The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre will be feeling rather happy this morning, after delivering another piece to order that supposedly shows the strength of feeling about restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens coming to live and work in the UK being lifted at the end of this year. But, as so often, it is what is not told that is more revealing.
What's f***ing wrong with flash polls, c***?!?
“Enough is enough Mr Cameron: Mail poll reveals voters' deep concern over wave of new migrants” thunders the headline, with equivalently harsh sub-headings: “82% of respondents said no to a new influx from Bulgaria and Romania ... 85% think migration was putting huge pressure on schools and hospitals ... Only one in 20 think Brussels should be in charge of policies”.
Where does one begin? Quite apart from the usual frightener of “Brussels” telling us what to do – the EU is a club and decisions are made by all member states, including the UK – the Mail is misrepresenting its own poll, which did not use the word “huge”, and talked about “public services such as schools and hospitals”. And what kind of poll was it? Why is that left out of the article?
Ah well. As with so many Mail rants, it’s what they leave to the small print, or hide away behind links, that gives the game away. Click on the link at the end of the piece, and you see that the poll was not conducted via face-to-face interview, or by phone. It was an interactive one. Moreover, the survey, carried out by Harris Interactive, was a Flash Poll. What that?
As the use of the term “Interactive” suggests, this is a self-selecting type of poll. It is popular because it brings results at a fraction of the cost of interview or phone polls: the survey for the Mail would have come in at no more than £5,000. Then there are the clearly loaded questions, with wordings like “allowing nationals of those countries to work freely in Britain”. See, they’re getting something for free!
There are others: “Since 1997, immigration has added 2.5 million to the population. Has the public been adequately consulted about this change?” Yeah, we’ve only had three General Elections since then. And how about “Who should have the final say over who should be allowed into Britain?” which suggests many of the respondents can’t remember the last time they stood in one of those UK Border queues.
So we have a self-selecting poll, with questions that are framed in a way that would have them laughed out of court, and it yields the results that the Vagina Monologue requires in his attempts to frighten the crap out of Daily Mail readers. Nobody should be surprised. And, equally, no politician with a hole in his or her jacksy should have anything to do with this plainly fraudulent campaign.
You know what happens when policy gets made with one eye on the Daily Mail.