IF TOM Newman is right that my press letters are “the butt of many a joke” (letters, SNJ, Jan. 4), then it’s good to see that we do have something in common.

One thing we can learn from Tom’s own partisan letters is the Machiavellian art of distorting the evidence in order to support pre-decided ideological prejudices.

To use recent by-election results to draw conclusions about national political trends in the current volatile post-Brexit world is akin to relying on a pin to predict the winning numbers in the National Lottery.

Using Tom’s extraordinary logic, one would also conclude that because the Liberal Democrats won Richmond Park with an enormous swing, the Tories are now doomed at the next election.

Start with faulty assumptions and you invariably reach absurd conclusions (or, as they say, “Rubbish in, rubbish out”).

Moreover, we all know that under Tom’s beloved first-past-the-post apology for a “democracy”, intelligent people who want to vote for a progressive party will tend to vote tactically, especially in by-elections – and so assuming snapshot, highly distorted by-election results to be a reliable barometer of the state of the parties is like flipping a coin to predict the weather.

Given voters’ increasing volatility, and repeated recent examples of opinion polls being hopelessly wrong, to take any poll ratings as serious indications of anything substantive or predictable is, again, absurd.

If we’ve learned anything over recent times, it’s that the current post-Brexit conjuncture is completely unpredictable and chaotic.

No-one disputes that Labour has difficulties, but they are short-term and result from major internal conflicts between its hundreds of thousands of members and the tiny elite representing the party in Parliament – and with a propagandist right-wing media seizing upon these shenanigans with ill-disguised glee.

Given this recent toxic internecine background, it’s actually astonishing that Labour is still commanding around 30 per cent support in the polls.

Finally, if Tom thinks derision is going to stop this letter-writer, he’ll be very disappointed.

You keep writing your letters, Tom, and I’ll keep writing mine – and I’m intensely relaxed about leaving the SNJ’s readers to decide whose viewpoints are more of a laughing stock.

Dr Richard House