Most hate crimes fell significantly in Scotland in last year

Using Reporting Scotland editorial guidelines to report a trend based on only one year’s statistics, we can report that most types of hate crime have fallen significantly in 2018/2019:

Type                            2017/18        2018/19         % Change

Race                            4 480               4 069               Down 9.2%

Religion                       513                  453                  Down 11.7%

Race & Religion         150                  81                    Down 46%

Race or Religion        131                  116                  Down 11.4%

Disability                     274                  260                  Down 5.1%

Sexual Orientation    1 092               1 201               Up 10%

Transgender               60                    87                    Up 28%

Other                           26                    35                    Up 35%

Note that in the case of sexual orientation and transgender we see here a positive trend as victims become more willing to come forward

For a bit of context

Homophobic hate crime surging SIX times faster in England and Wales

June 15, 2019

The Scotsman’s Chris McCall today delights in reminding us not to get too smug about falling hate crime in Scotland. The Guardian may be worried by a ‘surge’ in homophobic hate crime in England and Wales but, hey, it’s ‘on…

Racist hate crime charges in Scotland fall by nearly half

March 30, 2019

The numerical response to the above parliamentary question came in the form of this table showing a dramatic fall in the number of charges made under Section 50A, by almost 50% in only the last 8 years: 91% of the…

Scotsman’s utter confusion and fibs on hate crime in Scotland

March 24, 2019

Under this image of a ‘remainer’ and a ‘leaver’, outside Westminster, we get one of the most confused (deliberately?) accounts I’ve read, attempting to create anxiety, for Scots, about something not actually there. Based on the reflections of someone…

Prof Ronald MacDonald slips clownishly on his own GERS figures

Up-to-date economics prof, Richard Murphy also disapproves of current SNP economic policy, as do we here at TuS, but he only sees a missed opportunity to do even better.

How to create anxiety with a graph and the BBC’s Head of Statistics

BBC Head of Statistics and Drama?

This is about fears of developing breast cancer, not Scottish politics, but it’s the best example I’ve seen for some time of how easy it is to generate anxiety with a badly-scaled graph and a comment from a supposed expert. I feel sure it’s worth remembering for the next time the graph is about Scotland’s economy or crime or drug deaths or whatever.

The BBC’s Head of Statistics (really?) presented the above graph and then, astonishingly, said:

‘But if you take the most commonly prescribed oestregen and progestogen it goes from 63 all the way up to 83.’

Because he doesn’t remind us that this is an increase from 63 out of a 1 000 to 83 out of a thousand or from 0.63% to 0.83% and thus an increase of only 0.2%, his ‘all the way up’ and the scaling of the graph make it seem particularly worrying.

The scaling of the graph is a classic, done perhaps for innocent reasons of appearance or visibility, but it is wrong. The vertical scale should go up to 1 000 so that the bars can be in accurate proportion, like this:

20 year breast cancer risk

Not so scary?

And, what about context? All good journalists claim to do it. If you compare the risk of developing breast cancer when you smoke with the risk when you have HRT might that be useful information for the viewer? It’s a 0.2% increased risk if you have HRT and 14% if you smoke. That’s a SEVENTY times greater increase in risk. In the case of a woman with a family history of breast cancer it’s 35% and that’s a 175 times greater risk.

If you know of any comparable distortions about Scotland, please share.

Media FAIL with meaningless and dishonest report on P1 testing being ‘meaningless’ to only 3 out of 25 000 Scottish Primary teachers

Journalists fail Level 1 Ethics Course

I’ve searched the teachers’ part of the survey data of 184 pages, and thus only at most 92 teachers, out of more than 24 899 primary-trained teachers responding. The word ‘meaningless’ comes up 3 times, in the same one teacher’s response. The word ‘meaning’ appears another 6 times but in only 2 of those could it be taken to mean the same thing. This adds 2 more teachers to the group describing the tests as ‘meaningless.’

Even if we restrict the eligible sample to the 2 or 3 000 working in P1 classes and exclude the other early stages teachers, infant heads and the more than 20 000 trained at all stages and thus really eligible to respond to the survey, and base conclusions on 3 respondents. Now that really is meaningless.

In the surveys of head teachers and local authorities, NONE could be said to have described the tests as meaningless

BBC Scotland’s pathetic attempt to tarnish our ‘inspirational’ bridge

Though with no agreed definition, snagging is the process of checking a new building for minor faults that need to be rectified. Every contract has minor ‘snagging’ issues which gradually over time become thought of as maintenance.

BBC Scotland’s report does not tell us who or what is the source of their ‘story.’ I suppose they’d be embarrassed to do so. The rest of the report includes ‘for balance’ lots of positive stuff but the damage is done by then for most readers.

Here’s a reminder of the true story of this engineering marvel:

Queensferry Crossing staying open more often and even in very high winds. Reporting Scotland will be all over this?

‘American leaders should look across the pond for inspiration.’ World Economic Forum describes Scotland’s Queensferry Crossing project as a model of good practice for US developers

First Minister of Scotland steals the Queen of England’s thunder and light by opening the Queensferry Crossing first

Queensferry Crossing comes in £245 million under budget. That’s more than 18%!

