Anyone who has been following discussions on the Parthenon Marbles would be surprised to read about a new opinion poll on the same subject. She would ask herself if we have not had enough polls on the perennial question whether these Greek sculptures, torn away from their original location in Akropolis, should be returned to Athens or remain in London, in the British Museum.

As is well known, all such public opinion polls in the United Kingdom have consistently and overwhelmingly been in support of returning the famous sculptures to Athens.

So who is now interested in another opinion poll? We can only surmise and speculate since whoever commissioned this new poll has not found it necessary to have their identity revealed. We have here indeed a very curious situation. Whoever it is must have an interest in securing an opinion poll different from all those in the last fifteen years or so. To secure this, you do not go again to the British people for their answer will be the same as what they have consistently said: send the Marbles back. So what do you do?

You create a group that is fairly diverse including persons in the UK and some from outside the British Isles and present them as representing the art industry:

Of the 70 respondents, 50 (74%) were UK based, while the rest 20 (26%) were equally split between the Middle East and Asia. What respondents told us can be found on the following pages.

For the purposes of this survey we have classified respondents into five groups: Galleries and museums (18/26%) Advisors (17/24%) • Including fine art dealers, valuers, restorers, archivists, wealth managers, insurers, legal experts, sponsorship brokers and event organisers Arts media (14/20%) Other (14/20%) • Including auction houses, collectors, artists, performing arts, art schools and universities Political (7/10%) • Including those in the political world who advise on the arts or who have specific interests in art” – See more at:

With this imprecise classification, with respondents from London, Asia and the Middle East, you extract an agreeable opinion. Which Asia are we dealing with here? Does this include China, Cambodia and India? How come London is put on the same level as a continent like Asia?

We should not bother too much with such polls. But what purpose could such a poll serve? It could serve as a factor of confusion and uncertainty and thereby fulfil the function of diversionary tactic.

After the large outcry against the controversial loan of the Ilissios Parthenon sculpture to Russia, those unable or unwilling to hear the voice of the British people realized that there is a need to have people talk about something else than the recent condemned loan. Instead of reporting on what the terms of the loan were and whether these were scrupulously fulfilled, we are given a poll that could confuse people through its vagueness and indirect pretention to represent the opinion of part of the British public.

The British public and the lovers of art deserve better than this.

Kwame Opoku. 2 March, 2015.



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