As part of learning how to use CartoDB and to generally practice with using data to produce content, I decided it would be interesting to map all of the terror attacks that have happened on British soil over the last few decades. Naively assuming there would be an easily accessible list detailing that kind of thing I thought it would be a quick project producing a useful map. Unfortunately for me, there is no definitive list.
Using this Wikipedia article as a starting point, I went on to try and compile my own list of every successful terrorist attack on British soil since 1971 when the IRA begun targeting beyond Northern Ireland seriously. Unsurprisingly, this was a bit of a slog of going through old news (thank god for the BBC and others uploading ancient articles to the internet) and more recent pieces looking back at past events, usually on the websites of local newspapers.
Finally, I got together 116 separate incidents including target, perpetrator, cause, number of injured and deaths, plus an as exact location as I could figure. The locations are generally very precise, although a few are very generally thanks to a lack of information.
It's important to note what I used for my definitions of 'successful' and 'terrorist'. It's likely that to others my list contains errors or there are omissions, but here's how I came to create my list.
A successful attack - solely for the purpose of the map - is one that injured at least one person. I have included two exceptions to this as I deemed them as significant enough to include. They are the attempted assassination of Robert Carr by The Angry Brigade and the October 1971 bombing of the Post Office Tower.
When it came to deciding what was and wasn't a terrorist attack, it's likely I've used a definition that will be controversial to some. This is because it led to me excluding some IRA bombings. All in all, the UK was at war with the IRA and so, based on the Geneva Convention's definition of legitimate military targets, when the British Army has been the sole target I have often not included these attacks in the list. Again, there have been exceptions, such as the 1974 bombing of a British Army coach as the explosion happened on a public motorway.
Here is the map. I hope you find it interesting.
It won't come as a shock to many that London took the brunt of the attacks, but the rest of the country saw its fair share of violence and horror too. The vast majority of the attacks were carried out by the IRA in its various forms and were responsible for a huge amount of injuries. Despite this, one event killed more in a single day than the Irish Republicans managed in decades: the Lockerbie Bombing (categorised as 'disputed' as perpetrator and cause is contested).
The dataset I put together can be found here. The information is correct as far as I can tell. Various sources have given different tolls so I've generally used my own judgement on which figure to use. Saying this, the conflicting reports have usually only had minor differences.
There are likely attacks that I have missed out and I'd be happy to hear about them. Please let me know if there's something you think should be included.
The election is behind us and five years of Tory rule is before us. No wonder then that Brighton residents proudly shared around the following image. They talked as though the city was the last stronghold battling against the wave of Conservative victory, like we're Dorne, defiantly spitting at the Lannisters up in King's Landing.
It’s a pretty striking image and illustrates how the Tories are now dominating the south since May. If it wasn’t for London, the nearest non-Tory constituency to Brighton Pavilion and Hove would be 55 miles away in Southampton. Again aside from London, the first contiguous non-Conservative seats you’ll find are either in Luton or Bristol.
This has lead to the People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove Facebook page gaining 15k likes so far. With coverage in the local and national papers, Brighton and Hove residents have been proudly proclaiming their victory against the Tory onslaught. The thing is, what that picture above doesn’t show is that the city is not as left-wing as it seems.
The above map’s layers show two things. The first layer shows which parties succeeded in each ward, while the second shows the percentage share the Tories and UKIP gained again in each ward. Suddenly the image of Brighton being the last bastion of left-wing southerners isn’t so clear.
We can see that the Conservatives actually won more wards outright than the Greens or Labour did. They also managed to get a councillor elected in two wards where a Labour councillor was also chosen. Overall, the Tories came second in the council elections and have done so every time since 1993 – except in 2007 when they won.
The second layer on the map gives a good indication of right-wing support in the city. I’ve combined the percentage share that UKIP and the Tories received and it doesn’t look good outside of the city centre. In the eastern and western wards, the right had a pretty good showing with six wards showing 50% or higher. It’s worth remembering Hove only got a Labour MP by by 1,236 votes.
In the end, the Tories took away 30% of the vote across the city in the council elections and that’s pretty substantial. What we have is, rather than some concentration of left-wing resistance, a fragmented city with a significant amount of the population placing their support in right-wing parties.
So to those looking at the blue-filled boundaries beyond us with sympathy or smugness, be careful. We’re not that far off from joining them.