Radical Statistics, the organisation committed to ‘using statistics to support progressive social change’, has published four accounts of the Royal Statistical Society’s contested election for president in 1977, in its most recent journal.
In a piece titled ‘Remembering a pivotal episode for the Radical Statistics Group and the Royal Statistical Society: the RSS presidential elections of 1977’, former RSS council members Harvey Goldstein and David Hill recount their take on the events which took place that saw Dr Henry Wynn contest council nominee Sir Campbell Adamson, and defeat him in a subsequent ballot. It was the first time the RSS presidency had ever been contested, and has not occurred since.
As Ludi Simpson summarises in his introduction, ‘Radical Statistics’ role was first to support one of its members Liz Atkins as candidate for RSS Council, forcing an election in which Campbell Adamson was the only candidate not to be elected. When the new Council nonetheless proposed him for president, Radical Statistics members encouraged an alternative candidate, Henry Wynn.’
The article provides a fascinating account of the RSS in the 1970s, a decade which saw high profile presidents such as Harold Wilson take up the post. It also provides insight into an event that is now regarded as helping to make the Royal Statistical Society function in a more democratic way.
The article appears in the most recent edition of Radical Statistics’ journal, which will be published on the RadStats journal page
later this year.
Radical Statistics is currently creating archives and welcomes other contributions on its history.