Thursday, 10 November 2011

What - Me Worry?

(With apologies to Alfred E.Neuman)

I have just laid eyes on a eurobarometer survey about global warming, climate change, a new ice age or whatever they are calling it this week, which - in the main - is a dull as one would expect.  However, there are some broader questions involving what folk regard as the leading threats to humanity, and it is with this that I will attempt to make hay.

So, guess which country's population has the highest percentage considering international terrorism to be 'the single most serious problem facing the world as a whole'?

Well, Bulgaria - obviously.  Doubtless Al Qaeda, Continuity IRA, the Sendero Luminoso, Al Shabbab and the Red Army Faction are all planning on unpleasantness in Plovdiv even as we speak.  Alternatively, maybe the Bulgars think that little bit bigger than certain other countries - I'm talking about you, Hungary and Greece.  Adjusting my liberal hat, perhaps the Greeks have other things to worry about.  Anyway, the figure for Bulgaria is 53%,  21% for Greece and 19% for Hungary.  We are third behind the Czechs, at 46% and 47% respectively.  A paper published in 2003 has this to say 'The Republic of Bulgaria...has little experience with terrorist acts. During the past 20 years, only nine terrorism-related events have been recorded in Bulgaria, and no unconventional weapons have been use'.  Let us hope that the Bulgars, and the rest of us, stay safe.

Here's a chart of the findings:

(The first 'SL' above should be 'SK') 

Another possibility is 'the increasing global population', and what a miserable bunch of neo-Malthusians the Swedes turn out to be - 45% cited it.  The Dutch are not much better at 39%, and the 30% + club is entirely made up of Northern countries.  At the other end of the scale, the Bulgarians are fairly sanguine at 8%, likewise the Italians, while Malta (6%), Portugal and Poland (both 5%) are doing the Pope proud.  

Elsewhere, the Greeks are most worried (or were, the research dates to June) about the economy, and the Swedes the least, while the Swedes buy into global warming the most and the Portuguese the least.  We are the least worried about the spread of disease and the Czechs and the Slovaks the most.  Being of a cynical bent, I imagine that alarmist TV documentaries do rather a lot to skew these figures.  

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