The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. The improved Conservative position in voting intention was echoed by improved ratings for David Cameron – his approval rating is now neutral, with 47% thinking he is doing well, 47% badly (the first time he’s been out of negative territory since January).

On the specific budget questions, people were pretty evenly split on whether the budget made the right or wrong decisions for the country (34% thought it was right, 37% wrong) but tend to think it would be bad for them personally – 41% though it was wrong for them, only 25% right.

Only 15% said it made them more confident about the future, compared to 43% saying it made them less confident. There isn’t actually much change to overall economic confidence compared to last week (last week only 11% expected their financial position to get better over the next 12 months, now only 10% do), but people are generally a lot more pessimistic than last year about whether the government’s policies will help. Most people (59%) think unemployment will increase in the next year or two, 57% think inflation won’t come down, 59% think poverty will increase. Only 27% think the government’s measures will make the economy grow faster in the long run…

That said, people still trust Cameron and Osborne to run the economy more than they do Miliband and Balls (39% for Cameron & Osborne, 30% for Miliband & Balls).

On the cuts, 29% think the cuts are right (25%), or not deep enough (4%). 29% think the size of the cuts is correct, but they are being done too fast. 15% think the cuts are too large, and there should be tax rises instead, 14% that neither large cuts nor tax rises are necessary.

Amongst Conservative supporters, 70% think cuts are right or too small, 23% think they are right but too fast, only 3% think they are too large. Amongst Labour supporters only 3% think they are right or too small, 32% think they are right but too fast, 30% would prefer smaller cuts and more tax rises, 27% don’t think either large cuts or tax rises are necessary.

On the specific issue of petrol prices, the majority of people (54%) put the blame for high prices on the government for the high level of tax, followed by 21% who blame the instability in the Middle East. Comparatively few people (11%) blame oil companies themselves.

Turning to the issue of Libya 50% now think David Cameron has responded well to the situation in Libya, 35% badly. This is considerably up on last week when 37% thought he was doing well and 44% badly. 45% now think we are right to take action in Libya, 35% wrong. 30% of people think it would be legitimate to deploy ground troops in Libya. Of course, that’s not the same as actually doing it – only 23% think it is worth risking the lives of British servicemen.

Note that while YouGov are consistently showing more people supporting than opposing the action in Libya, ComRes are still showing the opposite, this week they found 35% in support and 45% opposed. One of the reasons for the difference is probably the wording – ComRes ask if it is right for the UK to take action, YouGov ask if it is right for the UK, USA and France to take action. Another one may be question order – YouGov ask the right or wrong question about Libya by itself, ComRes ask it as part of a grid along with the other four questions they ask on Libya, with the order rotated – hence the majority of people would answer the question about British armed forces risking death or injury before answering the question about whether the action is right or wrong.


152 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Argh forgot the ‘/’ again second para was:

    Actually one of the interesting points from today’s YouGov was that 5% of all respondents are claiming Yes, I have taken part in protests or demonstrations against the cuts. And that includes 2% of all Tory voters (4% of Lib Dems; 8% of Labour).

    Incidentally that’s current voters. The figures are 3% Con; 7% Lab; 5% LD according to 2010’s votes. So participation may be having some effect in moving voters away from the Coalition and to Labour.

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    I’m not sure that promising an In/Out EU referendum is a trick
    _________________________________________

    True but a referendum on leaving the ECHR and replacing it with a British Bill might do the trick.

    _______________________________________

    Given that Nick OK was at the march and you weren’t, it’s a bit much to overrule him and claim it was just ‘the usual suspects’

    If he has no vested interest and will be unaffected by the cuts then he has my unreserved apologies.

  3. A fellow called Kit Malthouse who is Deputy Mayor of London and Chair of the Met Police Authority let slip during an interview on the BBC this morning that the police estimate of atterndance was 400,000 although they don’t make ‘official’ number estimates at these events anymore! This makes it one of the biggest demonstrations of the last 50 years as well as one of the most socially diverse ever. As people have said above, the Coalition ignore this event and future even bigger ones at their peril.

