Pulling Together


How should I know?

I'm currently being nagged by my local water company to answer a survey about their visitor facilities at reservoirs. I have visited a couple of reservoirs in scenic spots once or twice each, but do not primarily regard them as a recreational space and am unlikely to visit very often in the future. If I do, it would only be to admire the view or walk along the bank.

I'm very happy to complete surveys about priorities which matter to me in the delivery of water to people’s houses, service reliability and cost or environmental impact where these are matters of opinion, but I really have no knowledge or opinion relating to café sizes or menus at the reservoirs. To me, these are just places to store water to improve resilience of supply, not tourist destinations.

My biggest problem with the survey is that, like most customer surveys these days, it makes too many assumptions about the subject’s interest, making questions compulsory even though they have no relevance to the person answering them. I might be asked which three services from a list I might like to receive, when I don't want any of them, or to choose a favourite when I have no preference. I might be asked what would increase the likelihood of me doing something I would never do, or to give an opinion about a technical matter on which I have no expertise.

Other surveys ask me whether I would recommend something to a friend. Well, no, because my friends and I have better things to talk about than recommending consumer products. How empty do they think my life is? Then there are the surveys designed to solicit the answers the company want to justify the decision they’ve already taken. Really? What do they think this achieves, other than alienating people?

We seem to have moved from a world of real information to one where everything is about appearances. It began in the Major days, was taken to a height by Blair, and has continued ever since, so that’s around 30 years now. 30 years of absolute drivel! That’s quite an achievement, if one stops to think about it.

Yesterday, things sank to a new low, however, when I finally received a court judgement. I won’t disclose what it was about, but it was broadly in my favour, so that should be good, which it would have been, had due process been followed. The problem was that along with the judgement I received a back-dated notice of the hearing purportedly issued to all parties two months ago. Needless to say, it was the first I saw of it. Moreover, my solicitor contacted the court one month ago to chase the matter and was told there was still no idea when the case could be heard, one month after they now claim to have issued notice of the hearing! I'm conflicted. The progress is in my interest, but the behaviour of the court seems contrary to the Public Interest. Should we not, in a free and fair society, expect the courts to tell the truth?

That’s one to ponder.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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