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. @Howard

    Point taken :-)

  2. @ Howard

    I would like Anthony to sneak in the question:

    Do you even know who any of these people are:

    Ed M
    David M
    Andy B
    Ed B.


  3. Rob S,

    Andy Burnham has never wrote a letter talking about the future direction the party and neglected to mention its leaders… it was a thinly veiled attack from a geek who has the emotional intelligence of his late father’s book case.

    You have nothin on AB and you know it.. are you forgetting his critique of the Miliband’s elitism.

  4. I’m -4.75 economic
    -2.97 social

  5. amber

    how do you do those smilely thing , do you need special software

  6. STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Amber
    I told you all what to do ages back. DM (yes I know who he is) is so far and away superior in every respect to the rest I cannot understand why they just don’t save you all a lot of money and time.

    I know who the Coalition fear most.

  8. BTW I was 3.2 something and 2. something. So proud to be alongside Ghandi and Dalai Lama (who my son met and conversed with on Gap year trek across India)

  9. I’m afraid I just beat Amber as most South-Westerly person:

    Economic Left/Right: -8.00
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26
    Total -14.26

    Richard in Norway

    Look here:

    ht tp://

    putting the t’s together. The columns in the table are mixed up, but you probably work out where things go.

  10. Howard,

    With all respect- his politics are quite close to yours.

    He is a fine statesman of the highest order. Commands respect, he is entirely ethical, cosmpolitan and considers himself a global citizen…

    He would fit right into the US Democrat Party like a glove.

    But what about housing? Welfare? Public services? These issues I fear he has less principles about. If we had a president instead of Queen- he would make an excellent Jaques Chirac but he is no Francois Mitterand.

  11. i’m -4.12 on econmics and only -5.23 on social

    but i don’t think it’s such a good test

  12. Howard
    “I know who the Coalition fear most.”

    Couldn’t thousands of Tories join the Labour Party and vote Diane Abbott in?

  13. Eoin
    I am sure DM is faithful to his wife so no, no Mitterand.

    If you have someone who is too up front on the issues you mention, your lot will not get elected. Eternal problem which is why you end up with gaitskells and blairs. If you get Smiths, remember 50% tax (funny that we’ve got it now anyway) you don’t get elected.

    My maxim is ‘get elected then do what you want’ like GB did.

  14. @all,

    As a closet surveyor (ok then reader) of the Daily Mail, I thoroughly reccommend this story…

    h ttp://–190-000-year-executive-quits-joins-growing-number-BBC-refuseniks-want-stay-South.html

  15. I must say the test is rather badly worded. There a lot of double or even treble negatives (yes I know I can talk), and I can see a lot of people choosing the opposite to what they wanted if they go too fast.

    Incidentally where various eminent people are on the scales is assessed by “experts”, so it might be way off the mark – I suspect a lot of politicians would come out a bit more authoritarian than they actually are.

  16. Pete B
    I had wondered whther the Tory ‘primaries’ might not have been packed with Lab supporters to vote in a no-hoper.

    They are jsut too honest for that.

  17. :) 8)

  18. roger

    thanks :-D :-d :-D

  19. @Social Liberal – …”people complain and criticize deficit spending even though it saved us from economic devastation”

    Yes, over here, over there, *and* down under – to the exclusion of all else during the run up to an election.

    What is evident that Obama will have to run very hard with a convincing narrative about why the deficit is worthwhile, otherwise it will be all about how long to pay it down, how “crippling” it will be to each and every man, woman and unborn child, how the bond markets will foreclose, how we will have to start eating our own legs to survive… be warned ;)

  20. just redid test and got -7.88/-5.79. Much more satisfying. I think if you do the test on FB and click cloud it averages your results with yout mates

  21. To add to Barnaby’s summary of religious effects in Scotland, I should say that the Labour Ex-Irish Catholic vote is very heavily concentrated in the West; former East Pakisitan separatists idenfy with the SNP, and the middle class Presbyterians of the established church formerly were overwhelmingly one-nation Conservatives in Harold McMillan’s time have gone over to Labour and the SNP. Thet were repelled by M******* T******* and her promotion of greed.

    Trident, Dawn Raids, Megrahi are issues which point them in the direction of the SNP and away from Labour.

    As for Englsh hatred, I have observed that for a generation or so before I ever considred lending the SNP my vote, every SNP spokesman have ever heard has condemned it with a truly remarkable degree of consistency in their absence of quaification, hesitation, or equivocation over many years and dozens of spokespersons.

    Cybernats and their Labour opponents do not reflect the views of the majority. My likely next SNP MSP, our neigbour, the Secretary of the local branch, and the SNP voter beside me are all English.

  22. Thought the political compass test was excellent – my results were

    Economic etc -7.50
    Social etc -5.33

    Total -12.83

    Felt this was about right for me!

  23. John Dick/Sue
    There was a few pages before an interesting discussion on class. When I was a young teacher I had a colleague Donovan Carlisle-Kitz. There was a staff-room discussion on whetther anyone would cound possh if you put there two parental names together. “Even Barney would ssound posh. What is your mother’s name.” “Murphy”. Barney Murphy-Crockett didn’t seem to make it.
    However was it David who labelled me Barent? That has a ring to it. And John Dick trying out Barnaby. You never know.
    But Sue first drunk in Moe’s bar? Oh well. Back to the drawing board

  24. I was at school with four people who later became MPs, of five parties and engaged in much debate with them. One of them accosted one day supported by a “noddy” in the manner of Mormon misionaries.

    The questions were to establish whether I was suitable material for the Young Conservatives.

    By these standards, the modern Conservative party is on the far left.

    “Would you trust –
    a [email protected]?”
    a half-caste
    a pure bred black man?

    (The “right” answers were No, No, and Maybe, because the first two had inherited moral turpitude, te third had not).

    The question that boggled me was not these, but “Would you let your daughter marry a black man.”

    It wasn’t the racism, or the fact that was ever only your daughter, not your son, but the LET and the notion that I could ever have a daughter that would let me not-let.

    My evolutionary purpose and duty is now to pass on my experiences to my granddaughter. She’s one of these eight year old combative feminists with a pink bicycle and helmet, trainers and shirt.

    It is going to be very difficult for me to get her to comprehend, bright as she is.

  25. Economic Left/Right: -0.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.36

    A bit worrying that a right-wing American compass has me as a Centrist!

    Questions are pretty dodgy. The one about believing in the availability of superior private healthcare was the one I’d single out. I strongly believe in the NHS, but equally I believe that people should be able to use private providers if they are willing to pay.


    Whilst one might validly critcise Miliband’s letter, I would also consider Brown’s loyalty in this equation. From 1994 onwards, Brown constantly stabbed Blair in the back, to the extent that it became a part of the Labour party culture. I find it hard to criticise such minor acts of disloyalty against someone who indulged in it so frequently.

    (For the record, I respected Gordon Brown and thought his response to the economic crisis was his finest hour, not his nadir).

    That said, I agree with Sue in that we should be look at what their visions are going forwards, not fixating on the old Blair/Brown divisions.

  26. On GB that was meant to read “I respected his conviction at times but felt he was more often a poor politician”…

  27. Barney

    Apologies: the result of too much card playing with small children.

  28. John Dick
    Comment on the concentration of Catholiks may give a slighly misleading impression in that the areas of reasonable concentration would cover where half the Scottish population lives. I have never heard of Bangladeshi support (East Pakistan seperatists) supporting the snp. All the snp Moslem supporters I have seen come from the Pakistani islamic trend eg Osaaama Saaed. You are right about the C of S establishment in the 50s but it was never the Conservative Party at prayer that was the C of E. There was too much disputaciousness. Elected as Moderator was Lord McLeod who’s views were germane to the discussion of religion, social action and politics. A teacher of mine, Jack Malloch registered the first no vote against a Moderator since the Reformation.

  29. We definitely need a poll, goodnight.

  30. Michael V,

    I am much more fixated on policy as it happens…

    Domestic policy in particular….

    Employment policy
    Gender issues

    I have trawled the archives for all five candidates views my ten main policy issues. This informs my decision as to who I will vote for….

    My reply to Rob followed two or three days of his baiting on the subject. In hindsight- I am very satisfied with myself for replying to his smears on Burnham.

    Feel free to go back and read the thread… he slurred AB first.

  31. @DavidB

    It’s fun, isn’t it. I was the highest scoring leftie/ liberal until I was overtaken by Roger Mexico. 8-)

  32. John Dick (and others)
    No worries about the name. I’m not at all precious. I think others here thought it was a pseudonym

  33. Barney,

    Cool photo

    h ttp://

  34. Barney

    “Jack Malloch registered the first no vote against a Moderator since the Reformation.”

    To be fair – Jack generally voted “No” to most things!

  35. @ Billy Bob

    The difference here is that Republicans really have no intention of cutting any spending. They are very unlikely to win control of either Congressional chamber on the hill in November (I’m kinda doubtful about how large a gain of seats they’ll actually get). But even if they did win control, they are not about to cut spending. Cutting spending would mean making major cuts in military spending and repealing some of Dubya’s tax credits (paid for with large loans from China…..good god what a stupid idea that is). That’s not something they’ll support. They’ll support spending cuts in terms of not extending unemployment insurance but that’s a fairly small amount of spending.

    What I’ve noticed is that the overwhelming majority of people don’t pay attention to the minor details of economics or the economy. They pay attention to their own personal feelings. Obama’s approval rating is still far higher than Ronald Reagan’s or Bill Clinton’s at this point in their respective presidencies because Obama still has the upper middle class and the wealthy strongly supporting him. Where Obama’s approval rating has slumped is among the white working class. This makes sense. The stock market has recovered and the upper middle class is doing well again and no longer in fear for their livelihoods. Obama gets credit for the financial reform package, for appointing Tim Geithner, and for generally calming the markets down. People have regained a lot of lost equity. But with unemployment still above 9% and with lackluster job growth, it is the working class and the lower middle class that is still feeling the effects of the recession and global economic crisis. I think this will play a large role in terms of which seats the Republicans pick up in November and which seats the Democrats hold.

    The biggest mistake that Obama made was allowing a stimulus that was far too small and too unfocused. The package was not big enough to stimulate great economic growth and because numerous members of Congress hijacked the bill to put in their own pork projects. That limited the positive effects of the stimulus. I blame Obama for this because he immediately rushed to compromise with Republicans who honestly had no interest in helping him pass anything.

    As for the Aussies, I think the way Rudd was treated may have had more to do with it. Labor still leads the popular vote in terms of second preferences. But it seems like different states had different results. Labor held most of their marginals outside of Queensland and gained three seats, one in New South Wales and two in Victoria. In fact, one seat, Hasluck, which was thought to have been won by the Liberals may still be held by Labor in Western Australia. One seat that is still in play but Labor might hold onto is Corangamite, which was a longtime Liberal stronghold won by Labor in 2007 on a huge swing in a massive upset. That seat is in Victoria I think.

    But where Labor got absolutely smashed was Queensland where they lost something like 17 seats. That happens to be the home of Kevin Rudd. It may be more than a coincidence. It’s possible that voters reacted to his shabby treatment and decided to rebel. They could have seen Rudd’s treatment as a way that the government would now treat their whole state. That may be one explanation.

  36. @ √Čoin,

    I can wholeheartedly confirm that it was all about policy for you… I remember having to convince you that Ed Balls didn’t have the majority he needed to be entirely safe.

    You also took a long hard look at Ed M before delving into AB’s policies, speeches etc. & making up your mind. I’ll be voting for Andy B in 1st & I’m glad you & Rebecca are too.

    He is the most electable. And hey, if we get DM this time & he doesn’t seal the deal with us & the voters, we’ll replace him with Yvette for the next but one. 8-)

  37. @ Eoin

    Fixated was probably a poor choice of words by myself, it wasn’t intended as a personal slur. I’ll probably be voting DM/AB anyway…

    Anyone know if/when there’s another poll of Labour members on the leadership?

  38. Howard
    Sorry if I am trying your patience but there was a very interesting poll on Scottish voting intentions… but no thread

    When I was his pupil he was pictured in the Press and Jornal being carried out of Queen’s Cross Church still calling “re-cant, re-cant” to the unfortunate minister who had slightly infringed the theology of the C of S

    You are characteristically too kind but like my posts, I aim for that under-stated dignity!

  39. The backs of Labour leaders have more perforations than a tea-bag; none of them ever goes until they choose to; or until the electorate decides.

    We simply don’t do coups. 8-)

  40. Michael,

    No worries at all. DM has recognised strenghs but none of them are out of AB’s reach given a few years to develop…

    I also feel more in tune with ABs moral compass.
    A poll of reds wud be gd….


    :) go raibh mile maith agat :)

  41. Barney,

    You should have explained your background in race relations and community work/equality. It makes a whole lot more sense that you felt your principles were of paramount importance. Hell I would too…

    Had Roland known that I venture to say he would have been a wee bit more magnanimous…. at least I hope he would.

  42. @ SocialLiberal

    RE: Your comments on Australia. I think UK Labour would’ve faced a backlash (2010 General election) in Scotland, if Gordon Brown had been pushed out by David Miliband.

    RE: Your comments about Obama not committing to a larger, more targeted stimulus package. Exactly the same thing happened here. Gordon Brown wanted to really go for it with investment to stimulate the construction industry & the general economy. He was held back by naysayers in his own party & media hysteria about the bond markets (which was mainly hyperbolic comparisons with economies that are dissimilar to the UK). 8-)

  43. Economic Left/Right: -6.00
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

    I’ve done it before, but interesting nonetheless. More interesting is the page analysing the parties’ positions and trends. The ever-increasing movement northeast by the LibDems demonstrates why my “natural” allegience to them was strained before the election, and has shattered since.

    The only 2 parties in my quadrant are Sinn Fein and the Greens. I’m disqualified from the former by location, nationality, and (non-)religion; and from the latter due to my fundamental disagreement with their overriding concern for – and catastrophist vision of – the environment, in preference to everyday human affairs.

    And Ghandi is dead, and Mandela retired.

    Whither shall I turn? Whence shall I travel?

  44. Eoin
    Race relations?
    I think the influence is indirect. I am a historian and believe with Gunter Grasse that “nothing is so bad it can’t happen”
    I have spoken to those from a village in the Kraina who lived harmonious lives with their neighbours until nasty comments started…
    I also have close friends who were involved in Bangldeshi independance…and friends who lived through the Biafran war.
    Reading your post about N Ireland I remembered Churchills comment that in a century’s time all of Europe would have changed except the un-dying hatreds of the villages of Tyrone and Fermanagh….but I may have mis-remembered it

  45. @ Amber

    Hyperbolic is exactly what many of these comparisons are. It was particularly galling to see Huhne, an economist, trying to draw parallels with Greece when he was attacking Labour with Warsi recently.

  46. michael v
    Cleeg did it again tonight on radio 4

  47. Barney,

    Churchill’s quote is very apt. I was able to escape the strong feeling on the subject b vritue of the fact that I am the lowest of all races.. (Itinerant). Whilst I shared the creed and proximinal culture of Ireland’s Catholics and Celts I also shared some differences…

    My grandmother ‘the Queen of the gypsies’ is quite renowned for her banjo exploits. Margaret Barry is her name I am very proud to say. Bottom line, I know a fair bit about racial inequality.

  48. @Barney Crockett

    As a matter of interest is that the Krajina of 1941 or 1990?

  49. Roger Mexico

    Is it fair to add the two together? I’m not so economic Left as you but my total is higher.

    -7.88 -6.56 Total 14.44

    I’ve often wondered why I find a political party to join.

    The cleverest man I know with ten pages of academic papers on algebra in two language (neither of which is his own) explained it to me:

    If I change my opinion, I’d want my party to change its opinion. Politca parties want it the other way round.

    Don’t be hard on Amber, out of misplaced loyalty she associates with people in the NewLabour party. Loyalty to a principle is one thing, loyalty to an organisation or a person has to be earned, not given on trust. Othrwise loyalty is a vice, not a virtue.

    Interesting that the centre-centre party is the SNP which is what they want because there are at least five other pro-independence parties competing.

    If the parties were blobs, not circles, what shape would they be? Comets or pears?

  50. Aleksander

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