Is something happening?

Something is happening. Is it what politicians and commentators think it is? Furthermore, are the conclusions and political pronouncements actually evidence-based? Might something bigger be happening?

Has anyone stepped back to wonder what Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election, the increase in Labour membership and the Brexit vote might be indicating? Labour and Conservative memberships are still below their 1952 peak.

Above is a chart of UK election turnout since World War II. Let me explain. It both displays and analyses data. The green line is the average and two red dashed lines indicate the limits of turnout figures that might be expected to occur if the electoral system were to continue unchanged.

Up to and including 2001 election there is a gradual but clear downward trend. So is this telling us about the electorate? Something then happened that caused a statistically significant drop in turnout at the 2001 general election. Whilst there has been a gradual recovery since 2001 the UK electorate since seems to have been in a statistically different situation. This is before the invasion of Iraq.

Might the UK electorate be losing interest in the current political system? Does the increase in turnout since 2001 signal a gradual return to the situation before that step change or something else? By their absence from the political process the UK electorate are certainly saying something.

Both election turnouts and party memberships would seem to indicate that something is happening. However, is it what politicians and, yes, journalists would like to believe? This example brings me to on the general point about the way organisations do and don't use data. It sometimes feels that critical business decisions are being taken on no more than a whim inspite of any evidence. Yes the future is uncertain, which is no excuse for proper understanding of the whole situation and proper development of strategic plans.