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.

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 www.radstats.org.uk/membership 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.)

Presentations

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.

 

Radical Statistics, Issue 127

Cover image, empty auditoriumContents of this Issue

This issue is in two parts: Part I contains papers that were ‘carried over’ from the COVID issue 126, simply because we couldn’t exceed 88 pages even with a reduced font size without having to move to a spined binding which would have been more expensive. Part II contains a diverse set of papers:

  • Dave Byrne, with a critique of the IFS Deaton Review showing how a combination of policy moves (e.g. abolition of schedule A, progressive reduction of tax rates and ability for couples to separate their tax returns) has led to widening inequalities in income and wealth;
  • Danny Dorling, prompted by John Bibby, on gender differences in mortality suggesting that – with reference to Marc Luy’s writing on how much of the sex difference in mortality could be attributed to gender – the gap in life expectancies will narrow substantially by 2050;
  • Anna Powell-Smith, displaying the types of information that are
    missing from the UK government’s extensive compilations.

Prospects for RSN 128

Following on from the discussions at the Conference in February, I asked contributors if they would agree to a student converting their power-point presentations into short texts and two or three speakers have complied. There was also one article for this issue which we collectively decided could do with revision and we have returned to the author who has agreed. So, the issue might be short but not empty!

Another proposal for generating material is the recent publication of the third RadStats compendium, Data in Society, which will be presented by the books’ editors on Saturday 28th. 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 are 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;  £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 in the form on page 54.

Roy Carr-Hill
Radstats Editor

Editorial, Coronavirus Special issue 126

We are flattered by the large number of papers submitted for this [special] issue.  Unfortunately, for reasons of cost, it was decided at the last Annual Conference not to print in colour, so we hope that the presentation of charts and figures has not been too spoilt.  For the same reason, we have had to limit the number of pages that can be staple bound (88) rather than with a spine.  This has meant:

  • after the tragic death of Professor Harvey Goldstein on 9th April from COVID-19-19, we solicited memorial tributes from members and others receiving heartfelt submissions from sixteen people, which we have decided to put on our website under the title of ‘Harvey Goldstein Memoria’;
  • carrying over some papers to the next issue and specifically those by Danny Dorling, Diana Kornbrot, Said Shahtahmasebi and dropping one planned section ’Epilogue’; the choice was made by myself on the basis of being relatively less directly relevant to COVID-19 or less statistical.

We are of course still ‘open for business’ in the sense of welcoming any commentary on the papers included in this issue, any further papers on COVID-19-19; and are particularly interested in receiving papers on countries not covered in section D of this issue.

Another proposal for generating material is the occasion of the publishing of the third RadStats compendium, Data in Society.  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 privately is growing steadily.

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

Roy Carr-Hill, Radical Statistics Editor

Call for Papers for a Coronavirus special issue

Papers from all disciplines are invited on any relevant topic addressing political aspects of data and statistics.

Joint Editors are John Bibby and Roy Carr-Hill. Please submit an indicative title and brief description. Email: jb43@york.ac.uk

Papers are due by 1st May 2020, for publication the same month (provisional).

Recent issues of the journal are viewable at https://www.radstats.org.uk/journal/.

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.