Chris Swowdon, in his book ‘Killjoys’ uses the phrase ‘a private matter’ around page 80). I wonder if Chris is a fan of Columbo? ‘Columbo’ is an American detective series in which we see crimes being committed at the start, and we then see our intrepid detective, Mr Columbo, finding out who the criminal was and how he did the dire deed. In one episode, he quizes a woman (played by the delectable Faye Dunaway) about her activities and the people that she knows, but when Columbo asks her if a guy she was familiar with proposed marriage, she drew a line. She said she would cooperate, but such things were A PRIVATE MATTER.

The question about what are PRIVATE MATTERS has arisen very seriously in recent years. Are surveys about what you eat, what alcoholic beverages you drink, when, where, and to what extent, and your smoking habits, PRIVATE MATTERS which should remain private?

What is the problem here? I suppose that it is the fact that people are stupid enough to respond to surveys. But that answer is not good enough. I have recently used Jet 2 for a holiday. When I got back, I received an email survey asking me for my opinion about the trip. I could have ignored it, and probably would have, had it not been for a major incident at Manchester Airport. Very briefly, the flight board said ‘Go to Gate 3’. There was an Easyjet aircraft at Gate 3 and not a Jet 2. Retracing my steps, the board still said ‘Go to Gate 3’. Back again, and, this time there was a Jet 2 aircraft at Gate 3. Only when I got to the desk did I discover that that flight was to Vienna.

What could possibly have gone wrong? How could I have been so stupid? It turned out that I had not been stupid. The aircraft which should have been at Gate 3 had been grounded due to hydraulics problems and a different aircraft was on its way to Manchester.

The question in my mind is: “Why did not Jet 2’s survey ask me about the problems associated with the delay in flight LS831?”

Had it not been for the survey being available immediately after my return (“Tell us about your experience”), I would have complained anyway. Not about the delay, but about the lack of information and Jet 2 staff.

I am sure that readers would have been just as horrified at the turn of events as I was.

It is a common phenomenon that surveys are NOT intended to produce adverse results. They are intended to produce positive results. Thus, if you stay in a 3 star hotel, complaining that the service is not 5 star is a non-starter. It may be that one person in a thousand might complain about some isolated event, beyond the control of Jet 2.
All that Jet 2 could do was report that event to the provider of the service.

But that survey was at least pointed. It is surveys, such as those conducted by ASH ET AL, which are the problem. “70% of smokers want to quit” is the sort of thing that I mean. It is almost certain that ONLY smokers who want to quit would enjoy a guilt trip saying how much they hate themselves.

Some time ago, I was a member of the YouGov panel. I suppose that I was enticed by the phrase ‘YouGov’. The fact is that ‘YouGov’ has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘YOU’. It is entirely a tool for THEM’ to use.

But there are serious matters involved here. If surveys are to do with behaviour, it must be recognised that such behaviours are PRIVATE MATTERS. My eating habits are PRIVATE, my sexual habits are PRIVATE, my smoking habits are PRIVATE, my drinking habits are PRIVATE. That is because I have autonomy in myself. No one can deny me my autonomy, or indeed, my anonymity – MY PRIVACY.

But if a person moves into THE PUBLIC SECTOR, such as being a politician, then he relinquishes a portion if his right to PRIVACY. He does so voluntarily. If he has some sort of criminal history, then he must be open about it. I was arrested once because I was stopped when driving and the policeman did not accept that the breath test was negative. I had to endure a stay in the police station for some 20 minutes until I could be tested again. Again, the test was negative. But the question arises as to whether or not I was over the limit at the time that I was driving. I may have been later, but not at the time.

I should imagine that ASH ET AL have stopped their surveys. They have got what they want. Why have any more surveys?

So what is the point of throwing taxpayers’ money at ASH ET AL? Weird though the Oz Gov might be, at least it has defunded ASH OZ. I guess that it was a question of who gets the available money, and the pendulum swung to the Academics.

But all these Academics rely upon information which, somehow, appears from the ether. There is absolutely NOTHING to speak of which is real. Did Doll actually investigate the specific circumstances of doctors who developed lung cancer? He did not. Nor did he do so in the Hospital Study as regards LC patients around London.

But what is important is that people such as Doll invaded the PRIVACY of individuals. It is so easy to do. Would his victims have been allowed to invade Doll’s privacy? Would they have been allowed to ask him about his sexual proclivities?

My response to the nurse about smoking, ‘Let’s not go there’, is the absolutely minimal response. My response could easily have been violent. It is a weird thing that I love the nurses and hate them at the same time.

We have been inundated by a plenitude of new laws. There are so many laws that no one knows what they can do. Dare I dig a hole in my garden? I am not sure that such an action is legal.

It is all about the abolition of PRIVACY. I suppose that Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany was much the same.




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