30 March 2007

Phoney consultation: stupid questions

One way to identify whether a question in a consultation exercise is designed to elicit your genuine views (i.e. your views before manipulation by the "consultation"), rather than being designed to elicit your agreement to the preferred outcome, is to consider how stupid it feels giving the opposite answer to the one which appears to be expected. (Of course, if the questions are designed properly, you shouldn't get any feeling of what is expected.)

Here are three questions from the enforcement section of the Green Paper on 16-18 compulsion:

Do you agree that there should be a system of enforcement attached to any new requirement to participate, used only as a last resort?

— "No, I think we should have compulsion but without any enforcement."

Is it right that the primary responsibility for attending at age 16 and 17 should rest with young people themselves?

— "No, I think they should take no responsibility at all."

Do you agree that if a parent of a young person is helping them to break the law, it should be possible to hold them accountable as well?

— "No, I think it's perfectly okay for parents to help children break the law."

If you do decide to express your views on the Green Paper online, I suggest you put "no response" to questions like this and express your disapproval of the inbuilt bias in the comments box. (I sincerely hope Ipsos MORI weren't responsible for these ludicrous questions. Mr Page?)

3 comments:

Surreptitious Evil said...

I found questions 13 (other "incentives") & 19 (parental offences) particularly disturbing.

I wonder how much of a ECHR case could be put up by a youngster denied their driving licence because they were only doing 279 hours per year of work-place training?

Also wondering in what part of DFES / Nu-Lab wonk land "helping them to break to (sic) law" is not already illegal (I am sure there are some specific exceptions, just as there are some laws that are not enforced with much enthusiasm.)

Just to ensure that my contribution was completely ignored, I did suggest (to Q8) that they bin the school leaving age completely and allow people to go as soon as they achieve any Level 2 qualification.

Oh well.

S-E

Fabian Tassano said...

Sadly the ECHR probably doesn't help (what a surprise):

Article 5
"Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases ...
... the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision."

Even if it did, they would probably find some way round it. I don't have much confidence in international agreements protecting liberty except in politically correct cases.

Well done for spotting the howler. Compulsory training courses for government employees on basic history, English, legal principles, etc - now that I could support. (Only kidding.)

Paul said...

"Even if it did, they would probably find some way round it. I don't have much confidence in international agreements protecting liberty except in politically correct cases."

Quite. It always seems puzzling that an infatuation with human rights (for approved "victim" groups) goes hand in hand with a contempt for civil liberties (of the wider populace).

"Well done for spotting the howler. Compulsory training courses for government employees ---"

Your wish is their command.

A series of primary school guides? Evidently Plain Words is no longer deemed "accessible" enough. That faint noise is the sound of Gowers turning in his grave.