Slightly following on from last night’s post, I’ve been getting emails from the Conservative party recently. Here’s one. It starts:
We want to hear your views on the economy, the next election and what matters most to you and your family.
Please do take this opportunity to tell us what you think about the big issues facing our country by taking our quick survey today.
The results will help the Party as we prepare for next year’s crucial election campaign.
So please fill in our survey today:
WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU?
We want to hear which issues you think are most important for your family and for Britain. Please answer the questions below and press ‘SUBMIT’.
1. Which of the following issues are most important for you and your family? (Please select a maximum of THREE responses)
|〉 The level of taxes|
|〉 Opportunities for the next generation|
|〉 The NHS|
|〉 The environment & climate change|
|〉 The EU|
|〉 Crime & anti-social behaviour|
|〉 Tax credits & benefits to support working families|
|〉 The cost of living|
|〉 Care & support for the elderly|
|〉 Britain’s deficit & debt|
|〉 Affordable housing|
|〉 University and tuition fees|
|〉 Welfare (making work pay)|
I won’t reproduce the whole thing, but it’s check-boxes all the way, except for one text window where you can give the name of another political party you might vote for.
And none of the questions were about the smoking ban, of course.
Basically, after saying they want to ‘hear’ my views and give me an opportunity to ‘tell’ them, they offer no way whatsoever of doing so. I am just presented with a list of pre-determined issues which might be ‘important’ to me.
Actually, ‘climate change’ is quite important to me, but not in the way they might imagine. It’s not so much that I worry about it, as that I’m sick to death of hearing about it.
This sort of survey casts a net with such a wide mesh that it will only catch the standard big issues. It won’t catch angry smokers like me, or anyone who is concerned about anything that is in the least bit out of the ordinary or off the radar. They all get airbrushed out. They cease to exist.
But no doubt the machine that processes this survey will in due course spew out reams of ‘evidence-based’ charts and tables and graphs for Conservative boffins to chew over, and to use to map out new policies, set new goals. And all done using the latest cutting-edge computers and statistical packages and laser printers.
But the resulting map of the political world they get will be about as much use as a map of the world which only showed the largest continents, with anything smaller than Greenland left off it, and the continents only shown as blobs. Hardly any use at all at plotting a course anywhere, never mind preparing for next year’s crucial election.
Which I predict the Conservatives will lose. They’re far too out of touch.
But I thought that one way to try to get to them might be to use the little text window to enter the name of another political party I might vote for. Such as the Smokers Liberation Front (or maybe that should be the Smokers and Vapers Liberation Front). Or the Cigar, Cigarette, and Pipe Smokers All-Nite Party. The machine that processes the ‘data’ they get from their survey probably records the name somewhere, and automatically generates a list of the the most favoured parties. It’d be quite fun if enough people were to return the completed form, with the ‘Smokers and Vapers Liberation Front’ entered as 100% certain to get their vote. It might even end up topping their little political hit parade.
So my completed-as-suggested survey has been sent off. And yes, I did tick the climate change box. And they replied!
THANK YOU. KNOWING YOUR VIEWS IS VITAL TO OUR CAMPAIGN.