Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 15 August 2006

Conservatives do voter research in Scotland

I had a letter today from David Cameron, Leader of the Conservaitve Party. I think, from the the way it is addressed, that it is being sent to all voters in my constituency and possibly to all voters in Scotland, or perhaps only those in selected constituencies (the line of small print immediately following my address appears to be taken directly from the references on voter rolls).

I haven't yet responded to the questionnaire, but plan to do so in the next couple of days, although I shall probably accompany it with a short explanatory letter - I fully realise that the questionnaire is probably designed to be machine-scanned so that a large volume of responses may be processed rapidly, but I hate this kind of tick-box questionnaire, specially where the options provided for are designed to focus one into responses of the compiler's choosing. I did at one time design questionnaires and always prided myself that they were both readily susceptible of analysis, but permitted respondents to give full expression to their viewpoints by providing adequate space for brief verbal responses and 'open' options with narrative boxes to give more flexibility in responses. They were actually designed to elicit valuable information from respondents from a wide range of cultural, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds and were therefore designed to be as transparent, from a cultural perspective, as we could make them - the development of that part of the business (banking support) hinged on their practicality and the integrity of the data collected.

Having said all this, I applaud the fact that an effort is at least being made to find out what people really think about some of the issues that Mr Cameron seems to be pushing to the forefront. At the same time I do not plan to be 'forced' into providing one of a few pre-programmed responses in order simply to validate a pre-planned agenda. An exercise in consultation must, to have credibility, employ rather more subtle tactics in my opinion. See what you think:

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