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Do Scots really die that much younger?

Plus: Tips for picking a Grand National winner; and the difference compulsory voting makes

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

The Scottish way of death

Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP would block a rise in the state pension age on the grounds that it would be unfair to Scots, who don’t live as long as the English.
— The idea that the Scots die early was fuelled by a study by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health in 2006, which found male life expectancy in the Calton area of Glasgow to be 54: less than in many developing countries.
— The figure, derived from statistics collected between 1998 and 2002, was exaggerated by the presence of a large number of hostels in the Calton taking in drug addicts from other areas. Life expectancy in Glasgow as whole last year was 73 for men and 78.5 for women, the lowest for any council area in Britain but not by much. In Blackpool it is 74.3 for males.
— Taking Scotland as a whole, life expectancy between 2011 and 2013 was 76.8 for men and 80.9 for women. In England it was 79.2 and 82.9. Life expectancy for English men in 2004 was the same as for Scottish men now.

How to pick a winner

Want to pick a winner in the Grand National? According to, the ten most recent winners shared all of the following characteristics:
— Between 9 and 12 years old
— Handicap rating of over 135
— Weight of 11 stone 6lb or under
— Have won a race longer than 3 miles
— Have run at least 10 chases
— Have won a chase worth at least £13,000

Forced to vote?

The think tank IPPR proposed that first-time voters should be compelled to vote. Does compulsory voting really make people turn out? Here are some turnout figures from recent national elections:

Compulsory voting countries
Australia 93%
Belgium 89%
Argentina 79%
Brazil 79%
Turkey 74%


Non-compulsory voting countries
France 80%
Italy 75%
Germany 72%
US 68%
UK 66%

Overall, countries with compulsory voting have an average turnout of 72% and those without an average turnout of 65%.
Source: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

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