The thought receptacle

Stephen's mental dustbin

Thu, 18 Aug 2011

Don't think alike

I used to think that The Independent was a reasonably good newspaper, but two recent clangers have made me despair.

On Tuesday, this masterpiece of an article by someone purporting to be “Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor”. Seldom have correlation and causation been so thoroughly confused to generate such an outpouring of sensationalist nonsense. As usual, there is no link to the original article, nor even an author name mentioned, so it took me ages to find this link, but find it I did. The article is itself extremely weaselly, in that it tries to suggest a causal link without having any grounds for doing so (and certainly no theory on a mechanism). That doesn't excuse the even more confusing write-up though.

On Wednesday, the rail fares increase attracted this stunningly enlightened comment from Sean O'Grady. It's quite all right, he says, that rail fares are increasing above inflation again, because “wealthy stockbrokers rumbling in from Guildford or Chelmsford can well afford it” whereas “some hard-pressed family in the Midlands that never uses a train” should not have to pay through their taxes. In other words, usable public transport is already only affordable by the wealthy and only available in the south-east---which, coincidentally, is where those wealthy people are disproportionately located. So let's exacerbate all three problems! Well done, Sean.

Long time no blog, by the way. I have some queued-up unfinished things (and a lot of bike rides to bore you about) but it's pretty difficult to find the time at the moment. I must do better.

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