Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Quote of the day

" If you tell a lie big enough - and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie - and thus, by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

Joseph Goebbels

New Labour claim to be close to hitting MRSA targets

In 2004, the Health Secretary at the time, John Reid, set a target of slashing MRSA rates in half by March 2008, though the exact details were never exactly defined beyond the sound-bite level. Only last year the Department of Health felt this, even as ill defined as it was, was unattainable, according to a leaked memo.

Now it seems the Government are briefing the BBC that it will consider the infections target met if there are 963 cases, or less in the quarter April to June 2008.

There is more than one way to use statistics.

Recorded honestly they are like looking in the mirror when you get ready in the morning. They give you accurate feedback, allowing you to see if your hair is sticking up, or not - and allowing you to either ensure it is, or brush it down, depending on your taste.

Then there is the ’lies, damned lies and statistics’ way, so beloved of the State and developed to previously unheard of levels of sophistication under New Labour - where they fiddle what is measured and how it is measured, in order to bamboozle the voters into the impression that the Government have actually accomplished something.

This method will generally not work in industry when analysing sales (except occasionally at shareholder meetings - but not often, as shareholders tend to pay attention and remember as it is their money at risk), as it persistently results in disastrous decisions and the company in question going bust.

In the case of the State/public sector however, the positives generally outweigh the negatives - The reward for conning the voters is re-election, or advancement. Any losses can always be made up in increased taxation.

This might not necessarily be so if the Government were actually honourable ;-) or genuinely identified themselves with the citizen. If more of them were of ‘us’ instead of ‘them’, or if actually achieving something were more important than only appearing to do so, say because of an unavoidable reality check.