Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sell out? The who?

Since the Euston Manifesto website has encountered some fairly serious spam problems, making the signatories number unreliable, attendance at their meetings is the only real way to gauge the progress they're making (it is also arguable that attendance at meetings is a much better metric anyway, as it is easy and costless to sign an online petition, and once your name is up there, it's up there even if you change your mind). So anyway ...

One year ago: "The meeting last night to launch the Euston Manifesto drew about 250 people"

Yesterday: " Every seat was taken and then some", in the Khalili Lecture Theatre, capacity 140 (corroborated here by someone who reckons that there were 150 "at the peak"; there might have been some standing room but realistically you are never going to fit more than 200 people in a lecture theatre designed for 140 on safety grounds alone.

Looks like pretty steep backward progress (more than a third of the support gone) but:

1. This probably represents a peak number rather than total attendance. Not everyone would have attended every session (and who can blame them; look at this bloody programme! Seven bloody hours of Decency carrying on till 9 at night!), and if people came in to replace leavers, total attendance could have been more than peak (obviously this relies on the entire hall being full or nearly full for every session which is unusual).

2. Tickets apparently sold out with two days to go, so they could probably have sold a few more and/or booked a bigger room if they'd known. On the other hand, I am still mentally struggling to get the numbers up to 250 with these assumptions.

3. Also note that the scheduling wasn't great for them; the conference was scheduled for the same evening as the UCU Israel boycott vote and in the middle of the Hay Festival. Both of these events could have drawn off as many as a dozen potential attenders.

4. And of course a seven hour conference is a lot more inconvenient and less fun to attend than an evening launch party. On the other hand, this has to be seen in the context of 2) above; an all-day event has a lot more scope for partial attenders. It would be very interesting to know if they'd printed more than 140 tickets in anticipation of partial attendance.

So my guess is that underlying support for the Euston Manifesto is more or less flat on last year; it would IMO be wrong to look at the headline numbers and conclude that they're imploding, but on the other hand no matter how many assumptions I make, I don't find myself regarding like-for-like adjusted figures higher than 300, absolute max, as very likely. They've launched a political club, got a fair amount of media coverage and stayed together for a year, which is an achievement in itself, but they don't appear to be going anywhere.

PS: This ought to have done something for the finances of the Euston Group. Even at the low end of everything 140 tickets at £5.50 each is £770. You can hire a pretty damn swanky lecture theatre at City University for £500 for a half day, so there ought to have been a reasonable surplus. The Euston mob are also quite generous donors; an average of £10/head was collected at the launch meeting.
6 comments this item posted by the management 5/31/2007 08:34:00 AM

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