Friday, February 22, 2013

School Census 2012/2013

The School Census 2012/2013 relating to to students of nursery, primary, post primary and special schools in the North has been published. The census data includes a breakdown of the religion of the students. As the correlation between religion and voting patters is very strong, one can assume that by looking at demographic trends in the schools today, we can get an indication of voting trends in the ballot box tomorrow.

The graph below uses the data to show us the trends over the last 11 years among the three main groups 'Catholic', 'Protestant/Other Christian' and 'Other'.

The trend is clear to see. The Catholic percentage of the student population remains steady at 50.9%. The Protestant/Other Christian percentage has declined further and now stands at 39.6% (down from 39.9%). The 'Other' group has increased 0.3% to 9.5%.

Looking at the graph, initially it appears that the 'Other' group has increased in line with the decrease in the 'Protestant/Other Christian' group. This of course would be to assume that the 'Other' group (which includes Non Christian and Other/No Religion/Not Recorded) is made up entirely of students from Protestant communtiy backgrounds.

As the data on religious breakdown by age from the 2011 census has not yet been released, we must use the data from the 2001 census (for now, I will update on release of 2011 data). In the 2001 census NISRA allocated children and teenagers of the 'Other/No Religion group' into both community backgrounds (religion or religion brought up in) as follows

•For children aged 5-11, those who were declared as 'None/Not Stated': 24.3% to 'Catholic', 40.0% to 'Protestant and other Christian', 0.5% to 'Non-Christian, and 35.2% to 'None'

•For children aged 12-18, those who were declared as 'None/Not Stated': 25.4% to 'Catholic', 46.5% to 'Protestant and other Christian', 0.5% to 'Non-Christian, and 27.6% to 'None'

Using these figues to re-allocate the 'Other/No Religion/Not Recorded' group in the Schools census figures, we get a truer reflection of the community background of students. Students of a Catholic community background have increased to 53.3%. Students of a Protestant community background has decreased to 43.7%.

Leaving aside the 3% 'Others', the split between students of Catholic and Protestant community backgrounds stands at 54.9%/45.1%.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fianna Fáil back on top

RTÉ reports "a second opinion poll in a fortnight has found that Fianna Fáil is the most popular party in the country.

The Millward Brown poll for tomorrow's Sunday Independent, shows Fianna Fáil support at 27%, two points ahead of Fine Gael.

The poll was taken among 1,000 voters between 6-13 February.
In the poll 27% of voters say they are “undecided”. When these are excluded, the poll shows Government parties Fine Gael at 25% and Labour 13%.

Fianna Fáil leads with 27% support with Sinn Féin on 20% and Independents and Others, including the Green Party and United Left Alliance on 16%".

Astonishing! The Irish people have forgotten how "The Republcian Party" (though do not organise in the North of the country) have ruined the economy and almost bankrupt the country.

The Celtic Tiger was real, it began to roar in the early 1990s as an export boom fed into the domestic economy. As tax revenues surged the Fianna Fáil led government spent, spent and spent.....recklessly. Over-spending and buying elections led to competitiveness being eroded. By the turn of the centuary Ireland's competitiveness was eroded to such an extent that the the export boom had receded and the economy began to faulter. The advent of the housing boom meant that nobody noticed.

The Fianna Fáil led govenment's response to the faultering Celtic Tiger and the looming housing bubble was to accelerate the housing boom (tax breaks to developers etc.), increase spending further (especially during election years!) and turn a blind eye on the recklesss lending of the banks. The failure to regulate the banks who were availing of  a limitless supply of cheap money from Europe encouraged further reckless lending. The banks competed against each other to offer gready developers as much as they wanted, no questions asked. Large mortgages were offered to small and medium income families who could scarcely afford them.

Make no mistake about it, the blame for crash in the property maket and subsequent collapse in the economy lies with Fianna Fáil. After several painful austerity budgets we are still left with a €15billion budget deficit, a €64 billion bank bailout debt, a debt to GDP ratio of 120%, loss of sovereignty, further austerity budgets, largescale emigration, high unemployment and a depressed domestic economy.

The people polled by Millward Brown appear to have forgotten all this, I certainly have not!