I read with great interest William Davies’ fascinating, if very pessimistic, contribution to the debate about a possible ‘post-truth’ world (“The end of statistics, Guardian, 19 January). I disagree.

Indeed, there has never been a more exciting time for the data community. The demand for statistical insight to help understand and address the issues facing Britain and the world has never been greater. People want more of what we provide: faster; in more fine-grained forms; and directly addressing the issues of everyday life.

The range of data available is expanding at a rapid rate, opening up unprecedented opportunities to understand what is really happening underneath the figures. And there is a real yearning for trustworthy analysis that deals both with the inherent biases in many data sources and also the vested interests of many who try to cloak their own opinions and prejudices as ‘killer facts.’

We are far from “leaving behind the age of statistics”, as Dr Davies says. Quite the reverse. This is the moment when we can make our greatest contribution to society by providing the better statistics that allow for better decisions.

Yours faithfully,

John Pullinger
National Statistician

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