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Monday, 21 March 2011

Fleeced by statistics

There is good news and bad to be had from the latest ‘basket of goods’ assembled by the UK Office for National Statistics, which is used to calculate inflation and is supposed to reflect what Mr and Mrs Average have in their supermarket trolleys.

First, the good news. In the clothing range, fleeces are gone. Good riddance. Show me somebody who looks good in a fleece, and I will show you a sheep. Discerning people are no longer wearing them, it seems. The earth exhales. Also out of fashion are pork shoulder and four cans of lager, the latter replaced by sparkling wine. Nobody will miss them.

Another piece of good news is that hardback novels are back in vogue, and that can only be a good thing. There is fifty per cent more enjoyment in reading a hardback book, compared to the same work in soft covers.

On the debit side, however, mobile phone applications are in the basket. Damnation. Also in there are oven-ready joints and dating agency fees. Please.

Times change. Fifty years ago, the basket of goods would have included slim-jim ties and bri-nylon shirts on the clothing front, and black forest gateau and two half-bottles of Blue Nun on the culinary side. But you would never have found dating agencies in there. In our day we took ourselves off to the Tottenham Royal and were engaged three weeks later. It never did us any harm.


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