Your correspondents’ concerns over surveys (and abuse of Sussex dialect) is justified (1/8/14). Politicians concede we citizens are not fit to vote... except at general elections when (even under AV) a majority will vote tactically to keep the others out endorsing, by default, petulant coalition policies no one voted for!
Unstructured surveys are generally engineered to validate an objective through loaded questions forcing a positive or negative response. Open ended questions encourage debate (anathema to politicians and pressure groups) while the more honest “Don’t know/other” is safely disregarded. From these forced responses come the dodgy statistics which politicians and pressure groups distort to reinforce their agenda! Take a local village survey that asked ‘how urgently should a 30mph speed limit be imposed’? The response was academic as the (redundant) pivotal question: ‘is a 30mph speed limit actually necessary’ was never asked as the outgoing government had decreed 30mph limits will be imposed on villages, regardless of actual need. That loaded question obligingly reinforced a supposed ‘urgency’!
Likewise ‘Neighbourhood Plans and Localism’. Unwilling to control immigration and population growth (both yield tax revenues) the government has decreed AONB neighbourhoods will take, say, 5,000 new Clegg Garden City homes. You will democratically consent to where these go and your elected council will obligingly apply government policies which your elected MP has voted for, on your behalf! And that, dear friends, is how government policies (many at the behest of the supranational EU - the experts in underhand ‘Divide and Rule’ subjugation) are enforced through politicians toeing the party line, regardless of constituents’ wishes!
Thus we suffer 5 years of stymied coalition government which by default builds by-passes, HS2/3, extra wind farms (to compensate for the luck-lustre windless performance of the present) and thousands of new homes for ‘furriners’ where you have ‘consented’.
The solution is to elect Independent councillors/MPs (or UKIP) who will introduce meaningful local referenda, as in Switzerland.
Barry M Jones, Bixley Lane, Beckley.