The brief post-budget bounce aside, Labour now have a pretty consistent lead in voting intention. However, the answers other questions are often rather bad for Labour.

On best Prime Minister Cameron has a 13 point lead over Miliband, on dealing with the deficit the coalition lead Labour by 14 points, Cameron & Osborne have a 9 point lead over Miliband & Balls on general trust on the economy. Ed Miliband’s own approval ratings are mediocre and 47% think he isn’t up to the job of Labour leader.

To put this in context, if we look back at 2006-2007 when the opposition Conservatives had a comparable single-digit lead over the Labour government, David Cameron was pretty much neck and neck with Tony Blair as best PM, the Conservatives and Labour were pretty much neck and neck on who would run the economy well and Cameron had a positive approval rating.

What explains this paradox? Why have Labour got a solid lead in the polls, but comparatively bad ratings in supplementary questions? Or indeed vice-versa? There are two alternative explanations for this – one more comforting for Labour than the other.

Part of the answer is down to the new landscape of coalition politics. People’s responses to poll questions are often very partisan, supporters of the governing party tend to say nice things about the governing party, supporters of opposition parties tend to say negative things. Now we have a coalition government, we tend to get both Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters saying nice things about the government, whereas prior to 2010 only one party’s supporters did. This translates into higher support for the government in secondary questions, but not in main voting intention questions where government supporters are split between Conservative voters and Lib Dem votes.

This shouldn’t worry Labour of course – in fact it’s a reminder of a positive for them. While it is probably wrong to view voting behaviour too much through an ideological prism (models of electoral behaviour these days tend to be more dominated by voters perceptions of compentence, rather than ideology), throughout the 1980s the left-of-centre vote tended to be split between two parties. With the Liberal Democrats reduced to a rump of supporters who are less antagonistic towards the Tories, the right-of-centre vote is looking more split. Certainly the group of voters who think the present government are competent is split between two parties.

However, this does not explain everything, and here we come to the explanation that is less comforting for Labour. A lot of people who say they would vote Labour do not give particularly positive answers to other questions about Labour. Only 63% of Labour’s own voters think Ed Miliband would make the best Prime Minister, only 54% think he is up to the job of Labour leader. Only 69% of Labour voters trust Labour more than the coalition more than Labour to deal with the deficit, 77% trust Miliband & Balls to run the economy more than Cameron & Osborne. 45% of their own voters think Labour need to make major changes to be fit for government. In short, a substantial minority of people who say they’ll vote Labour don’t seem to be very pro-Labour when you inquire further.

My guess is that the reason is that Labour are really the only major opposition party to the coalition and hence many people will be telling pollsters they’d vote Labour as the only mainstream way of voting against the coalition. If that is the case, you wouldn’t necessarily expect all those people to have positive views of Labour – they are benefitting from a negative anti-government vote, not necessarily a pro-Labour one.

But does this matter? Not necessarily – a negative anti-government vote counts just the same as a positive vote when it goes in a ballot box and the evidence from 2010 suggests that a large proportion of Conservative voters were driven more by anti-Labour feeling than support for the Tories. It does become a problem if it is an indication of soft support for Labour, if the government become less unpopular once they have a better economy behind them, if minor parties establish themselves as alternative recipients of anti-government votes or if during an election campaign it becomes more of a choice between two alternatives, rather than a judgement on the incumbent.

I’ve always stuck hard with the truism that oppositions don’t win elections, government’s lose them. The caveat I always add to that is that while oppositions probably can’t win elections, they are quite capable of losing them – it’s arguably what happened in both 1992 and 2005, when the incumbent governments had done plenty to make themselves unpopular, but the public did not see the opposition as ready for government. Right now there are probably four years to an election, so as long as Labour recognise the issue and address it, it doesn’t need to be a problem at all – the best position for them to build up more positive support again is from a position of strength. What they need to fear (expressed rather well by their former General Secretary Peter Watt today) is complancency.


288 Responses to “The paradox of Labour’s lead”

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  1. NEILA

    “It’s lucky that the American colonists had the right “economic and social conditions” for democracy, I guess.

    (ie they were white and Christian?)”

    And ignored the democratic rights of the people who already lived there?

  2. Not to mention the views of a fair chunk of their fellow colonists. “Sons of Violence” anyone?

  3. Off topic, but I’ve often wondered what a life without Marketing Executives might look like, and I think I’ve found it.