  4. &DavidB
    About the same turnout as the Countyside Alliance March supporting Field Sports then! I seem to remember that was ignored by the then government.

    The Government is rightly trying to clear up Labours economic mess for the benefit of all the people and if they have any sense at all they will ignore a March which was supported by so many self interested economic illiterates waving “No Cuts” banners. Even Labour know there have to be massive cuts although they desperatly try not to spell out where they would make them!

  5. @Nick OK,

    Do you believe there should be no cuts in public expenditure?

  6. The ‘blessed’ Vince has done several media interviews over the past seven days and no longer is it the ‘blessed’ Vince, it’s the ‘blessed ‘ Wince’ !

    He seems to have bought into the Conservative propoganda machine more enthusiastically than many Conservatives. He’s happy to see the disappearance of the 50p tax band, despite the fact that he himself is a pensioner he’s happy to see pensioners excluded from the income tax allowance hike and today I read that he’s instructed the Arts and Humanities Funding Council that there must be a significant ‘Big Society’ element in all reseqarch being funded.

    To think that a man with a rich academic history and a doctorate to boot could connive at this sort of intereference in academic freedom is amazing. Most people’s intellectual abilities do not decline after they reach retirement age if they remain active but I fel that in Vince’s case the burden he has taken on may be impairing his judgement – but of course I maybe wrong.

  7. Have you listened to the excellent Andrew Lansley rap by DJ NxtGen on You Tube?

  8. @Vergilio

    “The worst-case scenario becomes reality for Frau Merkel. According to both exit polls, in Baden-Wurttemberg State Election incumbent center-right coalition gets 43% (38 CDU + 5 FDP) and Red-Green alliance 48% and OM. (Green 24,5 and Red 23,5).”

    That’s an extraordinary result for the Red/Green alliance, isn’t it? Baden- Wurttemberg is the German equivalent of Henley-On-Thames, I would have thought, and this result, if true, must send a chill through Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition. Like Sarkozy’s government is finding in France, it would appear that something significant may well be going on now in the continental European economic powerhouses of France and Germany. Sarkozy is besieged from the far right and a slowly recovering, if still divided left and Merkel is now haemorrhaging support to an alliance of Greens and the left.

    Sarkozy has been an unimpressive French President but Merkel, I have to say, has proved a sure-footed and resourceful German Chancellor and, as much as I disagree with her politics, she has shown leadership on the financial and banking crisis that has beset Europe and has taken a principled and wholly correct stand on Libya. She has also navigated her country through a deeper recession than the UK suffered and wouldn’t it be ironic if, having done that in coalition with her traditional centre left opponents, she now comes to electoral grief whilst in coalition with her more ideologically compatible partners!

    By the way, Vergilio, many thanks for your fascinating and illuminating updates from Europe. You could become our new Alistair Cook with your “Letter from Europe”!

  9. Libya again (At last, a country which is more interested in a cease-fire than bombing people)

    The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signalled that Turkey is ready to act as a mediator to broker an early ceasefire in Libya, as he warned that a drawn-out conflict risked turning the country into a “second Iraq” or “another Afghanistan” with devastating repercussions both for Libya and the Nato states leading the intervention.

    In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Erdogan said that talks were still under way with Muammar Gaddafi’s government and the Transitional National Council. He also revealed that Turkey is about to take over the running of the rebel-held Benghazi harbour and airport to facilitate humanitarian aid, in agreement with Nato.
    ———————————————————–
    Good luck to Turkey; I hope they succeed in negotiating a cease-fire.
    8-)

  10. Isn’t a NATO country running a Libyan port “occupation by foreign forces” in contravention of the UN resolution?

  11. Amber,

    go Turkey! :) May the boldly go where only big Hugo dare venture :)

  12. @ the Other Howard

    I do find it strange to still see comments on the lines that Labour created an economic mess. I do not quite understand how Gordon brown is supposed to have engineered the collapse of Lehman Brother in the USA. It was the world-wide banking crisis that created the current economic mess, and only by tackling that will there be a long-term solution. It really is time to stop playing politiclal football with this issue. The international community has to find a permanent solution to the fix the banking structures that created this madness, or it will happen again.

