Monday, October 01, 2007

Channel 4 News Factcheck: Tory Tax Claims 90% Cod

If you go to the Channel 4 News website you'll find that their famous FactCheck service is back. This gives "facts" a through examination and awards them marks out of five for veracity. 5.0 would be utterly baseless.

As the Tories produce a rather entertaining version of Pacman called TaxManGordon Factcheck has given Tory Tax Claims 4.5/5.0 which in reality is the worst mark they would ever award (verbatim explanation - see below after the lovely verdict).

Here's the Verdict:

The Tories' claims are neither accurate nor informative. They're a way for the party to sound like a low-tax party, without having to propose actual tax cuts which would have to be matched by politically uncomfortable cuts in spending.
Blathering on about stealth taxes gives a certain spurious credibility to the allegation that Gordon Brown is a high-tax chancellor, but it's a ridiculous way to calculate how heavy the tax burden is. It's like measuring your food intake by the number of items you eat - as if three apples were three times as fattening as one cake.
The more useful way to measure it is to measure total tax revenues as a percentage of national income. When Labour came to power, government revenues were just over 37.3 per cent of GPD, and for 2007-8 they are expected to nudge just above 40 per cent - a substantial increase.
But somehow, "Gordon's 2 per cent of GDP" isn't such a catchy name for a computer game.

FactCheck rating_ 4.5

How ratings work
Every time a FactCheck article is published we'll give it a rating from zero to five.

The lower end of the scale indicates that the claim in question largerly checks out, while the upper end of the scale suggests misrepresentation, exaggeration, a massaging of statistics and/or language.

In the unlikely event that we award a 5 out of 5, our factcheckers have concluded that the claim under examination has absolutely no basis in fact.


There was also a lovely segment on tonight's C4N when the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies pretty much laughed out loud repeatedly at the Tories new proposals and claims. I look forward to posting the link when the editors stop ROFLling and the video is released.

There is a link to classic Pacman about half way down this post. The Tory concept doesn't quite work. If we rechristen the Pacman Tory-Fib-Man (TFM) we find an increasingly energetic Gordon Brown catches and defeats TFM every time!

UPDATE: The Conservative-leaning Newsnight economic guru Stephanie Flanders was crest-fallen to have to follow C4N in busting the Tory flush.

No comments: