At the start of the week the Daily Mail ran a headline saying only 20% of people thought David Kelly committed suicide. The Mail claimed it was an overwhelming rejection of the official verdict – it wasn’t actually quite as overwhelming as it seems, by only mentioning the 20% the Mail implied that a large percentage of people thought he didn’t commit suicide, in fact a large majority of people told Harris they didn’t know whether David Kelly committed suicide or not, the proportion of people who disagreed with the statement that he committed suicide was only around 22% (the tables aren’t on the Harris website anymore, so I’m taking the figure from memory – apologies if it’s a point or two out). The Mail could equally have headlined the poll report “1 in 5 disagree that David Kelly committed suicide”. Though actually, that itself would still have been quite a striking finding.

The way Harris asked the question on David Kelly was perfectly valid, but considering alternatives I thought their way was quite likely to show a high score for people rejecting the suicide explanation – it is likely to be easier for a respondent to say they disagree that Kelly committed suicide than to actually say he was murdered as part of some conspiracy. The proportion of people who thought David Kelly was murdered would surely be lower than 22% if asked outright? So we asked.

We ran a question on the YouGov daily polling and reasking the question YouGov first asked back in 2003 during the Hutton inquiry. Now, I don’t think the wording YouGov used is perfect either. For starters, if I was writing it from scratch, I’d have given people the option of saying other or none of these. However, since YouGov had asked the question back in 2003 I wanted to use the same wording to draw direct changes.

Back in 2003 11% of people thought that David Kelly was murdered, 75% that he committed suicide (most thinking he had done so due to the pressure placed upon him) – given it was at the height of the controversey, only 14% said don’t know. Looking at the same question now 30% of people think David Kelly was murdered, 32% think he committed suicide and 38% don’t know – meaning in the 7 years since his death the proportion of people thinking he was murdered has almost tripled. The Daily Mail’s headline was rather sensationalist, but the underlying fact is that a large minority of people do indeed think Kelly was murdered.

Not of course, lest I be misunderstood, that this makes it any more likely that he was.


806 Responses to “30% think Dr David Kelly was murdered”

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  1. Matt – Did you ever watch Shameless? Strong families, Strong Communities and people certainly “take care of each other” but possible not in the way DC envisages.

  2. This is why I believe Labourites and lefties are asking all the wrong questions. In fact, by concentrating on wealth redistribution as a means of achieving a more perfect society, I believe they are sending out the wrong message.

  3. @Sue,

    “Matt – Did you ever watch Shameless? Strong families, Strong Communities and people certainly “take care of each other” but possible not in the way DC envisages.”

    I didn’t, no. I heard about it, but I generally find such programmes are staged to suit the political affiliations/views of the programme makers. That’s why some programmes show all people on benefits as evil scroungers (i.e. one with Widdecombe, I saw advertised), but others paint take a completely opposite view.

  4. A bit like the programme a while back which made British people look lazy. I remember thinking at the time that it was all staged to make a political point and good television.

  5. @ Matt

    And yet, ironically for you, the Tories are also a strongly capitalist party ;)

  6. Hey,

    I was

    Economic Left/Right: -6.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.90

    :) :) :)

  7. h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11049802

    I hope this is a silly season story.

  8. Matt – Oh it showed them as evil scroungers alright!! It showed them warts and all.

  9. My God, that BBC story is awful. Surely not?

  10. Rebecca – fun wasn’t it?

  11. @Eoin… I’ll join you in being outrageous for a moment if I may:

    To the cynical and hard-headed, a fat benefit bill is the price worth paying for a country that is reasonably comfortable to live in and not overrun by organised crime, widespread corruption and visible destitution.
    The alternative is full employment, inefficiency, overstaffing, out and out sinecures for those who are absolutely hopeless, together with lower profit margins and higher taxes.
    Call me defeatist, but those who think that every damaged person will become hardworking by way of compulsory alchohol treatment regimes (what next, compulsory gastric bands and lobotomies?) are dangerous and deluded dreamers.

  12. @Billy,

    “And yet, ironically for you, the Tories are also a strongly capitalist party ;)”

    Yes, you are quite right. That is why I am a Tory, but a very cynical one. I like the fact that they place more emphasis on socially conservative policies, but still dislike their over-emphasis on money as means of achieving happiness.

  13. @Sue,

    “Matt – Oh it showed them as evil scroungers alright!! It showed them warts and all.”

    Ah. I would have liked to have seen it. Sounds interesting. My family all originate from the East End of London, and despite the extreme poverty in those days, there was a lot of community spirit there, my grand-parents and parents always tell me.

  14. Billy B,

    Good post. I want to agree with it but cant. it is all about children as far as I am concerned. By allowing people to remain in the underclass by living on benefits you are dramatically increasing the chances that their children will also perptually live in the under class.

    Case in point: Shannon Mathews.

  15. @ Matt

    There’s never a perfect mix is there.

  16. Rebecca – Should have added MY partner won’t play :(
    He went to public school but has come a long way since. I think he’s frightened in case he finds out nurture is stronger than nature!!

  17. Sue,

    Probably not. Not impossible though. They will be seeking to provoke an over reaction from blues to alienate N Irish Catholics. It has worked before but I am not sure it will work with DC.

  18. @Eoin,

    I agree that the system needs a total overhaul. I feel sorry for the many children out there who are caught up in the current way of things. It needs to change. Both the Tories and Labour are equally to blame for this IMO.

  19. Matt – maybe look it up on C4OD. They are horrific and wonderful all at once. Much like the East End when your family (and coincidentally mine) were around.

  20. @ Nick Hadley

    Has there ever been in history and is there anywhere in world today a society that is not based on ” accidents of birth, social class and inherited wealth, that skew one’s life chances from the cradle to the grave”?

    Think of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome then of more recent and present societies, not just in the West, but also in,say, India, China and Japan.

    Then think of the natural world of Darwinian evolution where inherited accidents of birth create advantages in the struggle for life and fitness for survival

    The moral is that inherited class differences and advantages are not only natural but actually essential to the
    survival of societies and their progress . Eliminating them would not only be unnatural but would also, inevitably, weaken the society so that it would not survive in its struggle for survival. Ultimately, that would lead to the collapse of the society to the detriment of everyone in it.

  21. Billy,

    “There’s never a perfect mix is there.”

    Nope, unfortunately not.

  22. @Sue,

    “Matt – maybe look it up on C4OD. They are horrific and wonderful all at once. Much like the East End when your family (and coincidentally mine) were around.”

    Thanks, will do. Yeah, it was a very hard life in those days. I’m always amazed that they managed it!

  23. @EOIN CLARKE
    Your 6.55. It despite my problems with one or two left wingers, you prove we can see total eye to eye. I could not agree more with your comment and example.

  24. Eoin – From DC’s Foreign policy so far, I have high hopes.

  25. Sue,

    It was fun, :) :)

    I now know for definate what I am:)…….

    nature over nurture debate………its funny, Éoin and I have been debating that all week………I wont tell you my conclusions, :) :)

  26. Eoin

    “Every child over the age of 12 should have the right to appeal to the court to have these benefits paid to an intermediary (school counsellor/social worker) to act on thier behalf.”

    What an absolutely brilliant idea.

    And what a desperate sadness that you-of all people-should suggest it.

  27. @JOHN SARTORIUS
    Thank you so much for that. I could not be bothered to sit down and right such a screed but your points are exactly right. One can easily now see the end of the road for homo sapiens. By the time these people have finished dumbing down and feminising men the human race will die.

  28. RE: Political Compass

    Economic Left/Right: -9.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.97

    Economics – I am almost off the chart whereas I consider myself to be slightly left of center.

    Social – I don’t make it into the authoritarian box. Despite being a big state person, I’m almost 50% liberal.

    Very odd… perhaps I’m more extreme/ radical/ progressive than I thought I was… 8-)

  29. Matt

    “That is the secret of my happiness even though I am skint – I have an awesome family/friends. Many don’t, especially in modern Britain, and that is the root cause of many people’s current unhappiness IMO.”

    You are a tonic my friend.

  30. Colin,

    Yes- true. I do think it is the logical arrival point at which means testing will eventually reach. I read a childline report during the week. Apparently children (I forget the stats) are now ringing up to complain about their parents substance abuse. (alcohol mostly). I remember thinking, i wonder who is paying for the alcohol……

  31. @Colin,

    Thanks. 8-)

  32. Then think of the natural world of Darwinian evolution where inherited accidents of birth create advantages in the struggle for life and fitness for survival
    ——————————————————
    I cannot begin to say what utter tosh this is. The whole point of humans is their humanity. They transcend Darwinianism through co-operation & caring for the ‘runt of the litter’. 8-)

  33. Amber

    “Very odd… perhaps I’m more extreme/ radical/ progressive than I thought I was”

    Just don’t think about it.

    I don’t believe your score anymore than mine.

  34. @Eoin,

    “Apparently children (I forget the stats) are now ringing up to complain about their parents substance abuse. (alcohol mostly). I remember thinking, i wonder who is paying for the alcohol……”

    That is very sad and worrying. I wish it would surprise me, but it doesn’t.

  35. @Eoin… agreed.
    People need not be in the (Regan/Thatcher) underclass in the first place if unrealistic expectations of economic productivity were not forced upon them. As it is, Labour had to acceed to the new ascendency of market capitalism and embarked on imo a laudable but incomplete programme of remediation.

