Slugger ‘got’ by partisan Euro ‘pollster’…

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So what happened to Slugger’s great ‘scoop’ of last night? Well, first thing I tune into “What is says in the Papers” on Morning Ireland and… well, nothing… Then I go and look at the thread, and Dewi reports Mike Smithson at Political Betting (who’s parted with £100 on the strength of the same ‘tip off’ I got) is now suspicious its an elaborate hoax…

So I give the guy I spoke to at Gael Poll last night, Tom Prenderville, who points out to me that he never said it was going to be into today’s Sun… but stands over absolutely the fact that the paper ran with a similar poll last year… What I had was a press release sent out to all the major tabloid publications in Ireland and all the significant No campaigners… Most of them, it seems, had the good sense not to touch it with a barge-pole…So that strange methodology I mentioned last night (and which should have triggered my own good sense)… The researchers were friends of the organisers who in turn interviewed people in their social groups, paying some attention to the spread of social class… It is, in effect a huge straw poll of the friends of Gael Poll, a derivative project of a pretty extreme ultramontane Catholic magazine, The Hibernian. In other words, if it measures anything accurately it has to be of the attitude of social groups surrounding one extremely anti Lisbon group indeed.

That is not in anyway an accurate measure of the national mood on Lisbon. That they got it dead on last time, may only be an indication of how their hinterland of folk matched that national mood, and perhaps something the journalists on the Sun may have been able to read across from their own instincts and soundings.

That they haven’t touched it this year suggest that attitudes may have hardened against those near the extreme of the debate, and the ‘polls’ more extreme variance from the national polling averages. But also that it is just as tight as both yes and no camps suspect…

So, as I have often rather pompously intoned in the past, speed kills. Sitting on the sharp end of what I thought was a good story, I neglected to do what I have often done in similar situations in the past: get a second sane opinion. That every newsroom in Dublin had the same story and saw through it demonstrates, that it’s not always the MSM that gets things wrong.

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  • Scaramoosh

    Mick,

    In a way you have already answered your own question. If the poll was real, then the bookies would have cut the odds on a “no” vote – they didn’t.

    I was somewhat surprised to see that an experienced pundit like Smithson was taken in by this; not least, as it seemingly reveals his belief that the betting markets were not sophisticated enough to have priced the poll in (had it been real).

  • Mick Fealty

    Scara,

    It says something rather uncomplimentary in turn about bloggers, polls and betting companies (Ladbrokes did, temporarily, shift their prices)…

    I could have complained about the original piece that was sent to me, but it is their right and in the end it’s ‘caveat emptor’…

  • http://greatdearleader.blogspot.com FutureTaoiseach

    Does not the accuracy of the poll last year count for something in terms of credibility?

  • Mick Fealty

    If it counts for anything it accounts for that set of opinion being a bell-weather for last year’s result. But given the methodlogy used it would be foolish to take it as a reliable indicator of much else. Now there are 10 days to go, and we may come back to this and discover they were ahead of the curve… but that’s a judgement to be made then, not now…

    I’ve won money on horses because of I liked their names, and for no other reason… But I wouldn’t recommend buying a tip off me because I sometimes get it right..

  • Dave

    My personal poll is that the Yes-vote will be in the region of 56 to 59 percent. Less than 10% of the Yes-voters will grasp that they have sold out their country for a phantom mess of ECB pottage due to government misinformation and scaremongering. As a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal observed:

    “Irish voters are due to vote again on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty in two weeks, and the campaigns for and against the accord have only just begun in earnest. The latest polls suggest that the Irish are leaning toward ratification, but the Irish government, to judge by its stridency, is taking nothing for granted.

    It is a measure of the desperation of the supporters of the treaty that they have resorted to patent absurdities in their efforts to secure a Yes vote from the Irish people the second time around. Last Friday, Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan told a press conference that “a ‘No’ vote will signal to the rest of the world that Ireland has retreated into economic isolation.” This in turn would lead to capital flight from Ireland and higher interest rates and borrowing costs for the Irish economy.

    It should hardly need stating that Mr. Lenihan is peddling phantom terrors to scare the Irish people into voting Yes. But in a world made skittish by last year’s global credit panic, it’s just possible that someone might, at least in the absence of thought, take them seriously. Preying on those fears, in fact, seems to be the chief strategy of the Yes campaign.

    The truth about the Irish economy, however, is closer to the opposite of what Mr. Lenihan pretends. It is popular in Brussels to attribute Ireland’s remarkable decade-long growth spurt to EU largesse. The Irish themselves know better, or ought to. Ireland sucked on the teat of EU regional aid for two and a half decades without discernible effect. By the mid-1980s, it was still a poor country by European standards, but it was also facing a budgetary and debt crisis. It was only when it started on a campaign of supply-side tax cuts slashing marginal rates along with capital gains and corporate income-tax rates that the economy took off.”

  • Mick Fealty

    Dave, I’m in a rush so I am not going to engage on this other than to say that I think your attempt to one-sidedly load criticism on the YES camp on a thread about a phantom No poll, and coming so shortly after you tried to tar one of our guest essayists with stuff that simply wasn’t true is having a very limited effect.

    We are trying here to create a small pool of rational debate from both sides, and largely, I think, succeeding. I don’t think the YES campaign have quite thought it through as well as I would have liked (IMHO our Yes essayists sit above that campaign head and shoulders). But let’s just say that anti intellectualism in Irish public life is just one of the factors starving the political class of the means to talk actual politics.

    That’s no excuse however for serially playing the man and not the ball…

  • Dave

    Mick, I think you’ll find that the editorial in the Wall Street Journal was not written by me. That is the most respected journal in business and it clearly states:

    [i]“It is a measure of the desperation of the supporters of the treaty that they have resorted to patent absurdities in their efforts to secure a Yes vote from the Irish people the second time around. Last Friday, Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan told a press conference that “a ‘No’ vote will signal to the rest of the world that Ireland has retreated into economic isolation.” This in turn would lead to capital flight from Ireland and higher interest rates and borrowing costs for the Irish economy.

    It should hardly need stating that Mr. Lenihan is peddling phantom terrors to scare the Irish people into voting Yes.”[/i]

    Now, if your other comment relates to Ben Tonra. Then it simply is true.

    Here is what I said:

    “Ben Tonra didn’t declare that he is an EU-funded academic and that he also works for the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin which is a europhile propaganda agency ‘think-tank’ that is funded by both the EU and the Irish government. He should at least be honest with the readers and admit that he is being paid to promote this europhile propaganda.”

    Here is the blurb for Ben Tonra from UCD:

    [i]“Ben Tonra is Jean Monnet Professor of European Foreign, Security and Defence Policy and Director of the Graduate School at the UCD College of Human Sciences. He is also Associate Professor of International Relations at the UCD School of Politics and International Relations. In UCD he lectures and researches European foreign, security and defence policy and Irish foreign policy. Outside the university Ben is the Project Leader for a research programme in EU foreign and security policy at the Institute of International and European Affairs, Dublin. “[/i]

    http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/politicsintrelations/drbentonra/

    Here is the how the EU funds Ben Tonra via the Jean Monnet Chair:

    [i]Currently, the grant agreement has a total duration of five years: European Community funding is provided for a three-year period and the beneficiary institution must undertake to maintain its activities for at least two further years.

    The ceiling for the co-financing which may be awarded for the total period of three years is € 45.000. The European Community’s maximum co-financing level is 75%.[/i]

    http://ec.europa.eu/education/jean-monnet/doc611_en.htm

    He is also a member of the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin which is also EU-funded:

    [i]“The Institute derives most of its income from annual membership fees, grants, donations, charges for commissioned research and sale of its publications.

    Key funding of the Institute comes from the Foundation Members, including departments of the Irish government, and national and multinational companies, semi-State and private, who commit at least 10,000 euro annually. Acknowledgement of this support is included in all Institute publications and Foundation Members are also regularly consulted on the nature and scope of the Institute’s activities.

    The Institute derives significant income from the Irish Government and the European Union, one third of the total in 2002[1].”[/i]

    http://wapedia.mobi/en/Institute_of_European_Affairs

    You are the one who allowed him to post his propaganda without declaring his interest.

  • Dave

    By the way, Mick, I have now replied to Ben Tonra as I didn’t not read his denial before you mentioned it.

    He did not deny that he is [b]EU-funded[/b], he denied a claim that wasn’t made. In other words, he ignored the actual claim.

    “Dave’s facts are wrong. None of my salary – now or in the past – has been paid by the European Commission. Sorry to mess with your conspiracy theory. ” – Ben Tonra

    Here is my reply:

    [i]“The European Comission? You’re denying a claim that wasn’t made while pretending that you are actually denying the claim that was made. That is fraudulent.

    Here is what I said:

    “Ben Tonra didn’t declare that he is an [b]EU-funded[/b] academic and that he also works for the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin which is a europhile propaganda agency ‘think-tank’ that is funded by both the EU and the Irish government. He should at least be honest with the readers and admit that he is being paid to promote this europhile propaganda.”

    So just as he mislead the reader in failing to declare that he is EU-funded, he misled the reader again in claiming that he wasn’t funded by the [b]European Comission[/b] when no one claimed he was.

  • Professor Sexy

    Remember the abuse Fealty heaped on TPA a few months ago? Looks like he’s mortal after all. Churnalism indeed.

    Control freak Baker must be appalled.

  • Sean

    hey mick instead of crying in your beer maybe you should blog about the death threats to Mr.Mcdaids family and the very inapropriate response of the dupers

  • Dave

    [/i]

    For a good overview of how the “EU uses education and academia to sell integration” and how the Jean Monnet project fits into this brainwashing program, read here. The worst aspect of the Jean Monnet Chairs is not that the Irish taxpayer ends up paying most of the propaganda bill wherein these Europhile academics are required to devote 100% of their teaching program to promoting EU integration (and ergo 0% to presenting opposing arguments to the students for consideration) but that students are indoctrinated with this sinister propaganda which is passed-off as unbiased education. These propaganda departments should be eradicated from universities.

  • Wilde Rover

    Dave,

    “He did not deny that he is EU-funded, he denied a claim that wasn’t made. In other words, he ignored the actual claim.”

    It would seem he ignored the actual claim and then pulled out the loathsome “conspiracy theory” jibe.

    That isn’t very nice, now is it?

  • ben

    I don’t understand why this bandwith is being wasted but,for the record: I am not “EU funded” and I don’t “work” for the IIEA – I lead a research project there and there is no funding of me by same. PS Andy’s contribution is good one, congrats.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    I checked PP when I saw your post – they never moved from 1/12 for Yes.

  • Dave

    Ben, you are EU-Funded. The academic chair that your butt sits in is paid for by the EU to promote European integration. Now you may try to claim that the money is paid to UCD by the EU who then pay it to you (as a salary) but that won’t fool anybody.

  • Dave

    By the way, Ben, what are the odds of a eurosceptic occupying Jean Monnet chair? Zero. These people are funded by the EU to promote EU propaganda via the education system. Now that’s my last word on it. When you have a vested interest, you should declare it. That’s my last word on it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy, I’m only going on what Labrokes themselves posted on Twitter… It must have been momentary shift up and then back down again…

    I see Bill Cash and the European FOundation went with it just after midday…

    Sean,

    There are a lot of stories I choose not to blog (rest assured the Coleraine story has not gone unnoticed – on the contrary, I am paying VERY careful attention to the telling that one – I’ll blog it when I think there is something of political significance to say about it). But since I’d make a stonking big mistake over this one I thought it was important not simply to own it, but provide a bit of reason…

    Prof Sexy,

    Very funny… (but, no, you’re not even getting the five minute argument…)

    Ben,

    Thanks for that… Dave’s nothing if not persistent, even in the face of incontrovertible fact. I was taking him on his serial breaches of the play the ball not the man rule on the site…

    This exactly how those mad urban myths grow… Just heard Anthony Seldon pushing his new book on Trust at the Lib Dem conference this lunch time… We were treated to a rant by some idiot who leapt on the fact that only 22 MPs opposed a private members bill trying to stop the FOI requests to get MPs expenses.. and he then invited the audience to debate whether the rest were a bunch of lying cheating toe rags…

    It was nothing less than a call to demagoguery… and one, I am glad to say on this occasion that was hit smartly (eventually at least) to the boundary… (the motion was put down late on a Friday afternoon when most MPs are well on their way or already in the constituencies…) And the Internet is full of such syllogistic nonsense…

    I remember reading a New Yorker piece on Wikipedia, in which one of the founders just upped and ‘buggered off’ because some of the generalist editors felt such ownership of their patches and were so resentful of anyone with the least official authority over ‘their’ subject that any time an academic try to add something they would simply take off regardless of whether it was accurate or not…

    God knows elites of all kinds need to engage with people more openly and honestly in this ‘always on’ age (which is one reason why I felt the need to write this detailed ‘mea culpa’)…

    But they don’t have to take sh!t from anyone who decides to communicate with them through their hat…

    Dave,

    Ball, not man!!! Tackle his arguments, and you’ll make better headway… Let me remind you that we know ABSOLUTELY nothing about you, yet we take you on the quality (AND otherwise) of your arguments…

    I can’t believe I’m still saying this to after after what must be nearly six years!!!

