The full tables for the YouGov Sunday Times poll are now available here.

The biggest chnk of questions were about Libya. 54% of people think that the government have responded badly to the situation in Libya, 59% think they have performed badly in protecting the safety of British citizens in Libya.

Asked about responses to the situation, 55% would support freezing Libyan assets in British banks. Only 21% though would support offering asylum to refugees fleeing from the country. On Gaddafi’s own fate, a majority (54%) think he should be tried by the International Criminal Court if overthrown, 24% that a new Libyan regime should try him. People were evenly split on whether a new regime would be justified in executing him – 35% think it would be justifed, 32% think it would not.

YouGov then asked some questions about Britain’s past relationship with Libya, in particular the attempts to normalise relationships over the last ten years. 40% think re-establishing positive diplomatic relations was the right thing to do, with 35% disagreeing. There is a similar split over trade links – 38% think it was right, 34% wrong. On some specifics, the majority (51%) of people thought it was right that British companies had invested in oil extraction in Libya, with only 21% objecting. However, only 7% thought it was right to have sold arms to Libya with 76% thinking it was wrong (later on the poll also asked if David Cameron was right to take representatives of arms companies on his Middle East tour – 62% thought it was wrong).

Summing it up, 45% think it was right that Britain tried to encourage a more positive relationship with Libya in the hope of encouraging reform, even if it ultimately failed. 39% thought it was wrong for Britain to have done deals with such a regime. There was no real party angle to this – answers were much the same for each party split, and most people think the Conservatives would have done exactly the same as Labour had they been in power at the time.

Finally on Libya, YouGov asked if Britain should request the return of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from any new Libyan regime. People were exactly split – 39% thought we should, 39% think we shouldn’t.


125 Responses to “YouGov on Britain and Libya”

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  1. 150 people a year are killed by falling coconuts. UK citizens stand more chance of meeting death in this manner than at the hands of a Libyan of any political persuasion. The press have over-hyped the risk to UK citizens beyond all imagination. Watch out for those coconuts I tell ya…..

  2. I read a little more on my falling coconut theory, I must take back my vodoo stats! :) Sorry! This is the only man I can confirm was killed by a falling coco!

    http://laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=364570&CategoryId=12393

    I hope people get the point I was trying to make, even if I made it very poorly :)

  3. Actually, I have been rather harsh on myself…. I am uncovering quite a lot more deaths caused through falling coconuts! :)

  4. Who Dares Wins (Moto of the SAS)

    I doubt that a poll taken today would be so critical of the Govt’s reaction to the Li byan crisis after the daring desert rescue mission by the RAF/SAS/SBS.

    As I have speculated before on this site, Cameron, for all his faults, is the man for a crisis. He acts quickly boldly and decisively and siezes the moment.

    This is at least the 4th time he has done so, as follows:

    1. To gain leadership of the Tories with his barnstorming conference speech.
    2. Calling GB’s bluff when GB, well ahead in the polls at the time, was about to call a snap GE in 2007.
    3. After the GE to form the coalition.
    4. And now having the nuts to authorise the daring rescue mission.

    At the moment he stands head and sholders above all other politicians in the UK, and many on the international stage, IMO.

  5. John Fletcher
    Thanks for your non partisan contribution.

    Have you read ‘Scoop’ by Evelyn Waugh?

  6. @ Howard.

    Ref Scoop. Yes a long time ago though.

    Ref Partisan. Can you think of a current British politician who can match DC at the moment?

  7. @John Fletcher
    If the comparison is with Berlusconi, Merkel and Sarkozy, then you are obviously right, DC is a star compared to that pathetic bunch.
    Shame to Chavez and Ortega, and this comes from a lefty. You are a disgrace to all those who believe in socialism as a better democratic system combining civil liberties with social justice and not as an Orwellian prison. Hope you are next to fall, after the dictators that you so eagerly support.

  8. “Can you think of a current British politician who can match DC at the moment?”

    Several hundred of them.

  9. @ Virgilio

    Thank you for your comment. It is good to see someone with socialist views able to take an objective view of politicians whatever their ppolitical hue.

    My wife is Colombian so we follow events in Venezuela closely. I suspect Chavez is watching events in the Middle East closely and beefing up his security aparatus as we write.

  10. Sorry couldn’t resist making an equally ridiculous comment.

    It’s probably true that Cameron returned from his travelling saleman trip to find a complete shambles and kicked some @rses. But that’s hardly great leadership, more a sign of the contrary.

    If this was such a “daring” rescue, how come the French and Russians there several days earlier? And is it really that daring to fly to an airfield and then take off again?

    The portrayal of this as some complex military operation is clearly an attempt to salvage something from the appalling PR earlier in the week. The whole fiasco is going to add to the impression of this being an incompetent government, and I suspect we’ll see Labour’s lead widening next week, especially since parliament will be back and everyone will suddenly remember about the cuts that are coming…

  11. I have no idea of the details of the SAS daring rescue of Brits from Libya, but I suspect it is just a tad overblown.

    John Flecher
    “This is at least the 4th time he has done so, as follows:
    1. To gain leadership of the Tories with his barnstorming conference speech.
    2. Calling GB’s bluff when GB, well ahead in the polls at the time, was about to call a snap GE in 2007.
    3. After the GE to form the coalition.
    4. And now having the nuts to authorise the daring rescue mission.”

    Oh be serious! The first three are laughable and the last onoly demonstrates the desparate measures DC thought were needed.

    We have yet to see how DC responds and deals with a real crisis.

  12. @ Robin

    The portrayal of this as some complex military operation is clearly an attempt to salvage something from the appalling PR earlier in the week
    ________________________________________

    I served as a Para (Signals) for 15 years, so I have some idea of the complexity and dangers in such an operation and believe me they are huge.

    You, I suspect have no military experience so IMO you are not qualified to comment on a miltary operation of this nature.

  13. @John Fletcher

    I repeat. Why were the French and Russians there several days earlier?

  14. @ Mike N

    ! The first three are laughable
    _________________________________________

    The first two were not a crisis for the country true, but they were a crisis for him personally or the Tory party and in both cases he acted swiftly and decisivly which was the point I was making.

    On forming a coalition, one could argue that not having a fuctioning government whilst the Greek economy was collapsing and there was a danger of a run on the pound was pretty dangerous.

    As for the rescue mission please see my previous comment to Robin.

  15. @ Robin.

    As far as I know no French or Russian planes have rescued anyone from the desert interior of Libya.

    If you know of such missions I would appreciate if you could supply your sources.

    Thank you

  16. John Fletcher
    When DC found there was no Con OM he had few choices, and it beggars belief that he chose to enter coaltion simply because of the Greek tragedy.

    He did what was right for himself, IMO. (No criticism intended, btw.)

  17. @ Mike N
    He did what was right for himself, IMO. (No criticism intended, btw.)

    _____________________________________

    My point was that DC has shown himself capable of swift and decisive action. I was not suggesting he always did this for alturistic reasons.

    On this point might we agree? :D

  18. I agree that if we lived in happier times (no cuts, low inflation) DC would be enjoying something like a honeymoon, and the Conservatives might well still be ahead of Labour. Not as happy a situation as first-term Blair, but easily better than the “pathetic bunch” as above. It’s just that we are not in those happy times.

    As for the points above, it is arguable (at least) that DC had little choice in all but the first one. I mean, he absolutely had to stop that November election or else risk another 5 years in the wilderness, so talked about EU referenda, cast iron guarantees, etc. The aftermath of that promise was less happy for DC’s reputation, probably costing him an overall majority.

  19. John Fletcher
    “My point was that DC has shown himself capable of swift and decisive action.”

    No I cannot agree with this as the evidence to support this is patchy.

    “I was not suggesting he always did this for alturistic reasons.”

    I cannot disagree. ;-)

  20. Feb 21:
    “Meanwhile, two helicopters and two fighter jets from Libya landed in Malta.

    The helicopter was said to be carrying French oil workers.”

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12523669

    Also, yesterday’s trip was so daring that the French did it too:

    “Also yesterday a French military flight flew in to the oil fields area and rescued 122 civilians.”

    h ttp://news.scotsman.com/news/Daring-Libya-raid-rescues-oil.6725171.jp

    I’m not doubting that significant planning and precautions are needed. But nor am I aware of any evidence that there was ever any appreciable risk.

