding recent events in a number of Birmingham schools stands out as masterpiece of bullshit and utter fabrication:

Amid all the furore about Islamist infiltration of schools in Birmingham, another story involving the education watchdog Ofsted has received rather less attention. Inspectors have criticised a rural school in Devon for being insufficiently ‘diverse’. Although they concede that Payhembury Primary is a ‘happy place’, it has been denied an ‘outstanding’ rating because all 68 pupils are of ‘white British heritage’. Well, they would be. Small villages in… Read more »

What Saatchi Doesn’t Tell You

Okay, I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I’m working on something else at the moment but there a little something that I want to toss into the growing online debate about the “Saatchi Bill” or, to give its proper title, the Medical Innovation Bill. The back story here, if you’ve not come across it before, starts with the death, in 2011, of the author Josephine Hart the cause of which was primary peritoneal cancer. Hart was married to the wealthy PR guru and Conservative peer Maurice Saatchi and it is as a member of the House of Lords that Saatchi is seeking to introduce a private Bill which he claims which he, his supporters and a slick and… Read more »

What The Telegraph doesn’t tell you about Sex-Selective Abortion

Harry G Frankfurt’s classic monograph “On Bullshit” begins with a very simple but striking observation:

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.

There is indeed and much of it is, sadly, to be found on the pages of national newspapers where, today, we find The Daily Telegraph operating firmly in bullshit mode:

Jeremy Hunt is to issue new guidance making it clear to doctors that sex-selective abortion is “unacceptable and illegal”.

Hunt can issue all the guidance he likes, it doesn’t alter the fact that the Abortion Act 1967 is entirely silent on the subject of sex-selective abortion or that such abortions will remain entirely lawful provided that they can be justified… Read more »

What “Porn Culture”? (Part 1)

[This is the first of two articles looking in depth at testimony given to a Pennsylvania District Court by Gail Dines while acting as an "expert" witness for the US Department of Justice and, as you might well imagine, it's a pretty long article so for the sake of convenience, if you'd prefer to read it offline using an e-book reader then you can download it as a PDF. Part one, which is that part, deals with Dines’ attempt to analyse porn-related search engine traffic. Part two, which will be posted in a few days, deals with her analysis of the content of porn tube websites and will include not only an overview of how and why the porn industry… Read more »

Gail Dines: Short on Facts, Crap Figures

*** Warning – Very long post ahead. Get supplies before sitting down to read ***

Last time around I followed the trail of just one dubiously provenanced Internet porn ‘statistic’ from its first appearance in 2003 on a US website owned by tech entrepreneur and content filter salesman, Jerry Ropelato, through its subsequent appearance in everything from academic literature to an official report published by the International Telecommunications Union, all without anyone, it seems, bothering to check the validity of that ‘statistic’ for which there is currently no known original source. I put that last article together to serve as a precursor to this one, which looks in detail at a variety of statistics and other items of ‘factual’ information published on a… Read more »

The Dodgy Porn Statistic That Took Over The World

As a quick trailer, I’m currently working on an article which looks in detail at a ‘fact and figures‘ page published by Gail Dines on her ‘Stop Porn Culture’ website in which, amongst other things, she cites a number of ‘statistics’ sourced from Jerry Ropelato’s ‘Internet Filter Review’ (IFR) website. Now regular visitors to the Ministry will know that I’ve written about Ropelato and his ‘statistics’ before, but before I give Dines the full once over I think it worth recapping what is already known about one of her main sources of statistical information for both her website and, as you’ll see at the end, her 2010 book ‘Pornland’. IFR is part of a site called ‘Top Ten Reviews’ which (amusingly)… Read more »

Tony Benn 1925-2014

I guess a lot of people are going to be scratching around today looking for profound things to say about Tony Benn. Me? I’ve just a got simple little story to tell. Many years ago, when I first got involved in political campaigning, the group I was involved with at the time did the usual thing of writing to a few MPs asking for messages of support and from all of those that bothered to respond at all we got the usual typewritten-by-the-bag-carrier bunch of non-committal waffle on a House of Commons letterhead with an obviously stamped ‘signature’ on the bottom. All except Tony Benn, who sent us a short handwritten note exhorting us to keep up the good work… Read more »

The Testiculating Dr Pemberton

Over at the Daily Telegraph Max Pemberton, who’s also a doctor, has written an opinion piece on abortion which, amongst other things, neatly illustrates the kind of problems that can easily arise if you’re gullible enough to believe everything you read in the newspapers. The problems with Pemberton’s article begin in the very first paragraph:

There can be few medical procedures so politically charged as abortion. Simply uttering the term polarises people. Battle lines are drawn and there is an expectation that you will join one camp or the other. For or against, pro-life or pro-choice: the narrative rarely extends beyond this simple dichotomy. And, if you are pro-choice, any criticism of abortion is considered a heresy.

That may well… Read more »

Plebgate, Ed Miliband and A few inconvenient facts

Let’s keep this simple and cut through the bullshit with a few facts that some people seen very keen to overlook. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been convicted of any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been charged with any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street… Read more »