Introduction and Editorial, Issue 134 (with memorial to Roy Carr-Hill)

Contents of this Issue

There is one poem, three papers and one book review in this issue.  In addition to a poem for and paper from Roy Carr-Hill (see below), Zohreen Badruddin worked with Diana Kornbrot to convert Diana’s RadStats conference paper on the infrastructure needed for Universal Basic Income (UBI) into the one published here. This is followed by a paper by Sean Demack on HE equality analyses involving ethnicity which reveals several (onion) layers of problematic statistical practice. Finally, Irina Motoc reviews a book on data visualization by Maarten Boers.

Roy Carr-Hill 1943-1922

Roy Carr-HillA founding member of Radical Statistics and, for the last decade, lead editor of this RadStats journal / newsletter, Roy died suddenly in November 2022. Family and friends gathered to remember Roy at a humanist funeral in York crematorium on a frozen Friday 9th December. The music of Paul Simon, Bob Marley and from The Blues Brothers accompanied moving memories of Roy’s life from four daughters and a grandson (and others later in The Woodman pub). To mark the death of Roy, this issue includes the John Dryden poem that was read at his funeral and a re-print of one of his RadStats articles in which he wryly summarised the rich and radical life he had lived up to 1999 when it was first published (RadStats Issue 71). I assume that Roy celebrated his 16th election of not voting in 2019!

RadStats Journal / Newsletter

For the last few years, I have helped Roy to put this journal / newsletter together.  Irina Motoc joined us more recently to focus on increasing the volume of book reviews submitted & published.  With the help of Eileen Magnello (copy editor) and Alistair Cairns (administrator), we have published 3-4 editions of the journal each year. The future of the RadStats journal is dependent on submissions from members and other interested parties. In addition to articles (and other submissions), if you are interested in becoming part of the editorial team, please contact us using the details below.

Radical Statistics Conference 2023

The conference [was] held on March 25th in Sheffield and the first in person RadStats event for three years. The conference has a broad theme of ‘Radical Statistics in an Age of Uncertainty’ and will include presentations on hidden unemployment, civic statistics, and pupil segregation. Please visit for more detail.

Getting Involved

The RadStats group is as strong as its membership and we welcome offers of help. If you are interested in becoming involved with the journal, a future conference or event or other ideas to advance the Radical Statistics aim of building a more free, democratic, and egalitarian society, please contact

RadStats are particularly concerned about

  • Mystifying use of technical language to disguise social problems.
  • Lack of control by the community over what & how statistical investigations are conducted and interpreted.
  • Power structures within which statistical and research workers are employed.
  • Fragmentation of social problems into specialist fields, obscuring connectedness.

“We believe that statistics can be used to support radical campaigns for progressive social change.  Statistics should inform, not drive policies.  Social problems should not be disguised by technical language.”

We currently have no proposed articles for the next issue (RS 135); We encourage presenters at the conference in Sheffield to submit an article for consideration. Our review editor, Irina Motoc has several books for review, and is seeking volunteers!

Administrative Issues

Please make sure you have updated your subscription, or make a donation! – by going to where you can pay by cheque, standing order, PayPal – or by filling in your details on page 45.

Editorial Team (


Please email if interested in joining this team.

Review Editor

Irina MOTOC (

Radstats 132 Editorial

Contents of this Issue
In this, relatively short, issue 132 we have two very interesting articles, both based on papers ‘delivered’ at the virtual conference that was hosted by the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne on the theme of ‘Taxing Wealth, Reducing Inequality’, held on Saturday 26th February 2022. John Bibby extrapolates Ten Commandments for fiscal and statistical literacy and Stewart Lansley documents how the post-WWII advances of the Atlee government have been nearly all wiped out since 1970. In addition, this editor [Roy Carr-Hill] has included a letter that he has just sent to the Lancet which might amuse those readers who work in the health area.

Prospects for RSN 133
We have no proposed articles for the next issue; but we shall be pursuing the other presenters relentlessly. Our new Review Editor, Irina Motoc, also has several books for review, and is looking for volunteers.

Administrative Issues
Readers may notice this has appeared only 3 months after RSN 133. We are now aiming to produce four shorter (max 50 pages to save on postage) issues rather than three per year. There were tentative plans for a mid-year meeting in 2022 but as yet there are no details.

