The power of exaggerated statistics

Published: Monday, 19 October 2020

READING of the neglected state and consequent little use of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal brought to mind the information I had gathered at its restoration, writes Willian Townrow.

stalybridgePrior2So I have unearthed this information, that was officially published by the former British Waterways, telling of the great advantage of the restoration to get the Lottery people to part with £32 millions, that in hindsight again shows the use of exaggerated statistics to achieve a goal.

Statistics the great weapon

As is normal, statistics was the great weapon, informing that it would create 3,000 permanent jobs, generate £3.6 millions for the local economy and provide 600 new homes and attract new businesses and shops in Marsden when it was opened in 2001.

Visitors of course by the thousand when it opened with 25,000 to the 17 miles of visitable canal (over three are in a tunnel) yet a different statistic tells there were 50,000 to the new Standedge Visitor Centre!

tescoCannot confirm

I live in Marsden by this waterway, hence my great interest, and have walked—or runits whole length but cannot confirm any of the above.  There are now fewer shops and businesses in Marsden.  I have no idea where the 600 homes are, though a few have been constructed, but I don't think the canal was the attraction as they do not accommodate it.

As to 3,000 permanent jobs brought in by the restoration, I have no idea where these can be, certainly not on the canal.  There have been supermarkets built, but they were planned anyway.

Not to be believed

It shows however that statistics are a powerful weapon, but are certainly not to be believed.