Banning Opinion Polls


Sir, - Cormac F. Gaynor (July 24th), purports to attack another letter-writer, A. Leavy (July 20th) for allegedly supporting my argument that there is a valid case for a total ban on opinion polls. He states: "This statement is made on the basis that 'opinion polls are powerful tools in the formulation and manipulation of public opinion'. " In this way he manages to suggest that he has summarised my argument for restricting or banning opinion polls.

The words he quotes are not mine, nor do they summarise my argument.

Having sunk his foundations, Mr Gaynor then resorts to the traditional refuge of pre-pubescent students who find themselves out of their depth in debates: a comparison with Adolf Hitler. Having suggested that I oppose opinion polls because they are "opinion formers", he goes on: "So too are newspapers, books, radio broadcasts. TV programmes etc. I seem to remember a chap in another country who tried to stifle such 'opinion formers', when he came to power in 1933."

I have just two things to say about this: One, I could begin a long list of "opinion formers" as follows: guns, bullets, grenades, napalm, pitchforks, leather straps, money in brown envelopes, thumbscrews, money in white envelopes, election posters in polling booths and subliminal advertising (all of which are subject to restriction in this society.) And two, perhaps there is a case for a total ban on letters which fatuously compare other people to Adolf Hitler. - Yours, etc.,

John Waters, Dalkey, Co Dublin.