Archive for October 4th, 2011


On-line surveys – OSCE

October 4, 2011

Whilst meandering somewhat aimlessly around the Internet looking for something worthy of comment and thus randomly looking through my “bookmarks” on this computer, I happened to click on the OSCE website link and noticed they have an on-line survey wishing to know our views on security.

Why not fill it in I thought, only 11 questions and it will be interesting to see what those questions are.  After all, I have a little blue and white ribbon and “gong” from peacekeeping, have monitored election centres during UK elections to insure all was legal and nothing nefarious happened at polling stations, plus having more than a passing interest in politics and policy, negotiation and diplomacy, an OSCE survey should be quite interesting.

With only 11 questions one would expect some pertinent, robust and thought provoking questions with either open answers or multiple choice answers which actually mean something to those receiving the survey and make those completing the survey think carefully about their beliefs and what they want from OSCE.

Alas, question 1 relates to which international entity or think-tank you work for.  So I am “Other”.

Question 2, am I male, female or prefer not to say.  Why would I not say?  It is an anonymous survey.  I could lie just to play havoc with the statistics.

We are already down to 9 questions and thus far the survey is treating me like an anonymous shopper in the high street addressing nothing other than in which pigeon-hole I will be placed.

Slightly more relevant, possibly, is which region of Europe do I live.  I suppose this may provide some form of regional indicator of attitude towards OSCE if sufficient people complete the survey from a specific region.  However, if I had entered “other” and “prefer not to say” and then “Eastern Europe” which comprises of quite a few nations, have these questions been beneficial to OSCE thus far?

The remaining questions are mostly benign questions relating to how you rate OSCE from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” over issues such as diplomacy and all inclusiveness is better than brute force and exclusionary decision making.

It would take somebody of quite psychopathic tendency to state diplomacy and inclusiveness is pointless and unproductive but unilateral force is the first and only course of action in conflict resolution or negotiation. Thus most participants in the survey are likely to travel between “neither here nor there” or “strongly agreeing” rather than “strongly disagreeing” that inclusive diplomacy and negotiation should be tried before bombing a people back to the Stone Age as option number 1.

The last question is actually a small comments box about how OSCE can keep us more secure.  Suggestions about European security strategy in a space equivalent to a twitter text box? – Really!

What is the point of this survey?  Just to have a survey?  Is it to tick a box on somebody’s “to do” list under either “media” or  “public interaction” budget headers?  It all seems rather pointless due to the parameters placed on the participants and the awful questions asked.

Now I know in a world of professional politicians, spin doctors, think-tanks, policy advisory groups, vested interests and all the other “enlightened” who know best,  there needs to be the facade of “public engagement” but such leaders should remember a few insightful lines written quite some time ago:

“In a free country, human speech must needs be free; and the State must listen to the maunderings of folly, and the screeching of its geese, and the braying of its asses, as well as the golden oracles of its wise and great men. Even the old despotic Kings allowed their wise fools to say what they liked. The true alchellist will extract the lessons of wisdom from the babblings of folly. He will hear what a man has to say on any given subject, even if the speaker end only in proving himself the Prince of Fools. Even a fool will sometimes hit the mark. There is truth in all men who are not compelled to suppress their soul and speak other men’s thoughts. The finger even of the idiot may point the way to the great highway.” –  Morals & Dogma.  Albert Pike

Alas there is nowhere in this OSCE survey allowing the fool to hit the mark or allow the finger of the idiot to point the way to the great highway.  Alas, these days, there is very few mechanisms for a fool to engage a member of the enlightened directly in so many supra-structures circling above our national democratic institutions.

Anyway, a pointless and useless survey when all is said and done!

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