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8 May, 2009

Non-constituent coordination

A Guardian article about the proposed Severn Barrage includes the (partial) sentence:

The National Trust, RSPB, WWF and the Anglers' Trust, which together represent at least eight million people,...

Really? I'm not a member of any of those organisations, but would, hypothetically, consider joining the first two in order to gain free/cheaper access to their properties and could imagine donating to the third*, but my giving them money certainly wouldn't mean they'd represent me. I really don't think it's reasonable for a journalist or pressure group to automatically equate 'membership' numbers with the size of a constituency – some members might support the organisations' campaigns, but many more might be, like me, simply buying products/services.

Evaluation of competing designs for tidal power schemes in the Severn estuary is important and contentious, so such logical flaws are unhelpful distractions.

*: Only after all medical charities had been wound-up, their work complete. Humans first.

[Title by H. Apparently, linguists will find it witty, but I'm afraid it eludes me.]


Not to mention that numerous people are undoubtedly members of more than one of the named organizations, and are therefore being counted twice.

Posted by Jon. at May 8, 2009 04:38 PM

Good point!

Posted by NRT at May 8, 2009 07:12 PM
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