The underlying difference between Catholics and Protestants is economic…

Given nothing much is happening up at Stormont, its hard to define real political difference between the DUP and Sinn Fein… But here, the European Central Bank (PDF here) can fill in the void with a reading from two Swiss Cantons, Vaud a French speaking Protestant state in the east and Freibourg, the French speaking Catholic enclave next door…

A new study by the European Central Bank has also found that Catholics are more likely to favour sharing wealth and to support government intervention in the economy than are Protestants.

Based on data from Swiss cantons of Fribourg (Catholic) and Vaud (Protestant), the study found support for early 20th century German sociologist Max Weber’s theories about the Protestant work ethic.

Although, after a cursory look both Cantons seem to vote centre right in the main… Perhaps there’s not such a difference politically, so much as a predilection for certain policy choices?

In Northern Ireland, where Northern and Southern Europe religious (or if you prefer, post religous) cultures collide, is it any wonder we cannot agree on a coherent, fair and high achieving education system? At least there’s a border between Fribourg and Vaud…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty