Pollsters called me this morning. Reputable ones (for what that’s worth): Ipsos Mori. Just in case it’s feeding into anything that matters, I agreed to answer their questions.
She started by asking about walking: have I walked anywhere for at least five minutes in the past four weeks? Good grief, how can you possibly not do that, unless you’re stuck in a wheelchair! Thirty minutes? Yes, of course. How often? Every day! For the first time, a question where a different answer is at least thinkable.
Then she moved on to cycling (yes I do, though not every day). Leisure or utility? Well, tends to be leisure these days, since I work from home and shop on foot. Any other sporting activities? Yes, swimming. Where? Our local rivers.
Do I take part in any organised events – no. Have I had or given any tuition – no. Am I satisfied with facilities in my local area? Hmmm, how can I not be satisfied when I have no expectations of them? I choose to live in an area with open moorland, big hills and nice rivers precisely because it has those things! Yeah OK I’m satisfied (with reservations about how that answer might be spun if Vested Interests are involved).
Further questions about cultural interests: have I visited a museum, gallery or exhibition in the past year (well, er, yes, a year is a long time to go without). A library? Probably not: I use the ‘net these days. Theatre, Concerts, performance events? Yes, well, I sing every week, and enjoy other people’s performances.
Finally some demographic questions about me, and she revealed this was a survey commissioned by Sport England. OK, there’s the vested interest: someone wants to justify their own existence and jobs. Dammit, no matter what the results, they’ll spin it: “all those people love sports, give us lots of money”, or “we need lots of money to get all those couch potatoes up and doing something”. Hmmm …
A quick google reveals the survey is here, and is a big, multi-year event. This Sport England isn’t someone reacting to the prospect of austerity: they’ve been engaged in self-justification since at least 2006, as revealed in their pages about it.
This quango sounds like a very good target for a 100% cut.