Public opinion is starting to move against our involvment in Libya. Since bombing began, YouGov have been asking daily whether people think it is right or not for Britain and its allies to take military action, and whether people think the intervention is going well or badly.

Opinion has shifting significantly over the last week on whether it’s going well or not – a week ago 57% thought it was going well, 19% thought it was going badly. Today it is 42% going well, 34% going badly. This is now starting to reflect in the people who think it is right or wrong for us to take military action against Libya – something which has previously been pretty steady. For the first time so far YouGov’s tracker today showed more people (43%) thinking the military action was wrong than those in favour of it (38%).

The poll also asked about the fate of Moussa Koussa – Libya’s former foriegn secretary and intelligence chief. Only 22% of people think he should be allowed to stay in Britain in order to help weaken the Gaddafi regime and only 7% think he should be offered immunity from prosecution in return for his help.


158 Responses to “YouGov show public turning against Libya bombing”

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  1. FrankG

    Hindsight can be a wonderful thing. Whether you think it will be beneficial to the UK(!) in the long term to intervene is hardly the question. That will change depending upon the public’s view of how well the war is going.

    The decision to intervene to save yet another massacre had to be taken on the events happening at that time. I doubt very many would disagree that the ‘rebels’ and civilian population faced a likely massacre in Benghazi. That was the reason for the UN vote and for the coalition’s military intervention.

    That intervention has brought the time for other solutions to develop, including peace talks and even partition if necessary (although personally I hope not). Make use of that time to bring this dreadful episode of human nature to a better solution, don’t criticise those with the courage, Con, LD and Lab who took the decision to at least try for an alternative to a massacre.

    That time has been brought at a heavy cost of civilian lives, but nowhere near as heavy a cost in civilian lives as would otherwise have been the case.

  2. The ‘going well/badly’ question has been falling for a while, driven by events. However the fall on Sunday was accompanied by a (small) rise in support for action (from being split 41/40). We probably need to see if this change on the ‘right/wrong’ question is an outlier or a genuine crossing over (in which case the ST figure might be the rogue).

    If anything the movement is more among coalition supporters than opponents, so it’s not a firming up of partisan positions. This continues to be a surprisingly non-Party issue – demographics seem to be as big a predictor. The young are (against the usual assumptions) most heavily in favour, women most against. Not much regional variation, but after discounting what partisan effects there are, the Scots seem most approving.

    Are YouGov polling daily on this (it seems a bit on/off at the moment)?

  3. Roger – almost daily. We skipped one day this week as it clashed with some questions we were asking for an academic client.

  4. Roger Mexico

    “the Scots seem most approving”.

    They’re also amongst the most against. There are fewer don’t knows, so possibly not as different as appears.

  5. OldNat,

    Marcia found Brian Cox’s 2007 PPB for the Labour Party:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlSb5yROS6Q

    Stirring stuff! ;)

  6. I don’t think this is yet a war….as no one has declared it to be so….and it’s not between the Libyan state and other states under a UN mandate…

    Adventures foreign or domestic have the habit of ending badly….

    This was even worse than many in so far as its objectives are so ill defined….

    Absolutely well intentioned, absolutely appealing to that impulse we all have to do something when our fellow human beings are mistreated,,,but I’m still unclear how we will know when we’ve won….as even after Gadaffi we’re now commmitted….and worse potentially responsible…

  7. Stuart

    It wid mak a gless ee greet!

  8. So, 38% of the UK back boming Libya but 98% of MPs do. What a hole of a place.

  9. It is important to put the word ‘falling’ in context. This action never ever had the support that the Iraq war had.

    As ICM’s weekend poll showed Iraq enjoyed +15% net more support.

    YG’s first comparison between Iraq/Libya found the same thing.

    Women especially never ever wanted this bombing.

  10. OldNat

    The Scots, like the over-60s always seem to know their own minds! The gap between the pro’s and anti’s is about the same as it is in London and the South East but I was also taking into account the fact that there is some, presumably partisan, dislike from Labour supporters towards any action of the coalition, and Labour support is stronger in Scotland than in the South, it could be assumed that, allowing for political factors, support for action is relatively strongest there.

    The details might disprove it of course, the partisan effect might not apply in Scotland, but I remarked on it because, as with the under 25s and with Lib Dem voters, it seems to go against the usual assumptions about anti-war opinions. With all three groups I suspect internationalism may play a big part.

  11. Roger Mexico

    And as an over 60 Scot …… :-)

    There is a lot of opposition to most actions of the UK Coalition among most Scots (SNP, Green, Socialist as well as Labour and a chunk of the remaining LDs).

    You may well be right about internationalism (or humanitarianism) being a factor, though I’m not convinced that my fellow countrymen/women are any “better” in that respect than anyone else (except the Americans, of course).

  12. Total “Going Well” unchanged at 42%

    “Right” down 5pts to 38%

    More “going Well” than “Right” !

  13. @ John Murphy

    All depends upon the wording to the polling questions asked. If you ask complex questions with a wide variety of answers then you can get almost any result depending upon the way, the wording and the order of the questions. Few opinion polls ask unambiguous and unbiassed questions.

    If you had asked 10 days ago-

    “Should something be done to save the innocent civilians, men, women and children from a massacre by Gaddafi’s forces?” Likely answer from most would be Yes.

    If you then ask ‘Should a NFZ be established if it helps protect those civilians? Likely answer from most would be Yes.

    If you then ask ‘Should our pilots be able to protect themselves from danger from Libyan military aircraft, guns and missiles? Probable answer probably still a Yes.

    If you then ask ‘Should a UN resolution to that effect be obtained before any intervention? Answer probably still a Yes

    So there you have your support %s Not some weasel-worded poll question open to misinterpretation and confusion.

    No sane person wants to allow Gaddafi to massacre a significant % of the Libyan people, especially when their only ‘crime’ is to want the same human rights and freedoms that the rest of us openly enjoy. No person who claims to believe in democracy, human rights and justice should be prepared to look the other way and allow such things to happen, just because they will not ‘gain’ from any intervention.

    By all means be critical and oppose the government (and opposition) and your military forces if they should exceed their humanitarian UN mandate, but until they do, they deserve support and loyalty.

    To answer some of your points:

    Yes it is not officially a war. Neither was the ‘war’ we fought in N. Ireland. The declaration of a ‘war’ has legal significance not least of which is insurance liabilities, where most policies explicitly exclude ‘damage through acts of war’.

    I think many civilians of Benghazi might object to the measures being taken to save their lives being described as ‘adventures’ foreign or otherwise.

    The objectives have been well described in the UN mandate.

    Our fellow human beings in Benghazi were in danger of being massacred not ‘mistreated’.

    When they are no longer in danger, THEY will have WON, not us, because it is about their lives and their safety and not about UK popularity polls and a whistle at the end of an allotted time, with the body count being toted up to see who has ‘won’.

    As for ‘responsibility’ – if you do your best, live up to your principles, then you shouold be proud to take any responsibilty for your actions. Never again should we have the shame of Bosnia, where our soldiers were ordered to stand back and do nothing whilst 1000s of innocent muslem civilians were transported away to be massacred. I am proud the UN and our Govt stood up and was counted this time around.

    As for how long it all takes – does that really matter provided a just and honorable solution is found?

    Gaddafi has just appealed to Obama to stop NATO forces attacks. Gaddafi can do that himself by stopping his forces shelling civilians, allow humanitarian aid and services such as electricity, water etc to reach those in need and allowing all the Libyan people the human rights and freedoms they are entitled to expect.

  14. @TGB

    ‘So, 38% of the UK back boming (bombing?) Libya but 98% of MPs do. What a hole of a place.’

