Politics is inescapably emotional. Political ideas – such as freedom or equality – are often talked about as if they’re dry concepts, sandpapered down in a seminar room or a theoretical conversation. But political ideas involve feeling.
In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies.