Comparing apples and pears

I have just listened to the latest Today programme on the BBC website catch up service.

I had to laugh when I heard Ken Clarke accuse the head of the Bar Council of being disingenuous for comparing the legal aid spend in England and Wales with that of our closest neighbours in Europe only then go on to point out that our spend is four-times that of New Zealand.

New Zealand seems like an odd choice I thought.  I've never been but I always thought it was quite a small country in terms of population.

When faced with points like that my first reaction is to turn to the CIA for assistance.  As ever the Central Intelligence Agency was very helpful in pointing out that the UK (admittedly including Scotland and Northern Ireland) has a population of 62,698,362 while New Zealand has a population of 4,290,347.  The CIA also helpfully point out that London has a population of 8.615 million, which while I've never been very good at maths looks like more than twice the size of New Zealand in just one city.

If Ken is right about us spending just four-times more than New Zealand while having a population about fourteen-times larger then I think we're doing pretty well.


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