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Radstats Issue 129 Editorial

Contents of this Issue

Following on from the discussions at the London Conference in February
2020, I asked contributors if they would agree to a student
converting their power-point presentations into short texts. This was
partly successful that year and also this year, although they will both be in the next issue.

The first article is the paper presented by Sally Ruane at the Conference. The second article is by the author, making a few comparisons with previous pandemics and also demonstrating the difference in portrayal of the ‘League Table’ by Death Rates as distinct from Number of Cases. The third article is a tour de force by Sean Demack on pupil segregation in England; and the final short piece is by John Bibby on a variant of Stigler’s dilemma.

Prospects for RSN 130

We have two articles ready, which have been converted from presentations
into papers with the help of an ex-student but, clearly, we are
going to have to rely on further contributions from the 2021 Conference
and/or anonymous or encouraged contributions.

We are still waiting for follow-ups to the relatively recent publication
of the third RadStats compendium, Data in Society, which was presented
by the books’ editors on Saturday 28th 2020. It is a landmark
publication, bringing together many of the crucial issues around the
production and use of quantitative information.

The contributors to Data in Society summarise many of the concerns
around the accessibility and use of statistics in contemporary society.
Examples include the lack of data from banking and financial
organisations hides the extent of tax evasion of taxation. Government
agencies are reducing the number of data series they make available
for public scrutiny. The number of healthcare treatments in Britain
provided by private groups is growing steadily.

The book is an eye-opener on the difficulties in holding governments
and large organisations to account. Do you agree with the authors’
interpretations?

As the editors acknowledge there are data topics the volume does not
cover in detail. These include the use of statistics by legal practitioners,
housing and homelessness data and climate change data.
The editors of the RadStats journal have been planning to devote one
journal issue to topics raised by Data in Society, and to topics not
discussed in the book. Could you write an article for the journal on
any of the topics above? Are there are areas of debate missing from
Data in Society? For example, is anyone prepared to comment on
the statistical inequalities arising out of the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic?

Administrative Issues

As the Administrator informed those receiving printed copies of the
issue that, at the AGM held in London at the end of February 2020,
the decision was taken to raise the subscription from £25 to £35 for
those wishing to continue to receive printed copies (whilst the membership
subscription only – with online access – would remain at £25
for those £10 for those on low incomes), otherwise they would be
taken off the distribution list which originally includes all 300+ members.

Please make sure you have updated your subscription, or make a
donation! – by going to www.radstats.org.uk/membership/ where
you can pay by cheque, standing order, PayPal – or by filling in your
details on page 52.

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