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18 August 2008

New Statesman Investigates — Update

Readers are voting in numbers for an investigation into the government's asylum policy

By Martin Bright

There has already been a phenomenal response to our New Statesman Investigates feature. At the last count more than two-thirds of people were voting for us to look into the scandal of the treatment of asylum seekers in this country. There are still large numbers voting for us to have a dig around the UK’s lobbying industry. But not so much interest in Tory party funding, Prince Charles or the state of British childhood. We will keep the polls open, but so far asylum is the run-away choice. Already the campaign has grabbed the attention of asylum activists at the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns.

This has already been an interesting process. I was convinced that Tory Party funding would have been of most interest to NS readers, but I appear to have been completely wrong. Such exercises can be perverse (the fact that so few of you seem to care about the state of British childhood may well be further evidence that we should be looking into the subject). But the vote is so overwhelming that it looks like asylum will almost certainly be our first subject.

I was also impressed by the suggestion that we should into the business of human trafficking. I’ll make sure we add that one to our next poll.

It strikes me that there are also some interesting category defintions to be made here. What constitutes an investigation rather than a campaign, for example? And some readers seem to be convinced that the NS should be hauling Tony Blair before a war crimes tribunal or proving that 7/7 was a government conspiracy or that something called the New World Order is behind the spate of suicides in South Wales. We will have to disappoint our readers on those three, I’m afraid. We just don’t have the resources!

Meanwhile, there’s an interesting discussion of some of the wilder suggestions on Max Dunbar’s blog.

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