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 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backfiring, the poll was suddenly and inexplicably withdrawn from the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