  21. @ Robin

    If this was such a “daring” rescue, how come the French and Russians there several days earlier? And is it really that daring to fly to an airfield and then take off again?

    __________________________________________

    Your first source says two helicopters landed in Malta with French Oil workers. It does not say where they flew from. Nor does it say who the helicopters belonged to. I suspect they were already on the ground whe the “revolution” started so the workers simply climbed on board and flew off. This is competely different to mounting an in/out operation. Added to this I doubt if helicopters have the fuel range to go from Malta to the desert locations and back.

    The second source says the French operation was yesterday at the same time as the British operation and not as your original post said “several days earlier”

    What happend to the Russians?

  22. i think the turks have done the best job of getting their people out

    i think it might be that they did not outsource

    the SAS thing is a PR overkill, but few will forget the shambles that went before

    mind you considering that the brits working in libya are not paying tax, what do they expect

  23. @ Richard In Norway

    mind you considering that the brits working in libya are not paying tax, what do they expect

    __________________________________________

    Ah! but they are still kith and kin. :D

  24. @ VIRGILIO

    “Shame to Chavez and Ortega, and this comes from a lefty. You are a disgrace to all those who believe in socialism as a better democratic system combining civil liberties with social justice and not as an Orwellian prison. Hope you are next to fall, after the dictators that you so eagerly support.”

    What a refreshing thing to hear from the Left Virgilio.
    WE can disagree on political philosophy-but when we can agree on the nature of dictatorship it is a very good thing.

    RE Libya, I saw the Sky report this morning from a hospital in Eastern Libya.

    The local doctors highlighted the wounds they were treating-from anti-aircraft weapons. If they hit you in the trunk you are blown apart. If they hit your legs or arms, you lose that limb. THe Ambulances outside had been shot up.

    In this town citizens had formed committees to ensure the conduct of civil society-amazing.THose people deserve their freedom & our respect.

    UN states “over” 1000 deaths to date . I would not want to be a foreign national on the streets of Tripoli now that Gaddafi has armed his civilian supporters to join his Sub-Saharan murder squads.

    THe Irish woman resident of that city screaming
    for international help at her Sky interviewer live on TV would happily have traded her situation for a cococnut tree somewhere.

    The UN should be pouring medical supplies in from Egypt, and setting up that No Fly Zone .

  25. John

    “Ah! but they are still kith and kin”

    Most of those interviewed seemed to be Scots-foreign nationals who pay no tax ;-)

    Still-I expect it was worth it as a training excercise :-)

  26. @ Robin

    I have done a little more research on the French rescue mission yesterday

    htt //news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110226/ap_on_bi_ge/libya_evacuations

    The above source would suggest it flew from Tripoli with the Emabssy Staff and not as the Scotsman suggests the desert.

  27. “I’m not doubting that significant planning and precautions are needed. But nor am I aware of any evidence that there was ever any appreciable risk.”

    Not to you I assume Robin?

    No risk whatsoever.

  28. My final word on the subject.

    My original comment was based on a Radio 4 interview, via mobile phone, with an oil worker in the desert. He said explicitly that we wanted to know where the Brits were when the French and Russians had been and gone.

    The links I posted were what I could find after perhaps 10 seconds Googling. I make no apologies for (a) repeating a first-hand report and (b) doubting self-serving claims that this was a daring rescue.

  29. @John Fletcher:

    Your account of DC makes a fair point but ignores inconvenient facts….

    I don’t think he called anyone’s bluff over the election in 2007. It wasn’t his bluff to call. Brown lost his nerve…if to be fair to him he ever had any nerve…his career was a long excercise avoiding risk…

    If DC’s judgmenet was so sound how come he dithered all over the place both of tax and spending before the banks’ crash and how to deal with the crash and its aftermath.

    The jury is out on his response to the deficit…

    Thus, far he’s shown himself adept at heading off political problems when they become apparent…it’s no mean talent and not one to be underestimated…Ronald Regan illustrates that point.

    Going to the middle East with bevy defence contractors hardly seems to catch the wind of change let alone make the weather….

    And many of his best moments are putting right policies that were his government’s to begin with….and surely the time will come when we’ll no longer applaud the amplomb with which he drops policies but ask why they were his policies to begin with….

    And that way the NHS will be a proving ground….

    I applauded Blair on Kosovo and I applaud Cameron for the rescue and the SAS for their bravery…

    But real politique aside there is some irony in DC giving a speech on the benefits of democracy in Kuwait where the west fought and won a war to bring democracy to a state….

    Twenty years on the kindest decsription of the government there might be an enlightened despotism….surrounded by other despotisms considerably less enlightened.

    When we couldn’t even make Kuwait a beacon of democracy you can see why many think it was never our intention so to do….anywhere in the Middle East….

    And at the end of the day we’ve plenty of advice to bestow on those who’ve got rid of their dectators but still plenty of weaponry to sell the dictators who still stand…

  30. John Fletcher – in one sense I don’t object to comments saying they think politicans are doing a good job as much as rants about how awful they are (it leads to a much better atmosphere!).

    However, sadly they do tend to provoke partisan rebuttals from the other side who view it as a partisan comment, so they are probably still best avoided.

    (And everyone else, if you see a comment that you view as a transparent partisan shill for the commenter’s own party leader, please resist the urge to rebut it!)

  31. @ John Murphy.

    Ref DC. In my original post I did say “for all his faults” many of which I freely acknowledge.

    My point was that he is capable of sppedy, decisive action when required and that at the moment there is no politican in the UK to touch him. I am open to suggestions though.

    He decided to run a corporate style of government and let his ministers take responsibility. In some cases his ministers have really proved themselves (Fox, Osbourne & Alexander in IMO) others have been a let down (Hague & Spelman again IMO), He has now realised that there needs to be a far more hands on approach from No10 to avoid too many more traps and U turns so I expect to see an improvement in this area.

    Faced we the defecit and his belief that he needs to rebalance the economy transfering at 1 million employees from the state to the private sector he decided to become a salesman for British business. Unfortunately sellers, like beggars, can’t be too choosy, and many of our potential markets are governed by regimes that are less than perfect. Of course Blair and Brown were no better cosying up to Gaddafi, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

    In future I hope he chooses to be far more low profile when we seek to do business with these states.

  32. @ Anthony Wells

    so they are probably still best avoided.
    ______________________________________

    I’ll try. :D

  33. It is perhaps difficult to see the circumstances in which Gaddafi & his sons might actually end up in front of the International Court of JUstice.

    MOst commentators on Al Jazeera have him taking his own life first.

    But if he does finish up at The Hague, he will presumably want to implicate a few western political leaders in anything he is accused of.

    Could make for an interesting trial.

  34. @John Fletcher

    Although I am not a great fan of David Cameron (too middle of the road for me), I totally agree with your post that he is way above anybody else in active politics in the UK at the moment.

  35. @ The Other Howard.

    Thank you :D

  36. @ John Fletcher

    David Cameron is -6 in [un]popularity (up 2 from last poll)

    Ed Miliband is -15 (up 1 from last poll).

    Alex Salmond was at something like +14 last time I checked; Old Nat will be along shortly to tell you the latest popularity number for AS.
    8-)

  37. @ Amberstar

    Alex Salmond was at something like +14 last time I checked;

    _____________________________________

    popularity with the Scots or Britain as a whole?

  38. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Alex Salmond question to the whole of GB.

  39. All I’ll say about the “Libya Rescue” situation (given AW’s appeal) is that those who blame failures on cabinet ministers seem extremely unwilling to credit successes to cabinet ministers.

    This doesn’t surprise me, it is a common attitude throughout public service. “If I do well it’s to my own credit, if I f*** up it’s the boss’s fault”.

  40. To change the subject – I am wondering what the dynamics of Irish politics will be once the expected FG-Labour coalition is in place. It will have such an overwhelming majority, and such a strange collection of opponents.

    Is it likely that FF would consider coordinating their opposition to the government with the other opposition TDs? Would they want to be seen to have anything to do with FF given that most of them were elected on a wave of anti-FF sentiment?

    Will FF tack to the left? Will they stick to their guns and criticise the new government for not being ruthless enough on deficit reduction?