    Surprised and disappointed with your comment. I may just be that 98% of the MPs having debated and heard all sides of the argument decided to support the UN resolution’s implementation. Perhaps the question polled did not allow such full consideration and hence attracted less support. Perhaps it forgot to mention that you need to destroy or suppress the Libyan military planes, guns and missile before you make the airspace safe for our planes to patrol. Perhaps they forgot to remind respondents that military forces firing or preparing to fire on civilians can only be stopped by destroying them from the air with bombs and missiles, if ground troops are not allowed to be deployed. Polls do tend to treat questions as though it’s some ‘Big Brother’ public opinion publicity questionaire. Being a lot closer to Libya than most of you, just perhaps things are a little clearer.

    Maybe, just for once, the question was so obvious that 98% of MPs managed to agree and hopefully get it right this time.

  15. Well after today’s wall to wall coverage of “Worse off Wednesday”, surely that long expected surge in the Labour lead is now going to materialise?

  16. @Colin,presumably these things will take time to filter through,end of month pay packets etc.
    As for Libya the longer it lasts the worse it will get.I wonder,no mass intervention in Cote D’Ivoire, and yet the end game is already in sight. Perhaps we should have kept our powder dry.

  17. Why is public support for this mission, rightly IMO, being withdrawn?

    1. Talk of arming the ‘rebels’. We were told that peaceful protestors were being shot by the Libyan security services. We wanted them protected. We did not want to pick a side in a civil war.

    2. It is becoming clear that the TNC are not representatives of the protestors. They are key men from the very regime that they now find so disgusting! (I am not making a judgement regarding the need for ‘experience’ when trying to effect regime change, I believe I am offering an explanation as to why the public are withdrawing their support.)

    3. We can see that the rebels have shifted their emphasis. They are no longer civilians being attacked by military, they are combatants. We see them firing weapons indiscriminately, yet we are expected to believe that civilians will be safer if these trigger happy combatants are given more/ bigger/ better weapons. IMO, The public is not convinced this would be a good idea!
    8-)

  18. Colin

    A surge in the Labour lead due?

    Not necessarily. The position is extremely polarised and hateful and has been ever since the collapse in Lib Dem support last year. Tories are happy with the general direction of policy. Labour has been topped up by disaffected Lib Dems for the moment. But people aren’t convinced that Labour has a sensible alternative economic policy so to get beyond low 40s is proving difficult. I predict that it will stay the same for some time. That said my predictions are usually rubbish!

    Is it just me or does anybody else find Lansley quite tetchy? I give him 2 out of 10 for today’s performance. The mask dropped for a moment and he came across as irritating and irritable.

  19. ANN

    Yes your right-it may take a little time-but not long I suspect.

    In Cote D’Ivoir UN has troops on the ground. A UN helicopter actually fired on Gbagbo’s compound. And the death toll is horrendous.

    In Libya, the UN demand for ceasefire has no support on the ground by Blue Helmets.

    Since NFZ was handed to NATO, the civilians of MIsrata have not been adequately protected. THe wounded & maimed are being taken out by hospital ship-no supplies are getting in to the beseiged citizenry.

    Gadaffi is making a fool of the UN & NATO. He ditches his tanks and switches to Technicals so that they look like ITNC forces. He uses civilian shields in residential areas. He uses snipers. He is reportedly still bringing in mercenaries from Sub Saharan Africa.

    He is making the international community look like idiots.

    Only the Press are exposing his murderous activities. He took them to a sanitised & cleaned up ZAwiyah yesterday-the town where his son flattened the centre , including the mosque. They refused to be conned, and reminded his spokesman that some of them were there when the atrocity was committed.

  20. Having logged in just getting over *UK* polling report saying ‘Howdy’ to me.

    These polls are more reflective of media output absorption than knowledge of the issue. Even keen types on here can dispute facts let alone opinions.

    I suppose the trend as always gives a clue. It could have an effect on VI if women start getting a negative idea about those two young men at No 10.

  21. Ian

    You clearly subscribe to the Labour “soft lead” hypothesis then ?

