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Phil Goodwin: Issue 586 16 Dec 2011

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Dodgy data can be used to ruin almost any plan

The quality of data in policy debates doesn’t necessarily matter – as long as the media can be persuaded to use it

Phil Goodwin

I was reading an article by the deep green George Monbiot in the robustly conservative Spectator last week, and he referred to people who “tend to demand impossible standards of proof from their opponents, but to accept any old rubbish that supports their beliefs”. The article was about climate change, but I had just been reading the latest stages of the campaign against Westminster City Council’s plan to charge for night-time and weekend parking in part of Central London. The...

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