Rape TWICE as common in England and prosecution THREE times less likely

In the Guardian yesterday:

The criminal justice system [in England & Wales] is putting more people at risk by failing to tackle potential serial rapists, the victims’ commissioner has warned. Dame Vera Baird expressed the concerns as official figures showed that reports of rape are rising but the number of charges being brought has fallen. Rapes reported to police rose by almost 13,000 to 54,045 in 2017-18, compared with 41,186 the previous year, with 11,913 attacks not recorded as crimes, up from 8,624. The overall charge rate fell from 6.8% to 4.2%, according to data recorded by public bodies, gathered by the Rape Monitoring Group and published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

These figures contrast sharply with the equivalents in Scotland:

Scotland 10% has of the population but less than 5% of the reported rapes. It has 11.4% of those prosecuted compared to only 4.2% in England.

As Westminster implodes London-based journalist says Scotland is the UK’s ‘most fractious political scene!’

What planet has he been on? As Westminster experiences a virtual putsch with defenestration not unlikely, he thinks Brexit has split the Scottish parties in four-ways. He’s missed the obvious point that the SNP seems unaffected, that the Tories have all meekly joined Boris, that Labour have been whipped by their London bosses and that the Lib Dems are of no interest outside their northern shoogly-fastness.

Has Frain been to see action in Holyrood or even read much of it. See these accounts of why it is designed to be less fractious than Westminster. First from Green Ross Greer:

With the chamber at Holyrood designed to encourage less confrontational debate and greater compromise between different parties, Mr Greer agreed with the suggestion that the tone of debate in the Scotland is quite different to that at Westminster. “There’s definitely a difference across the board here,” he said. “The Scottish Parliament was set up deliberately to foster a culture that was about compromise and discussion and good-natured debate, rather than oppositional debate. “Most of what the Parliament does is actually done by consensus, but most folk wouldn’t know that, they wouldn’t expect that. “Most of our committee reports are done by consensus, most legislation that we pass everyone will vote for in the end.

And from the BBC:

Both chambers [in Westminster] are set out in an “adversarial rectangular pattern”, meaning that parties directly face their opposition. After the Commons Chamber was destroyed in 1943 during the Blitz, Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted it was rebuilt in the same shape, claiming that “‘we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us”. Holyrood’s single Chamber was constructed in the hemicycle (horseshoe) shape found throughout European legislatures. Advocates of this design claim it encourages consensus and compromise between parties.

Income growth rising steadily in Scotland to third highest in UK

With Scotland allocated yellow in the above line graph it’s hard to see but income growth continues to climb under this SNP administration to third place in the UK with SE England flattening out and only the East of England keeping pace ahead of it.

This is a considerable achievement as Scotland pulls away from London (purple) despite the latter’s unfair subsidising by the rest of the UK:

Schooling in Scotland and England drift further apart as the Tories choose brutal exclusion

As the UK Conservative Party with Scotland-residing ones in their tow, go for proven FAILED strategies and risk even more exclusions and the proven consequent danger of more knife crime, the situation in Scotland becomes other-better-worldly. This is taken from a report here in September 2018:

Permanent school exclusions from Scottish schools have been falling in the period of SNP government. In 2006/7, 248 pupils were permanently excluded, and the figure has fallen steadily to only 5 in 2016/17.

In England, even national figures from the Department for Education indicate that 6 685 pupils were permanently excluded in 2015/16. That would be a staggering one thousand three hundred times more than in Scotland, but the problem may be even more serious:

‘A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank claims these figures mask the true scale of the problem, with pupils forced out of mainstream schools by informal methods that are not captured in national exclusions data. The report, published on Tuesday, says 48,000 pupils are being educated in the alternative provision (AP) sector, which caters for excluded students, with tens of thousands more leaving school rolls in what appear to be illegal exclusions.’

If correct, English schools are permanently excluding pupils at nearly ten thousand times the rate in Scotland – 8% of the population but only 0.010416% of the permanent school exclusions.

Just one of the reasons why school exclusions need to be minimised is revealed in a further Guardian article:

‘Excluding children from school may lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a major new study has shown. The research by the University of Exeter also finds that poor mental health can lead to school exclusion. The study found a “bi-directional association” between psychological distress and exclusion: children with psychological distress and mental health problems were more likely to be excluded but their exclusion acted as a predictor of increased psychological distress three years later on.’

Previously, I’ve written about possible differences between life in Scotland and that in England with a view to suggesting Scotland is becoming a more collectivist, communitarian, inclusive place, maybe even a ‘better nation’, while poor England, especially under (under is the word) the Tories, is becoming a more divided, unequal and brutal place. Here are earlier reports suggesting a difference that makes a difference:

Scotland takes nearly 26% of Syrian refugees settled in UK with only 8% of the UK population

58 000 baby boxes to help increase life chances and now Scotland will be the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to ‘end period poverty’. This is the kind of country I want to live in.

Scots the least respectful of the upper classes: More evidence of a difference that makes a difference?

Scientific evidence that Scots tend to be different from the other groups in rUK?

Racial hate crimes increase by 33% in England & Wales while falling by 10% in Scotland: Who says we’re not different?

‘Scottish tooth fairies are the most generous.’ See, even more evidence we are different.

Who said Scots were not more left-wing than those in the rest of the UK?


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