    Will the PBP and Socialist TDs fall under the sway of SF in a sort of “left alliance”? Will SF concentrate wholly on anti-cuts, socialist politics and put Republican objectives to one side for the time being (possibly aligning themselves with similar movements outside the RoI, including Labour in the UK?)

    For a very small country, it has the potential to be a very interesting political sandpit. One has to assume that the new government will eventually suffer the Cameron-Clegg fate when people realise that nothing much has (or can) changed in the Republic’s economic fortunes. It is hard to see FF benefiting politically, but then one might have thought that of Labour in the UK (hence the question about whether FF might tack left).

    Could SF have positioned themselves for a truly breathtaking rise, as the sole leftist party in opposition at a time of huge cuts by an increasingly unpopular new government?

  41. From earlier thread
    @ CROSSBAT11
    ‘Labour won the 1950 election by a 6% vote share margin and by one and a half million votes. That’s worth repeating. One and a half million votes. This decisive popular vote win converted into a wafer thin five seat parliamentary majority. ‘

    This did not coincide with mu recollection of the 1950 data – so I have checked it out.
    The 1950 election figures were as follows :

    Labour 13,266,592 46.1% 315 seats
    Con 12,502,567 43.5% 297 sears
    Lib 2,621,548 9.1% 9 seats

    Thus, the Labour lead as just 2.6% – and just over 750,00 in the popular vote.
    A 6% lead in the UK vote was achieved by Labour in 1966 – 7.3% in GB. Perhaps 1950 and 1966 have been mixed up somehow?

  42. My projection of the ROI election: Lab 37, FG 76, FF 19, SF 15, Ind 15, Others 4. It’s really going to have to be a Lab/FG Coalition, FG need to grab a couple more at least to change that.

  43. Would you support or oppose a ban on very thin
    models (so called “size-zero” models) appearing
    on fashion catwalks?

    Support 63%

    Our liking for the ‘nanny’ state is alive & well. ;-)
    We would like a ban on fashion models who are ‘too thin’.

  44. @AmberStar

    perhaps let the market decide that one

  45. keith

    i think the market is fixed in this case

    but seeing as i don’t buy womens clothing, at least not for myself, i’m probably not the best judge

  46. Size Zero is a women’s clothing size used in the US. It is equivalent to a UK size 4.

    Size Zero bust size is 31.5 inches (80 cm), waist 23 inches (60 cm) and hips 34 inches (86 cm). To put this into perspective, the average waist size of a British eight-year-old is 22 inches (56 cm).

    In an adult this is the totally starved look .

    In 2006 two models died trying to achieve it.

    The World Health Organisation, doctors and women’s groups are concerned that the use of underweight models sends out dangerously wrong signals to girls who look at models as role models.

    The Model Health Inquiry report 2007 indicated that up to 40 per cent of models could have an eating disorder.

    The 63% in this Poll who want to avoid these effects seem to have a very good case.

    The Fashion Industry appears to disagree.

  47. @ NEILA

    “when people realise that nothing much has (or can) changed in the Republic’s economic fortunes”

    As I understand it SF has offered the prospect that a lot can change.

    Sinn Féin urged unilateral repudiation of the debt and more borrowing.

    If SF look like getting anywhere near government in ROI, the reaction in EU & international money markets will certainly be interesting :-)

  48. @Colin,

    Yup but SF have a couple of years during which they can pretend those policies are a realistic course of action without the markets getting spooked (because they’re so far from power). That’s a nice window to maybe get themselves up to 25% plus support.

  49. @ Colin

    I think SF’s point is: It is under-writing the banks’ debt they are against, not ROI’s. I don’t think they are repudiating ROI’s government debt. Similar to the Iceland dilemma.

    I am open to be corrected on this because I am not 100% certain.
    8-)

  50. I think on an earlier thread Eoin said THat FG were right of centre, Conservative like. If they are going into coalition with Labour (or may do), is the Irish Labour party much more right wing than the UK Labour party? I find it hard to believe that the UK Tories & UK Labour would ever agree a coalition. Deficit responsibility v. Deficit deniers & big nanny state v. minimal state/personal responsibility?

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