  22. Ian

    “Is it just me or does anybody else find Lansley quite tetchy? I give him 2 out of 10 for today’s performance”

    I gave him 7.
    He loses 3 for getting DC into this situation.

    But he said today that he had failed to explain properly & it was his fault. That deserves credit.

    I doubt the public have a clue what the row is about-its all a bit remote from Jo Public I think.

    PLeased to see that the core message is afirmed-No Change in NHS is not an option.

  23. @ Old Nat and Stuart Dickson

    At the risk of offending Scottish pride, who is Brian Cox? For that matter, which party does Sean Connery vote for (assuming none of them have an anti-Alex Trebek platform)?

    @ Old Nat

    “You may well be right about internationalism (or humanitarianism) being a factor, though I’m not convinced that my fellow countrymen/women are any “better” in that respect than anyone else (except the Americans, of course).”

    I think we’re far more humanitarian than you give us the credit for. In terms of being internationalist, it is true that there is a growing sense of isolationism among Millenial Americans but I’m not sure that will last.

  24. @FrankG (FPT)
    “I am glad you have gone back to a grey background as since coloured backgrounds were introduced I have noticed that the partisan rants by most of those using them have increased significantly.”
    _______________________________________
    Your response confirms my earlier fears. I certainly do not share your perception that partisan comments (almost never “rants” here) more often come from those who choose to disclose their political colours on their posts than from those who don’t. I have reverted to using a grey background simply because your comments are evidence that there are some using this site who prefer to judge a book by its cover rather than by what’s inside. So I’ve taken off the pastel pink cover off mine. Contrary to the implications of your comment above, it will make my comments no more or less prone to be partisan than before.

    If you are struggling to understand the reference to “non-political conservative”, I refer you to Bernard Crick’s “In Defence of Politics”. It is well worth a read. But if you won’t, in a nutshell one of his points is that some people who outwardly consider themselves to be above the political fray, and would no doubt post in grey here, in fact harbour very partisan views indeed.

  25. @ Eoin

    Here’s some good political news for you (in the last thread, you had mentioned that a poll result from Germany was the best political news you’d heard in weeks….I think this is better). In Wisconsin, an incumbent right wing state Supreme Court Justice, David Prosser, who publicly and I might add inappropriately sided with Governor Scott Walker in his attempts to destroy labor unions, has apparently been defeated by his labor backed challenger Joanne Kloppenburg (JoKlo). With 100% of all precincts reporting, she leads by 204 votes. I say that she is the apparent winner because there will likely be a recount.

    Assuming this holds up, this is a sign of the backlash against Walker for his decision to take away all collective bargaining rights for public sector employees and a major victor for unions and liberals. This is only the fifth time that an incumbent Justice has been thrown out of office in Wisconsin history. His opponent was little known just a few weeks ago. Her narrow victory is due almost entirely to union organizing in the wake of Walker’s attacks against them.

  26. In the latest YouGov, it’s noticable that the remaining LD supporters, while remaining supportive of the coalition (72% to 24%) have nonetheless switched over to net disapproval of the Government’s record to date, albeit by only 42% disapprove to 41% approve. No doubt the figure will go back to approval in the next poll, but nonetheless there seems to have been a gradual shift. The figure got quite close to parity at the end of last month also, so it’s not quite a one-off.

    Given that a substantial chunk of the remaining 9% LDs clearly have concerns over the Government’s record, it suggests that this 9% figure might still be quite soft and prone to fall further if things continue as they are.

  27. SoCalLiberal

    You might recognise Brian Cox from some of these roles

    “His most famous appearances include Rob Roy, Braveheart (both in 1995), The Ring, X2, Troy and The Bourne Supremacy. He usually plays villains, such as William Stryker in X2, Agamemnon in Troy, Pariah Dark in the Danny Phantom television series episode Reign Storm, and a devious CIA official in the Bourne films and in Chain Reaction. He has on occasion played more sympathetic characters, such as Edward Norton’s father in 25th Hour, a fatherly police superior in Super Troopers, and Rachel McAdams’ father in Red Eye. He has also appeared in the sitcom Frasier as Daphne Moon’s father. He was also the protagonist in the film The Escapist.”

  28. @ Eoin

    And here’s a cool map of the race for you.

    h ttp://ericcompas.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/kloppenbergprosser-election-results/

    I think Wisconsin is one of those few states where there are significant numbers of rural liberals/progressives. I think they’ve rallied to the cause of the unions. Lots of counties that Walker won last November went to Kloppenburg yesterday and lots of counties that Walker heavily won in November went only narrowly to Prosser.

    Last night was incredibly suspensful as the lead kept flipping back and forth (and not knowing Wisconsin that well, it was kinda hard to tell what was actually going on).

  29. @ Old Nat

    “You might recognise Brian Cox from some of these roles

    “His most famous appearances include Rob Roy, Braveheart (both in 1995), The Ring, X2, Troy and The Bourne Supremacy. He usually plays villains, such as William Stryker in X2, Agamemnon in Troy, Pariah Dark in the Danny Phantom television series episode Reign Storm, and a devious CIA official in the Bourne films and in Chain Reaction. He has on occasion played more sympathetic characters, such as Edward Norton’s father in 25th Hour, a fatherly police superior in Super Troopers, and Rachel McAdams’ father in Red Eye. He has also appeared in the sitcom Frasier as Daphne Moon’s father. He was also the protagonist in the film The Escapist.””

    Those movies he’s been in are all popular but I’ve never actually seen them. I remember once reading about the 5 movies that would make men cry in and Braveheart was one of them. When I was a kid, I used to watch Frasier (before it became really unfunny) and I think I have seen him in his role of Daphne Moon’s dad. Although Daphne was English and so was her dad.

  30. SoCalLiberal

    “Although Daphne was English and so was her dad.”

    :-)

    Cox is also a distinguished Shakespearian actor. He does accents rather well. :-)

  31. Anthony

    As the AV ballot grows closer, it makes increasing sense to pay more regard to conduct AV polls using the actual question as presented on the ballot.

    Nonetheless, the leaflet from the Electoral Commission on the referendum arrived here today, including 5 pages of how the different systems work, of which 4 pages are on AV and which could conceivably affect opinion by being a bit off putting to some. Given that every household in the country is receiving this detailed explanation, I suggest that it vindicate YouGov’s decision in early polling to provide a detailed explanation of the respective systems, rather than just the straight question as it appears on the ballot paper. Many didn’t know much about the systems then, so the early provision by YouGov of information much like what was eventually to be provided to them seems to me to have made sense.

  32. Top Brass saying there is stalemate now and the only realistic option (“to get the job done”) is to send troops with small landing craft on quick in-out missions… the limitations of the nfz should have been obvious from the start.

    The plan to create a level playing field/provide air-strikes in support of rebel forces has not succeeded in its objective.

    If the goal is to depose Gadhafi they need to go back to the UN.

    Part of the reasoning behind not arming the rebels is the risk that they will start fighting amongst themselves.

    Benghazi is heading for crisis if the TNC fail to maintain services.

  33. Frank G,

    YouGov are the only polling company to show the UK more in favour bombing Libya than not, and even they now have fallen in line with the others. [ICM/ComRes].

    There may be 0.1% of the Main Stream politicos willing to speak out against another bombing escapade coincidentally involving a Muslim state, but I console myself it the comfort that the UK public never wanted this. Sadly, democracy has failed in this instance.

    The same product we wish to export for all of its finery.

  34. typo, should be “to AV polls conducted…” etc

  35. @ Old Nat

    “Cox is also a distinguished Shakespearian actor. He does accents rather well.”

    The irony is that the actress who played Daphne was one of the few English actors who always used her own accent and never faked an American accent, which I’ve heard a number of English actors used to do (and reportedly didn’t enjoy doing). So it’s kind of ironic that her dad on the show was played by a Scottish actor who faked an English accent.

    The humor in Daphne’s character is that she was always kind of the straight man and voice of reason among the characters but she was also a little bit out there too. When members of her family would visit, it would become clear why she had moved all the way to Seattle: to get away from her crazy, booze-loving family.

  36. I’m sorry…. my comments were not meant to be disloyal…in general or particular…

    Nor is Libya the only place in the world where at this moment governments are persecuting their citizens. Only a minority of peoples in this world enjoy the freedoms and human rights and other protections which we do.

    That reality must govern our response as much as any impulse to try to help…by military intervention…

    You make my point well…there was no war in Northern Ireland and it isn’t helpful to characterise such situations as something they aren’t. Similalrly there couldn’t possibly be a war on terrorism…the misuse of this term ‘war’ confuses objectives as easily obscures outcomes.

    There are any number of reprehensible acts of wanton violence by any numbers of people or peoples at any time….it doesn’t mean we should willy-nilly try to resolve them or even cherry pick ones that appear to us to be resolvable…by use of moral criteria that rest upon uncertain legal foundations….

    The acts of the regime on Libya are terrible…but no more gross today than anytime over the last forty years…when we chose to do nothing…or indeed any worse than other states who also behave similarly towards their citizens….

    My point is practical not moral….if this is a war you should be able to decribe the outcome that will resolve this conflict between the states. It’s because that’s not possible that we find oursleves involved in something over which we’ve little or no control but for which we will assume ever greater responsibility.

    No one can surrender unconditionally and if Colonel Gadafi goes and, as in Iraq peace and love doesn’t immediately break out, what do we do next?

    This isn’t conflict resolution – its the itch to be seen to be doing something. We may make ourselves feel bette by responding to our natural instict in this fashion but like poring water into a bucket with a hole in it….we may change nothing in the long run….To pretend there’s certainty when we can’t define the certain outcome is dangerous for lives others…we also have a responsibility to them…

    If our impulses might cost lives and before we ask that sacrifice of anyone…especially those in our armed forces for whom we ought to ahve greatest care… we need to be clear what it is we seek to achieve.

    It was said in the Second World War that careless talk costs lives….actions may be well meaning but may still be careless and will still carry consequences for the lives of others…..

    Our imtervention in Libya is posited on all sorts of simple assumptions….as was our intervention in Iraq…the realities differ from these reassuring simplcities….and the complexities will multiply as we become more deeply engaged.

    These aren’t simple choices and we fool only ourselves if we believe the problems of the world are susecptible to simple solutions.

  37. @ Billy Bob

    “Top Brass saying there is stalemate now and the only realistic option (“to get the job done”) is to send troops with small landing craft on quick in-out missions… the limitations of the nfz should have been obvious from the start.

    The plan to create a level playing field/provide air-strikes in support of rebel forces has not succeeded in its objective.

    If the goal is to depose Gadhafi they need to go back to the UN.

    Part of the reasoning behind not arming the rebels is the risk that they will start fighting amongst themselves.

    Benghazi is heading for crisis if the TNC fail to maintain services.”

    Well now we’ve entered into a different ballgame. Getting rid of Ghadaffi goes far beyond what the UN resolution authorizes. It’s also clear that the U.S. will not commit any ground troops to this operation. And there are problems with sending in ground troops as they may be seen as invaders and resented by the population. And really, I can’t think of any powers really that could invade without therre being a problem. American troops are from the great satan state of the west, Italians and Turks are former colonizers so they can’t go in, the English have a colonial history so they can’t go in. Some have suggested Egypt should go in but this is kind of a problem because Egypt might decide to stay for a while and wear out their welcome after a certain point. After all, Libya is a country of 6 million people and a LOT of oil while Egypt is a country of 76 million people without a lot of oil.

    There are a lot of problems with arming the rebels and it’s not just the issue of them fighting amongst themselves. There’s a problem of proper training. The rebels are starting to organize themselves better but it’s still a struggle.

  38. SoCalLiberal

    “to get away from her crazy, booze-loving family.”

    Oh! So they were actually Scots or Irish then? :-)

  39. @IanAnthonyJames

    “Is it just me or does anybody else find Lansley quite tetchy? I give him 2 out of 10 for today’s performance. The mask dropped for a moment and he came across as irritating and irritable.”

    A question about Lansley. I’m sure I heard or read somewhere that he’d been a very early member of the SDP when it formed in the mid 80s, although when I read a profile of him in the Observer last Sunday, this wasn’t mentioned. Does anybody know if this it is true?

    One interesting thing that emerged from the profile, certainly for me, was his relationship with Cameron. Lansley was a key Tory party apparatchik in the 1992 election campaign and Cameron was a very junior underling in the campaign strategy group that Lansley led. It is suggested by those close to the pair that Lansley hasn’t quite reconciled himself with his once junior subordinate now being his superior. It might be interesting to watch the dynamic between these two key figures in the government as the NHS Reform programme unfolds. If Cameron more or less scuppers the reforms, which I think he will, or at least neuters them, then Mr Lansley might become an interesting character to watch in this ideologically incompatible administration. He may not take kindly to his old underling ditching his beloved, and personally authored, blueprint for the NHS.

  40. I wouldn’t be so sure that the situation will remain deadlocked.

    So long as NATO keeps at it, I expect there to be a steady drift of the initiative to the rebels. They clearly enjoy far more support in the country than the Gadaffists. There is far more scope for improvement and growth in the rebel military effort than in the Gadaffist one, both in terms of organisation & equipment, and also logistical support (the rebels will be kept supplied with food, water and fuel, Gadaffi’s forces face an embargo).

    Nato, with the brakes applied by Turkey, Greece and other refuseniks, clearly has less enthusiasm than the more task-oriented Americans, but I think there will be slow and steady progress.

    Some people can’t imagine any outcome in Libya that isn’t a “failure”. In reality the engagement there is in its early stages and such self-congratulatory predictions are premature in my opinion.

  41. @Soc Lib
    “Last night was incredibly suspensful”
    ____________________________
    Surely nothing could rival the Franken v Coleman recount when they opened all the disputed ballots?

  42. Oooh, another rollercoaster of a poll tonight… :-)

  43. I think Libya will be very messy for many months to come. Obama surely realised this, by taking a backseat to Sarkosy and Cameron.

    The trouble is that the anti-Gaddafi rebels are not properly armed or organised to take the fight to the west of Libya and even if they were it would end up with civilian bloodshed in Tripoli. Gaddafi’s forces will not give up Brega or Ras Lanuf because he wants to keep the oil, but he cannot sell it. Nato has somehow given Qatar the role to sell the oil on behalf of the Libyan people. But they can only do so, if Brega and Ras Lanuf are in control of the rebels.

    What I think should be negotiated is a temporary split in Libya, with Tripoli and other Western Libyan territory kept under the current Libyan government. The central oil fields and Brega/Ras Lanuf should be a neutral zone and Bengazi and eastern Libyan territory put under the control of the rebels. Before this happens a ceasfire should be called and those that want to leave either sides territory should be allowed to do so without any fear of violence. So if Tripoli is then the scene of hundreds of thousands leaving, Gaddafi will get the message that he does not have the support. Hopefully he would then see sense and leave.

    Can’t see it happening, but it makes sense to me as a way forward. Otherwise it will be stalemate for months.

  44. “with Tripoli and other Western Libyan territory kept under the current Libyan government.”

    Why?

    He has put down an uprising in Zawyiah with tanks & the town is now full of those goons in smart leather jackets & expensive shoes.

    He has Misratah-the third largest city-under bloody seige.

    Zintan has been under tank barrage for over a week.

    Protest has been put down by force in suburbs of Tripoli.

    He rules by fear & force of arms in the west. He has no legitimacy & no support that isn’t paid for.