    There’s a good news story for British science today with news that the headquarters for a new mega radio telescope will operate from Jodrell Bank. It’s a huge array of radio telescopes covering a square kilometer, and they’ve decided to name it ‘The Square Kilometre Array’.

    Formerly in the world of astronomy they built a very large telescope (actually 4 seperate optical telescopes working in tandem) and after much soul searching they decided to call it ‘The Very Large Telescope’, and when they built a very large array of 27 radio telescopes in New Mexico they used the imaginative name ‘The Very Large Array’.

    It’s the Ronseal approach, but I do wonder how many savings we could make in government and business if we got rid of the PR amd marketing types and just got on with things.

  4. @ Neil A

    “It’s lucky that the American colonists had the right “economic and social conditions” for democracy, I guess.

    (ie they were white and Christian?)”

    I think that’s one way of looking at it. But there is a non-racist way of looking at it as well. Basically, democracy could be established because people who fought for it ultimately had been in the position of governing themselves to at least some degree. They had some experience in elections, legislative procedures, local autonomy, etc. Countries that have been under the tight control of dictators who have no access to these types of civil institutions will struggle to establish democracy. I’m not sure I buy the argument but I think that’s the gist of it.

    I’ll tell you my greatest fear right now. And that is that someone in the Libyan military turns on Ghadaffi and removes him from power but then decides to take power for himself. Maybe he’ll be a little less crazy than Ghadaffi but at the end of the day, the system of government is still the same. Then, the western intervention will have been for nothing.

  5. @ Colin

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to get it on Netflix.

  6. @ Neil A
    Why Benghazi? The rebels hold Ajdabiya. If there were to be a freeze on the fighting that should be the border.
    ——————————————————–
    8-) Fair comment. If it is easier for the coalition to secure both Ajdabiya & Bengazi then that is what should be done. But keep in mind, the UNSCR specifically speaks against partitioning Libya.
    Any no-drive zone established should be directed towards: “[the] establish[ment of] safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals” per the UNSCR. 8-)
    ——————————————————–
    Besides which, what reason do they have to think that if they withdrew to Benghazi it would stop the onslaught from the Gadaffists?
    ——————————————————–
    8-) Because a multi-lateral, no drive zone should ensure that civilians are protected within Bengazi, which could be declared a UN protected ‘safe area’. The more clearly defined the area, the more legitimacy it has as a ‘safe area’ rather than an attempt by the coalition to partition Libya. 8-)
    ———————————————————
    And do I detect the first bit of support from you, Amber, for coalition military action, even if only restricted to the immediate environs of Benghazi?
    ———————————————————
    8-) I have always been in favour of a UN peace-keeping force (preferably Arab/ Muslim), on the ground, armed (I am not Éoin) & protecting a politically neutral, safe-haven for the civilian refugees from the threat of persecution.

    The TNC’s goal has never been protecting persecuted citizens in Bengazi. They always had greater ambitions.

    This was borne out by the resistance to UN peace-keepers securing a safe-haven within Bengazi when all this ‘kicked off’. It was the rebels who wanted a NFZ, weapons & military aid but absolutely did not want UN peace-keeping boots on the ground.

    Therefore, to meet the rebel’s demands & take cognizance of sensitivities, this option was ruled out in UNSC1973.

    I think you may be misconstruing my assesment of what is possible within international law as my personal view of how best to have secured the safety of civilians in Bengazi in the beginning & civilians in both Misrata & Bengazi now.
    8-)

  7. SoCalLiberal

    “When you have to use your firepower against civilian populations in order to stay in power, I think you’ve lost your legitimacy to lead.”

    Bad news for Abe Lincoln then.

  8. @ Colin

    Khatib [the UN Envoy] told the news conference: “Each side is saying they will agree to a cease-fire if the other party agrees first. The real challenge is how to achieve a cease-fire that is effective, real and lasting.”

    “We don’t just want an announcement of a cease-fire, we want a real cease-fire that can be monitored,” the U.N. envoy added.
    (Reuters)
    ————————————————
    Another Reuters report states:
    But there appeared to be confusion over a truce even within rebel ranks. “We do not agree to the cease-fire. We are defending ourselves and our revolution,” said rebel spokesman Hafiz Ghoga.

  9. Amber,

    I have also called in Feb for a deployment of Turkish blue hats in Libya to create safe zones.

  10. SAM

    Point taken, and my use of English was faulty. I should have prefaced obviation with virtual. In practice, of course there will be a very limited amount of such voting, and the parties will no doubt produce Oz-style preference cards.

