LGBT rights in Europe- does religion influence gay rights policy?

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Recently I came accross this map by ILGA-Europe:

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The percentages you see on each country represent an aggregated score calculated by ILGA; 0% would mean the lowest score for LGBT rights and 100% the highest.

The East-West divide seems striking, but why is it so?

Freedom House’s Zselyke Csaky discusses  the idea that it may have to do with religion:

“A somewhat more plausible explanation emphasises the conservative-religious component in many of the region’s countries. Religion definitely plays a role in Poland’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, which has been in effect since 1997 and is strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church. Support from the church was essential to the success of Croatia’s referendum as well, with Catholic bishops urging Croatians to vote “yes” to the amendment outlawing gay marriage. In Romania, an Orthodox priest running on an antigay platform collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to stand as an independent candidate in the European Parliament elections in May. And Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been forging a conservative image for a country that had previously been the first in the region to allow the registration of same-sex partnerships, in 2007.”

Fair does, but let’s try to analyse the data a bit more closely:

So,the most gay-friendly countries: Continue reading

The most pro-Europe and Euroskeptic constituencies; who takes most advantage of the ‘European Citizen’ experience?

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(via)

This post on Constituency Opinion reminded me, in many ways, of a personal research experience: doing the fieldwork for the EUCROSS survey; with Romanian immigrants living in London. The study looked at how we experience being European citizens (and members of a multicultural society) in everyday life: how likely we are, for instance, to have friends of a different nationality than others, to enjoy food and music not from our home country, to travel for work/study/leisure; and how this intersects with attitudes towards the EU and with variables such as class and nationality.

Now, let’s look first at the Constituency Opinion data:

The most pro-European constituencies are:

1. Hornsey and Wood Green; MP Lynne Featherstone- Lib Dem safe seat
2. Bristol West; MP Stephen Williams, Lib Dem safe seat
3. Edinburgh North and Leith, Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Mark Lazarowicz, Labour
4. Manchester Withington again Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP John Leech, Lib Dems
5. Edinburgh South again Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Ian Murray, Labour, elected with a majority of just 316 votes.
6. Islington North, MP Jeremy Corbyn, Labour safe seat
7. Battersea, Conservative/Labour marginal, MP Jane Ellison, Conservative
8. Islington South and Finsbury; Labour/Lib Dem marginal, current MP Emily Thornberry, Labour
9. Hackney North and Stoke Newington;
MP Diane Abbot, Labour safe seat.

10. Streatham; MP Chuka Umunna, Labour safe seat

So, let’s keep a tally:

Constituencies: 6 in London, 2 in Edinburgh, 1 Manchester, 1 Bristol; so overwhelmingly urban.

MP’s: 5 labour, 3 lib dems, 1 tory, no tory safe seats; (also, interestingly, 4 women, 6 men- which is better gender parity than the UK parliament ever had, and 2 MP’s are non-white/ethnic minority.) Trends are easily visible: pro European constituencies vote Lib Dem and Labor, but with the exception of Battersea, not Conservative.

Now let’s look at the opposite end- the most Euroskeptic constituencies.

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The 3% margin of error- and how it can change a political debate

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As I’m writing this post right now, we’ve been knowing for sure for several hours: with 55% of “no” votes, Scotland is staying in the UK. On a quick look at my Twitter feed, I’m getting a mixed bag of relief, celebration, introspection, ‘what next’ concern and that rant from Trainspotting (nsfw).

The one comment that caught my eye, however, came from Sussex Uni fellow Ben Stanley.

We surely do remember that YouGov poll:

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What can official employment statistics tell us? UK Statistics Authority Chair rebukes David Cameron

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So, David Cameron claimed in a Daily Telegraph  article that “while most new jobs used to go to foreign workers, in the past year more than three quarters have gone to British workers”, presumably due to the Coalition’s immigration policy.

Except no, not really. All that the figures from the Office for National Statistics (that Cameron is basing his claims on) are telling us is that UK nationals  made up 76% of the increase in the number of people in work last year. Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, offered a detailed rebuttal of the PM’s use of data; which I believe anyone using official stats to make use of data to make a public policy point would benefit from reading.

So, let’s see:

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Interesting data: the OECD Teaching and Learning International survey (and a handy tool for visualising it).

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For those of you interested in comparative research, I have just found via the Guardian’s Data Blog a fairly useful toy, that helps you visualise data across OECD/G20 countries and more; on topics including education, employment, migration, quality of life, poverty/inequality and others. It’s called Compare Your Country and can be found here.

The Guardian’s Sarah Marsh uses it to look at data from the Teaching and Learning International survey. As an exercise in sociological imagination, I took the opportunity to play with the data a little bit more.

According to their web page, TALIS is the first international survey programme to focus on the learning environment and the working conditions of teachers in schools. 31 countries- including the UK for the first time- have been surveyed in 2013, and the results can be found here. (It can also be embedded into websites; unfortunately WordPress won’t let me do this).

HOW TO USE:

Simply select the country you are interested in to compare it with the OECD average:

cyc1Teachers in the UK, for instance, are younger, more likely to have tertiary education and teaching training; but have less years of teacher training behind them.

Continue reading