by Humphrey Carter

Statistics can be read in many ways, just like opinion polls. Having studied psychology, I know quite a bit about the process of ‘opinion polls' and key to the process is how the question is put. We tried numerous formats out on the general public and pollsters can pretty much always get the answer they want.

By targeting people as they are busy shopping or rushing to and from work, hit them with ‘you will vote Conservative wont you?' for example will probably result in a quick yes (and now leave me alone). Or, have ‘you're not going to vote Conservative are you?' thrown at you out of the blue and chances are, you will agree.

So, if asked, or rather being told, on the hoof, that you are finding it easier to get to the end of the month this year than last, again, the most common answer from a carefully selected demographic section of society, will be yes.

And this week the National Statistics Institute here in Spain claims just that -that Balearic households are finding it easier to get to the end of the month than last year.

Believe that and you'll believe anything.
I know, they even published pages of graphics to back the claim up.
But, the simple reason people are finding it easier, is because we're spending less - just look at the monthly retail results which show a continual fall in trade -never mind the state of the country's economy. Give me a break.