This blog post is the fault of Harper Elliot: she suggested I should write something political during a Twitter conversation that was soured by a grown adult throwing a tantrum: the tit; he acted like Nigel Farage at a radio interview and thoroughly embarrassed himself.
So anyway, here is the post. For those that don’t know, the UK – and indeed most of Europe – elects the European Parliament today, and the last few years have seen the rise of UKIP: the UK Independence Party.
UKIP have risen in the past twenty years from a minority party attracting the anti-politics, protest vote to now being a major force in British politics. Their increase in popularity has also sparked much greater investigation into their policies, and far from being just an anti-EU party, their representatives have repeatedly proved to be aggressive, racist, homophobic, xenophobic and a whole host more; they are a despicable bunch that is to tolerance, what relationship counselling was Henry VIII.
However, it was the message from one UKIP counsellor – as half of Southern England was deluged with six months rain inside a few days – that “the gay marriage” caused the rain, which caused an outpouring of uproar. It’s God’s doing, the hapless David Silvester argued, as punishment for the UK’s progressive step towards permitting homosexual marriages.
It’s incredulous, although somewhat entertaining that it’s always the far right that seem to want to link extreme weather events to God’s wrath and the country not submitting to their ideology. If there is a God, and he sent the West Country storms, could it not be punishment for inflicting the Wurzels onto the population? God could be a music fan, and I Am A Cider Drinker is surely worthy divine retribution?!
However, because David Silvester wasn’t the only person associated with UKIP to tout this belief – or indeed the only person in the world – a bit of scientific analysis is in order.
Do gays cause rain?
I feel utterly stupid for writing that headline, but I have approached this in a pseudo-scientific manner and took the rainfall data for 176 countries on the planet from the World Bank site. I then created, for every country, a Homophobic Index that ranged from 0 to 100.
Questions such as, is homosexuality illegal, and what are the punishments if so? Are homosexual same-sex relationships recognised? Are same-sex marriages allowed? Can same-sex couples adopt? Can gays serve in the military? What anti-discrimination laws exist and are there laws permitting transgender status? Wikipedia and the Internet assisted in collating this information, with the legality question influencing the Index score by a factor of 5:2.
Why? It felt right. I said pseudo-scientific didn’t I? This is the subjective element to this post, but there has to be. There are 176 different laws, statuses and nuances and I had to squeeze them into something I can graph, so Brunei and their punishment of stoning to death LGBT people with no rights, got 100 while the liberal progressive New Zealand got zero. And everything in between.
So, if David Silvester is right, then there will be a clear relationship between the rainfall of the country and the Homophobic Index, ie the more scared of the LGBT community the country is, and the more rights they curtail, the less storms and rain will fall.
There will be a clear trend that is unarguable against, surely.
Well … no.
More a Politician’s lie detector test than a correlation, but just to be sure I calculated the correlation coefficient: this is the number between 1 and -1 that is the strength and direction of a linear relationship between two data sets. Basically, the further away from 0 the number is, the stronger the relationship.
For example, the correlation coefficient between smoking and lung cancer is between 0.7 and 0.9, depending on the study: there is a clear, causal link.
The Correlation Coefficient between Homophobia and Rainfall is 0.004.
Disproven Mr Silvester. Utterly disproven.
But what about looking for other causes of “the rain.” I then plotted the percentage of the country counting Christianity as their religion, against the rainfall recorded in 2011, and the results were astonishing.
That’s a correlation coefficient of 0.27, which means pseudo-scientifically, church-goers are sixty times more likely to be behind rainfall than the homosexual community.
So, Mr Silvester: stick that up your pipe and smoke it. It’s you. It’s you and your God causing Somerset to be like Atlantis and absolutely nothing to do with “the gays.”
Now, there is a degree of mischievousness, and two bottles of fine Somerset cider about this post, obviously. It’s done with the cheek firmly in the mouth, and I know that while the stats are sound, the premise is bollocks, I know this. But unlike UKIP’s manifesto I’ve gone to some lengths to prove/disprove my claims, irrespective of the suspect methodology; how’s that claim about the EU foisting same-sex marriage onto the UK, Nigel? Or the influx of immigrants?
So anyway, the next time a member of any political party cries into his copy of The Daily Mail – “It’s the gays causing all the rain”- please do prod them here. After all, politics should be based on sound logic and facts rather than emotional appeals about things the ignorant are scared of, or the intolerant can’t abide.
But there is a serious point here too: the LGBT community have all manner of emotional allegations thrown at them from the established church, the political elite and right-wing morons; if, what is likely to be the country’s second largest political party in the European elections, will make and repeat ludicrous allegations then in my opinion, we haven’t made nearly as much progress as we all had hoped.
And as for me, I’m now awaiting a visit from the Police. After all, I committed the cardinal sin of talking about UKIP policy! 😉
If anyone wants a copy of the spreadsheet that I used for shits and giggles, drop me an email! Here’s the full list
|Country Name||2011 Rainfall (mm)||%age pop. Christian||Homophobic Index|
|Egypt, Arab Rep.||51||18||92|
|United Arab Emirates||78||9||84|
|Iran, Islamic Rep.||228||0||97|
|Syrian Arab Republic||252||10||84|
|West Bank and Gaza||402||11||78|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1028||52||41|
|Antigua and Barbuda||1030||74||92|
|Central African Republic||1343||80||50|
|Congo, Dem. Rep.||1543||95||50|
|Trinidad and Tobago||2200||58||92|
|Papua New Guinea||3142||99||92|