Sunday, December 31, 2006

My top ten favourite Toynbee errors

Between May and December 2006, this blog detailed the factual errors in Polly Toynbee's columns.  I have now stopped doing this, but here are my favourite Toynbee errors for that period:

10. Polly implies that 142% of people are dissatisfied with Tony Blair [insert own joke].

9. Polly asks of "Cameron's set" the following question: "Do they know the median (middle England) salary is just £21,000?" when it wasn't.

8. Polly copies a sentence from an IPPR report, pausing only to strike all references to the sources, which would have revealed the factual inaccuracies in the sentence.

7. Complaining that more prisoners reoffend when she actually meant were reconvicted, while in the same column she praises two trends which would lead to higher reconvictions even if reoffending had remained flat -- improved detection and fewer abandoned trials.

6. Polly is £100bn out in her approximation of state spending.

5. Polly actually cites a source for her assertion that "Arnold Schwarzenegger drives his own Humvee in San Francisco".  Sadly, the source she cites makes it clear that it is not his.

4. Toynbee's colleague, Mike White, disbelieves her "facts".

3. Polly says that emissions have gone up by 3%, when they had gone down by 3%.

2. In a column criticising Stephen Byers for using "mendacious figures", she says "[t]his week City dealers' bonuses soared higher than ever, to £21bn".  She later backtracks, and puts the total for all City bonuses (not just dealers) at £9bn, with no acknowledgement that her earlier number was mendacious.

1. Polly writes a 21-word sentence with five facutal errors in it.

1 comment:

Novlangue said...


You can't give up the blog - I've only just started reading it. (How's that for a Polly-style solipsism?)

Good luck anyway.