Friday, 13 March 2009

A closer look at the numbers

What's got into the Bristol Evening Post? A few days ago it ran an astonishingly uncritical piece on Cllr Shirley 'takes the biscuit' Marshall, and now it's regurgitating Conservative Party press releases.

Note the headline - "Mixed picture of youngsters heading to uni" and its opening line - "fewer young people from the affluent Bristol West constituency went to university last year than a decade before". This hardly earth-shattering statistic - down from 610 to 590 - was unearthed by a Parliamentary Question from Conservative frontbencher David Willetts (no doubt tabled with more than a little bit of assistance from his former researcher, a certain Bristol PPC).

Then look at the rest of the figures:

Bristol East 275 (185)
Bristol North West 310 (265)
Bristol South 190 (145)
Kingswood 385 (325)
Northavon 560 (495)
Bath 495 (360)
Wansdyke 500 (390)
Weston-super-Mare 425 (345)
Woodspring 565 (535).

Notice anything? Yup, in every single other constituency in the Bristol area the number of pupils going to university has gone up. Quite significantly in some cases. I hesitate to try calculating percentages at this time of night but I can say with some confidence that a drop from 610 to 590 in Bristol West (which could well be explained by demographic changes) is far less statistically significant than a rise from 185 to 275 in Bristol East. So BEP, why allow yourself to be spun the Tory line?


Dave H said...

All these different Bristol constituencies are so confusing for someone like me living about 150 miles away. Associative clues would help.

Is Jacqui Smith the MP for Bristol South?

Kerry said...

See, when I don't blog about Bristol, people moan. When I do, people moan. Can't win.

Bristol West is the poshest part of Bristol, but some of the other seats, outside the city boundary, are pretty posh too. Bristol South - not so posh. So basically, more kids are going to university from the posh places and the not-so-posh places - apart from Bristol West where there has been a small dip.

bevanite said...

maybe it was all the contradictory promises from B. West's MP about tuition fees. To abolish or not to abolish?that is the question. Mr. Williams is confused. Bless.

Kerry said...

Dave H has now explained what he was on about. And yes, it was, to use his own words, puerile.

Dave H said...

I only regret it slightly.

If you can take the mickey out of Hague's baldness, why not? As for the other, most are South by 47.

More than enough for today.

Kerry said...

You're the expert, are you?

Dave H said...

feel forced to attempt witty riposte but putting in 50m post & rail fence in heavy clay soil. Hardly started and already in agony. Post hole auger voodoo jinxed and trying to kill me. Drenched in sweat. Cant type. Pity the suffering troll.

Abuse later if not dead.

SteveL said...

Bristol South has seen a pretty big change.

Northern Lights said...

I love how the Conservatives talk about missing targets for the number of people achieving degrees, when their solution would be to do less of all the things that have got more children going to uni in the first place.