Hi all,

My head is spinning with the sheer volume of figures released this week. I have spent the best part of 30 hours crunching numbers and generating graphs. My apologies for not coming up with a faster analysis but like most of us I have to try to balance things with family and work.

I am fascinated with some of the figures. Here’s one of my tables to get your teeth into:

Catholic Protestant Other None
Employed (All) 330,428 382,862 7,233 36,086
Students (Working) 23,884 20,284 490 3,304
Students (Not working) 17,710 11,598 517 3,371
Unemployed 34,725 25,343 735 4,393
Sick/ Disabled 49,959 41,561 783 3,177
Home/ Family based 29,759 25,078 772 2,789
Retired 61,255 104,713 1,184 2,864

The Retired figures naturally reflect the older age profile of unionist inclined voters but the other figures are revealing about how nationalists are over represented among the unemployed, the sick and the indigent students. I’ll not start on the students. Please bear with me over the next few days as I will be in Sligo with Mrs Bangordub for her birthday.

There is a huge amount of data to go through including analysing the effects of immigration, emigration, religious disaffection and political indifference. Not to mention preferred outcomes to the “constitutional question” and national identity.

I can’t do it all in a few days and there is enough to keep us going for months here so patience is appreciated.

Regarding the national question I am aware that some here will comment on the northern Ireland designation of some from a nationalist background. I’ll leave this post with the words of someone who experienced a similar thing in times past.

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

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