March 19th, 2007

X Per Cent Of The British Public....

So this is how they compile those surveys that governments and corporations use and newspapers love to write about.

Roy rang me up.  I couldn't place the accent, but I'd guess at him being Chinese. The conversation covered a whole range of topics- from the British economy to donuts.

The donut bit was easy. I haven't eaten a donut in years. I told Roy so. This didn't stop him asking me a whole list of questions about donut brands. To make it more interesting for the both of us I tried to vary my inflection every time I said "no".

The toughest section was the one about smacking.  Basically I disapprove of kids being smacked. I disapprove strongly. But, then again, my opinions are nuanced. I think a chain store must have commissioned this part of the survey because we wound up contemplating an existential dilemma where two high street stores sit side by side- one with a non-smacking policy and one without- and I have to choose which to patronise. Unfortunately the third option- "But, Roy, that's just silly..." wasn't available.

And then we moved onto politics. Look, I'm financially illiterate. Ask me about the economy and I glaze over.

"Gordon Brown has been good for British business. Do you agree strongly, agree slightly, disagree slightly, disagree strongly?"

"How should I know?"

"But do you agree slightly or disagree slightly?"

"Somewhere in the middle."

He gently but firmly repeats the question.

"Alright," (Let's give the poor sod the benefit of the doubt) "I agree slightly."

So if you hear on the news that X per cent of the British public approves Gordon Brown's handling of the economy  please be aware that the interviewees weren't allowed  the option of  giving  a Gallic shrug and saying, "Pouf"!