    The fact that Stoke Central still don’t end up with a BNP representative – which the NO campaign claim will be more likely – is the most interesting part of the outcome.

    I still don’t know which way I’ll vote on the referendum: ‘yes’ means we’re stuck with a poor system for at least one GE, and quite possibly indefinitely; ‘no’ will set back voting reform for a generation.

    Quite so. I would much prefer to see STV everywhere, but so long as single-member seats are considered so important by our parliamentary sovereigns AV would give them at least a veneer of democratic legitimacy and as such is better than nothing. And if the dinosaurs like Prescott fight bitterly against any extension of democracy and win, how much chance will there be of a referendum on real democracy in the future?

    Regardless of the political fallout of the referendum for the various parties, I think the entire country is going to lose.

    Use of the the word country is always problematic in relation to the British Isles. If you mean the UN member state which calls itself the UK then you’re probably wrong. Of the four home nations, only England will lose the chance to experiment with more democracy. The other three “home” nations already have some variant of it.

    It would have been more logical to hold separate referendums for the people of each nation to decide how they wish to be represented in the “state” assembly. If the nations decide differently but their will is thwarted by one or more other nations, this will be another cause of grievance for home rulers like me and nationalists of non-British ilk (ie excluding Lab, Con, L-D, DUP, UUP, BNP & UKIP). NI already elect their Euro MPs in a different way to the island of GB. Why should Westminster MPs be treated differently?

  11. @ Éoin

    Our only ‘disagreement’ on this, I would allow the UN protectors to have weapons. I would not make them ‘sitting ducks’ like Romeo Dallaire’s force in Rawanda.

    But I respect your view as the ‘ideal’. IMO, it is too risky but that’s my opinion.
    8-)

  12. Amber,
    In 15 Aug 1969 The UK Army was deployed on the Falls Road as a peace keeping force to protect Roman Catholics…
    They were welcomed.. and not targeted by the IRA
    In June 1970 they were deployed to carry out arms searches etc.. in the lower Falls area.. [the same houses]
    The people who welcomed them then became the haters of them..
    After that it became less about peace keeping and more about a war of attrition because they were viewed as having picked a side..
    It took 17 months before the first crown force personel was killed by the IRA.. In my view it could have been avoided.. families who cheered the UK army’s arrival turned on them..
    At the end.. when the UK army started wearing caps it was a breath of fresh air.. their demilitarisation aided the atmosphere of peace..
    It certainly marked an improvement on my early childhood memories..
    The Piakistan Army trialled this in Somalia..
    But yes, I accept there might if the well being of the UN policemen became an issue, a need to arm them, but I would give the former a go first..
    UK troops in Basra got plenty right I think..
    complicated though, I accept.

  13. Amber,

    I have written a response however it has made its way to moderation, hopefully you will get to read it at some stage :)

  14. @ Colin

    Again from Reuters:

    Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the national council in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, also said rebels would need more weapons if Gaddafi’s forces did not halt military action.

    He was speaking at joint news conference with U.N. special envoy to Libya Abdelilah al-Khatib, who met rebel officials in Benghazi. Khatib called for a cease-fire, the protection of civilians and lifting the “siege” on Libyan cities.

    “We have no objection to a cease-fire but on condition that Libyans in western cities have full freedom in expressing their views,” Abdel Jalil said, adding that the goal of rebels was a united Libya with Tripoli as its capital.

    “The condition for a cease-fire is the removal of Gaddafi’s forces from in and around western cities,” he said. “Our main demand is the departure of Muammar Gaddafi and his sons from Libya. This is a demand we will not go back on,” he added.

    h ttp://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/04/01/uk-libya-rebels-ceasefire-idUKTRE7302A020110401

    Colin, the media outlets that you are obtaining your information from are being economical with the truth, IMO. Wider reading might assist your understanding of this conflict in Libya.

  15. @ Colin

    A joint press conference with a UN Envoy – during which the TNC demands a uni-lateral surrender by the Libyan government – is being reported as a UN approved, ‘reasonable’ cease-fire, proposed by the TNC.

    Doesn’t that make you worry about the truth behind other things you read in the ‘mainstream’ media, Colin?
    8-)

  16. Amber

    Thanks for all that material.

    I have to accept from that Reuters report that they have demanded Gadaffi’s departure.

    I had hoped that ITNC would have posted the full text on their website-but no sign yet.

  17. SOCAL

    h ttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472027/

  18. Amber

    The searches I did turned up Arab reports in the main.

