This post follows on from yesterday’s by JohnBhoy where he sought to debunk and refute Steerpike’s comments previously. You can read part 1 here.



Catholics are “hardly victims”

Steerpike also claimed that Catholics are “hardly victims” of religious prejudice. His “stats” compared one religion against another in an ugly equation of blame. Etween Catholics and Protestants. Unfortunately to dispel his “stats” it is also necessary to compare and contrast the relative attacks of religious prejudice using the same two protagonists in his comparative relationship. However, there will be no blame attached to either Catholics or Protestants. Where there is religious prejudice against Catholics and Protestants then they are both victims.

Catholics formed 16% of the population in Scotland so one would expect that 16% of the sectarian crime would fall on (the same number of) Catholics. Using the 2011-2012 Scottish government figures on this type of crime we can see that there were 876 sectarian crimes. In line with statistical expectations, one would anticipate that Catholicism would suffer 16% of those crimes: 16% of 876 = 140. Yet Catholicism was targeted on 509 occasions, rather than the expected 140, 3.63 times more than expected. That represents 58% of the sectarian crime in 2011-2012.

Protestants formed 32% of the population in Scotland so one would expect that 32% of the sectarian crime would fall on (the same number of) Protestants. There were 876 sectarian crimes in 2011-2012, giving an expectation of .32 X 876 crimes = 280.32. However, they were targeted on 353 occasions, an increase of 72.68 sectarian crimes, i.e. 1.26 times more than expected. This means that Catholicism was targeted on more occasions than Protestantism, both in terms of real and relative values. In other words, Catholicism was more likely to be the target of religious prejudice than Protestantism, by a significant margin.

Below is a summary of the figures for 2011-2012 for religiously aggravated crime Catholics and Protestants for the period 2011-2012.

2011-2012: (876 crimes) % of population Expected Actual % of attacks
Catholicism 16% 140 509 (+ 369) 58.1% (factor 3.63)
Protestantism 32% 280.32 353 (+72.68) 40.3% (factor of 1.26)

Let’s update our statistics and look at the figures for 2012-2013:

2012-2013: (687 crimes) % of population Expected Actual % of attacks
Catholicism 16% 109.92 388 (+ 168.16) 56.5% (factor 3.53)
Protestantism 32% 219.84 199 (- 20) 29% (factor of 0.91)

In total, there were 687 charges of religiously aggravated crime. A normal expectation would be that 16% of the sectarian crime was directed at Catholicism: 16% of 687 = 109.92.  Yet Catholicism was targeted on 388 occasions, 3.531 times more than expected. That represents 56.5% of the total crime in 2012-2013. Once again, even though the number of attacks against Catholicism reduced, from 509 to 393, the relative percentage remained almost exactly the same: Catholicism suffered religious prejudice over 3.5 times more than expected.

We also know that in 2012-2013, Protestantism was the intended target on 199 occasions, rather than the expected 219.84 (32% of 687), actually 20 occasions less than statistically expected, giving a factor of 0.91. We only know about the intended victims, not the perpetrators. We know that Catholics were the intended victims, disproportionately so, and that Protestants were the intended victims but below statistical expectations. Once again, Catholicism was targeted on more occasions than Protestantism, both in terms of real and relative values and so Catholicism was more likely to be the victim of religious prejudice than Protestantism.

Without any evidence of who is committing what sectarian crime we can only fall back on statistical expectations: that Catholics will be responsible for 16%, Protestants 32%, atheists 37% etc. To assume that it is actually those baptised as Catholics and those labelled Protestants who are responsible for each other’s crime is to fall back on historical prejudices. That is personal opinion, not evidence.

And yet despite the clear empirical evidence Steerpike can make the ludicrous assertion that “there is no evidence [of anti-Catholicism], we have Catholics who FEAR sectarianism as if it exists, probably a throw back to their historical Irish roots”. Even when Steerpike found official evidence that clearly contradicted that position (he referred fellow posters to the report after all), and further that those perceived to be Catholic were targeted far in excess of statistical expectations, he still chose to assert that Catholics are “hardly victims” in his mind.

He should also have looked at the wider picture and saw that other religions were under attack and, like Catholicism, disproportionately so. Attacks of religious prejudice increased relative to total crimes by 10.4% on Islam from 2.2% (19) of all attacks in 2011-2012 to 11.6% (80) of all attacks in 2012-2013. Also worrying was the percentage increase in attacks – relative to total crimes – based on “religious prejudice” against Judaism, from 1.6% (14) of all attacks in 2011-2012 to 3.9% (27) of all attacks in 2012-2013, quite remarkable for a population of under 6,000 Jews. Six of those arrests were for posting anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook and 50 Police Officers took part on those arrests after complaints from the Jewish community in Giffnock (

Fig 2

Interestingly, most of the religiously aggravated crime that takes place is, according to the stats, unrelated to football. In 2011-2012 only 31% of such crime was directly related to football; in 2012-2013, the figures were even less: 15.9%. The reduction in figures for 2012-2013 will have been influenced by the introduction of The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, under which some of the sectarian crime would have been recorded.