Please make sure you have updated your subscription, or make a donation! – by going to where you can pay by cheque, standing order, PayPal – or by filling in your details on page 45.

Review Editor

Conference 2022 Save the Date: 26 February

Next year’s conference titled
is scheduled take place on Saturday, 26 February in central Newcastle at the Lit & Phil Library.
The link above provides very basic information but the events are being developed and the conference is shaping up.
There is still time to get involved in the planning. Please let us know if you can help in any way.
And there is space to give a talk or presentation. We are particularly looking for breadth in age, race and gender. If you think someone might be interested, that would also be helpful.
Finally health matters obviously continue to be up in the air. We said we’d either go virtual or in-person, and at this stage we are still very hopeful to go ahead in Newcastle. The possibility of a ‘hybrid’ event is appealing but we currently do not have anyone who is willing and able to facilitate this. If you feel you could, that would be great!
For any of these matters, please get in touch with the Conf22 organisers at

Editorial, Issue 128

View the online journal, issue 128.Cover of issue 128, collage of crowds

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 has been partly successful this year. We did at last manage to get two of the presentations at the 2020 Conference – those of Danny Dorling and Andy Street – converted to text and these are the first two articles in this issue. The third article is the paper presented by Lynn McDonald at the Conference. The final article is a follow-up by Simeon Scott to an earlier article in Issue 125.

Prospects for RSN 129
We have at least one article promised for RSN 129, but, clearly, we are going to have to rely on contributions from the 2021 Conference. Given that this 2021 Conference hosted by Newcastle will be virtual, it is vital that presenters provide their powerpoints to the organisers and to the editors and that, if they can’t themselves provide a write-up of their presentation, they agree that a student should try and convert their presentation into a write-up, for the author to clear for publication.

Another proposal for generating material was 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?

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.

Also, although the2021 Conference will be virtual, there are still preparation and ongoing costs. We are asking for a donation; the suggested amount is £20, however all smaller donations will help cover the costs.

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

Using Statistics to Understand the Pandemic – and What Will Come Next

Radical Statistics 2021 Conference and AGM and more
Saturday, 27 February 9:30am-4:00pm
Via Zoom

Registration for the conference is FREE.
(But please consider a donation toward organising costs. See below.)


Jennifer Badham on Real Time Modelling of COVID in Conjunction with Public Health at Local Levels
Ted Schrecker on Health Inequality in a Post-pandemic World: The Real Grand Challenges
Pouria Hadjibagheri (PHE) on COVID-19 dashboard – Building an Open and Transparent Data Platform
Sally Ruane on What Statistics Tell Us About the State of the NHS When COVID Hit AND How It Got to that State
Mike Sandys (Director of Public Health for Leicestershire CC) on How a Director of Public Health Has Engaged with Data During COVID and What Issues Have Been Experienced
Andrei Morgan on The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Perinatal Activity

There will be ample time for Q&A and discussion.

2021 Annual General Meeting
Saturday, 27 February 4:00 – 5:00 PM
All members and interested participants are welcomed warmly.

Join in for an informal social drinks event
Friday, 26 February at 7:00 PM
Meet old and new members to discuss the conference themes & more.
And -– if you’re not completely comfortable joining Zoom events, this is a relaxed place to practice. Help will be available if needed.

Please donate to help cover organising costs:

Suggested donation amount:
£20+ Supporter     £10 Low-income     Free for students
Radstats runs on a miniscule budget and even small amounts make a great difference.


2020 Conference and Events

2020, London: “Learning from the Past to Build a Better Future
Friday 28th & Saturday 29th February, 2020
Radical Statistics 46th annual conference will take place at
St Luke’s Community Centre, 90 Central St, London EC1V 8AJ.
Register on Eventbrite.
On Saturday, 29th at the same location Radical Statistics will hold its AGM, discussion about Data in Society, and an extended discussion on the future of Radstats, as we approach our 50th year. All welcome.

Register now – Radical Statistics 2020 Conference

“Learning from the Past to Build a Better Future”

London: Friday 28th February 2020, with associated events on 27th and 28th February evenings, and the morning of 29th February.

