There is a bit of a hoo-ha this morning about an attack document that the Conservatives have produced called "Labour's Two Nations" in which they have claimed that in the most deprived areas of the country, 54% of women are likely to fall pregnant before the age of 18. They had misplaced a decimal point because the actual figure for these areas is 5.4%. This erroneous figure was mentioned three times in the document.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Now anyone can make a mistake. However there should have been a review of this document before it was released. If there wasn't, then they need to improve their processes. If there was, somebody should have noticed that they were saying in some areas over half of all women under the age of 18 were falling pregnant. That immediately fails the "does this figure even seem vaguely plausible" test.
And that is why it is so damaging. The Conservatives have already been taken to task recently by the Economist which pretty comprehensively rebutted their "Broken Britain" narrative by analysing the evidence. The Tories are giving the impression that they don't really understand what is happening out there in the real world. The fact that they could release a document which states such a wildly wrong figure just lends more credence to the idea that they are totally out of touch.
They need to be more careful and avoid making mistakes like this that play into this out of touch narrative.