Yesterday’s Yougov poll on the possibility of bringing Iceland’s proposed ban on male genital mutilation to the UK has caused quite a stir online. The results shows 62% of those surveyed supported such a ban, with 15% opposed to he idea of boys enjoying bodily integrity. Due to the popularity of the poll, we decided to go though the full results of the survey to see what further patterns can be found and what more we can learn about attitudes to this massively important human rights issue.
An analysis of how supporters of different parties viewed the issue showed some stark differences and also some uniformity. There was actually very little difference between Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem voters, with all averaging 62-63% support for a ban and 12-13% opposition. Perhaps the most interesting difference was Lib Dems tending to sit on the fence slightly more, for example 10% “tended” to oppose a ban rather than being strongly against. All three of these parties had large numbers of “don’t know respondents” at an identical 25% each.
The key political differences were found in UKIP and SNP voters. The former had an impressive 71% support for a ban on MGM, and the SNP was better still, at an incredible 82%. Just 6% of SNP voters opposed the idea of a ban, so it’s incredibly baffling than the SNP government supports far more taxpayer funded MGM than anywhere else in the UK where it is almost non-existent (an exception being Birmingham).
Given the above, it almost goes without saying that Scotland was the place with the highest support for the genital integrity of boys, with 67% support. Wales and the Midlands was second with 64%. The worst location was London with a mere 57% support for a ban and 18% in favour of genital mutilation (and worryingly half of those were strongly in favour).
Again, the breakdown by age had some important results. The worst age groups on this topic were those aged 65+ and 18-24, both only having 29% in favour of protecting boys and 17% against. People aged 25-49 and 50-64 lead support for a ban, with 25-49 year olds coming out on top due to being particularly unlikely to oppose the measure (10%).
Essentially there was no difference in the views of men and women on the issue of MGM. There was just a 1% difference of women being more likely to support a ban, though this is of course within the margin of error.
There was a small class difference, both 62% of ABC1’s and C2DE supporter the ban, though the latter did so more strongly. 14% of ABC1’s oppose protecting boys compared to 12% of C2De’s.
There are a number of important conclusions that can be drawn from the above. he huge amount of support for a ban is clearly very encouraging, but there are also quite a large number of undecided who perhaps haven’t really considered the issue fully and still haven’t uncovered the facts about this vile abuse of babies and young children.
The encouraging stance of both UKIP and SNP voters is of note, and it would be interesting to ask politicians from those parties their views and to inform them of the position of the overwhelming majority of their supporters.
Above all else, the results show just how out of touch the political class is with the rest of the population. It’s rare to see such support combined with so little opposition on almost any topic, it semem to be an issue which unites people of all parties. Therefore it’s a disgrace that not only are our politicians failing to protect boys, just as most people want.
We carried ut some searches in Hansard on the topic and aren’t aware of any Early Day Motions on MGM, no debates, nor even any real discussion in Parliament. Ever! We found one passing reference to the issue by the superb Philip Davies MP during his International Men’s Day debate and he later went as far as asking a question to the Health Secretary on the risks/benefits of male circumcision (the rely was that they hadn’t investigated it).
Iceland manages to have people from every party come together and agree that they want to give boys the same basic human rights as girls, whereas we have 650 MPs and only one of them even recognises the issue. If even the BBC can bring themselves to discuss male genital mutilation (sometimes even as a result of our tweets!) than there must be more politicians able to do so. Voters want boys to be protected from abuse, and not only are politicians failing to do so, they are even debating the topic or recognising it as an issue.
Our thanks to Yougov for conducting such an important poll.