Thursday, July 31, 2008

Truly terrible - awful!

Is this the most corrupt man in modern politics?! Well, no. It really is a little nothing of a story involving an online poll being manipulated to create a favourable impression for the Tories (presumably among the staggeringly vast readership of the Western Morning News). But fair's fair - it was a rather dumb thing to do. But only because of the *serious* interpretation that could be placed on it. I remember rushing off to vote on an Australian online poll about the last rugby world cup (I think to vote for Jonny as the greatest ever player) - I don't remember thinking I was involved in a plot to defraud the public.
However, if it is thought that manipulating an online poll in a local paper is a deeply heinous offence, then to send out such an email was pretty damned silly. But I do take issue with something that Tim says:
Note also under comments that only Justin (here, over at Bob's) provides an example of someone other than the Tories doing anything like this. I've noticed many Tory bloggers and comment contributors making similar noises and playing this same game; they claim that the opposition is up to no good or guilty of equal/greater sins than the one they've just been caught at, but they never seem to come up with any evidence. Here, once more, I'll happily show them how it's done:
Right - well, apart from observing that Justin's piece at Chickyog is a long expose of a thousand and one manipulations of this type, this whole poll story rang a bell with me. It reminded me of a party desperate that their leader had favourable coverage whenever possible. It reminded me, in fact, of this.
The BBC closed the first round of polling for its annual Today Programme Personality of the Year award yesterday after discovering an "organised attempt" by staff at the Labour Party to distort voting in favour of Tony Blair.
Staff producing the short-list for the Radio 4 competition said they received an anonymous memo circulated to every member of staff in the party urging them to vote for Mr Blair. The note was sent by the Audience Participation Unit, a new unit encouraging members to write to newspapers and to attend political television shows, pushing the party line.
The examples that Tim gives of malefic Tories are the hapless Grant Shapps posing as a Lib Dem on a website, Iain Dale for, um, something to with ablative absolutes or something and a Tory in Guildford who voted 'no' twice on an online poll. Well, on that epic scale of irrelevance, I think that an attempt to mislead the *entire nation* on the *nation's most influential breakfast news programme* might rank a little more highly? I'm still of the opinion that the entire thing is amusing but utterly, utterly trivial.

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