the population debate lie

This is a particularly nasty and revealing example of this whole atmosphere of deceit – of arranging the “facts” to get your way, rather than to have an honest debate.

I copy here my explanation of this distortion or lie from my proposition P169/2011 to curb dishonesty in the States:

“Case study 6 – population debate 2009 Strategic Plan – the vanishing of 2600 people

43. The population figures presented by the CoM for the Strategic Plan debate in 2009 left out 2600 people. This was achieved by statistical sleight of hand.

44. The document which underlay the CoM’s population projections was the “The Jersey Population Model 2009”. On page 1, paragraph 4 the Statistics Unit wrote: “The baseline for the projections is the 2001 Jersey Census; the 2001 population structure is aged to year-end 2005 and scaled to the population estimate for that point in time”.

45. On page 3, paragraph 2, in the section on model assumptions, this is what the Statistics Unit said about inward migration: “Central assumptions: – Start net inward migration in calendar year 2009;”

46. Eh voilà – the net inward migration of the 3 boom years of 2006, 2007 and 2008 has been disappeared! Here’s the chart showing how many people were airbrushed out of the debate. Remember too that this cohort of 2600, at a guess mostly younger people and economically active, will go on to have children, they will age, (some will of course leave again) and all these effects, which can be tracked in the model, were not. Because these people “did not exist”


47. The Statistics Unit added a final paragraph to their report: “Scale to year-end 2007.  The central projections are based on the 2001 Census baseline and the  estimated total population at year-end 2005. Nil net migration is assumed for the interim period from this latter point until net  migration is assumed to start in calendar year 2009. The inclusion of more recent net migration estimates (that is for calendar years 2006 and 2007, which saw net inward migration of some 800 and 1,000 persons respectively) increases the starting level, and hence the central projections of total population, by almost 2,000 people.”

48. I would only add that a guestimate of the 2008 figures could and should have been made.

49. It is bad enough that in a matter of the utmost importance to the whole island, the policy we should follow on population, the figures were incorrect.

50. For some reason the Statistics Unit produced graph after graph of future projected population scenarios, and every single graph was simply wrong as 2600 people had been “vanished” The question has to be asked: what was the reason? The clearest possibility is that the independence of the Unit was compromised in this episode.

51. So this case points to a serious possibility that one of the most highly regarded parts of the government apparatus was subjected to political influence. That is how the politicisation of the civil service can happen and it is our duty I believe to see that it does not happen.”


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