BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 12:57 UK

Going to waste?

A woman shopping in a supermarket
More Or Less
Monday, 12 May, 2008
BBC Radio 4, 1630 BST

We discard a third of the food we buy, according to the anti-waste organisation WRAP. Can it be true?

Plus, how reliable are internet polls?

Food waste

"I'm sceptical about figures being quoted on the Independent [newspaper] website," wrote More or Less listener, David Bradford. "Their story says 550,000 chickens are thrown away every day. How statistically reliable is the report they are quoting from?"

We looked at the numbers behind the original report from the anti-waste organisation, WRAP, and at the reports of the report.

Internet polling

When the result of the recent London mayoral elections were announced, Boris Johnson was generous in victory and Ken Livingstone was gracious in defeat.

But behind the scenes another battle was still being fought on less cordial terms: between the pollsters.

A relative newcomer, internet pollster YouGov, had correctly predicted the exact percentage of the vote achieved by the two leading candidates. Their more established rivals, who still use telephone polls, had not. A poll by market research company, Ipsos/MORI, even suggested that Ken Livingstone would win.


Most computers will open these documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

But head of ICM Research, Nick Sparrow, still believes that telephone polls tend to give more accurate results than internet polls.

He says he has tested internet polling and found it to be inaccurate when compared with telephone polls. Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, defended the use of the internet and says it is time to abandon the telephone poll.

Electoral fraud rumours

Over 400,000 votes were rejected during the count for the London mayoral election.

"400,000 votes spoilt! Was Robert Mugabe in London on Thursday night?" asked someone posting on the BNP's website.

Matt Bright, head of communications at London Elects, explained why nothing fishy was really going on. The truth is that many voters just did not bother to use their second preference.


Is CCTV failing to cut crime?

Banksy graffiti
Does CCTV help solve crime?
A senior police officer says the system is an "utter fiasco" - solving only 3% of London's street robberies.

More or Less reporter Ruth Alexander took a closer look at the evidence. She set out to find how many investigations are solved using CCTV footage nationally, and what evidence there is that cameras prevent crime.

She spoke to the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesperson on CCTV, the Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire Graeme Gerrard, and also Professor Martin Gill, who has carried out an evaluation of CCTV for the Home Office.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Monday, 12 May, 2008 at 1630 BST.

You can e-mail us by using the form below:

Send us your comments:

Your E-mail address:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific