Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the Sun had the first Libya questions since the rebels entered Tripoli. Full tabs are up here.

Public opinion on how well the West’s intervention in Libya and on whether it was right or wrong for the West to intervene have predictably flipped. Support for the West’s intervention had been standing at an August average of 33% thinking it right, 44% wrong – that has flipped to 41% right, 35% wrong. 25% of people had been thinking it was going well, 51% badly – that has flipped to 52% well, 26% badly. 47% of people now think that David Cameron has responded well to the situation in Libya, 33% badly.

If Gaddafi surrenders, 58% want to see him sent for trial at the International Criminal Court, 26% think Libya should try him. If he is found guilty 33% want to see him executed, 49% given life imprisonment. 39% would be happy if Gaddafi was killed in the conflict, 38% would rather he was captured alive so he can be put on trial. Finally on Libya, only 17% of people think we should send in British troops to keep order under the new regime. 38% would be happy to send police advisors, 42% would be happy for us to send emergency cash, food and medical aid.

On the wider impact of the Arab Spring, 23% are more optimistic about the future for the Middle East, 35% are less optimistic. People tend to think events in the Middle East will result in it being more democratic and more respectful of human rights… but also think it will be less peaceful and more vulnerable to terrorism.


162 Responses to “Latest YouGov polling on Libya”

1 2 3 4
  1. @Lefty,

    There is truth in what you say about “whose side are you on”, but it does make me sad.

    I’d like to think we’re all on the same side, grappling with the issues that face our country and our world and searching for realistic solutions to them.

    The tragedy of partisanship is that it tends to paint those issues as being entirely the conscious and deliberate wrongdoing of “the other side” and prescribes a solution that doesn’t get much further than “replacing their lot with our lot”.

    I don’t actually think there is such a huge gulf between the policies and prescriptions of either “side”. Most of the difference is rhetorical and stems from the instinctive sympathies and antipathies of the partisans. Government policy has a way of trundling along its own track, with civil service hands on the wheel, making the slightest of shudders each time one side or the other proclaims a revolutionary new policy agenda.

    The type of partisanship (perhaps the definition of “partisanity”) that I dislike is the kind that puts the views of the “other side” down to stupidity or ignorance. There are university professors, brain surgeons and rocket scientists of all political persuasions and none. Noone has a monopoly on wisdom. There are days when the truth of that gets lost here (but far less days than elsewhere)…

  2. @ Neil A

    “Miserly curmudgeons, the lot of us…”

    Hey, speak for yourself! :)

    (I have no desire to be a curmudgeon but I do wish I could be more miserly).

  3. Roger Mexico
    “Returning to the first poll, what a miserable lot the British public are! You’d thing the overthrow of a hated dictator and the potential spread of democracy in the Arab Spring would be a cause for some rejoicing. Not a bit of it.”

    There’s no knowing what will happen. Egypt still has a miltary government, but without Mubarak. No-one seems to know what sort of government the Libyan rebels want, and protestors are being slaughtered in Syria.

    Meanwhile there are far more important things to worry about at home, such as job security, frozen pay and rising inflation. Most people by necessity are more concerned with their own affairs than with foreign military adventures.

  4. @leftlampton

    It could be that if we only had one YouGov per month, then taken together with the other periodic pollsters, there would be more of an appearance of volatility.

    The primary reason imo for Tories not falling towards the floor of their core vote (30%?) is that enough people accept there is no alternative (Tina) to the austerity (Sarkosy now plunging down this route).

    If this proves demonstrably to be a fools errand, the polls will move appreciablly.

  5. SoCalLiberal

    “(I have no desire to be a curmudgeon but I do wish I could be more miserly).”

    At my age, being a curmudgeon is one of my human rights! (if your Constirution failed to enshrine that the more fool it).

    With my daughter getting married next year, I might wish to be miserly, but Mrs & Miss Nat will ensure that there is no possibility of that!

  6. “Life, misery and the pursuit of unhappiness”.

  7. @Howard
    “I am still reeling from the ICM poll so all talk of swings seems meaningless until we sort out the difference with YG. AW’s piece gives us about 2% difference max, but not the rest.”

    From the figures that I posted on the previous thread, the various ICM adjustments (IMO very likely to be overdone) account for closer to 3% of it – i.e. the LDs are a tad over 14% before the adjustment.

    Even then, ICM still seem a tad high compared with other pollsters, and YG a tad low. So I suspect that the LDs are currently in the 12%-13% range, having staged a minor recovery simply by having disappeared from the stage this summer.

    Where I see a potential weakness in YouGov is in the newspaper reweightings, due to the possibility of (1) false recall of readership leading to exaggerated reweightings and (2) the evidence that the LD vote is disproportionately concentrated amongst the declared broadsheet readership (which is subject to the heaviest negative reweighting). So see the Sunday Times YouGov of 17th July, which calculated an overall LD vote of 11% within which the LDs were scoring 17% of broadsheet readers, 4% of the Mail/Express midmarket bit, and 8% of tabloids. IF the reweighting by declared readership was a tad overdone, the LD vote share would clearly have fallen by more than it should have.

    On the other hand, in the 2010 declared vote shares, there always seem to be a higher % of declared 2010 LD voters than would be the case if YouGov reweighted to this.

  8. @Howard
    That is, assuming that with your Yellow/Gold background you were reeling from the difference between 9% and 17% for the LDs rather than anything else.

  9. @ Anthony

    “No one is a *persecuted* minority, since I don’t allow it – but equally, there are very few posters here with blue backgrounds!”

    I think you can blame me for that! :)

    @ Old Nat

    “I’m interested to know why there are so many Scots (of all persuasions) here.”

    Well I don’t really spend a lot of time on British political blogs (aside from this one) so I couldn’t tell you. Maybe this is just a friendlier site where moderate Nats like yourself can engage in political debate without being called a traitor to your country by unionists for wanting independence and being called a traitor to your own cause by hardcore cyberNats for suggesting anything less than armed revolution. And then because of that, other Scots including unionist ones and non-aligned ones feel perfectly comfortable engaging in political debate.

  10. “Can anybody suggest a likely development that might shift these ruddy polls one way or the other??!!”

    If Osborne could persuade the wealthy Brits to make a substantial contribution to pay off our deficit like the 16 rich French citizen are proposing to do for France, this might help the Tories. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/24/wealthiest-french-citizens-ask-to-pay-more-tax)

  11. Neil A

    “Life, misery and the pursuit of unhappiness”.

    :-) I thought such cynicism was reserved to those of us who had retired from struggling with society’s difficulties!

  12. @ Neil A

    I think that’s the French motto.

    @ Old Nat

    “At my age, being a curmudgeon is one of my human rights! (if your Constirution failed to enshrine that the more fool it).

    With my daughter getting married next year, I might wish to be miserly, but Mrs & Miss Nat will ensure that there is no possibility of that!”

    Human Rights ARE Constitutional Rights. That’s what the basic framework of the Constitution of 1789 and the Bill of Rights created. It’s like the right to privacy. It’s not explicitly within the text but it certainly exists. The notion that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect or create human rights is a a load of horse maneure spun by rightwingers. And yes, being a curmudgeon is your human right.

    Congratulations on your daughter getting married! That’s wonderful news. Hopefully the cost won’t be too much on you guys but I’m sure if you’re footing the bill for it, you guys are certainly nice parents.

  13. @Alec

    I don’t know if this has something to do with it, but it’s the big *scheduled* event for this week…

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City hold an annual convention,[1] where everybody gets dressed up as their favourite banking character, recites their favorite banking episodes, and gets drunk on many sherbets whilst away from their mothers. It’s held in Jackson Hole,[1] Wyoming.[2] This year one of the speakers on Friday[5] is Ben Bernanke, the only person who looks better when played by Paul Giamatti.[3] In that meeting, Benji was expected[4][5] to announce the third round of US quantitative easing (aka QE3), but that is now seen as unlikely.[5][6]

    [1] h ttp://www.kc.frb.org/publications/research/escp/jackson-hole-info.cfm
    [2] h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Hole_Mountain_Resort
    [3] h ttp://www.businessinsider.com/hbo-too-big-too-fail-cast-2011-5
    [4] h ttp://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/08/23/bernanke-may-flag-possible-portfolio-shift-on-friday/
    [5] h ttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/Bernanke-Jackson-Hole-speech-rb-3525807208.html?x=0
    [6] h ttp://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110824-715168.html

    @LeftyLampton

    It’s an interesting hypothesis: I understand the role of LD as a sponge, and it would explain the stability of the vote. *But* it neglects the atypically high support for “others”: the full picture isn’t 36/43/9, it’s 36/43/9/13. The “other” score is surprisingly high for this part of the election cycle and has been ever since the LD vote crash-dived. Given this, I would find it difficult to defend the thesis that the choice is solely Lab or Con. An alternative explanation for the lack of poll movement may simply be the one Anthony advances: it’s August and folks are on hols.

    @SoCalLiberal

    Yeah, I know…me, too… :-(

    Regards, Martyn

  14. @ Old Nat

    ” thought such cynicism was reserved to those of us who had retired from struggling with society’s difficulties!”

    My grandparents, before they died, were old but never cynical. Their generation was a generation of doers and hard workers and problem solvers (or so I’ve been told and feel free to generalize about). Of course I only knew three of my grandparents so the other one might not have been so optimistic had he lived as long as the other. My generation is like that too except we have a problem with the need for instant gratification. I wish people would learn about the virtues of patience. Seriously. We don’t need to be depressed, lazy, and selfish Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. But problem solving doesn’t just happen in 24 hours. Sometimes it takes longer than that!

    Okay, end rant now. :)

  15. Neil A.

    There are “sides” and there are “sides”.

    It’d be nice to think that we were all on the same big side, although there are those on both wings that make me wonder.

    What I mean is the side of the argument. We ARE going through a political tremor, if not an earthquake. One’s take on, for example, deficit reduction speed, is governed primarily by one’s political outlook rather than cold, remorseless economic logic (if only such a thing existed).

    The outcome of this argument will shape the country for the rest of my life, in terms of the balance between state & market, individual vs collective. I fervently hope that we’re all on the same macro-side at the end of this process, but during the process, we all have the right and the duty to decide which meso-level side we are on.

    In other words, we’re back to pre-mid-70s politics where there were two approaches that would have seemed identical to the Men from Mars, but were very different to the Men from Doncaster/Dorking.

    Which takes us back to my original hypothesis…

  16. @LizH
    “If Osborne could persuade the wealthy Brits to make a substantial contribution to pay off our deficit….”

    He’s reported to be planning to announce precisely such a measure. Specifically, and contrary to what appears to be the consensus in France now, Osborne claims that the way to do so is to abolish the highest income tax rate.

    I can’t comment further, as to do so would unavoidably invoke an indecent exposure of “partisanity” and perhaps even profanity. But perhaps Socal might care to enlighten us on whether Reagan’s “voodoo economics” of the 1980s justified the claims made that such similar measures would eventually serve to cut the US budget deficit.

  17. SoCalLiberal

    “My grandparents, before they died, were old but never cynical.”

    With the greatest of respect, I suspect that your grandparents portrayed to you a vision which is pretty well identical to that I portray to mine!

    It doesn’t necessarily relate that closely to reality, but it does relate to that which we had hoped would be, and try to ensure that our grandchildren will achieve that – since our own children failed to overcome the crap that we passed onto them!

  18. @ Martyn

    “Yeah, I know…me, too”

    I’m not saying we shouldn’tt be swayed by irrational factors altogether when we vote. But something so irrational as “well other people are for him” really bugs me.

    I remember though that seemed to be something a lot of Obamaniacs were hawking back in 2007 and 2008. So I suppose it works.

  19. @ Phil

    He’s reported to be planning to announce precisely such a measure. Specifically, and contrary to what appears to be the consensus in France now, Osborne claims that the way to do so is to abolish the highest income tax rate.
    ———————————————-
    I am certainly not a grumpy curmugeon; I almost split my sides laughing at this! :-)

  20. SoCalLiberal

    “we shouldn’tt be swayed by irrational factors altogether when we vote”

    I think that process needs to be moved one step away from actually exercising the vote.

    Consider Amber and myself – we share much of the same political thinking, but our different votes are perfectly rational, in that they are cast in a way that we hope will create the society we want.

    Go back a stage, and Amber is a Brit, while I am a Scot (both of us in terms of primary allegiances). Those positions for both of us are irrational, but have a lot of meaning in terms of our perceptions of our world. Both, of course, are equally valid.

  21. Martyn.

    Good point about “The Others”. There is an thoroughly understandable annoyance at the mainstream parties, and some will naturally gravitate to the purity of “The Other” (as people used to gravitate to the LDs pre-2010…)

    Whether the currently declared Greens will vote Green or UKIP vote UKIP in 2015 is another debate entirely. As Walter said in the Big Lebowski, “I myself dabbled in pacificism. Not in ‘Nam of course.”

    As for the current tranquil polling waters, they have existed for much longer than the current holiday season. In fact, barring the early Blair years, I’m struggling to recall a period of 12 months so devoid of sudden movements in the VI.

    Which, once again, takes us back to my original hypothesis..;.

  22. @ Old Nat

    “With the greatest of respect, I suspect that your grandparents portrayed to you a vision which is pretty well identical to that I portray to mine!

