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. @Robin,

    Actually we have quite a body of evidence now. We have a couple of weeks worth of a functioning transitional government in the east of Libya. We have innumerable reports and interviews by journalists with the ragtag rebels, in which they share their aspirations (which generally amount to a united Libya with Tripoli as it’s capital, no Gadaffi and free elections). We have absolutely no hostility whatsover being shown to westerners anywhere in the rebel held areas. We have rebels carrying placards giving thanks to France and Britain. We have prisoners of war being (from what we’ve seen) treated reasonably well. We’ve seen no evidence of rebels killing any civilians. We’ve seen no evidence of a breakdown in order in the rebel areas. We’ve seen no footage of looting. We’ve seen that the rebels, far from being an Islamic sleeper army waiting for its chance to strike, are a disorganised rabble of enthusiastic civilians who scarcely know how to fire their rifles and can’t set up a mortar tube correctly. We’ve even seen (take note, Eoin) the revered son of Omar Mukhtar giving his backing to the rebels.

    On the flip side we’ve seen one interview with a self-described “rebel leader” who says that he and two dozen of his men have fought against the Americans in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

    In the red corner (which to you and Amber is equally valid apparently) we have mass killings of civilians, the shelling of residential areas, the murder of troops that refuse to join in with suppressing the protests, the refusal to allow free reporting, the abduction of an alleged rape victim at gunpoint, the shooting of people going in and out of the polyclinic in Misrata (perhaps not unconnected to the fact that one of the doctors there gives daily telephone interviews to the Arab news channels).

    I honestly don’t know what news you have been watching. I keep BBC, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya open constantly and google around for other reports. I follow any link anyone draws to my attention. It seems to me that your desire for Cameron to be “wrong” is so strong it colours your entire analysis of what is going on.

  2. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    “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??!!”

    I don’t know about you lovely Brits but I don’t think Americans particularly care for any of the Middle Eastern despots (well excluding the Bush family). It’s just that we work with who’s in charge for the simple reason that we have to. Even Mubarak was not someone who we liked, we just propped him up in exchange for Egypt keeping the peace with Israel. But the premise is not a liking for these leaders, the premise is that they’re in charge and we must negotiate with them. Obama last year had a wildly successful nuclear energy summit where he signed a major deal with Ukraine. I would really be surprised if Obama really liked and got along with Victor Yanukovich, the ex-con Russia lover who once attempted to have his political opponent assasinated. But he negotiated with him anyway.

    I think Saddam Hussein was a horrible guy. I don’t defend him or his legacy. But invading Iraq was a major a mistake. Saddam had not ordered the 9/11 attacks, he was not in the process of currently slaughtering his own people or committing genocide, he was not invading any other countries, he had no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever, and he was not conspiring against the U.S. There was no reason to invade. And as a strategic matter, getting rid of him has been a major mistake because it’s (1) removed a major strategic enemy of Iran, (2) reduced the moral authority of the U.S. and destroyed a great deal of our soft power, and (3) it has brought terrorists into the one Middle Eastern country that kept out its terrorists (Saddam didn’t like us but he had no use for Bin Laden or other Islamic terrorists in his country).

    Libya is a different situation entirely. We’re not committing forces (well the U.S. isn’t) because we don’t like Ghadaffi (if anything, the man is extremely entertaining in his craziness and I love Fred Armisen’s impressions of him on Saturday Night Live….Fred Armisen who does both Ghadaffi and Hosni Mubarak makes both of them seem likeable). We’re going in because we are supporting an attempt by the people to have democratic government and to prevent the further slaughter of civilians. Whether we like the guy or not is irrelevant (and frankly in the past few years, both the U.S. and the UK were starting to patch things up with Ghadaffi).

  3. @Neil A

    Me too what?

    Democracy is not something that can be gifted by external powers, nor does it arise purely by popular uprising. The state structures must exist that can support it, and those are created alongside economic development. Tunisia and Egypt are now sufficiently wealthy countries that a civil war is not an option, since even the winners of that civil war would be losers. That is why their popular uprisings had a degree of success, because they threatened the prosperity of the ruling elite – including the military – and making concessions was a better option for them.

    Gadaffi is undoubtedly a very nasty piece of work, but that doesn’t mean that we have to interfere in an internal struggle for the succession. By using NATO firepower to disable the military and destroy the structures of the state, we are setting back the cause of democracy in Libya, and are preventing the natural development of the structures that are needed if democracy is ever to be achieved. If we were serious about spreading democracy, we wouldn’t make it so easy for despots to squirrel away their countries’ wealth for their own personal use.

    There are two main possible outcomes that I can see: (eventual) replacement of Gadaffi with someone equally brutal and repressive; or the installation of a puppet regime in part or all of Libya, which will do nothing to further self-determination for the Libyans and which may turn out to just as repressive anyway.

  4. @ Amber

    “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.”

    Yeah but they couldn’t oppose the government before. If they did, they’d be killed. So I’m not sure it’s a fair criticism. Maybe they should get a chance to redeem themselves.

  5. @ Neil A

    “On the flip side we’ve seen one interview with a self-described “rebel leader” who says that he and two dozen of his men have fought against the Americans in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.”

    Various rebels can say whatever they’d like. It doesn’t mean they’re representative. It’s sort of like a campaign where some people who support a candidate or a party in an election may say certain things but they’re not actually reflective of what their candidate or party would actually do if elected to office.

    CNN interviewed a Muslim Brotherhood member who had high hopes for increased Islamicism of Libya and supported the rebels. Funny thing though is that this guy is not a Libyan. He lives in London and he’s watching the revolution from afar.

    Frankly, I’ve kinda appreciated (I admit selfishly) the cheering of the U.S. and the chants of “thank you Obama!” by Libyan citizens. You know if some Al Queda types would see the U.S. as a friend or at least not as an automatic enemy because of what’s going on, would that really be such a bad thing?

  6. @Neil A

    Do you seriously believe that rebel leaders are going to say anything other than what we want to hear? And why would they be antagonistic to western journalists when the west is acting on their behalf?

    Yes, the rebels are a disorganised ragbag. So who is going to maintain order in the medium and long term? It’s a recipe for chaos.

  7. @ Robin

    “Democracy is not something that can be gifted by external powers, nor does it arise purely by popular uprising.”

    I mostly agree with you on the first part (there are exceptions but they’re rare and imperfect examples). I’m not sure I agree with you on the second part. Democracy in the United States directly arose from and could not have occurred without popular uprising.

  8. @Amber,

    The justice minister resigned when the security forces were asked to fire on demonstrators. That makes him not as bad as the ones who stayed and carried out the orders (at least in my book).

    When there’s only one political game in town, anyone who wants to get involved in politics has to play that game. Gorbachev and Yeltsin were both Communist Party hacks. Washington was a British officer (and a brutal one). Gadaffi himself was an officer in the King of Libya’s armed forces before he seized power. David Neligan was a “British” policeman in Ireland before becoming a Republican.

    It’s so common for rebellions to be led by former insiders as to be barely worthy of note.

  9. @ Robin

    “Do you seriously believe that rebel leaders are going to say anything other than what we want to hear? And why would they be antagonistic to western journalists when the west is acting on their behalf?

    Yes, the rebels are a disorganised ragbag. So who is going to maintain order in the medium and long term? It’s a recipe for chaos.”

    There are a lot of risks for them. A lot of risks. And we can’t solve their problems for them (we can offer advice to them and humanitarian aid should they request it but that’s the limit). But I think that they’ve shown an ability to self-govern and to maintain order in that way. And hopefully that will last.

    The good news about taking out Ghadaffi’s heavy military weaponry is that it’ll be a lot harder for any former military officers to seize control of the country against the popular will.

  10. @Robin,

    “..Tunisia and Egypt are now sufficiently wealthy countries that a civil war is not an option, since even the winners of that civil war would be losers. That is why their popular uprisings had a degree of success…”

    Actually as Eoin will tell you, Libya is wealthier and more developed than either Tunisia or Egypt. The difference is that in Tunisia and Egypt the government was at least broad-based enough to enjoy good relations with its own troops, and therefore allowed them to grow strong. Gadaffi didn’t trust his army at all, and relied on special brigades and mercenary contigents. Tunisia and Egypt “turned” because their soldiers had the power to side with the rebels. Libya’s army didn’t.

  11. @ Neil A

    “When there’s only one political game in town, anyone who wants to get involved in politics has to play that game. Gorbachev and Yeltsin were both Communist Party hacks. Washington was a British officer (and a brutal one). Gadaffi himself was an officer in the King of Libya’s armed forces before he seized power. David Neligan was a “British” policeman in Ireland before becoming a Republican.”

    Heh. Good point.

    I read a BBC article on the “many faces of Ghadaffi” and he used to look VERY different back when he was an army officer in the 1960’s.

  12. @ Neil A

    You listed a bunch of people, some of whom I consider to be little better than Gaddafi (actually one of them was Gaddafi) as ‘evidence’ that the rebels becoming the new government of Libya is a good thing.

    LOL. :-)

  13. No I was merely pointing out that being a member of a regime doesn’t necessarily mean that you fully subscribe to what it stands for and what it does.

    Frankly I think you’re just being contrarian. At least I hope you are. If you really believe the things you say then you are truly an illiberal person. I just hope that one day you sit in a room full of former Libyan rebels and have an honest discussion with them about what you thought of them in March 2011.

  14. @Neil A

    ” It seems to me that your desire for Cameron to be “wrong” is so strong it colours your entire analysis of what is going on.”

    Neil,
    I think your above comment hits the nail on the head. It is the only way that I can rationalise the comments from Amber et al. Well off to bed now. Enjoy the discussion those who are still awake.

  15. @ Amber Star

    “You listed a bunch of people, some of whom I consider to be little better than Gaddafi (actually one of them was Gaddafi) as ‘evidence’ that the rebels becoming the new government of Libya is a good thing.”

    I would not put George Washington in the same category as Ghadaffi or really any of the others who Neil mentioned. I revere Washington. But I think Neil’s point was that the fact that a rebel may have been part of the past regime he’s fighting against doesn’t make him any less of a rebel.

  16. @ Neil A

    “Frankly I think you’re just being contrarian. At least I hope you are. If you really believe the things you say then you are truly an illiberal person. I just hope that one day you sit in a room full of former Libyan rebels and have an honest discussion with them about what you thought of them in March 2011.”

    Could I suggest you’re taking this a little too personally? I think Amber is entitled to her views even if I don’t agree with them. None of us are on the ground there, we’re watching from thousands of miles away, attempting to sort through the mess and muddle and form opinions as best we can. That we arrive at different conclusions is only natural. There are legitimate reasons for opposing intervention in Libya (they’re wrong but they’re not driven by a love of Ghadaffi or support for authoritarianism).

    Also, Amber can speak for herself obviously but I don’t think her opposition to Libyan intervention is because she wants Cameron to fail. She’s criticized Labour MPs for their support of this as well.

  17. @ SoCaL

    Thank you; & I said ‘some of whom’ to Neil in order to exclude George Washington. I don’t know nearly as much about George Washington as I know about the others. I should do some reading about him & make up my own mind in an informed way.
    8-)

  18. @ Peter Bell

    I think your [Neil A’s] above comment hits the nail on the head.
    ————————————————-
    It doesn’t. Neither you nor Neil have any justifiable reason to project such motives onto me based on anything I’ve posted.

    Go back, look at what I’ve said. Basically, I said I am glad there could soon be a negotiated cease-fire. How would that make David Cameron wrong?

    If you chaps view a negotiated cease-fire in Libya as a bad thing for David Cameron, it says more about you & Neil than it says about me.
    8-)

  19. @ Neil A

    “I don’t know nearly as much about George Washington as I know about the others. I should do some reading about him & make up my own mind in an informed way.”

    I think he’s the first leader in world history to voluntarily give up power when he did not have to (at least in recorded history). He actually did this several times (turning down opportunities to be a dictator and disbanding his own army after it was no longer needed). He also studied Islam (and reportedly owned a copy of the Koran).

  20. Ack…..I meant to say “@ Amber”. Sorry. :(

  21. How can the Labour average be 40 when all but one of the most recent 12 figures are over 40? The weighting for the ICM poll must be enormous.

    Ernie

  22. @ Eric Goodyear
    Actually, there has been a UN mission in the DRC for years – MONUC. Uganda and Rwanda , and a half-dozen other African countries, have intervened, in their own way, for a long time which is in large part why the DRC conflict continues. We, in the west, haven’t intervened. But it isn’t accurate to argue that the DRC is devoid of intervention. There have been myriad diplomatic efforts, most of which have been overshadowed by the machinations of neighbouring countries who have their own vested interests in the DRC conflict.

    @Amber et al
    As the background makes clear, I’m in the red corner, but I don’t agree with the mantra that intervention is solely about oil – it is also about regional stability. We intervened (finally) in Bosnia and Kosovo, but they have no natural resources that we value. The dynamics are complicated, but I am certain of one thing. I am above all a democrat, in the sense that I believe in transparent and accountable governance and government. The ructions in N Africa and the ME are overwhelmingly a clash between aspiration of the urban middle class that is over-educated and now under-employed, and authoritarian and unresponsive governments. Whereas Egypt is transitioning relatively peacefully, it is clear that Gaddafi would not allow that in Libya, and I am certain that he would have massacred the rebels and razed Benghazi. What good are our values if we were to sit back and let this happen on our doorstep? And just because we can’t intervene in every conflict, it doesn’t make this intervention any less valid or legitimate. If we believe in democracy then we must also necessarily believe that we must stand up to autocracy where we can. Read Sunder Katwala’s blog of 19 March for a clear opinion on the inas and outs of intervention.

  23. “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).”

    But this is hardly a huge mandate for Cameron and Osborne?

    Considering Balls has only just got into the job?

  24. ERIC GOODYER

    Excellent post on page 1 of this thread – it needs to b said time and time again that Labour brought doen the national debt from 46 to 37 percent between 1997and 2009.

    I believe that this is every bit as good a performance as Tory governments achieved over similar timescales.

  25. Just watched a BBC interview with Nato Secretary General Rasmussen where he is asked what would happen if the rebels attack towns where there are pro-Gaddafi civilians. His response was firstly that that was hypothetical, then that he didn’t think that the rebels would attack civilians as that was Gaddafi’s modus operandi and thirdly to state the UN resolution. When pressed on whether Nato would bomb the rebels he repeated the UN resolution.

    It would have been simple to unequivocally state that the UN resolution was to protect all civilians on both sides rather than second-guessing the actions of the rebels. Rebellions have a dynamic of their own and no-one can foresee how events may unfold but we should at least consider some different scenarios rather than just hoping, as we all do, that Gaddafi melts away into the desert.

  26. Here is the point that I have made before but I am going to make it again.

    The intervention coalition are exceeding the terms of the UNSC mandate. China & Russia, two members of the UNSC are saying this.

    I am not talking about the moral rights or wrongs. I am talking about international law.

    China & Russia had the right to veto & didn’t so they should just shut-up, right? Wrong. They have a right to ‘police’ the mandate because they are members of the UNSC.

    And, in the future, China & Russia will simply veto any humanitarian interventions on the grounds that a precedent has been set for those who intervene going beyond their mandate.

    This lack of impartiality & over-reaching will haunt the UN for years to come & undermine its credibility. I am hoping for news of a negotiated cease-fire every day, to save what is left of the UN’s credibility.

    Why should I be saying this on UKPR? Because YouGov asked the panel what actions they believed were legitimate. If YG was using legitimate to mean legal, then the lack of understanding of international law is widespread. Only if YG were using a looser definition of legitimate can the answers be considered to have any relevance, IMO.
    8-)

  27. Aleksandar

    I don’t think the NATO attitude is too unreasonable at the moment. After all the initial uprisings took place all across Libya which indicates that there probably aren’t concentrations of pro-Gaddafi civilians in many places. Also the main thing that NATO can do is attacking heavy ordinance – something which rebels haven’t got much of and tend not to be using except against Gaddafi’s forces.

    There might be problems in a final stand-off in Tripoli if pro-Gaddafi forces and civilians concentrate there, but NATO can’t do much in built up areas in any case.

    The worry that commenters like Eoin and Amber have, that Gaddafi will be replaced by something worse, is I think a mistake. If anything has been learnt from Iraq, it is that, if you try to rebuild a country from scratch, using only those untarnished by the previous regime, it doesn’t end well.

    There’s a good piece by Juan Cole (one of the most knowledgeable opponents of the Iraq War) on his blog here:

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/an-open-letter-to-the-left-on-libya.html

  28. Amber,

    Sirte has humans in it. Civilians I think we can say. They are loyal to the government. But yet it is bombed daily. There truth is that all citizens are equal but some citizens are more equal than others. This is de facto regime change and it is in contravention of Chapter II of the UN and it is in contravention of resolution 1973. Russia & China have only themselves to blame for not using their veto.

    The Liberal Left, Neo-cons & Neo-Libs called for an NFZ on Feb 27, when the casualty list was 273. This was a convenient excuse to depose an old enemy.

  29. Amber – the professor of international law on the Today programme this morning made the point that the terms of 1973 are very flexible. I am not sure how but it appears that they could even end up bombing civilians in Tripoli if that was done with the end of removing Gadaffi and thereby protecting the wider population of Libya.

    There is a pretty basic utilitarian justification for the intervention – it is for the greater good no matter who gets caught in the crossfire?

    It concerns me that there is a simplistic assumption that “anything is better than Gadaffi”. You would think that Conservatives with their intense misgivings about revolutions (from Burke and de Tocqueville onwards) would have some sort of notion about what might follow the demise of Gadaffi.

    To date we have some wishful thinking that converts from the Gadaffi regime will become the statesmen of the new regime.

    This conflict has been fermented by the European right. Now they must deal with the consequences. Are they going to allow Turkey to draw up a ceasefire leaving Gadaffi in place?

    Of course, I hope that the intervention will prove successful.

  30. @ Roger Mexico

    If anything has been learnt from Iraq, it is that, if you try to rebuild a country from scratch, using only those untarnished by the previous regime, it doesn’t end well.
    —————————————————–
    If anything has been learnt from Iraq, it is that occupying a country which is not yours to occupy does not end well.

    In fact, Iraq didn’t even start well which may have more to do with how it ended than anything else.
    8-)

  31. @ IanAnthonyJames

    the professor of international law on the Today programme this morning made the point that the terms of 1973 are very flexible. I am not sure how but it appears that they could even end up bombing civilians in Tripoli if that was done with the end of removing Gadaffi and thereby protecting the wider population of Libya.
    —————————————————–
    Thank you for posting this. I will try to catch the program, if it is on i-player.

    Several experts that I know are not of that opinion & I will be very interested to hear the position that the professor takes & his supporting legal arguments.
    8-)

  32. Amber
    Stick with it. I am very worried about a lot of the terminology. Coalition minisers keep refering to Libya as a close neighbour.
    The involvement, seemingly central involvement of Dubai is interesting. This is a non-oil producer, massively in debt, suspected of having doubtful Islamic money floating around, closely involved in pressing for release of Mr Megrahi.
    Enthusiasts may want to consider the position of M Sarkozy who gave Ghadaffi a huge reception on a State Visit accompanied by a big arms deal. In terms of coups, it does look a bit like the Blue Peter version,”This is one I prepared earlier” I think we should try hard to stick to the UN but this situation needs careful watching.

  33. Barney

    Well according to Amber The Turkish government … is a close neighbour of Libya. Ankara to Tripoli is 1195 miles. London to Tripoli 1451 miles. So we’re at least in the same street.
    8)

  34. Amber

    Actually Iraq did start rather well (whether you agreed with it or not). The fighting was over much quicker and less bloodily than anyone expected and the reception from the population even better than hoped for. Unfortunately the occupying forces showed little desire to maintain law and order and set about dismantling what structures there were, so as to produce a new regime untainted by the past.

    The intention may have been honourable (actually I don’t think it was, but that’s another story). The result was a society ruled by armed gangs and sectarian warfare.

    As far as i know, no one is suggesting occupying Libya, though there may be problems due to lack of some of the structure of civil society (a result of Gaddafi’s improvisational style of government and suspicion of alternative centres of power). Eoin has pointed out the high and widespread level of education in the country and there should be right expertise there for the Libyans to run things themselves.

    Demanding, however, that any successor government has no connection with the previous one, especially when the previous one was in power for 41 years and all-encompassing, is to make the same mistake that Bush and co did in Iraq.

  35. Would Nato forces attack the rebels if they placed the lives of civilians at risk?
    “The UN mandate applies across the board,” Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says. “Our mission is to protect civilians against attack. Nato is impartial. We are now obliged to implement the UN Security Council Resolution and protect civilians against all attacks.”
    —————————————-
    8-)

  36. @ Roger Mexico

    As a Labour supporter, politically speaking, it is nice to see you write that the Iraq war was well done & it was the peace that was handled badly.

    Personally, I think that’s nonsense (no offence). The war doesn’t end until the fighting stops & it didn’t stop for years after the initial invasion.
    8-)

  37. @ Barney

    Thank you.

    I was a little heartened to read that Douglas Alexander has spoken out to say that arming the rebels is not within the UN Res & should be taken off the table.

    Also, Ed Miliband has said in the house, that the UN must be impartial & treat any threat to civilians in the same way regardless of where the threat emanates from.

