More Sunday polling

A final chunk of polling from the weekend – the YouGov tables should be up on the website shortly, but looking at what is available on the Sunday Times website the latest YouGov AV polling has YES on 45%, NO on 55%. This is tighter than the recently polling we’ve seen, which has tended to show the NO lead in the high teens, but I’ll repeat the caveat I added to my Scottish post a few minutes ago that we should always be cautious about drawing conclusions from a single poll (besides, there are four days to go, and the polls are showing NO leads between 10 points and 20+ points – the game appears to be over).

Secondly, the Leicester South by-election seems to have been rather forgotten about due to all the other elections on the same day, but we do have a poll on it in the Independent on Sunday from Survation. Topline figures there, with changes from the 2010 result in Leicester South, are CON 20%(-1), LAB 61%(+15), LDEM 14%(-13), UKIP 5%(+3) – not much change for the Conservatives but the Lib Dem vote fracturing towards Labour, much in line with the national picture.

Thirdly, it’s not really a poll but it’s the best guide we have to the locals – Rallings and Thrasher’s latest local government projections based on their model using local by-election data has the Conservatives on 35%(down 5 from 2007), Labour on 38% (up 12 from 2007) and the Lib Dems on 17% (down 7 from 2007). This would equate to a Labour gain of around 1300 council seats, with the Conservatives losing just shy of 1000 and the Lib Dems losing around 400.

288 Responses to “More Sunday polling”

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  1. RE: The Libs.

    I expect their polling numbers to improve in time for a 2015 general election. I think they have already reached their lowest point. I thinki 15-18% at the next GE is the kind of score I am expecting.

  2. Amber

    “I believe that nations who are against interventions (e.g. Russia & China), will veto all future humanitarian UNSRs on the grounds that they are used as a cover for regime change.”

    I hadn’t thought that far ahead. but you are probably right.

  3. And, at the risk of annoying you all with my continued posting on this subject, I want to add: The media are increasingly calling the action in Libya ‘war’ instead of ‘an intervention’.

    This is because NATO are increasingly behaving in a war-like manner, despite war never having been declared. To wage war, without declaring war, is terrorism under international law.

  4. @Eoin – no one doubts the accuracy of your data. The issue I raised was your interpretation of the facts, but as usualy you choose to set up a straw man to knock down and ask people to prove your facts are wrong.

    The point I have issue with is the opening statement you made on this thread that the Labour lead “has been narrowing for some time now.”

    On the YouGov data you analysed above, the Labour lead has been 6.9% in Feb, 7.1% in March and 6.1% in April. Over your chosen time frame therefore on this data it is arguable that you are factually incorrect, in that the lead has not been in steady decline but actually rose before falling back, but my main point is that a 0.8% fall in the lead over 3 months is minimal and there is no consistent sign of a long term trend. This is, in my view, insufficient evidence to base your proposed theory that a 2015 Tory win is steadily becoming more likely.

    You also didn’t address my concerns over which time period you used. Had you started in October for example, I expect you would find a strengthening lead followed by a period of approximate stasis.

    As I said previously, you have an admirable and impressive skill for carefully selecting data. February was a temporary high point for Labour, so using this as you start point is convenient for your case, but I really don’t think it signifies a great deal.

  5. I’m finding it hard to take the AV poll results too seriously. I’m hoping this isn’t just denial (as I would prefer a yes vote, personally), but is instead based on the following logic:

    1. AV polls indicate that as few as 1-5% of people won’t vote. This is clearly ‘misguided’, to put it politely. Most reasonable predictions are that a 40% turnout will be a good result.

    2. The biggest difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in favour of a no vote is London, where turnout is expected lower than anywhere else in the country.

    3. The biggest difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in favour of a yes vote is Scotland, where turnout is going to be higher than anywhere else in the country by quite a margin.

