Wow, now that’s a headline guaranteed to make you choke on your Kellogg’s Krave. It hits you like a Lennox Lewis uppercut. A third?! ‘Gee and crikey and God help us’ is the response it’s designed to elicit. Because if it comes from the mouth of Auntie Beeb, it’s got to be true. Right?
Wrong! When Donald Trump first coined the phrase ‘fake news’ for mass consumption, the BBC was one of the news corporations to indignantly grandstand its own analytical prowess and commitment to rigorous impartiality. Even today there are significant numbers of people in this country who take the word of the British Broadcasting Corporation as gospel. Thus, it’s worth looking at the facts behind the headline to see just how much the Beeb’s declaration of honest reporting stands up to scrutiny.
1). Do you know the percentage of UK businesses that export to the EU? 40%? 30%? 50%? No, just 6% (SIX PERCENT!) of UK businesses export to the European Union. Admittedly some smaller concerns reliant on the health of these EU-trading enterprises could be also affected by Brexit, but that’s not what the headline suggests.
2). The 6% figure represents around 200,000 businesses in this country.
In reality, we’re not talking about ‘a third of UK businesses’, we’re (at most) talking about a third of 6% – or 2% if you really like your maths calculations provided on a plate. However, the Institute of Directors survey didn’t cover all 200,000 businesses aforementioned. It covered 1,200 businesses – or 0.6% of those companies who trade with the EU. With me so far? OK, let’s go on a numerical blitz:
Total number of businesses in the UK = 3,330,000
Total number of businesses trading with the EU = 200,000
Number of businesses surveyed by the IoD = 1,200
Number of surveyed businesses saying they COULD relocate staff out of the UK = 348.
348 as a percentage of 3,330,000 = 0.010%
In a work of magic comparable in scale to something conjured up by David Copperfield, the BBC has managed to make 0.010% into 33%. Blimey, it’s a pity they can’t manage their publicly-funded behemoth with such regulatory arithmetical brilliance. Furthermore, the headline doesn’t suggest a firm commitment to relocation, just a hypothetical. Mind you, Remainers are very good at hypotheticals. It’s just most of them prove to be totally off the mark. ‘A third of businesses COULD move’, not WILL move. Give me a penis extension and I COULD be Mandingo. Though, in all likelihood, the odds are stacked very much against it.
You can always tell when Remain-backing organisations are lying. Their lips move. So I suggest the next time Auntie gives you a fearmongering headline, you do a little more in-depth research on the truth behind it.