    It is somewhat unlikely that the intervention coalition will pay as much heed to this as they should but perhaps the nations who are genuinely working for a cease-fire will take a little encouragement from it.
    8-)

  38. @ Roger Mexico

    Well according to Amber The Turkish government … is a close neighbour of Libya. Ankara to Tripoli is 1195 miles. London to Tripoli 1451 miles. So we’re at least in the same street.
    ———————————————
    That would be ‘the Arab Street’ would it?
    I’m guessing that you are being facecious.
    8-)

  39. ComRes officially out @10pm tonight.

    Rumours already doing the rounds.

  40. @ Éoin

    Good or bad rumours, or don’t they say?
    8-)

  41. Anthony,

    The next time your chatting to Michael Gove can you scold him for using corssbreaks to justify doing away with EMA? tut tut.

    Amber,
    Bad rumours. :( But no saying that they are reliable.

  42. Poll Alert Holyrood TNS BMRB http://t.co/4JltZR3

  43. Amber

    I didn’t say the Iraq War was well done, just that the invasion happened more smoothly than was expected and that the following few months were relatively peaceful. The subsequent fighting can’t be called part of the ‘War’ indeed it wasn’t all even part of the same event. This isn’t ‘nonsense’ just historical fact.

    Whether the same chaos would have happened without the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and other institutions, no one knows. I suspect there would still have been some insurrections, but much less widespread and long lasting and probably without the all ethno-religious cleansing that did happen.

    While your concern that any future Libyan government is free from all traces of the Gaddafi regime is not based on hope of future lucrative contracts (more reconstruction = more money says Haliburton), it still strikes me as a dangerous ideal.

    In any case the Turks (surely you should be referring to them as the ‘former colonial overlord’ in this context) are no more part of the ‘Arab Street’ than the Brits. :)

  44. A BBC journalist in Sirte is saying she was allowed good access to the population there. She quoted one person saying the Colonel enjoys 99% support and that if the rebels come to talk that is ok, if they come at them with guns it will be a different matter.

    Paddy Ashdown was saying this morning that the time has come for negotiation (presumably now that all oil terminals in the east have been secured by rebels/coalition support).

    Russia has longstanding expertise in the workings of the UN and their warning about taking sides in a civil war should be heeded.

    Turkish (cultural) influence is very much in evidence in Arab countries, if only in cuisine, music, art etc. though the respect goes much deeper than that. Britain also is highly respected for many and various acheivements, though they are widely characterised as emotionally cold/undeveloped.

  45. @Anthony Wells

    Do you have a link to the poll mentioned by Michael Gove?

  46. @ Roger Mexico

    In any case the Turks (surely you should be referring to them as the ‘former colonial overlord’ in this context) are no more part of the ‘Arab Street’ than the Brits.
    ———————————————-
    I’m aware. ;-)

  47. POLL ALERT

    SNP price collapses on Betfair most seats market late this aftrenoon. I thought it was overenthusiastic ramping by the NATS until the following news came through from STV/Systems Three poll.

    Labour lead now 1 per cent compared to 15 per cent on the same poll one month ago. Now level on the regional list compared to an 8 point lead.

    I suspect some of the journos in STV have been helping themselves to the 3-1 that was on offer all the way down to beloe even money.

    Mark my words.

    SALMOND WILL STILL BE FIRST MINISTER COME JUNE.

  48. TNS-BMRB/STV
    Scottish Parliament voting intention
    Sample size = 1028
    (+/- change from TNS-BMRB/Herald ending 2 March 2011)

    Constituency vote (FPTP)
    Lab 38% (-6)
    SNP 37% (+8)
    Con 15% (+3)
    LD 7% (-4)
    oth 3%

    Regional vote (AMS)
    Lab 35% (-4)
    SNP 35% (+6)
    Con 14% (+4)
    LD 8% (-2)
    oth 8% (-3)

    Seats prediction (STV prediction based up Scotland Votes website)
    Lab 54 seats (+8)
    SNP 48 seats (+1)
    Con 17 seats (n/c)
    LD 8 seats (-8)

    http://scottish-independence.blogspot.com/2011/03/poll-alert-snp-draw-even-on-regional.html

  49. THEGREENBENCHES
    Poll Alert Holyrood TNS BMRB

    Thanks for the heads-up, but your link is a bit harsh on old eyes. Nothing on the TNS website yet, but there’s a video covering it and the basic numbers on STV at http://news.stv.tv/election-2011/

  50. Eoin – never even met Michael Gove, let alone chatted to him!

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