Friday, 23 January 2015

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: The DUP number game

The DUP are claiming that their 9 MPs being greater than the SNP's 9 and Plaid Cymru's 3 puts them in a position to be at the leaders' debates ahead of these other regional parties.

But look at it another way the DUP will be fielding between 16-18 candidates (the number is variable as they are still talking about possible deal(s) with the UUP), this is against the SNP who will be standing 59 and Plaid who will be standing 40.

Of those 59 and 40 they will all face a Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat and a high proportion also facing a Green and UKIP candidate. Of the DUP candidates there may be a handful who face Conservatives, UKIP and Green candidates. Not one will face a Labour or Lib Dem candidate (although they may be facing a member of one of those parties under a different label).

So does the DUP on the numbers game they are playing deserve a podium at the debates? In my opinion no.

However, I would love to see Peter Robinson up there as to actually debate real issues would show up how backward the DUP actually are. I've long been of the opinion that even many third and fourth placed candidates in the rest of the UK have a greater grasp on reality, people and working for all people than the DUP. So I dreamt last night of Peter Robinson having to face questions for the other UK party leaders having to justify the conscience clause and his parties anti-LGBT and anti-abortion agenda while claiming they wanted to be British.

Of course both Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance are now all saying that they too have as much right for representation with the inclusion of two parties who don't stand across all of the UK in these debates. And the DUP are saying that Naomi Long of the Alliance is represented by the Lib Dems, when she is not on my membership list and has said she is not a Liberal Democrat many times and the SDLP by Labour.

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