OK, so I’ve spent some time getting more data together on the correlates of BNP membership. I’ve created a table which contains the following metrics: population growth (%), change in population density (%), Gross Value Added(GVA) in 1991, 2006, change in GVA, % GVA growth, unemployment, long-term unemployment as a % of total unemployment, the shares of GDP accounted for by agriculture, industry, and services, total immigration between 1994 and 2002 per capita, total emigration per capita for the same period, total migration per capita, and BNP members per 100 citizens.
And you know what? I was expecting to find a correlation with the economic variables. I had a theory that long-term, Thatcher legacy unemployment, especially, would be a strong correlate of BNP recruitment. But nothing correlates. None of those metrics have any predictive power. Have a look at this.
Immigration per head is up the Y-axis, bigotry on the X-axis, and the data points are scaled by the unemployment rate. It doesn’t seem to track any of these variables at all; I urge you to visit the visualisation home page, where you can try the different data series for yourself.
This strongly suggests that some completely different force is at work; perhaps BNP membership is driven by something else entirely. It could be the distribution of social authoritarian tendencies in the population, as Robert Altemeyer theorises. Or alternatively, it could just be that a gratifyingly small percentage of people are completely fucking stupid and pig-ignorant, that this is normally distributed in the population, and it’s essentially a matter of chance what pig-ignorant fucking stupidity they get up to.
It’s probably worthwhile pointing out that the average concentration of BNP members is 0.0203 per 100 citizens and the standard deviation is 0.0116. So with the sole exception of Northern Ireland, 1.54 standard deviations below the mean and therefore staggering towards the edge of the 90% confidence interval, the variation between regions is entirely explicable by chance – strong backing for the wanker theory.
(For some reason, this post has started to remind me of Donald Crowhurst‘s campaign leaflet, which bore the headline “YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE LOGICAL – BUT DARE YOU TAKE THIS TEST?” Inside was a sort of flowchart designed to explain logically why everyone should vote Liberal.)