National Left - Wales needs a progressive left future.
Sunday, 8 February 2015
Lord Foulkes Scottish Polls are bad for us ban them.
On 2 February 2012, Labour Lord , George Foulkes tabled a motion at the House of Lords calling for the independence referendum to contain no extra question on increased devolution, and proposing a separate referendum be held on the subject in the event independence is rejected and Scotland stays in the UK. We may wel wonder with the SNP set to annihilate Labour next May if he's not glad there is no cal for a second referendum I s solution to the SNP rising high in the polls seems to. Well ban the polls.
He has accused polling companies of becoming "corrupted" by money from newspapers who want to influence the outcome of the general election in May. Accordung to the Huffington Post
Lord Foulkes, who was a Labour MP from 1979 until 2005, said polls were increasingly "being manipulated at the behest of people with money, whether they be the media or individuals, as part of the political process". He has also called for there to be a ban on the publication of opinion polls in the weeks leading up to election day.
One of Britain's leading pollsters has dismissed Foulkes' criticism of the industry as "frankly offensive" and said the idea of banning polls in the run-up to polling day was "bad for democracy". On Wednesday Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft published a constituency survey of sixteen seats in Scotland. It suggested Labour will be annihilated in Scotland come May - with the SNP on course to snatch all but one of the seats examined. If the result is repeated on election day, Labour's shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and Lib Deb chief secretary to the Treasury would both be kicked out of parliament. As election day draws closer, the number of polls commissioned by newspapers and other groups is likely to substantially increase.
Foulkes, who has also served as a MSP the Scottish parliament, told The Huffington Post, in the wake of the polls:
"What is clear now is the media in particular, but others as well, are demanding instant polling, determining when it should be done and how it should be done. The the academic rigour that ought to be carried out isn't being carried out."
He said polling firms were "making millions" and accused the companies of failing to employ the "academic rigour" that they used to. "The whole thing did seem to me to be effectively corrupted," Foulkes said of polling firms methodology. And he accused Lord Ashcroft of deliberately conducting polling in Scottish seats that had a high 'Yes' vote in the recent independence referendum, in an attempt to create an anti-Labour narrative. "He [Ashcroft] chooses the ones that will be worse for the Labour Party. I'm not against constituency polling," Foulkes said. "But they are being carried out at the whim of one man, instead of choosing a sample of constituencies around Scotland and doing them properly in each constituency. He can determine the methodology of the poll and choose the constituencies that he thinks will help the bandwagon [against Labour]."
Yes Ashcroft deliberately conducting polling in Scottish seats that had a high 'Yes' vote in the recent independence referendum,But he was open about it and it was of interest to us because these were mostly solid Labour areas like Glasgow and it was designed to answer the question are these still backing Independence and the SNP. If the answer was no Foulkes would be crowing about it but because he didn't see thhe answer he wanted he cries foul. Now he may have a point however when he claimed said newspapers use polls to re-enforce its own agenda an "create a bandwagon" rather than provide an independent snapshot of what voters were thinking. Anti-Labour newspapers, he said, like to run "a whole series articles about Ed Miliband and how awful he is" and "how he can't eat a bacon sandwich properly".
"Having done that from Monday to Thursday they ask their polling organisation on Friday to carry out a poll which will then show that all the propaganda has had some effect. That re-enforces the view that Ed Miliband is unfit be prime minister, then they have another week of doing it again." Foulkes said as election day drew closer, polls were "more able to be used as a tool to influence the way people are voting". "It could be to build up a bandwagon or it could be in some cases to try and get people to switch if is very close, in other words to enable them to make a decision about tactical voting rather than which party they genuinely want to support."
If this had come from a neutral commentator it may well have some merit .But lets be clear Foulkes main concern is the rise of the SNP in Scotland a party that has hardly media backing . We should be concerned how the Opinion Polls can be manipulated but for Foulkes to call foul is hypercritical.