Twitter is the End of Fact & Reason

How one twitter account sums up 2016’s post-factualism

It’s coming up to the end of 2016 and as the Queen of England labelled the year 1992, 2016 is our annus horribilis.

With the Brexit vote and Trump’s election highlighting the victory for self-inflicted stupidity over fact, as well as abhorrent rise in racial prejudice across both sides of the Atlantic as a result of pseudo-scientific, anti-factual rhetoric fuelling and even driving this backlash against nature and the world as we know it, claiming it highlighted to “liberals” that have been wrong all the time. With our experts, and our immigrants, and our doctors and our technology. Never mind that such voters used the very same mechanisms each and every day for their own end and needs.

The UK National Health Service is struggling. It’s on it’s knees. It needs more doctors, more nurses and carers. More money, greater efficiency (although it’s doing OK with what it has) and greater access to care. Waiting lists and cancellations of emergency operations are at an unacceptable level, even by the NHS’ own standards. The last thing the NHS needs more paperwork.

Yet 23rd June 2016 voted in, exactly that measure. More paperwork, costing the UK taxpayer between £1,400 and £2,000 extra per EU employed nurse. The tens of thousands of EU nurses in the UK, making up 20% or more of the workforce at any one time, now have no assurances about their future ability to stay in the country. Care UK residents who voted to close their borders and turf them out to “take back control”. For a soundbite, an “independence day” from BoJo, a clown by any other measure. It seemed irrelevant that you cannot magic doctors and nurses from nothing. That it takes 11 to 14 years for doctors to be trained and that nurses need 3 to 4 years of degree level education. How dare they get a degree! Don’t they know it’s elitist? That makes them experts doesn’t it?

The irony is the extra costs even siphons money straight into the hands of nursing agencies. The very parties the NHS have desperately needed to reduce outgoings to. Agencies will bear the burden of that paperwork, but pass those costs on to the NHS, since it’s a captive audience and has no choice. Hence, the NHS’s nursing and medical bill will increase by 10%.

But what of the promise on this bus?

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When even Nigel Farage, leader of an organisation dedicated the one single policy of leaving the European Union, states the claims on the bus were “a mistake”, it should have become clear the figures were fake, it should have become clear to everyone that voted Leave on this premise, that NHS is going to struggle badly after 2019.

Nigel Farage claims he wouldn’t have made that claim. Indeed, even when the figure of £350 million was first touted, he distanced himself from those figures. This is a man who distanced himself from figures that align to his own outlandish claims. Yet, after his sycophantic posterior tongue polishing of Donald Trump, because of the stage Trump gave him, it has worked in his favour, leaving the conservative party in a paradoxical position of being to the right of UKiP on this issue!

Twitter: The new, the bold and the truth untold

What the rise of the termed “post-factual” world has done is leave people, good, hardworking, sensible people in not only a state of shock, but a state of angst. We don’t worry for ourselves necessarily. It is worry for children, for older people and for those in need. As someone who spent 8 years of his life worrying about people whilst running charities for the public good, this is an anathema. We helped anyone and everyone ride successive storms of controversy that successive governments foisted upon the UK populous.

  • Changes to Disability Living Allowance
  • Replacement of Incapacity Benefit with Employment Support Allowance
  • Introduction of the Work Capability Assessment — An assessment European Courts found to breach human rights legislation
  • Introducing the “bedroom tax” and the vicious cycle that ensued
  • Enforced Voluntary Labour — 6 months of lose benefits. Deemed akin to slavery by the UK supreme court.

Those of us who have lived and worked at the sharp-end of this have seen what governments can do to their own people in the name of balancing the books. Just because they don’t kill with guns doesn’t a democracy make. Noting how many governmental, workers rights and persecutory civil liberties decisions were taken to the UK Supreme Court and overturned by applying European Law directly, or translated into UK law, we should be very mindful that we have not had the best civil liberties record of late. Indeed, we have not built our own legislation independent of Europe or the United Nations since WWII. We may have started some of it, but like football, our ability to lead the world in it has diminished over time. Indeed, the world of tennis took 77 years to see a “Brit” win Wimbledon since the last time and he was Scottish, not English. A nation apparently desiring to Remain.

Yet, the twittersphere was awash with noise and false stories, fake figures, fake accounts. Anecdotally, certainly the number of accounts I came into contact with, having very few, if any, followers, set up during that period indicated the number of people who were willing to set up real (or fake) accounts simply for the purpose of spreading false propaganda and hate. It was central to the furvour.

