DIARY: Multiple entries and rapid withdrawal: it's only Swedish polling

William Hague isn't the only one who ignores opinion polls when

they don't tell him what he wants to hear. The Swedish government does

the same.

The Scandinavian sobersides, who have banged on interminably about

banning TV advertising to Europe's kids, thought they might accumulate

extra ammo before a recent EU ministerial meeting on the subject by

holding an e-mail opinion poll on the Swedish presidency website.

Doubtless they were anticipating a landslide victory on the question:

Should TV advertising to children be banned? To the thunderous sound of

backfiring, the poll was suddenly and inexplicably withdrawn from the

site when 59 per cent of the 1,200 respondents said, er, no.

So was the poll a victim of the old Irish political maxim about voting

early and often? Campaign turned to Lionel Stanbrook, the Advertising

Association's former deputy director-general, to help with its


"Did I nobble the poll? No. But I'd be a wanker if I said yes," he

replied, before adding suspiciously that he eagerly awaits any Swedish

attempt to repeat the tactic. "If it's on alcohol advertising we'll

swamp 'em."