Saturday 10 August 2013

Axing the official death rates, more Tory double standards

In August 2013 a leaked copy of a Public Health England report revealed an alarming 23,400 spike in the number of deaths per year in 2012, with the over-80s being the worst affected by this increased death rate. It hardly seems like a coincidence that just days after this damning report was leaked, Public Health England decided to announce that they will stop collecting the data.

Many people have speculated about the possible causes for this 5% spike in the death rate. Proposed contributory factors include the desperate underfunding of the NHS, (especially emergency care), cuts to local government elderly care services, a colder than normal winter and increasing levels of general poverty. Labour MPs and other opposition groups called for an inquiry in order to determine the causes of this spike in mortality rates, but the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ignored them. Now it turns out that we won't just not be getting an investigation into the cause of over 23,400 extra deaths, but that the collection of the specific death rate statistics will be discontinued too.

Anyone that is familiar with the machinations of the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith's "leadership" will recognise this technique. If the official statistics show that over 10,000 people are dying, then the obvious solution to this problem is not to investigate further, it's to just stop collecting the data!

The Tory party have defended both the decision to avoid an investigation into the causes of these extra deaths, and the decision to cancel the collection of these death rate statistics. In a remarkable statement a Department of Health spokesperson stated that:

"it is scaremongering to suggest a link to poor care and support before there is any evidence to support such a claim."

So, any attempt to offer potential explanations for this deeply concerning rise in the death rate is to be derided as "scaremongering", yet the government are determined that no inquiry will be held to determine the actual causes! The government won't conduct an inquiry to establish some verifiable evidence of the causes, and any effort to consider potential causes in light of this refusal to provide the evidence is to be derided as "scaremongering". They won't give us the evidence and then deride as fearmongering propagandists anyone that talks about the subject without the evidence they they are deliberately withholding!  

Essentially this quote can be taken to mean that "nobody is allowed to talk about the subject without concrete evidence, and since we are determined to withhold the evidence, everyone might as well go home and watch X-Factor and stop worrying their pretty little heads about this!"

When it comes to this quote, another comparison with Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP is in order.

Iain Duncan Smith has been reprimanded on several occasions by the UK Statistics Authority for his blatant misuse of statistics, and the culture of statistical misrepresentation at the DWP. In July 2013 Ian Duncan Smith decided to go on the counter-attack in a rambling and self-righteous interview on Radio 4. This strategy was hardly surprising, given that the rambling and self-righteous counter-attack seems to be Iain Duncan Smith's only debating strategy.

When it came to his made-up statistical evidence that his welfare policies were working the defence he came up with was frankly laughable,"you can't disprove what I said either ... I believe this to be right, I believe that we are already seeing people going back to work who were not going to go back to work".

So when it comes to a Tory blatantly misusing statistics to create shockingly misleading "success narratives" that are presented to the public as concrete facts, it's perfectly acceptable because of nothing more than his stated belief that his explanation is right, and the onus is upon the opposition to disprove his claims.

But when it comes to the opposition talking in purely speculative terms about the potential contributory factors to an alarming spike in the national death rate, they are guilty of "scaremongering" and the onus is upon them to them to prove their own claims with evidence!

Thus, Tories can make up the facts as they go along and are under no obligation to prove their claims with evidence, but the opposition must never speculate about the potential causes of a situation, and must provide evidence to back their assertions (evidence that is unlikely to come to light given that the Tories are refusing to hold an official inquiry, and the statistics in question will no longer be collected).

If you can't see the double standards at play here, you're probably the kind of person that thinks David Cameron is an honest trustworthy sort of chap aren't you?


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