And it continues and continues as an insult and direct malice against the UK as a whole. Just yesterday I came across the following:

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Literally nothing right about this tweet at all. Let’s dissect:

The Source

Fraser Nelson is editor of The Spectator Magazine. He’s a hack! He pimps the rag to those who’ll buy it and his job is to make more people buy it.

Now, in all fairness to him, held once help more tolerant view on immigrants, gay marriage and the like prior to Brexit. Just for further clarity, The Spectator is a political rag once headed up by BoJo the clown. So it’s already aligned itself with BoJo. and indeed, BoJo was fired form the Spectator because he made up quotes. Let’s now drill into the figures a bit more.

The Figures

Let me hit you up with a definition.

REER

Real Effective Exchange Rate a comparative index used to accounted for the exchange rate of one country to another “average” basket or currencies, in turn, after accounting for a country’s basket of goods, akin to the CPI Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Retail Price Index (RPI) baskets of goods, which define the level of inflation a country experiences and linking that to the average trade balance through a relativistic measure (or “weights” as they are referred). It is a weighted average factor model.

REERs Two Ugly Heads

When adjusted, the resulting REER allows economists to compare one country’s currency to another, via this third parameter. A kind of “average currency”. Note, this does not necessarily mean that the Euro is the average currency. The average parameter is taken from the currencies on offer, and comparing them to other currencies. In the Eurozone, this means the German “Euro” (weighted to account for German inflation and trade gap) is compared against the French “Euro” (again, weighted to account for French inflationary figures and trade gap). Crucially, the IMF compare global currencies altogether, not just the Euro. Hence, the image is showing the application of an average, weighted currency that does not resemble the Euro! France’s performance is compared against the average basket of currencies on the world stage, not the Euro.

Furthermore, and of note, despite Nelson’s assertion, at no point in this image does it compare the costs of exports and imports. The relationship between exports and imports are non-linearly related to currency exchange, not linearly. So the first thing to note is Nelson’s statement does not bare any resemblance to the image shown. He has gone above and beyond what the image is saying, introducing a “fake fact” into that tweet.

Other Unmentioned Beneficiaries

Additionally, perhaps more due to tweet length limits (the tweet is 140 characters long), Fraser Nelson only refers to France in his exaggerated tweet. He fails to mention anything about other Eurozone countries who have benefited like Germany, like the Netherlands (trading in Euros). It also doesn’t mention beneficiaries of the Eurozone, who are part of the EU but not using the Euro (like the UK). Specifically, Sweden and Poland.

A Folie a Deau

Secondly, the twitter account FactReason goes further, since it claims that every member of the Euro has seen a disaster except for Germany! To save you scrolling, I’ll repeat it here.

The disaster of the euro for France — & every member of it apart from Germany

So, we’ve established the image does not show a Euro comparison (it includes Japan and the USA for heavens sake! What the actual f***?) and that it doesn’t detail a longitudinal analysis of the change in currency fluctuation over time. We’ve also established that the tweet does not mention comparisons of other countries otherwise it’ll have included beneficiaries of other countries. That is as far as the facts go.

This person manning FactsReason, who this morning destroyed their own reputation as a “balanced” account by admitting they are Leavers by proxy…

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… then goes on to add the pooh-smelling garnish by stating that:

  • Every member apart from Germany… (false)
  • …has been impacted… (false — no temporal data to show this)
  • …by the Euro (false — it’s a basket of all currencies and not the Euro at that)

The account also seems to keep bringing up a Telegraph article about 15 billion of extra foreign investment without reference to temporal figures, nor the currency fall, which is the reason investment has increased. That is great as long as imports don’t rise, but they have done. So another account to swat away like a fly. However, most in the UK do not have this analytical skill. So will get conned by accounts like this hook, line and sinker. After all, if our literacy levels for adults is worse than the world average, what else can we expect? All it needs, like the Trump voter, is more gullible idiots to be suckered.

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So, in short, this particular twitter account, representative of so many, does not understand what evidence is. They use the handle FactReason to appeal to people looking for factual stories, in order to serve them fake news and data.

You know what? Yes, I still feel betrayed by a country I was born and bred in. It values stupidity and racism over it’s own best interests. Where facts are a thing of the past, a fairy-tales are the new black. Post-factualism is a cancer, is a disease. For those of us that have helped out so many in our lives, to give more than these people could even dream of helping with, as long as they are “alright jack” that’s OK. You know, what, so am I! Because I’m post-caring.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, he’s still wittering on. Now citing that wonderful pillar of factual reporting, the Daily Mail!

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Written by

EA, Stats, Math & Code into a fizz of a biz or two. Founder: Automedi & Axelisys. Proud Manc. Citizen of the World. I’ve been busy

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