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Sir John Cowperthwaite’s Advice Comes To Mind

Sir John was appointed to run a part of Hong Kong’s – very light – bureaucracy just after WWII ended. It took him many moths to get there given transport links at the time. He said that, by the time he arrived, they seemed to be doing well without him doing very much. He thought it best to keep to that plan thereafter.

One aspect of this was that he banned the collection of GDP statistics. On the grounds that some damn fool would only try and do something with them:

What can be done to fix this? In the early 1960s, it was decided that an extra 1966 census was needed for the planning required to “build back better” from 1950s austerity. It was the precursor to the most comprehensive census of all time, held in 1971. This census told us who had hot running water in their kitchen sink and where housing need was most acute. Since those times, censuses have been cut back in scope. The 2001 census was the last one to ask what floor level a family lived on in a block of flats, allowing us to know that the majority of children in England above the fifth floor were not white, a fact that meant a great deal more after the Grenfell tragedy than before it.

A 2026 census could be used to ascertain if any local levelling up has occurred overall. To date, we have seen levelling down, because of the way the government has dealt with the pandemic. A 2026 census could assess how much we have recovered – or not – in the five years from March 2021. It would fill the gaps in the record. A government that was serious about levelling up, as the 1960s governments were, would plan for a 2026 census now.

That’s Danny Dorling so we’ve got our damn fool. Now the only question is what idiocy would he do with the information is collected?

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6 months ago

A rapid building program of Jedi Temples and the teaching in geography classes that we are still part of Europe.

6 months ago

Many moths ? That explains the slow flight time…

6 months ago

The Republic does a 5 year census, and has postponed this year’s to April 2022. Sensible people the Irish. Measuring the state of the nation after the recovery seems a better idea than taking an outlier year.
Can’t answer the multiculturalist dorling question though – as a legendary commentator on TRUK suggested, it’s important to find a metric which shows inequality is always increasing so he might slice the data 27 ways to sundown and find something even more absurd than the one about kids’ skin colour above the 5th floor in non-private housing in Europe’s most expensive big city.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
6 months ago
Reply to  Bongo

So kids with more melanin have a better view when they look out the window. Something must be done about it. Imagine the plight of the non white kids living in penthouses.

Chester Draws
Chester Draws
6 months ago

The upper floors of apartment buildings are often the most expensive. The view is better and the noise less. I bet most of the people above the fifth floor in Canary Wharf are white.

Context is everything. The problem is not living high, but living high in places with poor lifts.

“Since those times, censuses have been cut back in scope.”

Which is, of course, a blatant lie. The 2011 census was 12 pages.The 1971 one was 8.

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