A footnote to my post Why you should ignore all the news reports about the size of the new electoral register.
It’s not only me who has concluded of the electoral registration data which has generated headlines about ‘millions lost from electoral register’, that in fact when you look at what the numbers really say, “no-one has a clue what they really mean. What we do know is that the total number of entries on the electoral register has fallen. But what we don’t know is either context or meaning.”
So too the Electoral Commission, who also points out that no-one really knows if those piles of media headlines are mostly true, a bit true or largely wrong:
It is not possible to estimate the number of eligible electors who were removed from the registers.
Call me a cynic, but I’m not expecting a round of media stories saying ‘remember all those headlines we published? Turns out we’ve no idea if they were true or not’.
Nor indeed any round of media stories saying ‘terribly sorry, we know we published a Labour Party press release without really interrogating the claims it made? Turns out no-one knows if it was true or not’.
But if you are one of the journalists who reads my posts, just possibly I hope a little doubt will lodge at the back of your mind for the next time an electoral registration story comes round.
Because this isn’t the first time the British media has collectively screwed up a story about electoral registration numbers and turned ignorance into doom.
Why not avoid making it three in a row when the next data comes out?