Trust politicians and statistics equally?

I have just watched the leader of one party here in Northern Ireland say that he chooses to believe the former head of the IRA about whether Gerry Adams was in the IRA or not.

Such riveting questions get dug up every now and then just to sling some mud about the place. Some of it sticks, and those who had already formed an opinion on the matter have their preconceived notions strengthened. Does it advance the peace process? No. Do people think it makes any difference to how he was regarded, and how he is now perceived? No.Is it the sort of thing that gets some people hot under the collar? Yes – so it’s bound to get plenty of air time.

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Much more interesting was Professor Hans Rosling’s programme on BBC2, Don’t Panic – The Truth about Population. If you asked most people in the UK how many babies mothers in Bangladesh have, you would get a figure somewhere above 4. Whereas the truth is that in most parts of the world, including Bangladesh, the average is somewhere around 2.

This global coming together in terms of population growth was brilliantly presented by the very enthusiastic doctor from Sweden who has co-founded the Gapminder Foundation, an organisation which highlights the most important statistical trends in the world.

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