I have recently instigated a couple of surveys, put together and carried out by an intensive group chaired by Henry (Fred) Houseago (93), a former diarist linked to several universities.
The first piece of work carried out by the Houseago group found that surveys were conducted by universities mainly in order to get them into the newspapers. This is now known as the Houseago Hypothesis.
The second ground-breaking research they trended revealed that any survey carried out by a research group ended up with results that members of the survey group wanted. This is similar to the recent finding that computer modelling always reflects the views of the people doing the modelling, whether they are virus experts or climate scientists – or indeed anything else.
This has been linked by Professor V A R Scheinlich of the University of Some of East Anglia to the Tolstoy algorithm, which can be summed up in fairly simple terms like this: “Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
But that’s by the way. Prof Houseago’s research and surveys have, he says, revealed further unnerving facts. The first is that public consultation is carried out as an elaborate cover to disguise the fact that the people carrying out the consultation will do whatever they want anyway. This is backed up by a statement in a local newspaper today that a key city centre street ban on traffic “is set to become permanent from December, with consultations happening next month (ie July)”. The words “foregone” and “conclusion” spring to mind, not to mention the words “arrogant” and “self-centred”.
Another, possibly linked, proposal is “virtually undeniable”, says Prof Houseago. It is that people only respond to surveys by giving the answers they think the surveyors want to hear. A good example of this is the announcement the other day that “more than half of teachers in England are in favour of teaching children to take direct action against climate change”. Very woke of them – how about taking action against black holes?
But I digress. Who are these teachers? Well actually there were only 626 of them. I think we should be told who they are, especially as over 50 per cent of them thought this direct action should extend to civil disobedience. I wonder how many teachers think that such a survey is too pathetic to be worth taking part in. Still, the Houseago Hypothesis explains its existence.
Meanwhile, nothing explains Extinction Rebellion. says Prof Houseago. “They know less about climate than the Rev Nick Repps-cum-Bastwick,” he said. “But they don’t like people. Especially me.”