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”

1 2 3 4 5 17
  1. MATT

    “That’s why I shall never save for old age”

    So who do expect to provide for it Matt?

  2. Amber

    Nice one-didn’t know that.

    So they’re all bust.

    State funding of political parties next on the agenda?

  3. @Colin,

    I don’t have enough coming in now, let alone old age!

    I don’t look too far ahead. I’m only 27, so old age seems a long way off when you’re my age. Any money you do get, you tend to spend (i.e. for bills) or have fun with.

  4. Matt

    Are you working -with a company pension scheme?

  5. Besides, I’m ok with not owning my own house etc. It’s just how things currently are for many young people with the job situation, and Iwe will have to be provided for by the government when we are old anyway. If we can’t all get decent salaries and buy a house, then that’s just life IMO. I guess I’m just easy-going and take things as they come.

  6. @ Roland,

    I know you only said all Scots were waiting for a handout to be controversial & for attention.

    Scottish regiments are some of the best/ toughest in the UK; a disproportionate number of Scottish lads are in the Paras & special forces.

    Nobody who has seen film (or actually seen the inside of) a Govan shipyard, Ravenscraig or a Scottish coalmine – even the opencast ones that are still in operation – can think that Scots are lazy or looking for handouts.

    When there was no work, we emigrated by the boatload to places like Canada & other frontier countries. We still brave the even greater hell that is London when there is no work to be found up here. 8-)

  7. Colin,

    No, unfortunately not. I’m currently searching for something. Have worked for a few companies in the past, mainly temp work. I hope something turns up soon!

  8. “Iwe will have to be provided for by the government when we are old anyway”

    Right-I’ll warn my grandchildren .

  9. MATT

    “I hope something turns up soon!”

    I hope so too.

    Its not easy at present.

    Better times soon I hope.

  10. @ Colin

    I think the Tory Party finances have improved recently, thanks to Lord Ashcroft.

    The problem for the Labour Party arose because they were in government for so long. Did you know that opposition parties do receive state funding but the governing party doesn’t?

    The Dems didn’t realise that they’d forego that state funding by joining a coalition. The Dems are in dire straits financially – worse than Labour.

    Prescott is simply rattling the tin well ahead of 2015. 8-)

  11. @Colin,

    “Right-I’ll warn my grandchildren .”

    LOL.

    Ignore some of the above comments. I was being facetious by highlighting the flaws with the current system and how it is being exploited. I applied this to how I should, if logic were applied, be thinking.

    The system annoys me. I think it’s very wrong that people can save all their lives and work damn hard and still see their house/savings taking away from them! It seems indefensible to me, and surely disincentivises saving. This is one of the main reasons why I am, and will always remain, a blue.

  12. @Colin,

    “Its not easy at present.

    Better times soon I hope.”

    Thanks mate. It’s nice to have another true blue on here.

  13. Colin/Matt,

    Yes I hope so too for you Matt. Your field is a growth field. Get a good CV together and put it in via email to recruitment consultancys. The bad stories you hear about them are not true. They are professional and courteous. You would have a few meetings within a short space of time. Have in mind what specifically you want (I know auditing/ tax are both areas of demand for employers)

    My sister runs her own patch in north Manchester… she assures me that you wont have any difficulties- not with your line of work.

  14. I consider The Mail as a instrument to get to the truth…whatever it says the opposite is true.

    I do not think the poll has any significance. It is just like Diana being ‘murdered’ or Creationism…despite the evidence to the contrary significant numbers of rational intelligent people believe in them.

    It shows just how often people come to conclusions by entirely subjective measures. When canvassing for Labour in the late 1990’s people would say ‘I can’t stand Tony Blair.’ When pressed, they not could state any reason why, or say something like ‘his eyes are too close together.’

    We are not always as rational as we would like to think.

  15. @AMBER
    I am not remotely interested in Scottish Regiments or English Regiments or Airborne Forces in this context.
    My point is economic and about my country’s support for another country. A country from which we get precious little thanks. To not be able to make this point without some politically correct obsessive calling me a racist does not do Scotland or Labour much credit.

    By the way since you bring it up, there are nearly as many Fijians in the Royal Regiment of Scotland these day as Scots.

  16. Amber

    “Did you know that opposition parties do receive state funding but the governing party doesn’t?”

    Yes I think I did.

    I don’t agree with State Funding of political parties-at all.

  17. “I consider The Mail as a instrument to get to the truth…whatever it says the opposite is true.”

    Yes, even as a Tory voter, I have to admit with that statement at times. I take everything in it with a huge pinch of salt.

  18. Colin/Amber

    It is £38 p.a. to be a Lab member

    Our Andy says he is going to reduce that…. make it a mass movement

  19. “It’s nice to have another true blue on here”

    It is Matt.

    There have been days on here when I have felt like General Custer. :-)

  20. @Eoin,

    Thanks for the advice. I certainly will keep up the search.

  21. Roland,

    They keep axing Scots regiments- I am surprised there any left… The Black Watch are a friendly bunch – if your a blue nose….

  22. @Colin,

    There have been days on here when I have felt like General Custer. :-)

    LOL. We can’t help being on the side that makes the most sense. It irks some people. :-)

  23. Matt
    “It irks some people”

    More chips than Harry Ramsdens sometimes ! :-)

  24. @ Colin

    FYI:
    Short money (opposition funding) is not available to the Government of the day. The Government can draw on the resources of the state, including the use of the Civil Service, to undertake its accountability to Parliament.

    In the financial year 2005-2006, the Conservative Party received over £4 million, the Liberal Democrats received around £1.5 million. Other parties with representation at Westminster received lesser amounts, dependent on votes cast and seats won.

    So in 2005/6 the Tory Party received at least £4M of taxpayer funding. Being in opposition for 13 years probably brought in around £50M from the taxpayers & they still needed a bail out from Lord Ashcroft & Co. 8-)

  25. Thanks Amber.

    Short money is to fund the functioning of an opposition.

    There seems to be some justification for that.

    But I would be against funding election costs etc. They should get into Parliament under their own steam.

    Then there is a state function to be considered.

    Short money came from the Wilson era.

  26. @Colin,

    “More chips than Harry Ramsdens sometimes ! :-)”

    :-)

  27. @ Matt

    There are no shortage of Blues posting on here. Honestly, I think the colour of postings is probably in proportion to VI.

    When I started posting, a few blues who recognised my name from Cif started giving me a hard time & telling me I wasn’t welcome. Anthony quickly sorted them out.
    8-)

  28. @ Roland Haines

    My point is economic and about my country’s support for another country.
    ———————————————————-
    ‘Your’ country does not subsidise mine. Scots pay more per head in taxes than the English do. JK Rowling takes our average up a lot. ;-)

  29. @ Colin

    Yes, I believe Short money was introduced in 1975.

    I, as you would expect, believe in state funding for political parties – otherwise you have a dictatorship in the making.

    I agree, additional funds for electioneering & party politics should be raised by the parties themselves. I am in favour of strick limits, strictly imposed. Elections shouldn’t be about who can spend the most.
    8-)

  30. @ Roland

    By the way since you bring it up, there are nearly as many Fijians in the Royal Regiment of Scotland these day as Scots.
    ———————————–
    That’s ’cause we are not racist or anti-immigrants.
    ;-)

  31. Roland Haines
    I am not going to flog a dead horse. My complaint is with Anthony for allowing your opinions on a site which claims to be of UK relevance but your wheedling post to Amber demanding she expresses an opinion is typical of your nasty bullying.
    You did not speak in your post about funding issues but said that the Scots as a nation lacked the stomach for challenges (unlike the English nation) and you have previously said that the Scots as a nation lacked balls (presumably manliness) and now can only ball (sic)(presumably a comment on their infantile nature) for more hand-outs from (presumably) the English people.
    In a petty sense such views are objectionable to me because they risk inflaming friction in Scotland in a way which I do not welcome politically but on a greater scale they risk feeding a profoundly dangerous “blood and soil nationalism”. Liberals (in the broadest sense) would be most un-wise to under-estimate the threat which is why regulation would quite definitely rule out such comment in even the worst of our press.
    My views are in no sense party political. This morning I put out a press comment congratulating the son of a Conservative colleague for his mention in the honours list for meritorious conduct in Afghanistan.
    I won’t be carrying on the argument

  32. @Amber,

    “There are no shortage of Blues posting on here. Honestly, I think the colour of postings is probably in proportion to VI.

    When I started posting, a few blues who recognised my name from Cif started giving me a hard time & telling me I wasn’t welcome. Anthony quickly sorted them out.
    8-)”

    Yes, you are quite right. There is a nice balance IMO. Despite a few relatively minor disputes over the past year, most contributors on here are pretty nice to each other. Besides, my girlfriend is a red, so I can’t dislike reds too much. 8-)

  33. Barney,

    My son is half scottish, I am a frequent visitor to Scotland and also a fellow celt. Bhi raibh me abailte ag labhairt en gealige…

    But I fear anyone who rises to another man’s bait misses the point. In the spirit of Voltaire a man’s opinions hsould always be heard. The drive opinions underground is much more dangerous. Covert ‘isms’ do much more harm in society. Blacks in the US are a case in point 1867, 1964, 1965 yeilded nothing but paperwork… The service through Harlem still runs out of schedule… the lighting on 34th street still twitches and blinks like the morse code… and the black lass for appalachia still has to bust a gut helpin mamma while tending to her studies…. Why? becuase prejudice in the US is concealed beneath 0.5 million crafty lawyers…

    Solution?

    Find the world’s biggest lavatory and park in on Brooklyn Bridge – flush em all out… make them post on forums, make them declare their allegiances… when ideas flourish so does conversation – when that happens bigotry ebbs away like the parting of the red sea… I have experienced sectariansim and racism that quite frankly make roland sound like Santa…

    What is the long and short of it? An ex soldier from Bucks aint fussed on Scots? well blow me down….

    You have one of the most vibrantly intellectual, cultural and historic civilisations on earth… As my mum taught me many years ago- if someone is poking fun at you it is because you have something that they do not.

    I may hate every word that is said but I defy the man who denies him his right to say it.

  34. Going back to conspiracy theories.
    The problem with them, apart from the one I mentioned earlier, is that we might end up going the way of the paranoid right in the US.
    Some right-wing US conspiracy theories doing the rounds at the moment;
    Trails from aircraft are the government gassing the population into submission.
    Troops from Australia, Canada, Mexico and the UK are already in the US to take over and reate a new world order.
    September 11th attacks were organised by the US government.
    Bird flu was created by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases as an attempt to control the population.
    A US Air Force ionosphere research program is an attempt to control minds of the population, or cause earthquakes or both.
    BTW Matt and Colin. Hardly makes the right look like “the side that makes the most sense”, does it? :)

  35. Julian

    Some of those sound distinctly left wing in character,

    But I think Matt had UK politics in mind anyway.

  36. @COLIN -“Some of those sound distinctly left wing in character.”
    No no no. They’re from your side I’m afraid. ;)
    “Matt had UK politics in mind anyway.”
    About time the UK right disowned their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.
    Now can I start to tell you some of the loony stuff being spouted from the opposite point of the compass by the Conservative’s friends in eastern Europe?

  37. Amber – I remember when I first posted, Roland and Paul Croft and Colin ganged up on me all day.

    AW sorted them out then, too if I remember.

  38. Sue,

    Croftie was a lefty lib? I’d have thought you two reasonably close on matters…. apart from his very poor choice in soccer teams

  39. Eoin,

    £38/year to be a member of the Labour party…
    It’s only £25/year to be a member of the “comedy club” in London… still I suppose you could say that even though the former are more expensive,
    they are laughable 24/7 365 days of the year (good value)!!

  40. Guardian – Lord Ashcroft to remain as deputy Tory Party chairman.
    A defeat for DC?

  41. Kelly knew more about WMD, or the lack thereof, in Iraq and former Eastern Bloc countries than any other living person.
    He had been involved in liasing with the media to use WMD as a pretext to increase pressure for stringent ‘inspection regimes’ over a long period of time.
    He had become a member of the Bahai faith/cult, and was in constant email contact with another US convert.
    He was under pressure to ‘expound’ his most current thinking… in an article for The Observer.
    He was having a personal crisis, and being uncommunicative.
    Sounds like something from a :) novel.

    I remember the ‘atmosphere’ at the time. Broadcasting House reviewing the newspapers for instance… everyone feeling uncomfortable to speak about what had happened… except Ester Rantzen, whose entire family are doctors, “Everyone knows it is impossible to commit suicide like that.”

    If it was “murder”, it would have been a blatant demonstration of power relations.

  42. Ester Rantzen, whose entire family are doctors, “Everyone knows it is impossible to commit suicide like that.”

    That’s that then – no argument with such convincing evidence.

  43. @Julian,

    About time the UK right disowned their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

    Eh? Since when were the crazy militia paranoiacs of the US the “counterparts” of the UK right?

    I am a lifelong (admittedly pretty liberal) Tory and I’d say that most of my counterparts in the USA would probably be in the Democratic Party. The US pivots at a completely different point on the axis than the UK and there is really no direct comparison to be made between left and right in each country. I suspect most Americans, even Democrats, would consider your own politics dangerously radical, despite your seeming (to me at least) like a pretty conventional and sensible proponent of the centre-left.

    The only people in the UK I have heard blame the US government for 9/11 are Islamists and the extreme left.

  44. I’ve popped in now and then as usual today and remark that it has been somewhat surreal on here, sometimes I doubted whether contributions were actually coming from the people specified.

    Neil A Could not the Ralph Nader supporters could be classified as somewhat to the left?

  45. @NEILA
    I agree with everything you wrote. By counterparts, I meant right-wing, but you’re right to say UK Tories are probably closer to the Democrats in the US i terms of policies.
    Strange then that in a poll in 2008, 59% of UK Tories they’d vote Republican.
    Tories who said they’d vote Democrats – 16%
    And why are the Tories still in an EU grouping with extremists from eastern Europe?

  46. “Some of those sound distinctly left wing in character,

    But I think Matt had UK politics in mind anyway.”

    Yes, Colin is right. So too is Neil A. As I’ve previously said, even the left wing party (i.e. Democrats) would probably be considered centre-right in the UK. Therefore, to make a direct comparison between the political orientations in both countries is just plain daft.

  47. @Howard,

    Well yes, but Ralph Nader gets around 0.5% of the popular vote. Americans generally hold views on most subjects that would place them in the Tory party (at least) if they were Brits.

  48. @NEILA
    Actually I don’t agree with everything you wrote.
    9 11 being caused by the US government is a favourite of the right in the US.
    I don’t blame you for wanting the right to disown it. I would to.

  49. @Julian Gilbert,

    “By counterparts, I meant right-wing, but you’re right to say UK Tories are probably closer to the Democrats in the US i terms of policies.
    Strange then that in a poll in 2008, 59% of UK Tories they’d vote Republican.”

    Since the vast majority:-

    1) Don’t live in America
    2) Don’t know much/anything about American politics.

    I’d take this with a pinch of salt.

    Also, the 59% figure hardly sounds like a resounding endorsement of right-wing US politics, does it? If anything, it shows that nearly half of the UK right wing-vote would either switch to a left-wing party, or wouldn’t be sure of their political allegiance if voting under the American system. This merely backs up what I, Colin and Neil A have said.

  50. @MATT -“If anything, it shows that nearly half of the UK right wing-vote would either switch to a left-wing party, or wouldn’t be sure of their political allegiance if voting under the American system. This merely backs up what I, Colin and Neil A have said.”
    No it doesn’t. It shows a clear majority of UK Tories would vote republican.
    A tiny minority (16%) would vote Democrat.
    These are not close figures.
    I can’t blame you for wanting to try to explain them away though. Especially considering who was US president in 2008!

1 2 3 4 5 17