Monday 21 May 2012

Spontaneous Trouser Combustion II

According to the 2001 census, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194 the third-largest in the European Union (behind Germany and France) and the 21st-largest population in the world. 

Our overall population density is one of the highest in the world. Due to the particularly high population density in England (currently over 400 people per km2). Almost one-third of our population lives in England's south east and is predominantly urban and suburban, with about 8.2 million in the capital city of London.

The United Kingdom's extremely high literacy rate (99%) is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 and secondary level in 1900. Parents are obliged to have their children educated from the ages of 5 to 16 (with legislation passed to raise this to 18), and can continue education free of charge in the form of A-Levels, vocational training or apprenticeship to age 18. About 40% of British students go on to post-secondary education (18+).

So from the above census information, we can deduce that we are a well educated reasonably literate group of people. To gather this information is a costly exercise. The information in the census can supply interesting factual data for helping to make strategic and long term plans for the future.

I have been thinking about how British Waterways might have collected their census information to be able to make such bold statements as - "Some 98% of the people in this country consider the canals and waterways in this country to be a treasured asset."

2% of the 2001 census population would be 1,175,963. That's the number of people who indicated that they did not think the canals were a national treasure. 

98% of the population is 57,613,231. Who indicated that they did think the canals were a national treasure.

Not only is there some lingering evidence of smouldering pantaloons. But a very large dose of porcine avionics begins to comes to mind. So how could this "census of the waterways worth have been conducted".

It could have been done with a representative sample. Lets say we go down to the local marina and conduct an interview of a few people. Say a representative sample of a hundred boat owners. 

Then we ask the question: "Do you think the inland waterways should be viewed as a treasured asset?"

98 say yes!
2 say no!

No vested interest's on display here then. Now, lets imagine that those same representative people were asked if the senior staff on the board of British Waterways were paid to too little for the work that they do.

mmm smell the bacon!


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