The world-wide political agenda is peeing its pants in anticipation of agents of change.
Countries whose grasp on world influence keeps slipping like an exhausted abseiler, try hard to maintain a sense of optimism, not to mention their own importance.
But, oh dear, they simultaneously become less sure about their ability to profit from the voting decisions of others.
2012 is a key year of global polling. Here’s a list:
I love a list, don’t you?! This one’s compiled by Wikipedia. Many of these election hotspots are targets for combos of investment, diplomacy, and pre-military activity, most especially by the US, the UK, and the BRIC nations.
The world has also just marked the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day which was launched in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, who was at the time, the leader of the German Social Democratic Party’s Women’s Office. You can imagine the sense of expectation as word spread among the world’s women.
Electors romp to the polls like puppies, eagerly awaiting some doled-out treats that will take away their feelings of impotence and gloom.
Leaders anticipate that whatever the results, the people will continue to behave like docile doggies, accepting their lot, albeit with a certain amount of Grrrs and grumbles, in exchange for some shiny new distraction that the media can shape into polarizing headlines.
In the UK, the Con-Dems are still plugging their Happiness Index. In lieu of any proper debate, such dubious poll-setters as YouGov take temporary ownership of various inane pseudo-questions.
Here’s a recent example:
QUESTION: In general what products/ brands make you feel optimistic?
MY ANSWER: What a stupid question – anyone whose outlook on life depends on a product or brand of any kind does not understand either the nature of optimism or the relevance of capitalist structures and values to human growth and development. YouGov should be ashamed to frame a survey question in such a biased manner.
When I was asked many years ago to help frame the YouGov concept, it was allegedly founded to give voice to ordinary people about socio-political issues that affected them.
Both others and I had high expectations that the regular survey questions would help inform both media and Parliamentary discussions with a view to influencing policy without a lobbyist’s agenda.
The reality is that the surveys have become increasingly driven by thinly-disguised commercial justifications for product/brand claims. The questions have become more and more simplistic. And, perhaps most disturbing of all, there is no accountability.
No participant ever gets a reply if they question for whom any particular survey is carried out. The most informative intro to some surveys is that they are being carried out “for clients.” This means only those with enough money to buy a YouGov survey can have one. Although there was a case in the early days when a few of the founding members were allowed a free survey – that seems to have been abandoned.
I have sought replies for years about why, when questions solicit such info as your choice of daily or week-end newspaper, there is NEVER a left-of-centre option. No mention, for example, of The Morning Star, the country’s only avowedly Socialist daily national paper. Nor, to be fair, is there any truly far-right option either.
When asking brand questions about food, health and lifestyle products, there is NEVER an organic or fair-trade option. It’s only in the past year that any of the questions have acknowledged the online experience as relevant in people’s lives.
Some time ago YouGov launched in America, where brand and capitalist values are unchallengeable. More and more the YouGov agenda here in Britain is taking on an American tone. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed something similar in the inanities spouted by our politicians, as if they are all running for US office.
YouGov’s polling results continue to be quoted in the British media, including on such influential outlets as Radio 4’s Today Programme. It, too, never seems to reply to any query of the rigor of the questions, which is doubly shameful since the Today Programme’s chief anchor, John Humphries, was an early recruit of YouGov and still contributes his Blog. Well, I say blog – most blogs allow comment, but those neo-Stalinists at YouGov ain’t having that- no way, no siree!
YouGov has recently responded to, or perhaps pre-empted, any disquiet about its less-than-democratic practices by launching a people’s opinion option. This is a kind of FaceBook clone, which presents the con that by identifying your likes and dislikes in various spheres of life, you are actively helping to shape society.
Hey, I like strawberry jam, Beethoven, Pearl Jam, and Beethoven the movie. You too?! Well, wot about a condiment called Beethoven Jam, good for dogs and rockers. Great, let’s get that one going! Rock on, dude!
There are many examples of modern myths, including the one that promised social equality for women. How much longer are we not going to be concerned about the gender gap in pay, in the boardroom, in politics?
Once upon a time I joined a provincial women’s group, which I hoped was going to provide a forum for political, or at least, socio-cultural discussion.
As a child of the 1950s and a young adult shaping my own destiny in the promised land of the 1960s, I guess I expected that women my age might be interested in the wider world. Boy, was I disappointed!
The meetings were a kind of W.I. crossed with an unstructured series of guest lecturers, and whose idea of marking International Women’s Day was a group trip to a race course. My attempts at trying to introduce anything mentally stimulating or discussing alternatives to the status quo were met with a group look as though I’d just filled the room with farts. Which, in a metaphorical way, I guess I had.
The brave Occupiers around the world have proven there is an appetite for real debate, for discussing issues that might raise our expectations of what life’s about without getting muddled by myth.
We can’t all venture out, so I repeat my plea for an Online Occupation.
What are your concerns which merit a discussion of alternatives?
The editors of LPJ have said they are up for hosting such a Forum. Please don’t just allow the myopia of politicians and bankers and other wankers to consume you. You, at least, don’t have to be a disappointment. And I promise not to fart in your face!Tags: Global
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This post was written by outRageous!