The 46th annual Radical Statistics Conference will take place at St Luke’s Community Centre, 90 Central St, London EC1V 8AJ.

2020 marks the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale who was noted as “The Passionate Statistician”. We are proud to mark this with a Keynote Address from Lynn McDonald of Guelph University, world authority on Nightingale and editor of her collected works. Lynne’s talk is entitled “Florence Nightingale and Statistics: What She Did and What She Did Not”.

There will be many other talks and plenty of time for discussion, including:

Danny Dorling on The UK health crisis
Eileen Magnello on Nightingale: A radical and passionate statistician
Andrew Street on Revisiting Nightingale’s vision and hospital outcomes

Dave Byrne on The IFS Deaton review
Paul Marchant on Bad Stats and the public purse
Greg Dropkin on Radiation & A-bomb survivers in Japan

And discussion and sessions on the new Radical Statistics book ‘Data in Society: Challenging Statistics in an Age of Globalisation’

On the following morning, Saturday the 29th, Radical Statistics’ AGM will be held at the same location. In addition all are invited to discuss the future of Radical Statistics as an organisation as we prepare to enter our second half-century. There will be informal social events on the evenings of the 27th and 28th. We hope to end with a guided walk on a FN theme by a professional guide, immediately following the Saturday meeting.

Registration is now open.

Issue 120 now online

I/we had hoped that this issue would include some of the conference papers but it was not to be.  However, my rather hopeless intervention at the beginning of the London Conference, which most – including myself – thought unlikely to be successful has, in fact generated several papers from new authors so that there is not only this issue but a surplus for the next issue.

Contents of this Issue

 The result of course is that the contents of this issue are a mixed bag, so they have been put in the order of author’s surnames. We start, appropriately with a homage to Arthur Bowley, one of the pioneers of statistics and especially a precursor of Tukey’s approach to analysis and presentation.  Written and illustrated, lovingly, by John Bibby, who found it buried in a mess of papers somewhere.  It is followed by a novel approach by Riekkinen and Burns to understand daily journey-to-work commuting behaviour in London and link this to environmentaland health impact, and to devise a replicable framework through which areas can be rated based on low carbon and active travel with this information then being used to support policy implementation for more sustainable commuting.

The next two articles are clear critiques of the current use of statistics.  The first is by Frank Houghton expanding on the revelations concerning the extensive falsification of breathalyser testing statistics by the Irish Police (O’Sullivan, 2017), which have recently escalated into a damning expose of a series of more incriminating practices. What started out as an investigation into inflated activity figures by some Irish Police officers (Garda) has subsequently revealed financial misconduct, wholesale errors and incompetence, and extensive data falsification and a nefarious cover-up at the highest levels. The second is by Brendan Lawson on the coverage of the 2017 South Sudanese Famine by The Guardian and BBC News.  There were three interlinked findings: one, the United Nations was the source for the vast majority of statistics; two, these statistics were unilaterally accepted as indisputable truths by the news media; three, they underpinned and constructed a narrative of constitution-measurement-solution. This framed journalists’ use of statistics as serving to reinforce existing power dynamicsof the humanitarian field.

Prospects for RSN 121

Whilst we do have some material forthe next issue RSN 121, due in October 2018, we would like it to be at least partly devoted to that conference.  The Editor has written to each of the speakers asking if they can produce a paper but we think it would also be very useful if any of those who attended (or did not attend) have any ideas or thoughts on the subjects raised could make a contribution, however short. I/we have written to all of the authors individually and circulated all members asking them to submit anything they want to write on one or more of the themes addressed in the conference. 

The themes addressed at the conference were the issue of inequality as it relates to income, reproductive health and intimate partner violence, while the fourth explored the feasibility of low-carbon towns. The day included workshops specifically related to these themes, and one on the role of the statistician in the age of alternative facts.

Please send anything directly to Roy Carr-Hill with Subject Title: Contribution on 2018 London RadStats Conference: theme Income Inequality OR ReproductiveInequalities OR Inequality and Intimate Partner Violence OR Feasibility of Low-Carbon towns OR Role of statistician in the age of alternative ‘facts’.

Roy Carr-Hill