The RSS has launched several initiatives to highlight the importance of statistics and put forward particular policy ideas to voters and politicians in the approach to the UK General Election in June.
The Society has already written to the major political parties to draw attention to the points raised in our Data Manifesto. However, we also want as many of our fellows as possible to get involved and raise the profile of statistics in the election.
There are three ways you can engage:
1. Urgently sign RSS’s letter calling for an end to pre-release access
We are writing an open letter calling on the next government to end pre-release access to official statistics for ministers and their political and press advisers. This simple change would increase public confidence in statistics, make politics fairer and bring the UK into line with international best practice. The current situation has long been open to potential abuse. Indeed, no fewer than 114 politicians and advisers can now see labour market statistics before their public release, so we’re seeking 114 signatories to endorse our call for reform. Early supporters include past and present RSS presidents such as David Spiegelhalter, Valerie Isham and Tim Holt, plus ex-National Statistician Jil Matheson.
We we now have all 114 signatures that we need; thank you for supporting this important RSS initiative!
2. Send your own letter to your local candidates
For fellows who would like to help further this issue, and our other statistical concerns in government, we have put together a template letter for members in the UK to use if writing to their parliamentary candidates to raise the profile of statistics related issues. Please amend the text as you see fit. You'll be able to find details for candidates on your local party websites.
3. Come to our event on statistics in the election
We are holding a panel discussion event with the British Academy to discuss the question: Has the post-truth era killed our chance of having an election based on facts and statistics? Speakers include our president David Spiegelhalter, ex-British Academy president Baroness Onora O’Neill and Megan Lucero, former head of data at The Times and now a director at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The event will take place on Monday 22 May, 6.30-8pm at the British Academy in London. We do hope you can join us at what promises to be a fascinating discussion; please register your free place online.