    This plays into the Libya crisis too – I regret that no-one would give a damn if it was not for the oil and the strategic position of that country. After all there been no internvention in to the Congo.

    International trade in commodities and money is the root cause of so much evil in the world today. Greed caused the world-wide economic breakdown, and greed is responsible for both propping up dictators, and pulling them down. SImple humanitarian concern at suffering scarcely raises an eye-brow in International Governmental forums.

    As to Labour’s role in all this – UK national debt fell from 43% of GDP to 37% of GDP from 1997 to 2009 – the eve of the world-wide banking collapse.

  13. @Crosbat11
    I agree on the merits of A. Merkel, even if I do not subscribe to her political views. But she had the bad luck to be confronted with a climate of profound mutations and realignments on multiple levels (ecological issues, democratic upheavals in the Arab world, financial crisis, the deficit problem of European South and Eire, etc) which call for a personality with greater imagination and charisma, which she obviously does not have. The victory of the Greens in the industrial heart of Eurozone brings forward broader issues which call for a rethinking of the whole pattern of European development, and in that sense it is a (pacific) revolution comparable to the more violent ones that shake now the Arab-islamic world.
    As for Sarkozy, he proved to be the greatest deception, even for right-wing supporters. Tonight was a bad Sunday for him as well: in the 2nd round of cantonal elections, the Left Alliance confirmed its success of last Sunday, garnering 50% of the votes (35% for the whole center-right, which is not entirely pro-Sarkozy and 11% for National Front). On the basis of these results, more than 60 out of 100 general (departmental) coucils will have a left majority. Moreover, an Ipsos poll showed that in the forthcoming Presidential Election of 2012 Sarkozy would not even make it to the second round (Socialist candidates from 22 to 34, depending of the candidate chosen to represent the party, Marine LePen 21-22 and Sarkozy 17 to 20).

  14. @Eric Goodyer

    ‘ After all there been no internvention in to the Congo.’

    A strange choice of country to make your point as Congo is rich in cobalt, copper and diamonds. Men have killed for less.

  15. Thats a pretty paltry fall in the national debt in 12 years of good economic conditions. Nothing like as much as it has proved to raise in the bad years, so clearly it was not cut enough: I dont think thats anything to be proud of tbh.

  16. @ Neil A

    I believe Turkey plans to obtain consent from both sides in Libya to run the port.

    At this time, Turkey seems to be the only country who has diplomatic credibility with both the ‘rebel’ council & the ruling government of Libya.
    8-)

  17. @ Neil A

    The Turkish government, which is a close neighbour of Libya, has the second largest armed forces within Nato. Importantly, Turkey is a muslim country & hasn’t been involved, militarily, in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    8-)

  18. Erdogan said “Turkey’s role will be to withdraw from Libya as soon as possible” and “restore the unity and integrity of the country based on the democratic demands of the people”,

    Absolutely !-over to you Gadaffi :-)

  19. But of course it’s thanks to imperialist Christian crusader baby-murderers that there is still a Benghazi to land supplies in, and Benghazans to feed it too.

    Still surprised that you agree with breaching the terms of the resolution, though.

  20. @Joe – “Thats a pretty paltry fall in the national debt in 12 years of good economic conditions.”

    It would be, if you omit to mention the substantial social deficit (or public service mess for the more partisan) Labour inherited in 1997. Possibly you take for granted many of the things we see now in terms of increased police numbers, much shorter NHS waiting lists and many excellent Sure Start services as examples, but the picture in 1997 was in the main pretty diabolical.

    Labour’s mistake was largely to get far too close to the City and big business and fail to correctly identify risks to the economic system. They weren’t alone in this, either in the UK or globally – even Cameron agreed that the public finances were fine right up to the banking crash.

    There’s also a case to argue in my view that they developed the state to do too much and lacked a clear sense of value for money in some areas, but in the main their mission was to try to repair decades of underinvestment in the social structure of the nation – something that had suffered under both Tory and Labour administrations previously.

