One of the replies we had:
In today’s newsletter you quote Steven Watson of Community Energy Scotland: “A feature of the wild land map consultation was many anonymous responses backing the idea, whist (sic) communities with a real interest which submitted open and named responses saw their detailed arguments diluted by an arbitrary head-count of comments rather than a serious consideration of the issues.”
He is fully entitled to advocate for the interests he represents, but not on the basis of false statistics. The analysis of responses to the SNH consultation on wild land showed that there were 410 responses, of which 298 were supportive of the map.
There were 64 individual responses where the respondent asked to be anonymous. Assuming all anonymous responses were supportive, excluding them completely from the analysis would change the proportion of respondents supporting the wild land map from 73% to 68% (234/346).
It is worth noting that only individuals could request anonymity, groups and organisation could not. There is nothing underhand about requesting anonymity in responses to government consultations.
I have done this myself when responding to consultations where my personal view might be at odds with the corporate view I had to represent in my professional capacity. Anonymous views are no less important than attributable views.
Dr Dave Gordon
60 Bonhard Road
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