I received a message yesterday telling me that some people would like to know what were the "various reasons" given by the candidates who refused to answer, those candidates being:
My feeling is that anyone who wants to know why those candidates refused to answer should ask the candidates themselves as the candidates are in the best position to provide explanations for their behavior.
My reasons for sending out a written survey publishing written replies are set out on the PS City Elections 2015 page. The four candidates mentioned above gave their reasons for refusing to answer through a variety of means, some by text message, some by email and some by phone during the process of followup after the surveys were sent out. Thus not all explanation for refusing to answer were in writing.
In some cases there was more than one phone conversation with a candidate and across phone conversations the reasons given by the candidate changed. No notes were taken of those conversations as the purpose of those followups was simply to get confirmation that the survey had been received and to ask whether the candidate would be responding to the questions asked, nothing more.
As a result, in order for me to now explain their "various reasons' I would have to reconstruct from memory at least some of the explanations given, to attempt to make sense of the way those reasons changed, and perhaps to be selective about how I describe them. Yet I have been at pains to ensure that the candidates were given the same survey in the same way and all were given equal opportunity to answer them in their own words, without any intervening interpretations, paraphrasing or commentary. I simply want to present as much plain, factual and direct information as possible. For me now to start reconstructing and interpreting what was said to me over the phone creates exactly the sort of problem I have tried to avoid by asking questions in writing and publishing written answers, namely, mis-perception, misunderstanding, and distortion.
Therefore rather than me acting as an intermediary who may well not explain a candidate's reasoning accurately or fully I would far prefer that the candidates explain themselves directly to those voters who care about this.
That said, I intend to publish my analysis of the responses, non-responses and refusals (for whatever it's worth), on this website in the next few days.