    I know that post-1992 the polling companies really got their acts together with regard to general elections and how people tend to basically lie about various things (like inclination to vote Tory), I’m just wondering if the referendum polling is going the same way as the 1992 election predictions – for various reasons.

    Of course, it may be entirely accurate, and it will certainly be interesting to see if it is!

  6. @ Old Nat

    It is, IMO, the end of humanitarian interventions. That is why I am in despair about this.

    Syria could become a bloodbath & the UN will be unable to do anything. In all future Bosnias, Rawandas & Darfurs, the UN will be unable to do anything.

    We have thrown away the moral right to intervene because of the “Gaddafi must go” brigade & this cynical carelessness when targeting alleged ‘command & control’ centers.

  7. I think the picture painted of the polls is a partially correct one. My interpretation is as follows:-

    1) In general, the Labour lead over the last 6 months has generally been increasing; however,
    2) There has been a slight (but significant) narrowing of this lead over the past 3 months or so. This is evidenced by not just the polling averages, but also by the fact that Labour was recording the odd 9-13% lead a while back. I think this is a lot less likely at present.

    Regardless, I think we will see Labour leads of 9-13% becoming the norm by the end of this year.

  8. Amber

    I wholly agree. I started to get nervous about the Libyan intervention very early, when political leaders were stating openly that regime change was “the only way” to secure the Libyan civilians.

    It is now clear that they meant precisely that. It is difficult to see how anyone could trust the West’s leaders again.

  9. @Amber,

    I agree. The thing that partly destroyed Labour and Tony Blair’s image is in danger of doing the same to the Tories. I just hope that the Tories are sensible enough not to engage in an all-out war, though I am not so sure.

  10. @Eoin

    “My analysis for what it is worth is that I hope reds score re-stabilises when Scottish voters switch away from Holyrood mindset back to Westminster.. This ‘might’ lead to a slight recovery in reds position among Scottish voters.. [split ticket voting and all that].”

    I agree that there appears to have been a slight drop off in the Lab position in the last couple of months, but it hasn’t been matched by any discernible increase in Con or LD. So where has it gone?

    It seems clear to me that you put your finger on it in the above quote – the Scottish election, where there has been a clear Lab to SNP swing in recent weeks, had been bleeding through into the Westminster VI polls. There seem every reason to suppose that it will come back once Holyrood is no longer the focus.

  11. Alec,

    You use the time scale that you choose. I’ll use mine thank you. I have since May made month end pronouncements reflecting a comparison with the previous month. I will do so again at the end of May. And again the month after that. No doubt if one was to read my Jan end pronouncements they would find in them a reflection upon the “end of the blue honeymoon”. As I recall that met with some vociferous and ill tempered rebuttals. But be sure, that yes my data is exceptionally selective but it is also exceptionally consistent. I was not to know before April started that the red lead would narrow. But I was to know that at the end of April I would comment on the standing of the polls as I always do.

    I am merely the messenger. The data should speak for itself.

    As I said to NBeale this very day last year, there are a zillion perfectly acceptable ways to measure polling trends.

    Jay Blancs is my preferred method, you should check his website out.

  12. Robin,

    Good post. Let’s hope so! :) I had not seen the quote but I am geek and that involves monitoring cross breaks way more closely than a man of my young years should :)

  13. I have to say I agree with both TheGreenBenches and Robin in that the Labour lead has narrowed over the past 3 months, albeit only slightly. Whichever dates you choose over the past 4 or 5 months the pattern is really the same – Labour were getting more 43s, 44s and 45s. These seem to have become an increasingly rare occurrence.

  14. “Yet again, you are assuming that politics is mainly about ideology and integrity.”

    I’ve never assumed that and never would. So please don’t put words in my mouth.
    I’m pointing out that a Lib Con Pact at the next election has been ruled out by the two Party Leaders and overwhelmingly by their members. 90% of Conservative members polled thought they should fight every seat at the next general election.

