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Friday, 29 November 2013

Boris and the Below Average

Some years ago there was an excessively stupid Labour MP who gave the lie to Boris' pronouncement yesterday that "Some people are just too stupid to get on in life". Anyway, on the subject of enforced equality this prize Labour twit announced that he wanted all 11 year-olds to reach the average reading standard for 11 year-olds. Boris probably avoided making reference to the 'below average' because the world is full of twits who imagine that this means something mildly insulting rather than being a statistical descriptor.

In context, it's quite clear that Boris was speaking in terms of a statistical distribution; "Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent have an IQ above 130". Of course, it's not just IQ; Eton's lower forms are filled with boys with IQs of under 85 from hereditarily stupid but wealthy families, but generally they leave at 16 to work on the family farms (with ten GCSEs never to be used again). 

But yes. The world is made up of the below average and the above average, and any attempt at enforcing an equality of state between them is simply to either waste resources or ban excellence.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

What? You mean this isn't Lake Wobegon?

I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

Mike Spilligan said...

I do remember, about 3 decades ago, a Labour - again - politician saying that he wouldn't be satisfied until everyone was earning above average wages.

Anonymous said...

Labour = "ban excellence"

What you get after that is "tractor stats"

Coney Island

mikebravo said...

All they nee to do is lower the base from 100 to 80, recalibrate 80 to 100 and then cap it at that. Hey presto! instant equality. Not sure why blair didn't think of it.

Anonymous said...

Common sense, a bit of lady luck and a hard work ethic - is all yer need.

Demetrius said...

May I confirm Mike Spilligan's comment? I had a lot of fun with that at the time.

Ed P said...

Mike Bravo: Blair did just that! "All shall pass GCSEs". "All shall have prizes".
Present day A-levels are of a very similar standard to the O-levels of the 1970s. GCSEs are dumbed-down O-levels: although they were introduced to combine CSEs & O-levels, in practise they started as only marginally more difficult that CSEs, then soon became degraded. My company has to educate school-leavers in basic english and maths for the simplest jobs, despite their paper qualifications.

Cascadian said...

"Common sense, a bit of lady luck and a hard work ethic - is all yer need."......Sensible words, but you missed one item.....keep the government out of your backpocket.

Hard work unfortunately is no longer an indicator of success for the labouring classes, it is more a question of how much work you can arrange on a cash-on-completion-no-paperwork-guv basis.