I’m a trusting kind of bloke on the whole. Many would call me naïve, but I’ve found that if you don’t have a suspicious frame of mind, you get on with people better. Of course you’ll be occasionally disappointed, betrayed and taken advantage of, and even made to feel foolish; but that’s the price you have to pay for friendship and a generally sunny disposition. I have chosen to be a naïf rather than a cynic. I like myself better that way.
But, yes, the betrayals can be hurtful. I learned of one today. For a few months I have been subscribing to an organization called ‘YouGov’, which samples public opinion on a variety of issues. Some of its surveys are political, albeit rather superficial; but these have been getting fewer and fewer as time has passed, to be replaced by questions on commercial and financial products, and TV programmes. A recent discussion on a Labour-supporting website has disclosed that many others of its subscribers have experienced the same trend. Some of them suspect that it’s because their early replies revealed them to be socialists. (Here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/790942501052475?view=permalink&id=1151390081674380&comment_id=1151439038336151¬if_t=group_comment_reply¬if_id=1493055905496721&ref=m_notif.) As a ‘trusting kind of bloke’ I don’t necessarily go along with that. But I was beginning to worry about YouGov’s commercial or marketing bias, which – I thought – must affect its political objectivity.
I had assumed, from its name, that it must be a governmental concern. That’s why I joined and trusted it. Maybe it was simply helping to finance itself by working for marketing companies as a sideline? Today, having checked – which of course I should have done much sooner – I find that this isn’t the case at all. Here is Wikipedia’s description of it:
‘YouGov is an international Internet-based market research firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. It has no known connection with the UK government despite the name. Stephan Shakespeare, the firm’s CEO as of 2017, once stood as a Conservative candidate for Colchester; he was also a Conservative Party pollster.’
Hence my present sense of betrayal. If it’s a private market research firm, it shouldn’t have a title with the word ‘Gov’ in it. That’s grossly misleading, and indeed immoral. Finding that it was set up by a Tory politician exacerbates the sin. Innocent of this, I provided a great deal of personal information to it, which it sought in order (it claimed) to sophisticate and perfect its sample. I now greatly regret that. I think the information was extracted from me duplicitously. I worry about the use that the Tories might make of it. And I’m angry to have been made a fool of by these bastards. I shall of course unsubscribe – with some choice words, and maybe a link to this post – the next time they get in touch.
But it still won’t make me a cynic. I won’t allow it to.