DEAR SIR

REGARDING your comments (among others) of the “Hard-Pressed Tourists”, what about the harder pressed residents like myself who have seen our savings and pension payments fall by 20 or 30 per cent during the past few years, due to the fall in the Sterling exchange rate.

At least the tourist is benefiting with much cheaper prices for his meals out, beer prices and cheaper cigarettes, petrol below UK charges and a host of other delights.

Best of all they are coming to a sun-kissed island, a warm Mediterranean laid back ambiance guaranteed (almost).
So, please reserve your sympathy for the poor old residents who are really suffering! Yours Sincerely,

Phil Green. El Toro

DEAR SIR

I blame age for forgetting who said “ There are statistics, damn statistics and lies!”. Organisations from all manner of fields always use them to emphasise a point of view or what they would have you believe are facts. Only recently you have published such figures from specialists like Gadesa and today from Kuoni which purport to tell us what others are thinking.

The problem is that the sample of the population used to obtain the statistic is so small, in Gadesa's case 900 out of a registered population in excess of a million and in Kuoni's, we are not given the number questioned. Nor in both instances do we know the format of the questions asked.

Andrew Ede in his blog on the subject, very interestingly made the point that Statisticians “extrapolate” the figures to give a more “accurate” reading. Where, I ask, is the science in that? A larger number with the same percentage result as the small sample. Many years ago, more than I care or can remember, as part of a MBA Course, I was obliged to study statistics. Now I must truly admit that an alternative option to watch paint dry would have been preferable. But one thing has always remained with me when judging the accuracy of a statistical result, which is the necessity to decide the +/- level deemed acceptable to make a reasonable argument. Assuming the teaching of statistics has not changed significantly in 40 years, there is a formula (well known to the experts), which can be applied to, say, a small sample of 900 in a million ( 0.0009%), which will tell you how many people to question to give a +/- 5% accuracy ( Sorry if this getting technical).

The size of the proper sample may well take too long and be too expensive to be seriously considered. Which is why extrapolation is so popular, being cheap and quick. This excludes assumptions tacked on for good measure.

With the forthcoming elections upon us we can expect a plethora of figures from all quarters to help our deliberations. Could the current apathy in both expat and indigenous populations be partly to do with the fact that we have already worked out that, short of a properly justified statistical base freely explained, that the figures which are presented are really at best to be taken with a pinch of “sal”, or frankly aren't worth the paper they are written on +/- 5%! Yours faithfully,

Paul Satterly