  • Who is Dave anyway?

    Dave is keeping his identity quiet because he’s being funded by the anti-EU crowd that own most of the newspapers.

  • DC

    Sky Sports *Breaking News*

    Manchester Derby

    *Goal Flash*

    Ryan Giggs has just scored and made it 5 – 3.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DC,

    lol

  • Dave

    Mick, I did “tackle his arguments” and duly flattened them on the applicable thread. Now I fully respect your right to enforce your rules as you see fit, so I will not argue with you. However, I stand over by claim that he is an EU-funded academic (it is a fact that his job is funded by the EU) and that he should have declared this when using his prestige as an academic to promote EU integration (which is what the EU pays him to do as a Jean Monnet professor). Ethics are important and they do apply to academia too. My identity is not important since I have no prestige as a commenter. Academics, on the other hand, are seen as offering unbiased analysis on public affairs (something that Mr Tonra is excluded from offering since his job is dependent on him promoting EU integration).

    Now I’m sorry if I have played the ball “serially” as I’m not aware of doing so. It’s possible, but I’ll mind my manners in future. ;)

    “Dave is keeping his identity quiet because he’s being funded by the anti-EU crowd that own most of the newspapers.” – Posted by Who is Dave anyway?

    I wish I was being paid to post this. But no, I offer my services for no reward other than your enlightenment. Dave is funded by wise investments and more modestly by the ever-decreasing clientele of his architectural practice.

  • Mick Fealty

    There is NO ethical point to your challenge other than trying and shove an opponent off the field of play…

    In short, it is the usual distraction: http://url.ie/2hke

    One of the important things about Slugger is that it has tried for a pluralist discourse from the start.

    I consider it an ethical breach to try to demolish someone from the start because of who they are or what they are…

    There, done now…

  • Denis Cooper

    There are quite a number of these Jean Monnet chairs around the place, and quite a lot of EU-funded academic projects. There are far fewer academics whose funding might depend on their maintaining a critical or sceptical stance towards the EU, partly because opponents of the EU don’t usually have access to taxpayers’ money to spend in that way.

    I do recall that at the time of the referendum in north east England, back in 2004, one of the most active advocates for euro-regionalisation of the UK worked in the Jean Monnet Centre at a local university.

    When he was challenged about this he became quite irate, and produced a succession of shifting arguments – that he hadn’t received any money from the EU; then that he had received money from the EU, but only a little, some years previously; that there was no good reason why his name should appear on that section of the EU Commission website, but it didn’t matter if it did because nobody ever looked at it; that he always took care to teach both sides of the question in his courses, and his students were intelligent people who could make up their own minds when presented with the facts, etc etc.

    The objection remains that Jean Monnet was not exactly impartial on the question of European integration, and it’s hard to believe that the EU would be spending its (our) money on academic chairs or research units bearing his name if it expected that both sides of the question would be considered fairly. How anybody involved responds to that situation is up to them, just as with academic work funded by governments or companies or “charities” with their own axes to grind.

  • Mick Fealty

    Denis,

    Do you see what’s happening here? On a thread about the (successful, in my case) attempt of a far right group to pass off a poll of their own supporters social networks as a national poll of national provenance, you are pointing to the possible (nay probable) influence of Jean Monet on the political outlook of one of our essayists.

    I care about as much about that as I do about the fact that Lord Ashcroft now bank rolls Iain Dale, Total Politics, Politics Home and Tory Home. I mean of it matters and something people should now, but Iain, Tim, et al should be taken on the merits of their contribution to the national debate that matters.

    What surprises me is the sheer unwillingness of his critics to take him on on his chosen field of battle… ie, that Ireland’s neutrality is little more than self serving bunk!

  • http://greatdearleader.blogspot.com FutureTaoiseach

    In today’s Sun apparently.