The economy of the United Kingdom is a fairly important thing, don’t you think? The smooth running of the country, the growth of employment, the security of jobs, the balance between the nation’s imports and exports. It’s a lot of detail and numbers that all need careful study and calculation. So can we, as citizen subjects of this Kingdom really leave all that to the Conservative party, who can’t tell the difference between 54% and 5.4%? I don’t think so.
The Tories launched the next wave of attacks against Labour with a document called “Labour’s Two Nations”. The idea being that this would show just how broken Britain really is by highlighting inequalities around the country. So far, so good. One of the claims they make- multiple times – in this document attacking Labour’s record in government is the following: “In the most deprived areas 54% are likely to fall pregnant before the age of 18, compared to just 19% in the least deprived areas.” The reality is that the number is 5.4% and that figure has dropped by 10.5% since 1998 when it was previously rising under – you guessed it – a Tory government.
George Osborne has now confirmed on air that ‘a decimal point was missing’ as if that was the simplest mistake. And it is fairly obviously a straight-forward cock-up. We’ve all made mistakes when transposing numbers. I’m sure I’ve done it in a spreadsheet or two. However, we’ve not all done it 3 times, presumably proof-read a document, and then published said document to the nation!
But much more serious than missing a decimal point out (though imagine missing a decimal point in a budget, when you’re dealing in billions of pounds), is the fact that the Tories didn’t stop to question the “fact” that over half of under-18s were getting pregnant in deprived areas of the UK. They didn’t say, ‘hang on a mo. That doesn’t sound quite right.’ No, what they did was highlight this fact as a Labour failing. So twisted is their view of this Kingdom, so far out of touch with life in this country are the Tories, that they believed this figure to be a true and accurate depiction of reality.
And people want to elect these clowns to govern us.