Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chalk and cheese

Malcolm has spent a couple of days reviewing camera specifications. For him this is the equivalent of crossing Africa, armed only with one of those antique maps notable for fanciful imaginings and Heere be Dragons warnings. Equipped with a magazine and numerous googlings, he began to come to a conclusion: a lot of this guff was badge engineering.

The proof positive was finding patently the same devices, in and, but with different model numbers and, it goes without saying, vastly different price-tags.

The 7% Solution

Tomorrow morning's Sunday papers will show a similar parallel vision. Murdoch's Shagging Record (OK: The News of the World) will show an opinion poll:
Labour 35%; Tories 28%; LibDems 13%, based upon a sample of 1008.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph has a poll:
Labour 40%; Tories 33%; LibDems 19%, based upon a sample of 1008.
Same pollsters; same sample; same gaps. If this were cheese, it would be over-ripe Gorgonzola or Pont l’Evêque, for such results are one of those coincidences that aren't.

Iain Dale, blogging for the class enemy, has the explanation: they are in fact the same poll:
Ian Kirby from the NOTW explains that it was a shared poll with the Sun Tel. He says: "In response to your query about different results, Paddy did a state of the parties question. We asked "which party do you feel warmest to?" (to gauge potential floating voters) and crossed it with how did you vote in the last election".
Well, why not say so in the first place? Any bets that both papers trumpet their "exclusives"?

Malcolm is left wondering if Times Newspapers and the Barclay Brothers (successors to the noble Conrad, Lord Black of Crosshaven) know they have bought regurgitated pap.


A cynic, but never someone as sanguine and benign as Malcolm, might imply there is an ulterior motive at work here. It's the "leading up the garden path" trick. Wouldn't an autumn election fill the columns and sell the papers? It couldn't possibly be such a thing, could it?

Chalking it up to experience

Years back, Malcolm remembers late-summer dining in the garden of a hôtel in Aix-les-Bains. He was irritated by two picky daughters hankering for English bangers and baked beans. Then came the cheese trolley. Malcolm's spoken French is ropey enough, and the second bottle of Savoie wine may not have helped. It was only when the stuff was on his plate, he appreciated the horror to come. A very over-ripe and caprine goat's cheese, and of a commendable size was sitting there.

Silence descended. No more bickering. Four gimlet eyes bored into him. He had to devour the last chalky oozing, and be seen to enjoy. By the same token, those who live by the opinion poll (politicos and journos alike) may be forced to swallow the damn things whole.

Now, if only the difference between a PZ-80 and a CR-82E, which masquerade behind identical photographs and descriptions, were as easily digested. Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites