“There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” (origin disputed, popularised by Mark Twain.) Mar16


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“There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” (origin disputed, popularised by Mark Twain.)


Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics


(*All characters in this poem are fictional and any similarity to any persons living or undead is entirely coincidental).


A trademark smirk upon his lips playing, buoyed by his pack behind all braying,

Something of the night about him, to be sure, though unable to resist the spotlight’s lure,

Every move designed for full effect, the Right Honourable Member stood erect.

Leslie Denys-Simpletown was his name, and he knew exactly how to play this game.


Smugging for the cameras, nodding, grinning, tonsured head 360 degree spinning,

Brandishing a thick tome for all to see, ‘I have here the latest figures’, said he.

A bony digit probed the sacred text, which he gleefully read, one page to the next.

Percentages, fractions, stats of all kinds, hurtled from his lips towards like-minds.


Things were up, or down, added or removed; but every single thing had been improved.

At an all-time high, or an all-time low, ‘that’s what these figures indisputably show’.

He boomed, he barked, he flattered, he pleased; he held them in his palm, he teased.

With practised contempt, naysayers he mocked. He knew he was good; by God he rocked!


‘Robin Hood in reverse?’ The jibe was untrue; ‘Everything I do’, he cried, ‘I do it for you.’

Finally, climactically, he expelled a roar: ‘Bovine waste output: more than ever before!’

His packolytes, in rude good cheer, stood up and clapped and bellowed ‘hear hear’.

He was preacher, saviour, a man inspired. None had noticed how he had perspired.


Or when his bulging eyes they told the story, no longer a mere sign of his oratory.

He muttered, whispered, out came a rasp. He coughed, he spluttered, then came a gasp.

And as they cried, nay begged, their man for more,  LDS sank slowly to the floor.

At last they spied his face’s chang’d hue; now, like his tie, a rather fetching blue.


‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ they pleaded. ‘Where are they all when they’re most needed?’

Then an icy draught crept along the floor, and a figure appeared at the chamber door.

Dressed all in black, but with hair snow white, silhouetted in a ghostly light.

‘Statfinder General’ was etched upon his case, and a deathly hush fell on the place.


Pen in hand, by the stricken man he knelt; he already knew no heart would be felt.

And he did record the details of the death, while the pack looked on, with bated breath.

‘Listen!’, he commanded, ‘I have but this to say: one truth, and only one, is all you’ll hear today.’

How his words echoed, ceiling to wall to floor: ‘Here lies a politician, who will now lie no more.’

Writer: Tony Clarke
Artist: Tony Clarke