    Those people will never forget what he has done.

    On another topic-Portugal becomes domino number 3.

  45. Portugal in economic crisis tonight.I have said for a long time that it will be the euorozone that will overshadow
    everything else this year.

  46. Portugal in economic crisis tonight.I have said for a long time that it will be the eurozone that will overshadow
    everything else this year.

  47. h
    ttp://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1695.full

    Interesting paper on implications for the “NHS”.

  48. Phil

    Thanks for your reply and the short explanation of the term ‘non-political conservative’. Little chance of getting access to that book locally, so much appreciated.

    You are absolutely right, I do hold strongly believed political views and equally strongly believed principles of behaviour. Does that make me ‘political’ or ‘non-political’? I am afraid the term ‘conservative’ is even less easy to apply, unless it is of the small ‘c’ type.

    As to the party I actually support, I consider that a personal matter. That is why I have always used grey. It is the substance and accuracy of what I say and can contribute to this site that I feel is important, not the colour of my background.

    I do read the full comments of others irrespective of their background. What disturbs me sometimes is how inaccurate some people’s quoted ‘facts’ can be. Everybody has the right to an opinion, but not necessarily to have that opinion go unchallenged if it is illogically thought out or based on inaccurate information.

    I do not believe my particular party is always right and I do not believe other parties are automatically wrong. I do not believe that my party has/will have/ had a ‘god-given’ right to form or be part of the government.

    If that makes me ‘non-political’ in the sense of feeling above the political fray then sobeit. I can slug it out with most and become as emotive as others. But this is meant to be a non- partisan site to discuss polls. That is what I would prefer to do, with particular reference to the application and implications of polls and what various polling systems would have on seats at elections.

    In one respect you are probably right. My comment – ‘since coloured backgrounds were introduced I have noticed that the partisan rants by most of those using them have increased significantly’ – was undoubtedly well over the top. I unreservedly withdraw that comment.

    Perhaps – “since coloured backgrounds were introduced I have noticed a greater tendancy for some of those using them to make partisan comments to the detriment of their arguments” – would be more appropiate. I hope that is sufficiently grey, non-partisan and “non-political” even for Bernard Crick.

    I look forward to your future posts and will of course continue to read them thoroughly, no matter what your background colour.

  49. Colin

    The point is that Gaddafi and his supporters appear to be going nowhere. Nobody knows what public support Gaddafi really has. Yes he is using his army and paid for mercenaries to kill people that do not agree with him, but if we armed the rebels we might then end up with the rebels killing innocent citizens themselves. Tripoli is the most populated city and we could do without a massive battle happening there.

    I would prefer Gaddafi and his supporters to leave and for there to be a meeting to bring the various tribes together. But at this time, I cannot see this happening, so other solutions are required to limit innocent civilians being killed and limit their suffering. A ceasefire and a temporarily divided Libya would allow humanitarian aid to be organised.

  50. @Billy Bob – many thanks for that link. Suggest everyone who might ever need to see a doctor reads it. I said a long time ago that these reforms would be the graveyard of this government but I hadn’t realised just how incompetent the drafting of the legislation is.

    Just one simple illustration; PCTs are responsible for the health services within a defined geographical area. GPs consortia will be responsible for health services for people on their register [note the difference]. GPs can define their area but can in effect accept patients – or decline them, if they are full – wherever the patient lives. There are no responsibilities or duties placed on GPs – only what they think is best for their enrolled patients. When budgets get tight, expect to see GPs scrambling to dump patients in poor, unhealthy areas. It is, as the research title suggests, the end of the NHS.

    On the basis that half the government hates this bill (and half again would hate it if they actually understood it) I hope AW accepts that this isn’t a partisan comment: – this is a shocking, shocking shambles of a bill. I don’t actually think even Lansley understands what he is doing. I actually have him down as a decent man, but I am convinced that if he gets this through as it stands he will die of shame when he sees the real consequences.

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