The Spectator

Barometer | 18 June 2015

Plus: The worst place to spend Ramadan, Brummie call centres and American ethnicities

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Dropping the Clangers

The Clangers made a comeback on BBC television. Some Clanger facts:

— The actors doing the voices worked from a script in English, even though they were playing seemingly unintelligible noises on the swanee whistle. It was a good job the young viewers didn’t understand Clanger-language, because the creatures were known to tell each other to ‘sod off’.

— The last Clanger episode, made after a gap of two years, was made specially to be broadcast on the evening of 10 October 1974, polling day in the second general election of that year. It consisted of the Clangers being taught how to play party politics, but rejecting the concept. It was written by co-creator Oliver Postgate after he become angry about the miners’ strike.

— The Clanger election was won by the candidate on the right, the Soup Dragon.

Fast times

Muslims were divided over whether to observe the requirement to fast for the whole period between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan when, as this year, the festival begins at the summer solstice. How long would a strict fast last this weekend?


16 hr 38 min


17 hr 1 min


17 hr 36 min

Lerwick, Shetlands

18 hr 55 min

Narvik, northern Norway

4 weeks*

*Sun will set on 21 July, two days after Eid al-Fitr.Source: ON

True calling

A psychologist at the University of South Wales claimed that Britons consider Brummie accents less intelligent. Does this affect where companies put call centres?


More than 6%: North West, North East, Scotland

5-6%: Yorkshire and Humber

3-4%: Wales, West Midlands, South East, East Midlands, Northern Ireland

2-3%: South West, Eastern England

Less than 2%: London

Source: ContactBabel

Race card

Campaigner Rachel Dolezal resigned from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after her parents said she faked being mixed race. How do Americans define their ethnicities?

White, non-Hispanic








Mixed race


Native American


Source: US Census Bureau