  36. On the Australian election, I can’t see how either side are going to get to the 76 seats – looks like another election very soon.

    Thought some colleagues here might be interested in a great RH contribution to the Spectator’s PMQs live blog earlier this year – I think you’ll agree that it’s a particularly good eample of his wit and wisdom.

    Roland Haines
    February 10th, 2010 1:11pm

    Who elected some of these anal passages that pass for Labour MPs? When I watch PMQ on the politics show, they remind me of Big Issue sellers dressed in suits.

  37. @ Colin

    Agreed, best ignore anything that says you are a social democrat & I am a liberal communist. 8-)

  38. “Yes- true. I do think it is the logical arrival point at which means testing will eventually reach. I read a childline report during the week. Apparently children (I forget the stats) are now ringing up to complain about their parents substance abuse. (alcohol mostly). I remember thinking, i wonder who is paying for the alcohol”

    For God’s sake Eoin!

  39. I was pretty impressed with DC for admitting, during the election campaign, that the Tories are not blameless for current social breakdown. He alluded to the mistakes that previous Tory governments have made in the area of social policy during the post-war period.

  40. Have you lot spent sunday watching do-gooder programmes or somesuch? Oh I know, some went to church.

    I almost said ‘thank God I don’t bother with that any more’ and then thought better of it – don’t want to be a troll or lay myself open to smart remarks about my invoking deity.

    I suppose (back on thread) you have all read the story from the Kelly pathologist.

  41. @Eoin,

    Another sad fact that astonished me when I first entered Child Protection work.

    When a child is taken into care, their mother continues to receive child benefit payments. They are not transferred to the foster carer or simply kept by the state.

    I know I am jaundiced by constant exposure to the worst elements in our society, but I honestly don’t recognise the picture painted of the “underclass” sometimes. I know you referred to friends therein, but I can only assume we define it differently.

  42. Economic Left/Right +1.0
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -3.18

    Internationally I appear to be in an uninhabited part of the grid. Interpolating between them I’m a capitalist Ghandi or a poor man’s Milton Friedman? I probably sit very close to parts of the coalition.

  43. Been a bit busy to post again for a while
    My score is -8.75 on the economic scale and -1.9 on the social scale. Don’t think that is too correct. The American one I did the other day seemed more accurate.

    @ Billy Bob 5:13
    I think too many people have the bad experience of such an inquisition and on the whole I think it is right that you should let your deeds speak for you. At the same time I think it is important not to be or to be forced into being secretive or ashamed about ones faith especially in the realm of politics where it can and in my case does underpin most if not all of ones opinions.

    I think Tony Blair was very wrong to say “I don’t do religion”

    As an aside after re-reading the Labour uncut Catholic article there was one area I differ to Catholics in and that is contraception.

  44. That way, he was criticising both Labour’s and the Tory’s legacies. I think this is both fair and sensible if we are to make progress in the future.

  45. @Eoin

    Well then blow me down- I am outrageous. Andy Burnham was a loyal minister. To put him in the same camp as Purnell and Bananaman is smearing.

    paste that quote into google: you’ll see (sigh) yet again you are onto a wrong ‘un. Plus any number of newspaper reports/ blogs from that time.

    They are political allies- purnell is a big political friend (comrade?) of Burnham. Purnell thought that BOTH DM and AB were going to jump with him. They BOTH bottled it.

    You are so utterly paranoid about DM it is unreal. It is as if he reminds you of a teacher/ brother who used to clip your ear or something.

    That visceral hatred of a fellow member of the left whilst swooning over Dave Cameron? Really strange.

  46. Amber
    Have you ever seen the African Queen? That is the speech Katherine hepburn makes to Humphrey Bogart… and just as right.
    I think though she says or hints that God put us here to overcome our human nature… so maybe Calvin got there first.

  47. Roland

    Read a book review today-going to get it.

    You might be interested :-

    Spoilt Rotten
    Theodore Dalrymple
    Publisher-Gibson Square.

    The author’s name is a pseudonym for Dr. Anthony Daniels, a retired NHS psychiatrist, who spent the last part of his career working in a Birmingham prison.

  48. Amber

    “Agreed, best ignore anything that says you are a social democrat ”

    I do-but I know why it thought so, which is the point.

    It just confirms my view that these labels are crude & unhelpful-and handy dividing lines for those who can only think, and relate to others in terms of them.

  49. Rob Sheffield,

    Thought?

    I know a guy called thought. He stuck a feather in the ground. He thought it would grow into a chicken and guess what? He sat there for six months and starved to death.

    AB is as clean as a whistle, you’ll have to do a bit better than thought.

  50. Eoin

    Look it up or repress it: its your choice ;-)

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