    It doesn’t necessarily relate that closely to reality, but it does relate to that which we had hoped would be, and try to ensure that our grandchildren will achieve that – since our own children failed to overcome the crap that we passed onto them!”

    Well I am generalizing. I don’t think you can really look at any generation of people and honestly say “this generation does x” or “the values of this generation are y” or “this generation is full of (fill in the blank).” We’re all individuals and we all are different in our own ways.

    It’s true that grandparents can have different relationships with their grandchildren as opposed to their children. Mine certainly did. But they tended to be fairly blunt and they projected plenty of negativity as well as positivity. They would tell you what they were thinking and what they felt and they didn’t sugar coat. And actually, I didn’t agree with any of them politically either. So that’s why I don’t think they were truly cynics and weren’t pushing that viewpoint on me.

    I don’t discount though taht you might be right in your assessment.

  23. LeftyLampton

    “There is an thoroughly understandable annoyance at the mainstream parties, and some will naturally gravitate to the purity of “The Other” (as people used to gravitate to the LDs pre-2010…)”

    I understand that your concern is only with English politics, so I forgive you! :-) Other than in England, your comments might suggest a dismissal of the factors that motivate people to vote for other than UK parties.

  24. SoCalLiberal

    “But they tended to be fairly blunt and they projected plenty of negativity as well as positivity. They would tell you what they were thinking and what they felt and they didn’t sugar coat.”

    Yep! That’s how we do it! :-)

  25. I think it is going badly in Libya; I look behind the pictures of young rebels rushing the regime compound. I look for a strong, youthful movement which wishes to embrace democracy. What do I see?

    The TNC, it is two old men, ex-members of Gaddafi’s regime, holed up in Bengahzi or maybe not even in Libya! They have, with NATO’s help, created a vacuum which will not fill up with good things all by itself… nor can NATO troops & policemen be relied on to close the box of Pandora which the TNC & NATO may have opened.

    And Roger, in your gleeful optimism, please remember why Sarkozy wished to attack Libya… ’twas because Gaddafi would not put to death the black Africans who used Libya as a gateway to Europe (nothing less than the death of significant numbers would discourage this route being used).

    I think the new regime may well be equally, or even more brutal than Gaddafi’s.
    8-)

  26. @ AW – I love this site.

    The attempts to avoid being partisan are fascinating. We all have passion about politics and therefore by definition we are partisan. There is of course a huge area of consensus between us all, rule of law, freedom of expression, a belief in individual freedom of choice and of action, a commitment to democratic processes, a fascination with the processes of government, a desire to make these as open and as accessible as possible.
    If we stuck exclusively to these areas , however, then the debate would not be a debate as such. Our differences are the esence of debate – we apply lots of wishful thinking to our attempts to analyse polling data.

    Some characters on here are simultaneously partisan and informative, Tinged Fringe is always eloquent, Amber always passionate , Old nat always sardonic in his wisdom.

    Sometimes I just read and think – sometimes I can’t follow the thread at all when it becomes incredibly technical. When I do comment, sometimes my comments are considered and relevant, sometimes they are ill considered and irrelevant. Sometimes hopelessly partisan, sometimes defensively partisan, and sometimes aggressively partisan! Neutrality is tricky for me. Despite my beat efforts I fear that they are all invariably partisan to some degree.

    An ex-Labour member and friend ( now a nat suppporter – many of my old colleagues have left since Blair) and my son have both simultaneously asked me why I support and reman a member of the Labour party when most of the policies I support are promulgated by Greens and Nationalists here.

    I guess it’s in my blood – to me the Labour party represents a philosophy with which I concur rather than me agreeing with all of their policies. I rather fear that I am both partisan and tribal. Sorry !!

  27. OldNat

    But your party has been making the transistion from protest-to-mainstream these last few years. Folk will become disillusioned with them and look for an ideological purity eventually ;)

  28. @ Old Nat

    “I think that process needs to be moved one step away from actually exercising the vote.

    Consider Amber and myself – we share much of the same political thinking, but our different votes are perfectly rational, in that they are cast in a way that we hope will create the society we want.

    Go back a stage, and Amber is a Brit, while I am a Scot (both of us in terms of primary allegiances). Those positions for both of us are irrational, but have a lot of meaning in terms of our perceptions of our world. Both, of course, are equally valid.”

    Fair enough. I am swayed by irrational factors when I vote and I admit to this. And I think it’s okay. But I try to limit those irrational factors and I try to have some basis in reality. I often will vote for candidates I personally like (in non-partisan races and in primaries), not neccessarily the candidate who truly is the best qualified. I will be swayed by compelling background stories. And I do consider these choices valid.

    There are just some irrationalities with voters that to me seem so utterly irrational, I can’t understand why people vote in the way that they do. And it’s often irrationalities by people who have little political allegiance.

    I don’t think you and Amber have made irrational political choices. And I would agree that they’re both valid. It’s funny actually because of all the bloggers here, we seem to be the most similar in our philosophical views even though I think we actually do have genuine political differences.

  29. leftylampton

    “But your party has been making the transistion from protest-to-mainstream these last few years. Folk will become disillusioned with them and look for an ideological purity eventually”

    You bet! I’ll be leading the charge too! I do think there is a misunderstanding about Scottish politics in assuming that the SNP is a party like the Cons or Labs in England.

    Most of the members of the SNP I know are like me. We see it as a vehicle to restore Scottish sovereignty. Others see it as a career line. Sod them!

  30. @ Iceman

    “The attempts to avoid being partisan are fascinating. We all have passion about politics and therefore by definition we are partisan. There is of course a huge area of consensus between us all, rule of law, freedom of expression, a belief in individual freedom of choice and of action, a commitment to democratic processes, a fascination with the processes of government, a desire to make these as open and as accessible as possible.
    If we stuck exclusively to these areas , however, then the debate would not be a debate as such. Our differences are the esence of debate – we apply lots of wishful thinking to our attempts to analyse polling data.”

    I think it’s possible to be a partisan and to be passionate about your politics but to be non-partisan in your analysis and in your assessments of the polls.

    “Some characters on here are simultaneously partisan and informative, Tinged Fringe is always eloquent, Amber always passionate , Old nat always sardonic in his wisdom.”

    Agreed. There are some others I look forward to chatting with too.

    @ Phil

    “But perhaps Socal might care to enlighten us on whether Reagan’s “voodoo economics” of the 1980s justified the claims made that such similar measures would eventually serve to cut the US budget deficit.”

    Well, I’m as much of an expert as you guys are because for me, the Reagan Administration was something that was more learned about than really experienced. But Reagan’s voodoo economics were a disaster. First off, the tax cuts to the wealthy can’t be said to have stimulated growth in the late 80’s because in fact they were repealed a year later. Second, Reagan did not cut anything as president. Instead, he managed to spend more money than every single president before him combined (from Washington to Carter), leading to a massive increase in the debt. We were lucky only in that the Soviets were dumb enough to try and outspend us and wound up bankrupting themselves in the process.

    Finally, economic growth, which started in the latter part of Reagan’s time in office, stemmed from the great deal of military spending. When the Cold War ended and the spending was cut under Bush, this resulted in a recession.

    One other thing, stagflation ended due to the policies of Paul Volcker who ran the Federal Reserve Board in those days. Volcker, incidentally, opposed most of Reaganomics.

    Deregulation of major industries took place during the Carter administration, not the Reagan administration. :)

  31. I am a Labour supporter out of gratitute. Is that irrational? Maybe, because it is not the same people anymore. But still my gratitude cannot be gainsayed.

    Without the Labour Party changing the political ‘game’ all those years ago, I probably would have died for want of medical care; If I did survive, I would likely have spent time as a homeless person; I probably would not have had an education & certainly wouldn’t have a university degree & professional accreditation (either through not having the finances or simply because I’m a woman!).

    Every day of my life, I have reasons to be grateful to the Labour Party. And I do not believe that the early Labour Party was entirely pure & noble. They were people not paragons. But I think some of the best of their efforts is now so core to the Party that I continue to support their legacy. Is that irrational?
    8-)

  32. Amber

    Sorry, I think your automatic support is irrational.

    Had you been born in France, Germany, the USA, would your death have been inevitable? Would you necessarily been homeless? Would you automatically have lacked education?

    Indeed, would that have necessarily been the case in Scotland had there been no UK Labour Party at any time? What if Tom Johnstone had been the ILP PM in Scotland? Would your life been any different? Who knows?

    To make an automatic assumption that the governance of your country would have been somehow locked into the conditions of the early 20th century without UK Labour is totally irrational.

  33. @ Old Nat

    Had you been born in France, Germany, the USA, would your death have been inevitable? Would you necessarily been homeless? Would you automatically have lacked education?
    ————————————————
    In the US? It is entirely probable that’s what could have happened to me.

    The France & Germany of which you speak looked to the British Labour Party for inspiration when rebuilding their post-war politics.

    Would Britain have been locked in the conditions of the early 20thC without the British Labour Party? IMO, It’s entirely possible we would have been.
    8-)

  34. @ Old Nat

    “Yep! That’s how we do it!”

    Hmmm.

  35. First thing I heard on telly this morn:

    “David Cameron has ordered in the SAS to find Gaddafi”.

    Does he want the reward, do you think? Will he be grabbing a gun himself?

    I think this is a hostage to fortune and an attempt to tie himself to military success. A very high risk strategy.

  36. @ Amber Star

    “I am a Labour supporter out of gratitute. Is that irrational? Maybe, because it is not the same people anymore. But still my gratitude cannot be gainsayed.

    Without the Labour Party changing the political ‘game’ all those years ago, I probably would have died for want of medical care; If I did survive, I would likely have spent time as a homeless person; I probably would not have had an education & certainly wouldn’t have a university degree & professional accreditation (either through not having the finances or simply because I’m a woman!).

    Every day of my life, I have reasons to be grateful to the Labour Party. And I do not believe that the early Labour Party was entirely pure & noble. They were people not paragons. But I think some of the best of their efforts is now so core to the Party that I continue to support their legacy. Is that irrational?”

    I don’t think that’s irrational at all and I feel similarly about the Democratic Party even though I try to stress some independence from it. The whole point of my blogger name (at the time I created it) was to demonstrate that I was more of a Liberal than a Democrat (a phrase which means something entirely different among British politicos). Thus I will be a loyal voter to Democrats but my political loyalties are not based on party interest but on my ideological priorities.

    Notwithstanding that, I do have a great love and affinity for my party. I have grown up leading a life of privilege and live in a way that my ancestors could never have even imagined. And that is because of the laws and policies enacted by the Democratic Party that created the opportunities and the freedoms that most Americans now take for granted. So I don’t begrudge my vote for Democrats as a reluctant vote against the coalition of crazy that opposes them but instead as a vote for a party I feel has done much to make my country what it is today and make my life so much more than it ever could have been anywhere else.

    And like your favorite Labour Party politicians, my favorite politicians aren’t perfect either, they’re human beings. They’ve made and continue to make mistakes. They do things that are stupid. They do things that I disagree with. There are times when they are bumbling, incompetent, inept. But they’re human beings and it’s to be expected.

  37. @ Nick Poole

    “Does he want the reward, do you think? Will he be grabbing a gun himself?

    I think this is a hostage to fortune and an attempt to tie himself to military success. A very high risk strategy.”

    Lol, maybe. He doesn’t strike me as that type. Maybe he should send in Ben Bradshaw to do it. Bradshaw is the most James Bond like of any of your politicians. And it’d be a way for Cameron to show his ability to reach across party lines.

  38. @DavidB

    “What we get on this site when you allow it is intelligent partisanship…..
    I’m interested why Blues are not attracted to this site in the same numbers as Reds – it did cross my mind that this site is a bit too ‘academic’ for them but that would be an unreasonable and, dare I say it, partisan thought.”

    If you had been a regular reader/ poster on here 2009 time- as others were (i.e. crossbat/ alec and I remember an ‘OldNat’ from back then as well) you’d know that the scenario was the precise opposite back then.

    As I wrote a few months ago- to howls from wounded Scots Nats- I posited that the volume of posters and postings increases when one particular ‘team’ has clearly and irrefutably had a big win: that a lot of posters (though not the hardcore regulars) come on to gloat or to point out that they are in the right and backed up by the facts and events. Hence we had so many Scots Nats postings (and extra Nats posters) in the feverish period after the May Holyrood election. This gradually petered out.

    Whereas in the lead up to the 2010 election- and especially in the post Euro 2009 elections period- you had disastrous dire poll numbers for Labour at least weekly- and sometimes several times a week !!! This meant that the partisan froth was intense and repeatedly deployed by an immense torrent of blue posters, some of whom were moderated by AW though not all. They were in the ascendant in the polls and expecting to walk the 2010 GE and they took great pleasure in pointing out Browns latest debacle or Labours latest poll slump.

    This only really changed (slightly) from Feb 2010 onwards when Labour ticked up just enough to stop Cameron from actually winning the election (something posters on the Telegraph and Spectator blogs have never forgiven him for). During the campaign it was an intense free for all by all sides. Many were suspended for 2 weeks at a time; a few were chopped completely.

    Post GE blue posters remained in the majority for much of the period up to around midsummer as did a healthy sprinkling of yellow posters.

    The latter disappeared mainly as the costs of coalition became all too humanly and politically obvious- and poll numbers showed that yellow supporters had thinned out pretty significantly in the ‘real world’ as well! The former began to thin out throughout the summer (realisation of an election not won perhaps or of dissatisfaction with the non-economic compromises of coalition government maybe).

    But its only really since the polls switched in favour of Labour (properly- over a sustained period) at the turn of the year that the blue posters have fallen to a very low level (though there are longstanding blue stalwarts like @Colin and @neilA).

    Mark my words (and I said this the last time I posted on this) if the Tories start to get some obvious big victories (a major BE win or a sweep in the locals) aligned to a serious run of 4-5% plus poll leads then blue posters will be FLOODING back here and quite a few reds will disappear/ lurk.

    @Crossbat

    “the vast majority of us, of all political hues, appear to be a tolerant, forgiving, intelligent, well-informed and good humoured bunch (most of the time!!).”

    I totally agree: when it comes to politics I am never more suspicious then when someone claims they are not political and that what they are saying or writing has no political colour or agenda hidden within it. Everybody has a set of core values and these are innately political in some form or another: most who claim ‘no strong political views’ for example are Conservative with a small ‘c’ if you actually get them to answer a battery of political values questions!

    AW is right that polling in itself is a technical matter and does not need to be tainted with value judgements and observations.

    HOWEVER the fish we are valuing/ considering/ pricing is POLITICAL polling and it is IMPOSSIBLE to discuss such polling without having a discussion of the relative merits of the events, good policy, bad policy, victories, disasters, corrupt behaviour, principled behaviour, good judgement and incompetent mistakes that make up the reasons why polls give the results that they do in any given moment. Indeed the more I write this the more I feel that- honourable an intention it may be- it is actually quite farcical to say that there is no room for ANY partisan comment on these pages.

    Rants, monologues and unprovoked offensive ad hominems; no: but reasoned, critical and informed argument; yes. Even if such remarks clearly support a certain party line and can on occasion be quite passionate.

    The late great Jed Bartlett said it best:

    “…but partisan politics is good; it’s what the founders of our constitution always intended and protects those with minority opinions…”

  39. @ Old Nat

    “Sorry, I think your automatic support is irrational.

    Had you been born in France, Germany, the USA, would your death have been inevitable? Would you necessarily been homeless? Would you automatically have lacked education?

    Indeed, would that have necessarily been the case in Scotland had there been no UK Labour Party at any time? What if Tom Johnstone had been the ILP PM in Scotland? Would your life been any different? Who knows?

    To make an automatic assumption that the governance of your country would have been somehow locked into the conditions of the early 20th century without UK Labour is totally irrational.”

    I don’t know. I don’t think anything can be taken for granted.

    What would have happenned if Thomas Jefferson had never been elected president of the U.S.? The reason we didn’t have a built in class system that could stymie people and create a cabal of elitists who ran the country at the exclusion of everyone else was because of Jefferson (a Democrat) and later Andrew Jackson. Those who wanted to establish a rigid British style class system were prevented from doing so.

    But other countries in the western hemisphere were not so lucky. They overthrew their European overlords only to wind up with the exact same system of undemocratic leadership and rigid class systems. We avoided that fate but there was no guarantee of it. To give you an idea of this, at the begginning of the 20th century, the U.S. and Argentina were rougly the same in terms of GDP. Things could have turned out differently. What if there had been no Roosevelt and no New Deal?

    Not everything is inevitable.

    @ Amber Star

    “Would Britain have been locked in the conditions of the early 20thC without the British Labour Party? IMO, It’s entirely possible we would have been.”

    Either way (and I love to play the what if games), the Labour Party took you out of the conditions of the early 20th century. So I understand your gratitude.

  40. OldNat,

    – “Most of the members of the SNP I know are like me. We see it as a vehicle to restore Scottish sovereignty. Others see it as a career line. Sod them!”

    Spot on! The reason I have been an active member of the SNP my entire adult life is to restore sovereignty and further the interests of the Scottish people. The SNP is a tool, a piece of engineering equipment, to lever us to grown-up self-government. The Scottish electorate are learning how to use that tool.

    Once that job is done, I’m offski. Previously, I had intended to help build a new centre-right liberal party post-independence, but I will now be too old and my life has taken other paths. However, I will continue to work in the best interests of my country until I draw my final breath. We all will.

    Ask not what your country can do for you.