    Governments of various hues have managed to improve public services or public finances, but none to date have managed to do both. Labour’s bad luck was to be at the helm when a 25 year global experiment in financial mismanagement broke wide open, but prior to this they had reduced the debt ratio and in general improved public services.

  21. @Alec

    “It would be, if you omit to mention the substantial social deficit (or public service mess for the more partisan) Labour inherited in 1997”

    I remember those days very well. My eldest son started school in 1994 and, at the time, his primary school was having a whip round amongst parents to repair a leaking classroom roof and to buy textbooks. Ten years later, the school had a new classroom block and well stocked library. My wife is a nurse and worked in the NHS throughout the Thatcher and Major years. She voted Conservative in the 1979 election having been put off Labour by the Winter of Discontent. By the late 1980s, having seen at first hand the crumbling and overcrowded wards, chronic under-staffing and lengthening waiting lists, her anger and disillusionment made her more anti-Tory than me!

    As the electorate queued up to give Brown and his Government a good kicking in May last year, it would appear we all have very short memories.

  22. @Alec,

    There’s no doubt that some of Labour’s extra money was well spent, but most of the debt ratio reduction happened in the first few years of their rule, before the taps were turned on. Most of Labour’s reign was spent building the national debt back up towards where it was when they started.

    The other factor that is often ignored is that these are figures relative to measured GDP. I think most people now accept (although you’re right that the Tories in opposition didn’t – on the whole – say this at the time) that the GDP figures in the boom years up to 2007 were based on some pretty Mad Hatter economics. National debt looked good against a GDP based on the idea that property prices will double every few years, the stock market will soar towards the moon and we can all spend money like water.

    Much of our current debt problem is an arithmetical one, the GDP we are comparing it to is far smaller because the asset bubble has burst and we’re living in the real world.

    I don’t think there’s a huge gulf between Labour and Tory performance on public debt, just as for all the “No Cuts (sic)” demonstrations I don’t think there’s a huge gulf between their future plans for it either. It’s all about the mood music.

  23. We have seen the use of ‘all necessary measures’ to stop the advance of Gaddafi forces towards Benghazi, its capture and any subsequent massacre. Under the cover of the bombing campaign the ‘rebels’ have made significant progress westward towards the Gaddafi strongholds. In the event of a full-blown attack on Tripoli should we assume that we will be using ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent civilian losses by stopping the rebel advance in its tracks?

  24. @ Old Nat

    From the last thread:

    “Poujadism

    “A French movement (UDCA) created by Pierre Poujade after 1953, mobilizing the lower middle classes, shopkeepers and artisans, and the peasantry in the south, in opposition to big business and the unions, the state and the administration, but mainly to taxes. Right-wing and populist, but also republican, the Poujadists exploited widespread discontent with the Fourth Republic, winning over two- and-a-half million votes in the 1956 election and returning fifty-three deputies. Within two years, lacking leadership and a programme, the movement collapsed.” (Oxford Dictionary of Politics)”

    Thank you for this. I’d heard this term before but I couldn’t remember when or the context of it.

    In any case, it’s interesting to think about in light of current French politics. I was reading an interesting article in the Guardian last week about the rise of Marine LePen and the general disenchantment of the French, especially the disappointment and frustrations of the young. Apparently, it unheard of for young French to own their own property, there’s high unemployment, and often people who wind up employed are employed in a capacity far below their level of education. That coupled with other current problems affecting France and the general failures and public dislike of Sarkozy were helping to propel LePen.

  25. @ Neil A

    Still surprised that you agree with breaching the terms of the resolution, though
    ——————————————————-
    Your comment doesn’t make sense, Neil. The UNSC Resolution doesn’t put Libya under the control of the UN or NATO.

    The UN doesn’t get to decide who rules Libya. They don’t get to decide that Libya should be a democracy.

    The Libyan government is entitled to have anybody they like run their ports, provided they are not bringing in weapons.

