Notes From The Margin

July 12, 2007

Vox Populi

You know, since I’ve started this blog I’ve come to question much about what passes for public debate in Barbados. I’ve realised that much of the noise actually comes from relatively few voices. A fellow blogger Living in Barbados touched on this in his article:

Economics 101

 

 

“…I should hasten to add that one of the characteristics of opinion-making in Barbados is that there are some whose “voices” are very loud or frequently heard, but it’s not clear for whom these voices really speak. So, what I am hearing as “concerns” may be merely a vocal minority, or someone pushing a hidden agenda.”

The pattern reasserts itself time and time again. If we’re talking about Rihanna’s dresses or if we’re talking about moving Nelson’s statue. The noisy minority rules the airwaves. Think about the call in programmes how many of the contributions are from “regular callers”, how many names do you see commenting regularly on Barbados Free Press.

I’m reminded of the whole “lets go to a republic” debate which was very loudly canvassed for at townhall meetings, on call in programmes and in the press. I have no way of knowing if it’s true but what I heard was that a scientific poll showed that the vast majority of Bajans actually had no strong feelings one way or the other, or were actually against becoming a republic. Which is why the issue suddenly dropped from the radar.

The implications of this are tremendous, a few people can actually make a huge amount of noise, how can we know that the comments on BFP are not just a small group of people with a specific agenda? (just to be clear I’m referring to the comments not the posts in this context) How do you know how to sample the public’s mood on any particular issue?

Is Vox Populi the same thing as Vox Dei? or is it a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Marginal

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