    The quote I posted was from a Saudi news outlet.

  19. SoCalLiberal

    “Maybe he’ll be a little less crazy than Ghadaffi but at the end of the day, the system of government is still the same. Then, the western intervention will have been for nothing.”

    So you see UN 1973 just as a pretext under which the West can bring about regime change in yet another non-white, non-Christian country?

    More neo-con than liberal, I’d have thought. :-)

  20. @ Colin

    :-) You are very gracious; I very much like that about you. When your perception is altered by facts, you are always honest enough to admit it.
    8-)

  21. Amber,
    In 15 Aug 1969 The UK Army was deployed on the Falls Road as a peace keeping force to protect Roman Catholics…
    They were welcomed.. and not targeted by the IRA
    In June 1970 they were deployed to carry out arms searches etc.. in the lower Falls area.. [the same houses]
    The people who welcomed them then became the haters of them..
    After that it became less about peace keeping and more about a war of attrition because they were viewed as having picked a side..
    It took 17 months before the first crown force personel was killled by the IRA.. In my view it could have been avoided.. families who cheeered the UK army’s arrival turned on them..
    At the end.. when the UK army started wearing caps it was a breath of fresh air.. their demilitarisation aided the atmosphere of peace..
    It certainly marked an improvement on my early childhood memories..

  22. Amber continued

    The P a k i stan Army trialled this in Somalia..
    But yes, I accept there might if the well being of the UN policemen became an issue, a need to arm them, but I would give the former a go first..
    UK troops in Basra got plenty right I think..
    complicated though, I accept.

  23. Amber,

    That is half of my post… The other half has a word that the auto mod doesn’t like

  24. Amber,

    minor date correction on Falls Road Curfew 1-4 July 1970….

  25. Amber

    Thank you

    You certainly make me have to think . :-)

  26. barbazenzero:

    I don’t believe that IRV is any less susceptible to tactical voting than plurality voting. As soon as a minor party is getting enough first preferences + early transfers to threaten to win, there will be a vote splitting effect between the minor party and the major party they’re stripping first preferences from. Admittedly, while the minor party is small (and hence eliminated in the first few rounds) this effect doesn’t show up, unlike under plurality where minor parties are always a vote-splitting force. The vulnerability to pushovers balances out the gains made against compromise votes, as well as non-participation and the scary non-monotonicity, meaning that IRV is about as resistant to tactical voting as is plurality.

    I wouldn’t take my numbers for Stoke Central too seriously – I just needed a vaguely plausible example to show off tactical voting. A BNP victory is more likely in Barking or Dagenham and Rainham, both of which are sadly in my part of the world and altogether too close for comfort. I couldn’t guess at the relative probabilities under IRV and plurality because there’s been very little polling of how people would vote under IRV, which I suspect would be very, very different.

    Quite so. I would much prefer to see STV everywhere, but so long as single-member seats are considered so important by our parliamentary sovereigns AV would give them at least a veneer of democratic legitimacy and as such is better than nothing.

    I dislike STV as well, because IRV is a special case and most of the failings carry over to the general case. There’s also the additional problem, unique to STV of the PR methods, that large constituencies are impractical because of the number of candidates standing. Smaller constituencies are less proportional, however, so there’s an uncomfortable balance between proportionality and sheer ballot practicality. The Australian system forces voters to rank every single candidate – imagine trying to fill out a ballot for a 10-seat constituency with four candidates for every seat! And I suspect that even smaller-but-still-large constituencies, with perhaps 6 seats, would all go to the main parties — again, look at Australia and the stability of their 2.5 party system.

    On the other hand, party-list PR takes away the personal link to a constituency (quick! Who are your MEPs in Brussels?) and gives (more) undue power to the parties’ selection commitees. I’m being won over by MMP, though not Scottish/Welsh/London AMS, which is highly vulnerable to strategic nomination and ‘decoy lists’. This hasn’t been demonstrated in the UK yet, but Italy has had some crazy results. I have fleshed-out scheme without this vulerability, but this isn’t the right forum for announcing that to the world ;)

    NI already elect their Euro MPs in a different way to the island of GB. Why should Westminster MPs be treated differently?

    I disagree again here. I think the voting system should be uniform across whatever area it represents. MEPs being elected under quite different methods already makes me nervous, both on general egalitarian principles and because I worry about gerrymandering and political control over the system in use. When I said I was worried for the country, I did indeed mean the whole UK, because every home nation elects MPs, the referendum will apply to every Westminister constituency, and decisions made in Westminister do affect the whole UK. If IRV results in a loony collection of MPs, then NI, Scotland and Wales won’t be exempt!

  27. @ Old Nat

    “Bad news for Abe Lincoln then.”

    The situations are completely inapposite. Abe Lincoln was duly elected president in free and fair elections. He did not install himself as Colonel Lincoln of the Great Christian Socialist Republic of America after a military coup. He did not use firepower to prevent people from voting him out of office or ignore calls for democracy. I should add too that Lincoln was reelected in 1864 and strenuously criticized calls to cancel it because of the on-going civil war.

    “So you see UN 1973 just as a pretext under which the West can bring about regime change in yet another non-white, non-Christian country?

    More neo-con than liberal, I’d have thought.”

    No. It’s not that. The situation that required UN 1973 would not have occurred had it not been for the bravery of the Libyan people to rise up and call for an end to Ghadaffi’s regime. They want self-determination and democracy. If someone in Ghadaffi’s inner circle currently employed in fighting the rebels decides to depose Ghadaffi but to simply take power for himself, it will be disappointing to see the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people crushed or a prolongued struggle.

    As evidenced by Ghadaffi’s ruthless attacks on western cities as well as the east, it seems pretty clear that this is not simply a regional war but a good chunk of Libyans want him gone.

    Also, neo-cons believe you can invade a country whenever you’d like and unilaterally impose democracy. The intervention in Libya is not based on this whacko philosophy.

  28. SoCalLiberal

    So your new position is “When you have to use your firepower against civilian populations in order to stay in power, I think you’ve lost your legitimacy to lead – unless you were elected by one part of the state (used in a non-US way) in which case it’s OK to do it to the bit that didn’t vote for you”. ;-)

    Remind me which parts of the South voted for Lincoln in 1864 – apart from the reconstructed bits of Louisiana and Tennessee (whose votes weren’t counted anyway). That’s a pretty easy way of winning an election!

    ” The intervention in Libya is not based on this whacko philosophy.”

    That was precisely my point. Yours, however, was that the point of Western intervention was to change the system of government. I fail to find that in UN 1973.

    I am far too kind to actually describe your view of intervention in Libya as “whacko”. :-)

  29. I have been looking at the pattern of political control in local authorities in Englandand it was quite surprising to see that only the following were either Lib-Con or Con-Lib coalitions –

    Birmingham
    Oldham
    Reading
    Redbridge
    Warrington
    Wirral

    Given that some of these could already have gone Lib-Lab or Lab-Lib I imagine that most if not all of these will have ceased o be Lib-Con or Con-Lib coalitions after May 5th.

  30. SAM

    So disliking AV, STV, party lists and d’Hondt would you prefer the continuation of the 1872 plurality system, to perpetuate the hegemony of British nationalist parties who aren’t, perhaps, quite so awful as the BNP while you’re working on your new schema?

    If so, I suspect you’re ensuring the demise of the UK sooner rather than later, unless perhaps the UK withdraws from the UN as being unable to support the UN charter on self-determination. It might come to that if UKIP make a breakthrough in England.

    I think the voting system should be uniform across whatever area it represents.

    Why? If the people are sovereign, as they are in Scotland and should be everywhere, should not the mechanism by which they choose their representatives be their own choice rather than imposed upon them by the centre?

    If IRV results in a loony collection of MPs, then NI, Scotland and Wales won’t be exempt!

    But neither are they now, when unequal power at Westminster determines which resources are the UK’s, England’s or to be shared. So long as power is “devolved” rather than “delegated” upwards as in the Swiss Confederation, there will be no equality of people, regions or nations in the current UK.

  31. DAVID B

    It’s unlikely that Birmingham will change from a LibCon coalition. If Paul Tilesley (deputy leader, Lib Dem) had any inclination to do a deal with Labour as the biggest party then he would have done this before.

    Should he do it now he’ll have to retrospectively justify his previous position, whilst explaining why he now thinks his precious coalition was bad enough to ditch.

    Effectively it doesn’t matter what the voters of Birmingham decide, it’s only the vote of Paul Tilesley (and the other members of the LibDem group) that counts.

  32. @ Old Nat

    “So your new position is “When you have to use your firepower against civilian populations in order to stay in power, I think you’ve lost your legitimacy to lead – unless you were elected by one part of the state (used in a non-US way) in which case it’s OK to do it to the bit that didn’t vote for you”.