    In fact, the Resolution reminds the Libyan government of their obligation to look after the welfare of the civilian population. Therefore, the Libyan government asking/ agreeing to Turkey running the port to facilitate the delivery of aid is evidence of the Libyan government complying with the resolution.

    The UNSC Resolution first & foremost calls on the present ruler of Libya to put the safety of its civilians first. It’s remit only extends to protecting civilians & facilitating humanitarian assistance.

    I really wish that people would actually read the UN resolution.
    8-)

  26. @ ALEKSANDAR

    Well said. Those are my thoughts exactly.
    8-)

  27. @Amber Star

    I wonder how the volatile “Middle Eastern and Arab Despots Likeability Index” is currently standing? It moves so quickly, I can’t quite keep up with it. Gaddafi was in, now he’s out. Assad in Syria seems to be going from friend to foe depending on how many protesters he shoots (is there a western tolerance threshold on this, by the way?) and, with the wisdom of hindsight, we never really liked Mubarak and Ben Ali, did we? The King of Bahrain still seems OK and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabi still appears to be an all round nice guy, but I suppose if his troops shoot too many in Bahrain we might have to look again. The one that really interests me though is that old rogue in the Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Now, we like him, don’t we – or do we? Did shooting 45 of his own citizens the other turn him from good despot to bad despot or is he still doing a bit of a job for us over there? It really is becoming very confusing.

    Just a thought, but now Prince Andrew is a little under-employed, can’t we send him out to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to bring his old mates into line and persuade them to tone it done a bit while we sort out Gaddafi??!!

  28. @ Amber (8.50 pm)

    “Libya again (At last, a country which is more interested in a cease-fire than bombing people)”

    Interesting that Turkey suggest a ceasefire now that it appears that Gaddafi is on the back foot. I can’t understand how you can believe that a ceasefire will work. At least two ceasefires announced by Gaddafi have been broken since resolution 1973. If you have even a semblance of humanity you will want to protect the vast majority of Libyans who will suffer horrifically if Gadaffi remains in control.

    In general I am against military intervention, I stood on the Sedgefield protest line during the Bush visit, but I am much happier with the reaction to the Libyan situation than I was with Srebrenica because rest assured Srebrenica will pale into insignificance if Gadaffi regains control of Libya.

  29. @Alexsander,

    That would depend on whether the rebels’ tactics involved bombarding cities. I think they expect not to have to even attack cities, rather that they will rise up of their own accord once the rebels arrive on the outskirts. That may be a trifle overoptimistic.

    But technically if the rebels began to use one something like mortars to fire indiscriminately then yes they should be stopped by coalition air power. I can’t see that happening however.

    I suspect what will happen is that, without the option of using armour and artillery to suppress dissent, most of Libya’s cities will “free themselves”. Some, including Sirte and parts of Tripoli, probably won’t. If the rebels want to take those they’ll either have to negotiate, or go in with light weapons and clear them street by street.

    If there is a genuine ceasefire at this stage (and that would mean Gadaffist forces taking their boots off the throats of the people of Misrata and places like it) then it would almost certainly lead to the end of the regime. After all ceasefires don’t prevent people taking to the streets to demonstrate.

    I don’t have any problem with a ceasefire whatsoever, if it’s a genuine one. Now seems to be a good time to start negotiating one, given that in the East the rebels are about to approach the first bit of territory that they haven’t yet held.

    The “ceasefire” talk a few days ago was, in my opinion, purely a gambit by Gadaffi to buy a few hours in which he could blitz Misrata and Benghazi and gain de facto victory.

  30. ALEKSANDAR,

    Great post :) :) :)

  31. “DC promised a referendum on the Treaty, subject to no ratification before his election, which is why ratification was rushed in.”

    Henry (2.44pm). You really can’t be allowed to get away with that! Are you saying that 27 countries ratified Lisbon quickly through “fear” of what David Cameron might do if he came to power?

    In any event, Cameron’s “cast iron guarantee” of a referendum contained “no ifs and buts”, as Tory MP Bill Cash was quick to point out. In 2007, Cameron promised “a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations”. He broke that promise.