    If politics was only about expediency then the current coalition would have merged the Lib Dems and Conservatives into one Party at the outset for maximum electoral impact and strength. They couldn’t and wouldn’t.

    “If the Libs knew that they were going to be wiped out of existence at an impending general election, with many of their MPs losing their seat, I can guarantee that, under those circumstances, an informal election pact or agreement (not necessarily a coalition agreement) would seem a lot more tempting to said Lib members than at present.”

    If the Libs knew right now that they were going to be wiped out of existence at the next general election, with many of their MPs losing their seat, I can guarantee that this coalition would end sharpish.

    If the point about a wipeout is you have nothing to lose you also have very little to gain. The kind of wipeout that would see any Lib dem leader even contemplating a pact would in all likelyhood make such an effort pointless anyway. Desperation is one thing, futility is another.

    Right now the Lib Dems are battered and bruised but they still have a Party. Clegg and any future leader has to ensure the continuation of the Party before any other consideration. That’s not about ideology or integrity or tasting power briefly, that’s about survival.

  15. @ Old Nat

    It is now clear that they meant precisely that. It is difficult to see how anyone could trust the West’s leaders again.
    And the point you make is why I am saying that the world has become a more dangerous place.

    ‘Difficult’ states, like Venezuela & Sudan, have watched Britain befriend Gaddafi then turn on him with all guns blazing. They now know they cannot trust diplomacy & trade & ‘friendship’ to last. So, what will they do? Secure themselves against attack by using ‘MAD’ i.e. seeking protection from anti-west states who already have WMD whilst accelerating programs to procure such weapons themselves.

    For reasons I cannot fathom, David Cameron & the rest of the ‘Gaddafi must go’ alliance have, IMO, made the world a much more dangerous place.

    Can this be averted? Only by the UN restoring its credentials & telling NATO to cease & desist from bombing Tripoli.

  16. Amberstar –
    “UN withdraws staff from Tripoli”
    BBC Breaking News 30 minutes ago.

    Which would imply to me that the bombing is only going to get more intense.

  17. “I think they have already reached their lowest point.”

    I honestly don’t know that they have.
    The polls are indeed saying they have bottomed out for the moment, but any politician who thinks that things can only get better ususally finds out the hard way they can also get worse.

    This Conservative Lib Dem coalition is completely new territory at least in modern politics. We can guess about how things might play out but one thing we do know from recent politics is that things never just glide along as you expect or hope.

    Blair had to quit because Brown and Blair nearly tore their party apart. The Conservatives also factionalised when Major tried to hold a fracturing party together over Europe. Thatcher was felled by Howe. The SDP came along and I doubt Liberal Democrats will forget about that.

    A Liberal Party split is possible if the pressure on the coalition gets too much and Clegg won’t budge. It’s unikely right now but there is already a dividing line between the orange bookers and the social liberals.

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that there are set plans or paths that can be laid down and followed to the letter from the beginning of every parliament. That’s the ideal. It never works out like that.
    I think it’s all about pressure.
    Pressure causes fractures and fractures cause splits and crises.

    We only see how strong this coalition is in extremis and right now it is and it doesn’t look that strong.

    I say again, the NHS reforms are going to be the most telling indicator of how things will go after these elections.
    They are a timebomb.

  18. Just perused all the polls and it looks pretty good reading for Labour with the exception of Scotland, which could take the gloss off the night slightly (although it is a failed “win back” rather than a defeat).

    As a Scotish friend of mine says, who is a strong Labour supporter, no-one can get near Salmond – he is in a class of his own.

    Rallings and Thrasher have a 1300 Labour seat win – so Amber, would this be good enough for you? It seems to me that anything significantly over 1000 would be a good day (but of course mean nothing about what would happen in 2014/15 – pretty much means nothing about what would happen in 2012 for that matter).

  19. I wonder if UKIP could up there game in Leicester and push the LDs into last place – it’s always lots of fun when that happens.

  20. Adrian B,

    The Labour party should be careful not to look happy on 5 May, if present polling trends continue. Yes, there will be great news from Wales and England, but the Scottish Labour Party are going to be deeply demoralised on 5th May barring an epic turn-around.

    Scottish Labour is already different in many respects from their English comrades: they’ve come to hold/been forced to hold (depending on whom one asks) political positions well to the left of the London leadership. There are now cleavages between Holyrood Labour and Westminister Labour on tuition fees, the NHS, care for the elderly, local taxation and Scottish Labour has rejected the Blair model of devolution. For whatever reason, the parties are starting to drift.

    I’ve been talking to Labour activists in Scotland and they’re exhausted. Utterly exhausted. Since about 2007, they’ve been going non-stop with by-elections, a Westminister election that in many respects started in 2007, three leadership elections, two Holyrood and all with diminishing financial resources. Whatever happens, the Scottish Labour Party will be feeling tired and tetchy after the 5th; the last thing they will want to hear is “Labour are reborn! The fightback starts here!” from a leadership with whom they have a decreasing number of common opinions.

    Obviously, a split is out of the question. But I think that Labour would risk demoralising their party in a key heartland if they looked like they’d forgotten about them after the 5th May. Ed Miliband is being thrown in the deep end and he will have to play the week after the 5th very carefully. It will be the first serious test of his leadership and you can bet that interviewers are looking forward to trying to tie him up in his own words.

  21. “I hope people will ask themselves, “Would I have my student son & three of my grandchildren in a command & control center that I know NATO could be targeting, having seen my adopted daughter killed as ‘collateral damage’ last time around?”

    Amber-I hope people will ask themselves-” Would I have authorised random bombardment of Libyan civilan areas with tanks , artillery & cluster bombs; snipers shooting at ambulances & children at play,mining a port which facilitates humanitarian aid & hospital evacuation, having seen my adopted daughter killed as “collateral damage” last time around.”

    …and they know that -if you are a Gaddafi- the answer is a resounding “yes”.

  22. @Eoin – as I say, I can’t fault your statistics. All perfectly reasonable, although the 3 month time scale for a steady fall in the Labour lead is obviously not correct. The lead has increased and then fallen over the last month. It is in fact, much more of a very short term fall in the lead at p[resent until we have more data, rather than a steady decline ‘for some time’.

    The query I raised was more over your habit of extrapolating from the data, however you select it, and then making judgements on what the data signifies for an election in 2015.

    I’m not reopening a previous discussion on the economy, but the economic data is mostly poor for the government at present and you have been consistently implying that the Tories chances of a 2015 victory are improving. I would contend that most reasonable commentators would not see anything substantial in the current data to support this theory, although of course, it remains a perfectly possible scenario.

  23. Amber

    “Syria could become a bloodbath & the UN will be unable to do anything”


    What is so different about Syria anyway-you are not proposing intervention there are you?

    Isn’t Assad perfectly entitled to put down armed resistance in his own country?

    What business is it of ours if he kills Syrians within his own borders?

    Why express concern for the victims of a bloody dictator in Syria, but not those of a bloody dictator in LIbya?

  24. @ Adrian B

    Rallings and Thrasher have a 1300 Labour seat win – so Amber, would this be good enough for you?
    I think you are trying to lift my despondency about the Libya situation; if so, it is very kind of you.

    I would, of course, like Labour to win as many councillors as possible & to do better in Scotland than is currently expected.

    But I will not be campaigning for these elections, I will be too busy campaigning for another vote on Libya, to stop this bombing, & insist targets be restricted to ones that are posing ‘a clear & present danger’ to unarmed civilians.

  25. The figures from Rallings and Thrasher (who really ought to be a pair of posh thugs horse-whipping someone in a Dickens novel) are interesting, though they do not have an impeccable record at predicting how many seats will change hands. What their model does show is that there continues to be a ‘local premium’ for Lib Dems – in their figures +7% on the current polls of 10%.

    I checked through past years to see what the Lib Dem ‘local premium’ was and got the following results:

    2002 Polls 18% Local elections 27% Premium +9

    2003 Polls 21% Local elections 30% Premium +7

    2004 Polls 21% Local elections 27% Premium +6

    2006 Polls 21% Local elections 25% Premium +4

    2007 Polls 20% Local elections 26% Premium +6

    2008 Polls 19% Local elections 26% Premium +7

    2009 Polls 19% Local elections 28% Premium +9

    I’ve ignored years where a general election was held on the same day as the locals for obvious reasons. The locals estimated percentage is from the Wikipedia page for the relevant year (sometimes their estimate, sometimes R&T’s extrapolation for the whole country) The polls figure is based on the average of the latest ICM, YouGov, MORI, Populus (from 2003) and ComRes (from 2007) polls published/taken before the local election date according to the excellent BBC polltracker which is a brilliant toy, but which the BBC seems to abandoned in February.

    However if R&T’s estimates are correct, the Lib Dems will continue to enjoy this extra boost and the Lib Dem losses may be less than some are predicting.

    Of course in comparing different years’ locals, it’s not so much comparing apples and oranges as going all over the greengrocers. The percentages are only estimates and a whole basket of other factors confuse things. Even the four year gap between ‘equivalent’ elections will be complicated by boundary changes, local government reforms, changes to electoral cycles etc.

    In particular this year, since 2007 five counties have become unitary authorities (in whole or part) and so the district councils that comprised them will not be holding elections as they no longer exist (and county elections aren’t this year). So by my reckoning, instead of 2007’s 10,479 seats up for election we will only see 9,390 (down 1,089). I reckon Northumberland has ‘lost’ 239 councillors; Cornwall 249 and Co. Durham 312.

    It’s worth pointing out that this reduction has proportionately hit the Conservatives lightest. They have dropped from 5315 seats won in 2007 to 5026 defended now (-289 = -5%) and opposed to the Lib Dems 2171 to 1866 (-305 = -14%); Labour 1877 to 1620 (-257 = -14%); and Others 1116 to 878 (-238 = -21%) presumably lots of Cornish independents.

    In fact this year of the electoral cycle always looks good for the Conservatives, at least in seat terms because safe rural Tory wards are usually much smaller than their urban Labour equivalents – so it needs many fewer votes to elect a councillor.

  26. “I wonder if UKIP could up there game in Leicester and push the LDs into last place – it’s always lots of fun when that happens.”
    Based on the polling figures – I doubt it.
    It’d require a further (massive) drop in LD support or a huge drop in Tory support.
    Unless Cameron does anything too EU-friendly, I can’t see it happening.

    On that note – I may (emphasis on may) be tactically voting UKIP in the local elections, to boost UKIP numbers.
    Boosted UKIP numbers would encourage Tories to defect to UKIP (as they’d see UKIP wasn’t a wasted vote) and hopefully that would split the right.

    Machiavelli lives. ;)

  27. I am still reserving judgement on the Tripoli airstrike. Something doesn’t smell right, between the reporting from the journalists taken on a tour of the building, the strenuous denials from NATO, the rumours a couple of months ago that Saif Al-Arab was planning to defect.

    I wouldn’t put it past the NATO countries to have a decapitation strategy and be coy about it, but the denial seems to rule it out completely.

    As for the polls, I think the dispute between Eoin and others is very much hair-splitting. There does appear to have been a (very) slight narrowing of the gap, but it is barely significant. There are no strong messages, in my view, for either Labour or the Tories from this year’s polling so far. Neither Cameron nor Miliband is “in trouble”. Clegg is, but is probably getting used to that by now.

    There seems to be a bit of Salmondmania going on north of the border, which may (or may not) have peaked and be slightly unwinding. I don’t really buy that a swing against Labour in Scotland would explain a reduction in UK support. It would have an effect, of course, but the population disparity being what it is, I think it is marginal.

    Rallings and Thrasher are basing their analysis on local by-elections. I really have no idea how good an indicator they are (AW always tells us they are rubbish, but I imagine as a pointer to a very imminent set of local elections they would be quite valuable). Logic suggests that academics of R&T’s eminence wouldn’t carry out such an exercise unless they thought it had meaning.

    1300 gains for Labour would represent a satisfying and satisfactory result for them. It wouldn’t leave the Tories shaking in their boots, but wouldn’t leave them smiling either. Anything under 1000 would probably be billed as a Tory fightback. Anything over 1500 would be a genuine fillip for Labour. It’s hard to see anything happening that won’t leave the LibDems crying into their real ale, but perhaps expectations are so low that just retaining a handful of councils will seem like a relief.

    In a way the extrapolated “national vote” that the BBC will no doubt conjure from 5th May is probably the most important indicator. Dodgy as the mathematics may be, with such a patchwork of areas voting, those figures are probably our most solid guide to whether the opinion polls are on the right track. The LDs in particular will be desperately hoping to outperform their opinion poll figures (which once would have been virtually a given, but now seems unlikely).

  28. @ Colin

    Why express concern for the victims of a bloody dictator in Syria, but not those of a bloody dictator in LIbya?
    At the risk of sounding intemperate, I am sickened by your baseless accusations that I do not care about the civilian casualties in Libya.

    I have not accused our leaders of anything worse than playing fast & loose with international law in a way that, IMO, pays little regard to the potential long-term consequences. And my points are solidly grounded in international law.

    At no time have I accused anybody on this site who disagrees with me of having a disregard for the lives of civilians in Libya.

    There is not a shred of evidence, anywhere, to support your assertion that I do not have in mind the swift end to this conflict & that I very much believe that a negotiated, multi-lateral ceasefire would be the fastest way to relieve the suffering of Libyan civilians.

    You have insulted me in an incredibly cruel way by asserting that I do not care about the civilians being killed in Libya. I sincerely hope that other, less blinkered, participants here can see that everything I say is grounded in my respect for international law, human life & the relief of suffering.

  29. Alec,

    As I say, there are a infinite number of ways of interpreting the data. I satisfy myself that I interpret mine in good faith. Also, I am aware that there is always a chance, if not a large one, that I am completely and utterly wrong. Both those things for me are a given.

    The rest of your post wanders from polling matters so I will leave others to converse with on that.

  30. @neil A – “Something doesn’t smell right, between the reporting from the journalists taken on a tour of the building…”

    Watching BBC News 24 I was struck with the Libyan official scraping the dust off what looked like a bomb or missile casing. I’m certainly no military expert, but unless they were showing some unexploded ordnance (which didn’t appear to be the case) I would have thought the casing would not be intact after impact.

    The rebel government is also pointing out that the dead son had no children and that they don’t believe the Libyan government statements.

  31. MORI had Labour leading by 10%. Now they have Labour leading by 0%.
    ICM had Labour leading by 4%. Now they have Labour leading by 2%.
    YG had Labour leading by 11%. Now they have Labour leading by 5%.
    ComRes had Labour leading by 9%. Now they have Labour leading by 4%.

    Of course, it may well be that the Labour lead has not narrowed.

  32. “At the risk of sounding intemperate, I am sickened by your baseless accusations that I do not care about the civilian casualties in Libya.”

    I would try not to worry about it too much.
    Blair said that about Iraqi’s all the time when he was trying to defend the indefensible. We all know how credible he was and what the public think of him now.

    A bloody protracted civil war is hardly a very clever solution to end civilian casualties.

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat It.

  33. @ Alec, Neil A

    They were showing an unexploded bomb; two did detonate.

    BBC reporting of NATO statement, is as follows:

    Earlier on Sunday, Nato acknowledged that there had been a strike in Tripoli late on Saturday.

    A spokesman, Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, said a “command-and-control” building had been hit, and that all targets for Nato attacks were “military in nature”.

    He added that he was aware of reports that members of Col Gaddafi’s family had been killed, but made no further comment.

    BBC also reported:
    “The press visit was again, carefully orchestrated. Within two hours of the explosion we were on the site to see the destruction for ourselves.

    The damage was extensive, though one rocket was still lying unexploded in the centre of the villa. Beside it a deep hole, possibly a basement to a bunker though impossible to verify in the dark.

    Nato was quick to respond to the allegations they had targeted the leader. But this was an attack earlier than usual, in a residential area of the city.”

  34. I thought the building was inside Gadaffi’s compound?

  35. @ Amberstar

    I sincerely hope that other, less blinkered, participants here can see that everything I say is grounded in my respect for international law, human life & the relief of suffering.


    Bless you Amber. I am sure evryone here knows that is absolutaly true.

    Sadly your views are not shared by Dictators the world over who heap death and destruction on their own people solely to retain their grip on their corrupt power.

    Of course if Gadaffi’s innocent grandchildren did die in a NATO attack (and its a big if) then their deaths are no less or more tragic than any other death of an innocent child anywhere in the world.

    However it is difficult for some of us to place the blame or respsonsibility for such deaths at the door of NATO. Gadaffi as head of the armed forces of his country, armed forces that are daily wantonly and knowingly killing innocent civilians, knows his is a target. If he then goes on to surround himself with innocent young members of his family then he must sholder the blame if they are killed or injured during an attack on him . Remember he admits to being in the building at the time.

    Now I’m not going to pass judgement on whether an attack on Gadaffi is legal under the UN resolution. Some believe it is, others do not. I am no international lawyer. My point is that the sheer calousness of the beast for keeping these innocents with him whilst he knows he is in peril sums up the pure evil that he truely is. IMO.

  36. @ Mick Park

    A bloody protracted civil war is hardly a very clever solution to end civilian casualties.
    That is exactly the point that I have been making.

    Rather than increased bombings, the UN & NATO should be pursuing a multi-lateral cease-fire.

  37. Amber,

    Your sincerity comes across loud and clear. I am sure no one thinks otherwise.

  38. @ Neil A

    I thought the building was inside Gadaffi’s compound?
    Not according to BBC reporters who were taken there, unless Gaddafi’s compound encompasses an upscale residential area of Tripoli.

  39. Amberstar

    Gaddhafi has plenty of friends in NATO. And I’m sure he’s clever enough to sacrifice a few distant relatives to stay in power.

  40. @ Roger Mexico.

    Don’t you think the LD “preimium” from previous years is pretty meaningless now they are tied to an unpopular coalition (-24% if anyone’s asking).

    Before they struggled to get any attention between elections and then always polled better because then they got more equal billing due to news regs.

    Now they get sufficient air-time but it is seen as simply part of a Tory govt and they have tanked in the polls.

    The worry for the LDs is they seem to always do worse than predicted when people actually put pencil to paper in the ballot box.

  41. @ John Fletcher & Éoin

    Thank you, I appreciate your understanding.

    You both know, I feel no sorrow for Gaddafi’s loss although I feel sorrow at the death of his student son & grandsons.

    What I regret is the opportunities missed for a negotiated multi-lateral ceasefire. I do not understand why the UN & NATO refuse to pursue this.

    The Libyan people should be given the opportunity to humiliate Gaddafi by voting him from office & then to request that a full investigation be made of his alleged crimes against humanity & that, if the evidence shows he is culpable, he stand trial for what he has done.

  42. @Amber

    I think the compound could be described as an upscale neighbourhood. It seems like a variant of Baghdad’s Green Zone. Parkland, palaces, villas, military headquarters all surrounded by walls, checkpoints and guns.

