Saturday, November 20, 2004

Maths just ain't what it used to be

With the dust settling around the final votes of the last parliament I wended my way home. Up bright and early to the Concorde Club for a "stakeholders" meeting organised by BAA?Southampton International Airport (or Eastleigh Airport as it is referred to in Eastleigh Borough Council Territory).

Much of the meeting revolved around various aspects of the recent flight-routeing experiments. Most of the presentations were credible but I had a problem with the "market research" - probably in the same way that most people have a problem with politicians.

I can fully accept that it was an independent firm (even though the occasional worrying little phrase such as "get the answers we wanted" slipped into the presentation) and that the research had been done in good faith. Sadly, a number of comments meant that I had serious concerns about the research.

For example - there were two comparitor groups of 500 people each. When talking about one factor (can't remember which but let's call it X) the figures were 6% in one group and 7% in the other. The presenter then claimed that this meant that 13% of people agree with X!
Now, when I was at school the answer would have been 6.5% and I don't think maths has changed that much.

My main impression from the meeting was that most of the public did not have a clue what was going on in the trials. There were also relatively few complaints but could this because the explanatory leaflet did not include an address which you could complain to.

Lots to talk about when I have my one to one meeting!

Had to miss the networking lunch at the club but managed to grab a sandwich in the office and discuss urgent items before moving on to my surgery.

First person did not turn up which is always frustrating. Quite an unusual surgery in many ways because there was no sight of the CSA, a housing problem or a request to sponsor a visa application!

Back to the office for an hour or so before setting off for a private meeting in Nursling to discuss some of the problems with antisocial behaviour. The parish council had already been involved with trying to sort the problem (over a number of years) and the problem has diminished because of the cold weather but we came up with a couple of new avenues to pursue.