  32. @ Peter Bell

    Interesting that Turkey suggest a ceasefire now that it appears that Gaddafi is on the back foot.
    ——————————————-
    Turkey has been offering to negotiate a cease-fire for weeks. And Gaddafi has also been offering a bi-lateral cease-fire. But the rebels & ‘our’ representatives would not negotiate a bi-lateral cease-fire. Why? Because they are hell-bent on a military coup by the ‘rebel’ forces aided & abetted by ‘us’.
    8-)

  33. The words Cameron used to make the promise were clear that it was contingent on the treaty not having been ratified by the time he came to power.

    It is fair to say that the way the promise was then peddled was less nuanced than that.

  34. @Amber (11.18)

    “Why? Because they are hell-bent on a military coup by the ‘rebel’ forces aided & abetted by ‘us’”

    They were hell bent on securing freedom from oppression until Gaddafi blasted them to hell. In the early days of the uprising I did not see one TV shot which showed the demonstrators carrying or using weapons. I saw many shots which showed the Gaddafi forces firing indiscriminately into crowds.

    Oh, forgot the westernTV crews will be very selective in the shots they show!!!!!

  35. Amber,
    just Googled Turkey Libya ceasefire. Seems there are no references between 18/3 and 25/3. This wouldn’t be the period when the Gaddafi forces were blasting the “rebel” cities would it????

  36. @Neil A

    “The words Cameron used to make the promise were clear that it was contingent on the treaty not having been ratified by the time he came to power.”

    Yes, Cameron is making a habit of ‘using’ words.

  37. @Peter Bell

    “just Googled Turkey Libya ceasefire. Seems there are no references between 18/3 and 25/3. This wouldn’t be the period when the Gaddafi forces were blasting the “rebel” cities would it????”

    No, it wouldn’t. UN resolution 1973 (calling for a ceasefire) was passed on March 17th. Those dates would be the period during which NATO was busy blasting Gadaffi forces.

  38. In week one of bombing Libya,

    40% of the UK thought yup. 39.5% thought nay.

    In week two of bombing Libya

    42.5% of the UK thought yup. 40% thought nay.

    Both support & opposition is rising.

    Omar Mukthar is worth wiki-ing for any half informed imperialists amongst us.

  39. I think that’s really too close to MOE to draw much of a conclusion about, Eoin.

    Broadly speaking, opinion is divided and is likely to remain so.

  40. @Robin,

    “No, it wouldn’t. UN resolution 1973 (calling for a ceasefire) was passed on March 17th. Those dates would be the period during which NATO was busy blasting Gadaffi forces.”

    The first attack by the French (on 4 vehicles)
    did not take place until 19th and I would suggest that the Gaddafi forces were still in the ascendancy until at least 24th. It is only in the last 3 – 4 days that the “rebels” have succeeded in moving out of Benghazi

  41. @ Peter Bell

    Oh, forgot the westernTV crews will be very selective in the shots they show!!!!!
    ———————————————
    The western TV crews weren’t there when the protests kicked off, Peter. The civil war had begun – with weapons being used by both sides – by the time the western news crews arrived in Libya.
    8-)

  42. Amber, you really believe there’s nothing to choose between Gadaffi and his opponents don’t you?

    So much for socialist solidarity with the undertrodden rising up against their oppressors.

  43. “Note that while YouGov are consistently showing more people supporting than opposing the action in Libya, ComRes are still showing the opposite, this week they found 35% in support and 45% opposed. One of the reasons for the difference is probably the wording – ComRes ask if it is right for the UK to take action, YouGov ask if it is right for the UK, USA and France to take action. Another one may be question order – YouGov ask the right or wrong question about Libya by itself, ComRes ask it as part of a grid along with the other four questions they ask on Libya, with the order rotated – hence the majority of people would answer the question about British armed forces risking death or injury before answering the question about whether the action is right or wrong.”

    I really do think that the response you get depends on how the question is asked. It makes me think that there is general support for the Libya intervention (though not without a sizeable opposition) but that the support dries up the more the operation sounds like the Iraq war. And that depends on how the question is asked.