    (Incidentally, there is a cracking story in The Times this morning: “Target the fed-up Tories, says MP who hopes to lead Labour”, based on this LabourHame blog post by Tom Harris:

    http://www.labourhame.com/archives/1698#more-1698

    Labour have long targetted the hardline Unionist Tory vote, but always implicitly. This is the first time I can recall a Labour MP explicitly calling for them to target the dwindling remains of the old Unionist vote, which is largely dying off due to demographics. If the Unionist parties end up fighting amongst themselves over the scraps, it suits our own party just fine.)

  41. Rob Sheffield

    I’m interested why Blues are not attracted to this site in the same numbers as Reds – it did cross my mind that this site is a bit too ‘academic’ for them but that would be an unreasonable and, dare I say it, partisan thought.”

    Interesting post, and I agree that success of one side or the other attracts more of their posters. It has ssemed to me however, that consistently the reds outscore the blues and defintiely the yellows. I think your ‘academic’ suggestion has merit.

  42. “I am a Labour supporter out of gratitute. Is that irrational”, I think that may be the main reason most of the far-left – communists, socialists, syndicalists, etc (myself included) have flocked back to the Labour party since the fall of the LibDems.

    They’ve been Tory-lite for a long time but there’s still that irrational hope that we can push them back to their social-democratic post-soviet roots.
    And I do realise that we got some fantastic things during those Tory-lite years, minimum wage, etc – but for those of us on the far-left, who’re experiencing a poverty of representation, didn’t think they went far enough (obviously).

    But Labour is, at the moment (except in Scotland), all we’ve got.

  43. My tip on partisanship? Try to care a little less. Remember the old anarchist adage – whoever you vote for, the government always wins.

  44. Rob Sheffiled

    Rants, monologues and unprovoked offensive ad hominems; no: but reasoned, critical and informed argument; yes. Even if such remarks clearly support a certain party line and can on occasion be quite passionate.

    Again, I agree. I find many of the Labour posts, with whose politics I may disagree, very informative.

    The two areas, which go beyond being partisan, are

    offensive comments aimed at other posters about being stupid, silly, naive, etc. as if the poster is being any of these things his/her aguement is easy to debunk and the weakness is probably obvious anyway. Also it just brings retaliation (it does from me anyway).

    repeating the same attack on a party (or more likely a political figure) time and time again.

  45. Not seen any comment on the Ipsos Mori poll – 34/40/15.

    Healthy lead for Labour but Tories up 2% and the highest level for Lib Dems for a long time. Something for everyone to be happy about.

  46. @Rob Sheffeild – “I am never more suspicious then when someone claims they are not political.”

    Can’t lay my hand on the exact quote just now, but you reminded me of the late Claud Cockburn, who poured his not inconsiderable journalistic scorn on those who thought there could be a clear distinction between journalism and propaganda.

  47. “My tip on partisanship? Try to care a little less. Remember the old anarchist adage – whoever you vote for, the government always wins.”
    I thought it was – If voting worked, they’d make it illegal.

  48. “Not seen any comment on the Ipsos Mori poll – 34/40/15.
    Healthy lead for Labour but Tories up 2% and the highest level for Lib Dems for a long time. Something for everyone to be happy about.”
    I hadn’t seen it.
    It’s an interesting figure but I’d have to look at it more in context – IIRC Mori have been showing the Tories trending upward for a while, but I could be remembering ICM/ComRes.
    But I have to go to work – some of us have real private sector jobs. ;) (Note – this is an attempt at humour)

  49. Swiss tax deal looks interesting. There is now a legal incentive to moving your tax affairs to Switzerland and we have accepted that the Swiss authorities should decide how much tax UK citizens pay without HMRC seeing any of the evidence.

    While an improvement on the current situation, frankly, it stinks. I know there are lots of differences, but if we to attach the same level of zero tolerance to this form of tax avoidance as we did to rioters and looters we might get a sense of fairness stemming from this.

    I still don’t get why we simply close borders to any juristiction refusing to comply with our tax laws. Why do we allow UBS to operate in the UK when they won’t cooperate with HMRC?

  50. I see that Ipsos/mori with a 6% labour lead has changed little, except the LDs rise by 4% to 15%; following on from ICM good rating. YouGov still has a very low LD pool, but perhaps it is possible that the LDs are establishing a base closer to 13-15% rather than less than 10%. I think the base may have shifted as clearly the stance on tuition fees and coalition with Tories has upset perhaps students and the more left LD voters.

    On the other hand YouGov could be right with LDs making no progress at all.

1 2 3 4