Yesterday’s Independent carried an interesting item about how we view statistical information such as the fact that this month’s estimate of global population is 6,790,062,216 – a number so staggeringly huge that it’s almost meaningless.
Traditionally, statisticians convert such numbers into something more familiar to allow us to get a grip on the figure. Thus we end up with the global population being scaled down to 75,445 Wembleys or 2,341 Wales’. Any better? No, I didn’t think so.
The genius of the article lay in the super-scaling: in fact, converting Britain’s population of 61 million to a single community of 100 people. Britain, the village. And some of the figures have a direct bearing on the lies that the BNP perpetually attempts to pass off as fact.
Britain is overcrowded
Britain is, in fact, far from overcrowded. If Britain were a village of 100 people, and its land mass were scaled down by the same proportion as its population, the village would cover an area the size of 99 football pitches. Agricultural land would occupy 20 football pitches (run by a single farmer), while London would cover just over half a football pitch. All built-up areas and gardens would occupy the equivalent of six football pitches.
This occupied land rounds out at just 26 football pitches, leaving a phenomenal 73 going spare – presumably as woodland, moorland and land in private ownership (by people like Nick Griffin).
The two BNP MEPs were democratically elected
If Britain were a village of 100 people, there would be 74 voters but only 26 of those voters would have gone to the polls at this year’s European elections. Far from the mandate from the British public that Griffin would like us to believe he got.
Britain is overrun by other cultures
Not so. Ninety-two of our villagers would be white. Two would be black, two Indian, one Pakistani, one of mixed race and two would be of other races (which presumably could be pretty much any colour from a well-tanned Robert Kilroy-Silk to a pale Lenny Henry).
Muslims/Jews/whatever are taking over the country
Again, untrue. Seventy-two people would identify themselves as Christian (although only 10 people in the village would go to church regularly). Fifteen people would say that they were not religious, while there would be two Muslims, one Hindu and 10 people who practised other religions (including the BNP’s favourite lunacy Odinism, and paganism). Whatever bizarre cult the BNP’s fake vicar Robert West belongs to, wouldn’t even get a look in.
The BNP is growing fast
Not according to Tina Wingfield, the BNP’s membership secretary, who claimed back in June that the party had achieved 10,000 members, a drop from the 12,724 that appeared on the released membership list. If my maths are correct (and they’re probably not) that should see the BNP membership of our village standing at about a six-hundredth of a normal person, which sounds about right.
While these figures are outrageously simplified, they do help to put the BNP’s droning about the state of the nation into perspective.
We are neither overrun nor overcrowded, though clearly more homes are definitely needed and it handily appears that we have plenty of spare land on which to build them. In fact I can think of a decent plot of land in a reasonable location that might be going spare fairly soon (if the rumours we’ve been hearing of late are true). It’s in Wales, down in a place called Welshpool…