However, the low level of football-related religious prejudice gives the false impression that religious prejudice does not take place at football grounds. There is an alternative explanation: that arrests at football grounds do not reflect the magnitude of the incidences of religious prejudice and offensive chanting taking place. The 2012-2013 report admitted that the inability of the Police to deal with sectarianism within a crowd situation was an issue: “these figures may also not adequately reflect the religious prejudice that police became aware of but were not able to deal with, for example on occasions where there were large groups of people singing religiously offensive songs.”

Large group arrests for religious aggravation are not unknown in Scotland. For example, at a march by the Scottish Defence League in Glasgow, reported in the 2012-2013 figures, there were 57 anti-Islam charges (


In academia when two sets of data are juxtapositioned with the effect of presenting, wittingly or unwittingly, a misleading conclusion it is referred to as a “crafty conflation”. Politicians are famous for using this tactic to convince the public to support or oppose a particular political stance. Either deliberately, or through laziness or incompetence, or through a mistake honestly made, a variety of seemingly believable “statistics” are combined to produce an alarming statement and one that, if allowed to stand untested, could have serious repercussions for a section of our citizens.

For example, if someone produced “statistics” to show that Catholics are “hardly victims” but, on the contrary, the cause of the greater element of sectarian crime then it is only a short step from there to campaign for the whole-scale dismantling of a corner stone of Catholicism: Catholic schools. So, rather than attempting to understand why Catholics are disproportionately targeted, and seeking ways to address that anomaly, Steerpike’s position could be used by those with an agenda against Catholicism and Catholics to push for a political policy that would adversely impact on Catholicism and Catholics in Scotland.

It is also interesting to note that the very same people who constantly goad others with false statistics about sectarian crime caused by Catholics, and that the situation is so bad that Catholics schools need to close as a result, also argue against overwhelming evidence of religious prejudice against Catholics by shouting that there is nothing to worry about, there is very little sectarian crime anyway!

We have seen that the erroneous juxtapositioning of “16% of the population” with “40% of sectarian crime” [i.e. Catholics against Protestants] presents, for the uninformed, a prima facie justification for the conclusion that Catholics are “hardly victims”. However, it was shown that the “16%” was wrong as was the “hardly victims” insult.

There is no empirical data available to allow us to produce any statistics on the number of Catholics, Protestants, or people of no religious belief, or those from other denominations, who were actually responsible for the sectarian crime.

It is interesting how the conflation of two basic pieces of information can present a disturbingly misinformed picture of a situation. Fortunately, Steerpike’s conflation of “16% of the population” with “carry out 40% of sectarian crime” was so obviously wrong that it was easily discredited. His attempt to dismiss the evidence of Catholics as disproportionate victims (“hardly victims”) and instead to represent, based on no evidence at all and on unproven assumptions, Catholics as disproportionate offenders, was irresponsible.

Cherry-picking bits of the stats and introducing unsubstantiated assertions, although having the benefit of brevity, gives a completely distorted picture of sectarian crime in Scotland.


Steerpike made two main claims:

  1. That “the stats don’t lie, 16% of the population carry out 40% of sectarian crime”; and
  2. Catholics are “hardly victims”.

His claims were shown to be false.

Steerpike committed four serious errors:

  1. He failed to grasp the complexities of simple Primary School arithmetic, in particular the use of fractions and percentages as applied to population groups and sectarian crime;
  2. He presumed to know the religion of those accused of sectarian crime;
  3. He apportioned blame to an entire religious community; and
  4. He omitted a major population group – “non-religious” – from his statistical calculations.

His biggest shame was the overall impact of his stark headline statement: “the stats don’t lie, 16% of the population carry out 40% of sectarian crime”, meaning Catholics against Protestants. It is profoundly disturbing because it apportions blame, asserts false authority (“the stats don’t lie”) and uses dramatic numbers that collectively could mislead others to adopt a view of Catholicism and Catholics that is false.

