WELSH MEDIA: FASCISTS AND FOREIGNERS OPPOSE 20MPH
The big issue this week has been the introduction of the 20mph speed limit across the country. I wrote about it in last weekend’s posting, ’20mph, A Disaster Unfolds’.
But perhaps the legislation has been overshadowed by ‘that’ petition, which at the time of writing is heading towards 400,000 signatures. Though the so-called ‘Welsh’ media has tried hard to discredit it and those who’ve signed it.
Here’s an example from yesterday’s Western Mail. Despite 95% of the signatures coming from within Wales, Llais y Sais wants us to know that people in 51 countries have signed.
There’s even an insert headed: ‘Where the global opposition has come from’. Seven from Germany, one from Hungary . . .
But what that rag is attacking is in fact perfectly reasonable. Welsh people living abroad, and English people in the Marches and elsewhere who regularly drive in Wales, are perfectly entitled to voice their opposition.
Then, at the bottom of the page, there’s a carefully worded piece inviting us to think that opponents of the 20mph restrictions are violent individuals. Probably ‘far right’.
This is not journalism; this is naked propaganda.
But then, when, like the Western Mail, you depend for financial survival on public notices and advertisements paid for by the ‘Welsh Government’, What ya gonna do?
But it was ever thus. It’s just a bit more obvious now. And it’s moving up a notch.
Which is the cue for me to tackle the meat of this issue.
NUDGE, NUDGE – WHO’S THERE?
For this week also saw the release of a bizarre poll showing that more people support the 20mph restrictions than oppose them. And it was odd for a number of reasons.
First, there’s the ‘slanted’ question, worded to achieve a desired outcome. Hoping “Where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists” will conjure up images of boy racers screeching through pedestrianised areas, knocking over old ladies and kiddies on bikes.
This is called ‘nudging’. But even this doesn’t fully account for the ‘findings’.
By way of comparison, here’s a survey from WalesOnline. It certainly overstates the strength of opposition, but it’s closer to the truth than the survey we just looked at.
Then there’s this YouGov poll, which still shows an almost two to one majority against.
No survey I have seen, and no other form of evidence, suggests anything other than a big majority against widespread 20mph speed limits.
The other thing I found strange was that the survey doesn’t tell us who commissioned it, which is normal practice. So who produced that slanted survey?
The answer would appear to be Redfield & Wilton Strategies. So what can we learn about them? Well, not a lot. Individuals named Redfield and Wilton may not exist.
Which takes us on to the next section of this post. Follow me . . .
‘WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE REALLY THINKING’
Companies House tells us that Redfield & Wilton Ltd was formed in January 2020 by Bruno Augusto Kormann Rodrigues. He remains the majority shareholder and the sole director.
So why is the company called Redfield & Wilton? Is it to make it sound more English? Whatever the answer, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that it’s an attempt to deceive. Which is not good for an organisation trading on credibility.
Even so, it’s reasonable to assume that Rodrigues has background in polling and market research? Well, er . . . no.
For Rodrigues is a solicitor. Here’s his entry from the Solicitors Register.
Cassadys, mentioned above is a debt-ridden company that’s escaped compulsory strike-off for late returns more than once. The company is named after its founder, an Indian named Kaizad Cassad.
Rodrigues left at the end of October 2020. Just before launching Redfield & Wilton.
Around the same time, on 1 January 2020, Rodrigues took over BR Services Europe Ltd from Pakistani Umar Aqueel. A ‘Management Consultancy’ company, that was just bumping along financially.
The other entity mentioned in the Solicitors Register is the Brooke Consultancy LLP. Which seems to be a genuine sort of legal partnership, and it provides a useful profile of Bruno Rodrigues.
That profile tells us he specialises in immigration law, and he’s also into, “the niche area of fashion law“. What the hell’s that? Does it mean I could get arrested for wearing the wrong socks?
I find that very, very strange. If ‘niche’ interests can be mentioned, why not a new company being regularly quoted in the media, and apparently being used by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic?
One more company needs to be mentioned. This is Alghanim Capital Ltd. Rodrigues was a director along with Kuwaitis Abdulwahab Alghanem and Fahad Alghanim who, despite the slightly different spellings, I take to be related.
Abdulwahab is described on the Companies House entry as a ‘civil servant’ in Kuwait, while Fahad is said to be a student in the USA.
Their line of business was: ‘Retail sale via mail order houses or via Internet’. Mmm.
Alghanim Capital was formed in October 2018, and folded without seemingly doing anything. So why was it formed at all? This is the sort of company behaviour that gets my whiskers twitching.
But even if it was all innocent, how did Rodrigues meet the Kuwaitis?
VOX POPULI, VOX DAI
When I put out a tweet asking why we weren’t told who’d commissioned the Redfield & Wilton survey, I got a response containing an image from the R&W website.
Well, I assume that’s where it comes from, but my quick search didn’t find it. Though I’m sure it’s genuine, because the font and the colouring match, and the rascal who used it seemed to think he was putting me down, or weakening my case.
“Self-commissioned“? Does that mean that Bruno Rodrigues and his little team decide amongst themselves what surveys to do, and then publish them? Or maybe get some media outlet to pay for their whimsical and random findings?
I don’t buy that. I certainly don’t think it accounts for all of their output.
The more I’ve thought about Redfield & Wilton the stronger the possibility has become in my mind that this outfit may not do any research or polling. It simply acts as a channel for what others want to promote.
Let’s say you want to push the message that more people in Wales support 20mph restrictions than oppose them, then you engage Redfield & Wilton in order to make the message look more credible than if it had come from a source that is obviously biased.
Though the R&W record is not impressive. Because for an organisation dealing in statistics, Bruno and his pals are not very good at figuring. They often seem to get things horribly wrong.
Which, when coupled with their pro-Labour bias (pro-Democrat in US polls), makes them look rather stupid. Here’s a recent example.
Bookies, as we know, like to have facts and reliable figures because there’s always money riding on them. So I was amused to read this piece in PoliticalBetting.com expose how horrendously wrong Redfield & Wilton got a recent Scottish poll.
So who in Wales might have been desperate enough to ask R&W to put out this phoney 20mph survey?
Obviously, there’s the ‘Welsh Government’. But would they run the risk?
Lynn would regard what I’m suggesting as ‘countering misinformation’ and therefore perfectly legitimate. Even desirable. To most people it would be lying to get your own way.
If I’m right, then we are on a dangerous path. Let me explain why.
It’s common knowledge that in recent years opinion polls, especially on politics, have been used to influence public opinion rather than to gauge it and report it.
This explains why so many polls have been spectacularly wrong; on Brexit, on Trump’s victory in 2016, on the size of the Conservative majority in 2019. All because too many pollsters allowed their left-liberal or woke prejudices to intrude.
Returning to the Redfield & Wilton survey, as I see it, there are two alternatives: either the poll result is distorted with bias, or else it’s completely and deliberately fabricated. Neither option should be acceptable in an open and democratic society.
Good governments can stand on their records, on what they’ve delivered for their people. Only liars, incompetents and aspiring totalitarians need a bought media, ‘behavioural sciences’, and phoney surveys.
♦ end ♦
© Royston Jones 2023