Wednesday, October 03, 2012

MPs Thick, Labour MPs Especially

A total of 97 MPs were asked this probability problem: if you spin a coin twice, what is the probability of getting two heads?

Among Conservative members, 47% gave the wrong answer, which is disappointing enough. But of the 44 Labour MPs who took part, 77% answered incorrectly.

It does explain a few things though- the basic innumeracy could be one of the reasons why Labour always propose spending bonanzas that are vastly greater than any real increase in wealth- and why Labour governments always leave economic catastrophes behind them.

I am being serious here- the inability to think past stage one is evident in a lot of Labour's previous actions and at the ideas on show at their conference this week- registering journalists, spending all the 4G money on one particular pet project etc, etc.

Humans use two mental methods for reaching conclusions- the one we use most often is intuitive and takes little effort. This means it is often wrong. The slower method uses reasoning and logic- this is hard work but tends to be right more often.


MarkyMark said...

I must say i'm shocked. Pathetic. Statistics doesn't get much simpler than that.

The sad part about it is that most of the public are no better meaning that neither the public or the politicians are able to understand or think correctly about many of the issues that the UK faces today.

JohnM said...

A basic socialist thought process is to assume that the failure of your policies is because you aren't doing enough, never because you're doing the wrong thing. See Polly Toynbee et al

Under such a misconception, it's no surprise that they image that the chances of two heads is 50:50.

Ross said...

John- like Tony Benn who insisted Labour lost the 1983 election because it wasn't left wing enough.

Markymark- You're right of course.