When it's a cynical marketing ploy, of course! I'm indebted to regular contributor Millicent for pointing out this RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport 'survey' in yesterday's usually excellent Kent on Sunday. Masquerading under the seemingly objective headline 'Have your say on the future of air travel in Kent', the item begins: 'Kent International Airport is undertaking a major public survey to measure the demand for the airport near Ramsgate.'
So far, so good, as there is indeed very little demand for an airport 1km from one of Britain's loveliest Victorian seaside towns, and the opportunity to let them know seemed irresistible. However, when you go to the online questionnaire you're presented with an interminable puff piece based solely on the words of, er, independent observer Matt Clarke, the airport's boss. The survey itself then invites you to list the airlines and destinations you'd like to see, and all the other wonderful benefits of flying from your doorstep over 40,000 people's rooftops.
Finally, in order to complete the form, it's mandatory to leave your name, address, email and telephone number. As there's no marketing opt-out to choose, one can only assume that the upshot of filling out this 'survey' will be interminable sales calls and endless junk mail tempting you with offers of a week in Majorca!