A million stats. One fact.

I heard an interesting fact yesterday.  Increased use of stop and search powers in Scotland has led to a fall in violent crime.  It got me thinking; statistics can really back up absolutely anything you could wish to say.  Like how certain types of people are more or less likely to carry a gun.  Perhaps you’re stopping more of one type of person to find that.  It’s all relative.  And I’m not a young, black male.  I don’t ordinarily have to stop in the street and prove that I’m not carrying a weapon.  Or have to pull over because I’m driving late at night.  I probably never will.  But if we all just stick up for the things that affect ourselves we’ll be a bit stuck eventually.

It’s like this moving poem (Credit girlfriend – she showed me this):


First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.
© Martin Niemoller. All rights reserved


 So I started thinking about the things that might, would or have affected me.
I’m a woman.

I’m white.

I’m young.  One day I’ll be old.
I’m a lesbian.

I’m a lawyer.  I want to be a journalist.  I’m an erotic story writer.


Sometimes I’m more of these things than others.  Some of the things I’ll always be and some are transient.  There will always be someone with a prejudice about something.


My secondary school had a 100% GCSE and A-level pass rate.  It was a good school.  That doesn’t mean that everyone was a child genius.  In fact it meant that no one got below an E in a subject.  Even though jobs look at A to C grades.  Most of us got those, anyway.  But it doesn’t sound as good saying “Most students get okay to good grades”.  Today was GCSE results day and driving into work the news was that GCSE’s were getting harder.  Pass rates have fallen and it’s obviously because the poor little mites have it too hard.  Not by tea time.  Teachers are using the exams as mocks and entering the kids a year early, so if they fail it matters less.  That’ll be it then. 


Statistics can prove anything you want to say.  In 2010 5.5% of marriages ended in divorce after 4 years compared with 2.5% of civil partnerships. Everyone should be allowed to get married.  Other views on same-sex relationships are not so positive.  In one study 100% of the gay participants had experienced infidelity in their relationship in the first 5 years. Gay people are bad and can’t resist temptation. Well that can’t be right because I haven’t.  Although I’m not quite 5 years in I think it’s a safe bet that I won’t fall into that category.  Must have been the gay sleazy loverats they asked.  If they asked a bunch of straight sleazy loverats the result would be much the same.  I imagine anyway. 


Stats are only as good as whoever collects them.  And they can argue a point any which way. 


I’ve been surprised that I haven’t  heard more same sex stats recently.  To argue the toss about whether or not gay marriage should be allowed.  I’m on the fence, and I feel bad about it.  I should be all up for two ladies or two misters dashing up the aisle and saying I Do.  Maybe it’s because I really don’t know if I believe in God or that I wonder why you would want to prove your love for the person you choose to spend your life with in a place that for hundreds (or more) years has not accepted people that are like you.  Maybe it’s because I think that Civil Partnership, in all but language, is marriage (more on this another time).  Maybe it’s because gay or straight I don’t think you need to marry someone to prove you love them, you marry them because you do. 


At the same time, I know that for some people it means so, so much.  And that’s important too.  For some, their religion and sexuality will always be at odds and I can only imagine what that is like, and how awful it must be.  On a bigger scale it is equality.  It’s important to have the same rights as a woman who loves a man because regardless we are all human.


So I guess I do care.  I care 100% more than I did before I weighed up my arguments.



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