    BBC seems to be reporting that what was hit was a “villa” in the compound.

  43. Wonder why there should be such a divergence between the sexes on AV as men are more or less evenly split, whereas women are strongly against. of course 40% of women support the Conservatives as opposed to 33% of men which would be a factor. Intersting that the No lead would only be marginal if the vote was on PR, though it’s largely explained by the greater number undecided.

    I’ve already voted in favour of AV as I can’t see another poll for probably at least a decade if the status quo remains. However, this smalll swing back suggested gives the Yes campaign some hope, even if the odds are obviously still against them.

  44. Amber
    I concur with Eoin/TGB’s comment. You have shown remarkable clarity and consistency from the start of the Libya venture.

    The continuing actions of the UK gov in pursuing regime change are IMO a disgrace to the UK.

    Will VI be affected I wonder?

  45. @ Wolf

    Gaddhafi has plenty of friends in NATO. And I’m sure he’s clever enough to sacrifice a few distant relatives to stay in power.
    Reports are that it was very close relatives, his son & grandsons. But I think that is not the point. UN & NATO, under international law, may not target individuals.

    Russia, China & some members of the Arab League believe that NATO are targeting specific individuals which is against international law.

    If NATO do not retain the ‘moral high ground’, they are undermining their right to intervene.

  46. Amber, you’ve made it quite clear from the outset that you don’t believe NATO has a right to intervene.

  47. “What I regret is the opportunities missed for a negotiated multi-lateral ceasefire. I do not understand why the UN & NATO refuse to pursue this.”

    I do.
    NATO don’t want to because the US, UK and France have commited to regime change and know that the rebels are in no fit state to march on Tripoli.
    NATO also can’t because even if they were to change their mind the rebels would say no because they won’t be satisfied with anything less than regime change and a dead Gaddafi. The rebels, lest we forget, are the only game in town apart from Gaddafi and they would also control the oil.

    The UN passed resolution 1974 and any big movement on it’s part would call into question their own resolutions validity. Not that it’s worth much anyway. They simply passed responsibility onto NATO with 1974.

    It’s stalemate. As so many predicted.

  48. @ Neil A

    Yes, BBC now reporting:

    “Saif al-Arab and three of Col Gaddafi’s grandchildren died at a villa in the Bab al-Aziziya compound”.

    The Bab al-Aziziya compound appears to be a large ‘gated’ community that encompasses housing & political buildings. The housing area appears to be quite separate from the other buildings – but that is easy for me to say… I am not a pilot; that said, NATO’s statement seems to be saying that they hit the target they were aiming at.

  49. Amber, if they knew Gaddafi was in a chicken coop NATO would bomb it and say it was a command and control centre.

    Blair managed to bully Goldsmith into saying everything was legally super so lets not pretend those doing the bombing will justify any and all actions with a straight face.

    Gaddafi is doing the same as he bombs Misrata so anyone looking for moral high ground in this quagmire should bring their own ladder.

  50. Amber

    I believe that you are sincere in your desire to see civilians safe from slaughter in Libya.

    I am sorry to say that I believe you are less than even handed when considering the main & continuing reason for that slaughter- Gadaffi.

    Which brings us to :-

    “The Libyan people should be given the opportunity to humiliate Gaddafi by voting him from office & then to request that a full investigation be made of his alleged crimes against humanity & that, if the evidence shows he is culpable, he stand trial for what he has done”

    THis is exactly what I believe-there is not a scintilla of disagreement between us on this.

    But I believe-on the evidence-that Gadaffi will not acceed to free elections in Libya-whoever tries to negotiate them.

    Political parties are illegal in Libya-the penalty for trying to form one is severe.

    Political disagreement & protest has been met with State killing of protesters-followed by the most dreadful , willful & indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in towns & cities which show any protest or disent from the Dictator’s rule.

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