When Steerpike made his appearance on Random Thoughts Re Scots Law he put his cards down on the table: “… I am a troll and an East Fife fan, currently supporting decent Rangers fans against Celtic bigots.” He did not declare “… I am a troll and an East Fife fan, currently supporting decent Celtic fans against Rangers bigots.” As it turned out, that was not the full story. He was a Rangers supporter. I am sure that Steerpike simply forgot to inform fellow posters that he was a Rangers supporter. On matters of more importance, sectarianism in Scotland, he needs to take greater care when it comes to disseminating information.

It is unfortunate that Steerpike chose to focus on the accused rather than the victims and then to apportion blame to one religion in particular, and to do so from a position of ignorance. Other religions are also being targeted. Scotland is a wonderful mix of people. Church of Scotland, Roman Catholics, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, non-religious. Sectarianism is historical baggage. That sectarianism features in a contemporary Scotland is not the fault of any particular religion. In relation to Catholicism and Protestantism, the religious communities are not blaming each other for the sectarianism: the fault lies with individuals within a sub-culture. They may or may not be Catholic. They may or may not be Protestant. They may or may not be from any other religious persuasion. They may or may not have any religious affiliation. But they are relics of the past and do Scotland, and its communities, religious or not, a great disservice.

Moral of the story: statistics are often more nuanced than many of us realise but sometimes the statistics are so bad that they do lie.


It would make no difference to the validity of Steerpike’s claims if he based his population figures on the 2001 census: his claims would still be false.




Filed under Guest Posts, Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill

648 responses to “CATHOLICS AND SECTARIAN CRIME: “HARDLY VICTIMS”? By JohnBhoy – Part 2

  1. cam

    Everybody is happy.

  2. cam

    Here’s the Ranger’s boys peace present to the Tic lads.
    I’m that leather dude!!

    • WRTP, I cammot understand the denial from uz tims, WRTP, it cammot happen again, WRTP, what are those bright lights, OH shit, its the second Admistration Train, bring back duff & duffer, chuckles saves us, SEVCO 2 must live on !!! W

  3. JOE


  4. paul

    Fit and proper person required for vacancy at Ibrokes. King should fit in nicely. McMurdo to give reference to above person.LOL.

  5. A link to eco’s guest blog on ‘scottish law reporters’ If you continue scolling down, you’ll come across a blog dated 8 sept 2013, which may be the reason why ‘leggo’ was struck down from his blog. Do the dates tie up?
    Funny thing about that blog, it mentions a certain media house involvement. Just a thought if anyone fancies a bit of fishing tonight.

  6. Raymilland

    Gonna be a world of hurt – Walter Smith

    “To love is to feel pain” there ain’t no way around it
    The very nature of love is to grieve when it is over
    The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to role the credits
    Better role them now before something else goes wrong
    No, it’s a wonderful world, if you can put aside the sadness
    And hang on to every ounce of beauty upon you
    Better take the time to know it there ain’t no way around it
    If you feel anything at all

  7. Ian4300

    Could the attitude of Green & the behaviour of the Sevco Support lead to a loss of friendship within the Offices at Hampden? Are they losing friends within the MSM also?

    Note the “Since 2001 Motherwell, Hearts, Livingston (twice), Morton, Dundee (twice) and Dunfermline have, at some point, been in administration while Gretna, Clydebank, Airdrieonians and Rangers fatally descended into liquidation” …CLUBS not Companies

    OR is it Lawwell’s fault… Again.


    • @Ian

      I think that’s a perfectly good way to do it, clubs in a division below immediately gain a higher status and access to better money to compete.

      Failed clubs can have hardly any excuse, it’s their own ‘downfall’.

      • Ian4300

        I agree, OD.

        It makes sense & is fairer to those who try to live within their means or service existing debt & work towards recovery.

        I wonder what the SFA take on it would be?

        Would the bold Campbell & company do a repeat of the Sevco Shambles, for the good of Scottish Football of course. Would the politicians defend the fabric of Scotland again, or would it be once bitten?

        Will an Administration occur BEFORE any new rule or a King solution meet SFA Rules ha ha?

        Will the Steerpike model prove robust… He is never wrong you know… OR will DeNIALL make a comeback to tell us How they COULD have survived?

        Will the next forty two posts be about the Vatican?


        • 🙂 Surely EUEFA will have a hand in things this time around? If left to the SFA, would you trust them?

          • Ian4300

            No chance. I would not trust them to know their own rules far less Implement them.

            Mind you, think on it The Yo-Yo Club could follow the Walter method & never say no to the fans,

            What a Viable Model, Administration,Relegation, money for wee teams, Promotion, Administration ETC…. Surely there are a FEW World Records in there?

            Maybe big Cam will get to visit Thurso?

        • Niall Walker

          Good evening Ian, hope you are well.

