Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Marching Season

The Marching Season is underway. There were disturbances in North Belfast last night as the Orange Order's annual 'Tour of the North' parade made its way through the Peter's Hill end of the Nationalist Carrickhill. After several breaches of the Parades Commission determination by numerous bands, a small number of nationalist youths tried to run through the bands as they made their way up Peter's Hill. A confrontation ensued and led to Loyalists attacking Nationalist homes. The events of last night are not uncommon in the North. The blame lies solely with the Orange Order.

The Orange Order proclaims to be a cultural organisation defending religious and civil liberties which celebrates Protestant King William of Orange's victory at the Battle of the Boyne over the Catholic James II in 1690.

In reality the Orange Order is a supremacist, bigoted, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, sectarian organisation that engage in hate filled, triumphalist, coat-trailing marches through Catholic neighbourhoods each and every summer.

It is an organisation in which Catholics are forbidden from joining. Protestants who are married to Catholics are also banned. Members are prohibited from attending Catholic religious ceremonies, indeed many have been expelled from doing so. The rules basically prevent members mixing with those of a different faith.

With tensions still rife following months of volatile anti-democracy protests against the removal of the Union Jack from Belfast City Hall, a summer of discontent and violence looks on the horizon.

Contentious Orange Order marches need to be banned. Yes, people have the right to march and freedom of assembly, but not when the assembly leads to violence and mayhem on the streets and when doing so is to deny Nationalists and Catholics their basic human rights. In a modern inclusive society contentious Orange Order marches should not be tolerated. A Ku Kluk Klan march through Harlem would not be accepted and neither should an Orange Order march through any Catholic areas.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Census Comparison

The third release of 2011 census data, allows us to analyse the age profile of  'the big three'. The results are reflected in the graph below:

Using the equivalent data from the 2001 census, we can analyse the age profile of 'the big three' in 2001, The results are reflected in the graph below:

Comparing the data from the two graphs, the most striking question is why has the 'tipping point' (age under which Catholics make up a majority and over which Protestants make up a majority) increased by 12 years instead of 10?  Why has the tipping point which was age 24 in 2001 increased to age 36 in 2011 rather than age 34?

Looking at each of the big three separately might provide some answers. We can do this by bringing the numbers per age as per the 2001 census forward ten years and comparing the changes with the data in the 2011 census. For example, those aged 40 in the 2001 census will be age 50 in the 2011 census.

The 2001 data of course starts at age 10 as those aged 10 and under in 2011 were not born yet in 2001.

The number of 19 to 28 year old Catholics has decreased. The most logical explanation for this is that a significant number of people of this age group are likely to move abroad for education, travel and work.

The number of 32 to 44 year old Catholics has increased. Again this is probably due to people returning from education, travel and work abroad. There may also be an element of immigration from A6 (and predominately Catholic) countries.

From the age of 62 we start to see the number of Catholics decrease and from the age of 69 this trend accelerates. Obviously this can be attributed to increases in the number of deaths as people get older.
The numbers of 18 to 29 year old Protestants has decreased. Again, similar to their Catholic counterparts, many Protestants of this age group are likely to abroad for education, travel and work. However, the Protestant spike at this age group is much higher.

As can be expected, the number of Protestants decreases as more people pass on with old age. This is noticeable from age 56 and accelerates from age 71, similar to Catholics.

However unlike Catholics, the 32 to 44 year old age group has not increased. Possible reasons for this include less Protestants returning after completing their education (we have heard that Protestants are more likely to attend University in Britain and stay on and seek jobs once they have completed their education rather than return to the North) or completing their travels (emigration). There may also be less immigration of Protestants from other countries.

There is not much change among the Others (no religion/none) and this group therefore has no relevance as to why the 'tipping point' has increased by 12 years instead of 10, from age 24 to 36 and not 34. The reason for this appears to lie in the fact that more young Protestants having left and fewer having come/returned have distorted the correlation by 2 years.