Miscellany

Catholics and lipstick

A letter in 'The Guardian' from P. Gorman notes that in 1996-7 "while 11% of people in England and Wales are Roman Catholic, 17% of those in prison are". Gorman's mother, Kathleen Lonsdale, spent a month in Holloway prison in 1943. She was a Quaker and had refused to pay a fine for not registering for firewatching. On arrival a friendly inmate whispered that it was best to register as a Roman Catholic. Catholics were issued bibles with red covers, which, if wetted, could produce a passable substitute for lipstick. Protestants were given blue-covered bibles. Lonsdale used this anecdote to illustrate the pitfalls of interpreting statistics.

N. Dawson, with assistance from A. Mackay and the BCA Newsletter