    Remind me which parts of the South voted for Lincoln in 1864 – apart from the reconstructed bits of Louisiana and Tennessee (whose votes weren’t counted anyway). That’s a pretty easy way of winning an election!

    ” The intervention in Libya is not based on this whacko philosophy.”

    That was precisely my point. Yours, however, was that the point of Western intervention was to change the system of government. I fail to find that in UN 1973.

    I am far too kind to actually describe your view of intervention in Libya as “whacko”.”

    No. I think you’ve missed my point. No one ever elected Ghadaffi. Abe Lincoln, on the other hand, was elected. And those who decided to secede were those who were attempting to void election results they did not like. They had no right to do what they did.

    As to the 1864 election, Lincoln had a strong opponent, one who could have beaten him. Those who were still in the union could have decided to remove him from office if they wished. Also, as to 1864, Lincoln won states he did not win in 1860 including those southern states (slave holding states) who remained in the union.

    In any case, I think this is a digression. If you wanted to find examples of human rights abuses by the U.S., there are far better examples. I don’t deny that the U.S. has committed atrocities in the past. We have. The UK has done its fair share too. And I think that those of us who are aware of various bad acts, will acknowledge that those acts were wrong. But that doesn’t mean that we today should close our eyes to current atrocities committed in the world and turn away from them because of our own feelings of guilt. The attitude of “well we did bad things in the past so they should get to do them now as well” is a philosophy I can’t adhere to. It’s counterproductive to our interests and it conflicts with our realization of past wrongs.

    As for UN resolution 1973, I did not say that the point was to have regime change. I said that it came about from the desire of the people of Libya to have regime change. If they hadn’t wanted regime change and if Ghadaffi hadn’t wanted to crush their desires of regime change with all available military force and the slaughter of his own people, there would not have been a resolution 1973.

  33. SoCalLiberal

    You don’t take into account that Lincoln wasn’t elected through a secret ballot. You guys didn’t finally get round to that in all states till 1891.

    I know all about US elections in the 19th century – I’ve seen “The Man Who Killed Liberty Vallance” two or three times! :-)

    However, I’m happy to accept your retraction of your

    “Maybe he’ll be a little less crazy than Ghadaffi but at the end of the day, the system of government is still the same. Then, the western intervention will have been for nothing.”

  34. @ Old Nat

    If the government is still the same, that government will slaughter civilians in order to remain in power. The civilians have been slaughtered because of their demand for self-determination. That’s one of the reasons why removing Ghadaffi is a political goal and not a military goal. If our airstrikes take out Ghadaffi but simply lead to his replacement with a new Ghadaffi, then the intervention will have been for nothing.

    Additionally, independent of UN 1973, the U.S. still has an interest in promoting democracy around the world (one of the main motivations for the intervention). Even if that’s not the point of 1973, we still have that aim. We cannot enforce that aim militarily (we can’t do so under the parameters of 1973) but we can promote it politically.

    As to the secret ballot, that doesn’t mean that elections were not free or fair (at that time). Lincoln was the first Republican president, his election required not just allowing an opposition party to win but a party to win both over the incumbent government and the main opposition party.

  35. SoCalLiberal

    “the U.S. still has an interest in promoting democracy around the world (one of the main motivations for the intervention).”

    Was there a secret addendum to UN 1073 that I didn’t see?

    The interests of the USA are only relevant in so far as your country continues to pursue a neo-imperialist agenda.

    OK we know that the US interest is really oil, but you are supposed to at least pretend that protecting civilians is the purpose.

  36. Coalition is consistently ahead on most of the points but Labour ahead in polls but if you were to combine the coalition parties percentages, coalition is ahead.

    Ok, it doesn’t work like that & Labour would have a majority in parliament so the coalition would be voted out.

  37. Of course the people have Scotland have no interest at all in secure oil supplies and the spread of democracy.

  38. @ Neil A

    “Of course the people have Scotland have no interest at all in secure oil supplies and the spread of democracy.”

    Lol.

    @ Old Nat

    “Was there a secret addendum to UN 1073 that I didn’t see?

    The interests of the USA are only relevant in so far as your country continues to pursue a neo-imperialist agenda.

    OK we know that the US interest is really oil, but you are supposed to at least pretend that protecting civilians is the purpose.”

    Again, I think you misread me. The U.S. imports very little oil from Libya. We’re not interested in their oil supplies and we did not enter this crisis for reasons of oil need.

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