  44. Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links – Telegraph http://t.co/HM6SqCu

  45. I’ve read it Eoin. What do you intend it to prove?

    This man is one rebel amongst many. He’s not part of the Transitional Government. He’s talking about a couple of dozen people out of thousands. And the conflicts he and his “men” have been involved in are ones you routinely characterise as a struggle against Western imperialism (not a view I share at all, but be consistent).

    Besides which, if we’re to avoid dealing with people tainted by terrorism then the Peace Process in NI is pretty well buggered isn’t it?

    Gadaffi’s involvement in terrorism is long-standing, deep-rooted and wide-ranging.

    There is no guarantee that what follows him will be perfectly democratic and peaceful. Islamist extremists of course intend to try and get a foothold. That’s the reason that the West has backed these awful dictators for decades (again, to your immense disgust). I’ve been watching the coverage like a hawk and I’ve seen very, very little so far to suggest that the bulk of the rebels in Libya intend anything other than a united, democratic country at the end of all this. There is a chance of a massive free-for-all, as the different interest groups squabble over the spoils, of course. The law of unintended consequences always applies.

    But frankly you have to speculate to accumulate. I think when the prize may be a democratic Middle East, the gamble is worth taking.

  46. @Neil A

    “Amber, you really believe there’s nothing to choose between Gadaffi and his opponents don’t you?”

    The answer to the question rather depends on who you think are Gadaffi’s opponents. I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea that Gadaffi’s regime has been horribly repressive. But it is more than justifiable to suppose that those who wish to replace Gadaffi would be just as bad if they achieve power. General Abdel Fatah Yunis, for instance, a leader of the rebels but until recently Gadaffi’s interior minister – i.e. directly responsible for the erstwhile repression.

  47. @Robin,

    So, you too.

  48. @Neil A

    “I’ve seen very, very little so far to suggest that the bulk of the rebels in Libya intend anything other than a united, democratic country at the end of all this.”

    I’ve seen very, very little so far to suggest that the bulk of the rebels in Libya intend anything other than to take their turn at repressing their tribal rivals.

    We have virtually no evidence at all. But what little evidence we do have isn’t exactly encouraging.

  49. @ Neil A

    “So much for socialist solidarity with the undertrodden rising up against their oppressors.”

    You bring up an interesting point that gets me to thinking. One thing I think that has been heartening (maybe that’s the wrong word for it) about these Arab and North African uprisings is the realization that we all have a lot more in common than we ordinarily realize. It seems to me that when it comes to the Middle East, there’s always an “us vs. them” style of analysis. The suggestion is often that Middle Easterners are different and want different things and have different goals than Americans and that these differences are the things that threaten global stability.

    But watching these uprisings and mass protests (coupled with seeing all the massive and often violent protests against austerity budgets in Europe), it kinda reminds me that we’re all a lot more similar than we realize, especially those who are young. The youth of the United States, of Europe, and of the Middle East share the same concerns, the same goals, the same anxieties, the same ambitions, the same desires, the same needs, the same frustrations. No doubt, things are a lot better off for people in the U.S. than they are in Libya or the Middle East (and frankly, we’re a lot better off than most of Europe). We have different government structures, different problems, differing problem scales, and different remedies. But at heart, there’s a certain commonality in what people want and what people hope for. Ultimately, it means we have far more in common than we have that’s different. And I find that heartening.

  50. @ Neil A

    Amber, you really believe there’s nothing to choose between Gadaffi and his opponents don’t you?

    So much for socialist solidarity with the undertrodden rising up against their oppressors.
    ————————————————-
    At the moment, neither side have given any indication of being socialists so your somewhat emotive comment is a tad redundant.

    And yes, I think there is very little to chose between Gaddafi’s government & the ‘rebels’ given that 5 out of 6 of the new opposition government were part of Gaddafi’s government until a few weeks ago.

    Those 5 are certainly not “the undertrodden rising up against their oppressors”.
    8-)

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