          I think it is possible to discuss or even criticise the internal policies of the Vatican without smearing the Catholic Faith or Catholics themselves, the Catholic church did not survive for nearly 2000 years without some severe mistakes.

          In my view the actions of the institution were illegal and immoral, on the positive side there are new attitudes in place headed by a Pope one cannot help but admire.

          Have a good evening.

  8. I laughed at the cardigans statements today! If he’s a spokesman for McCall etc, he made a complete ass it himself and them. Chairman of any club, my word.
    I could almost visualise the easdales choking on their rice crispies, what a laugh 🙂

  9. Fisiani

    We are simply witnessing the rush for the lifeboats at Ibrokes. Watch as the spivs fill their pockets with cash and trample over the fans to get to their castles in France. Some of the lifeboats have already been launched and the occupants are sipping champagne as they from safety watch the great ship founder and take on water. Those with third class tickets will drown. It will all be brought to you minute by minute. Will we one day see the headline Aberdeen man lost in Row C.

  10. daviecooperonthewing

    I see the inquiry into CFC’s purchase of the old London road school has Historic Scotland asking questions of the GCC.
    Apparently HS wanted to purchase and preserve the building, and had made enquiries regarding it’s availability. GCC allegedly informed them that the property and land valued at £300,000 in 2007 was worthless waste ground which was contaminated and would be denied any planning permission due to it’s unsuitability for future use.
    After lengthy correspondence between HS and GCC, the building was allowed to fall further into disrepair, despite various attempts by HS to purchase the property, it was sold to Celtic FC for £1 sterling.
    Has GCC acted in the best interests of the Glasgow citizens by brokering this deal with a sporting institution, or have they favoured CFC, by failing to advertise or market the said property openly, to attract offers from other agencies? Interesting also, that following a complaint from Historic Scotland inferring a lack of integrity by the council, that GCC removed and replaced their director of planning.
    If the site was worth £300,000 six years ago, why was it allowed to fall into disrepair and sold to Celtic for £1?
    Why were CFC allowed to acquire it? What were/are CFC’s intentions for the site? Why was it was not advertised on the open market?
    Why were Historic Scotland denied access to it?

    • Ian4300

      Don’t know, but surely it must be legal & honest& above board.

      I mean people in Power don’t break the rules do they? Certainly not to help a sporting institution…

      Jeezo, next thing you will be telling me it happens in other areas of Scottish Hierarchy… Not the Politicians, SFA, SPL SFL Police & Judiciary Helping RFC(IL) then the Sevco Shambles? Oh no this is all going beyond the beyonds.

      Somebody needs a good kick up the arse… Not Campbell Ogilvie though, you may need his services again soon.

      🙂 or 😉 or even 😦 if you have read Walter.

    • Raymilland


      You obviously think there has been skulduggery at play; take up your complaint with GCC.

      Have you ever perused the Historic Scotland property portfolio? GCC obviously came to their conclusion in the best interest of the public. I’m not sure of the timescale for the planned regeneration of the site, although, I would guess that the forthcoming Commonwealth Games would have influenced the decision to allow the plans to go ahead.

      Celtic owns the surrounding land, that factor would have influenced any independent planning application; Celtic literally had first dibs, if you like.

      • daviecooperonthewing

        Evening Raymondo.
        Nothing to do with me mate, I’m only following the modern day trait of enlightenment regarding the alleged skullduggery practices of Glesga’s big boys. I’m reliably informed an investigation is well under way. Historic Scotland, amongst others are implying dishonourable shenanigans, not me. Celtic allegedly have no claim over historical or listed buildings.

    • Jamie

      “worthless waste ground which was contaminated and would be denied any planning permission due to it’s unsuitability for future use.”

      Didn’t they say the same about the Ravenscraig site?????

    • @coatbrig
      I’m speechless;
      If you never laughed, it would make you cry, my word whatever next?

    • @coatbrig

      I had to do a double take there, the photo looks like the ‘faither’ who wrote faither or son?

    • Ian4300


      NAW that’s got to be wrong…

      I have read big Cam faithfully & I know God is a Prod… Now why would God the Prod let his boy come to Britain that early & not invent the Rangers?

      Rangers would then have spread around the Roman Empire & Barcelona would be Rangers Spanish boys club… AND .. with all that money, Jesus would have set up a Tax exempt thingy for Rangers. Simples

      So it can’t be true… Maybe the second coming will provide the Sugar Daddy that Rangers need to survive

    • Raymilland

      Tycoon? Joseph & Son Carpentry….can work miracles….almost 2000 years in the saw dust business

  11. New blog on the way chaps, old leggo has been taken to court by Rangers, i also hear that the judge halted the case and informed him to come back with legal representation. Twat haha.

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