Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 29 November 2006

Sectarianism occurs throughout Scotland, but ...

... overwhelmingly (i.e. 90.4 per cent) in west central Scotland. I write about this only because I read this article in Shuggy's Blog. This is a subject where we have 'crossed swords' on previous occasions. It is simply not true to say that Scotland is 'consistently' sectarian; it occurs overwhelmingly in a few areas, mostly in west central Scotland.

The Scotsman article is broadly correct in that sectarian incidents occur across Scotland, but its suggestion that the report 'confounds' the belief that it is overwhelmingly a problem in west central Scotland is simply not borne out by the facts as detailed in the report given to the Scottish Executive to which it refers; Appendix B to that report gives the lie when diligently analysed - which is what I have spent the past hour doing. There is, by the way, a minor error in the statistics quoted in the Scotsman, probably because a researcher added the figure for one part of Scotland to another 'unrelated' area by mistake.

Anyway, here is what I found:
- of the 532 charges brought, 481 or 90.4 per cent occurred in what I would broadly speaking describe as 'west central Scotland' (I have included Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Dumbartonshire, Stirling, Renfrewshire); the first two named areas account for 437 charges or 82.1 per cent. Of the 635 persons accused, 437 (63.3 per cent) resided in these first two named areas. Pretty 'overwhelming'.
- these areas represent 41.9 per cent of the resident population of Scotland (based on an analysis of the 2001 census - figures laboriously collated from here); the first two named areas represent 23.7 per cent of Scotland's resident population.
- some areas, including one within 'west central Scotland', have no recorded instances of such alleged/charged crimes (Aberdeenshire, Angus, East Renfrewshire, Highland, Scottish Borders, Western Isles); most as can be seen are not in 'west central Scotland'.
- the only areas where the percentage of those accused of a crime exceeds the population of that area as a percentage of the total population of Scotland are Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Stirling, although the excess for Stirling is only relatively marginal whereas for the first two the excess is dramatically higher.
- I have not analysed the parameters included in Appendix A of the report in great detail; other than the seeming importance of religion in a significant proportion of these incidents, the other striking (but expected) feature is that they involve men in about 90 per cent of cases.

In summary, the problem of religious bigotry in Scotland is certainly not limited to 'west central Scotland', but most incidents do occur in that area - a much higher proportion even than of that area's population.

Those are the facts. Sorry to be blunt.

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