This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11% (tabs here.) Over the last week YouGov’s daily polls have averaged out at a two point Labour lead, compared to five or six before the budget, suggesting there has been a genuine narrowing. Whether it lasts or not is a different matter.

One thing worth noting is that if the average position in the polls settles down to a Labour lead of two points or so, then it is almost inevitable that sooner or later normal random sample variation will spit out some polls with the two parties equal, or the Conservatives ahead. It won’t necessarily be particularly meaningful in terms of the individual poll (as ever, it’s the underlying trends that count) – but politically it may well have an impact in terms of narrative and the morale of the Parliamentary political parties.

YouGov also asked about European voting intention and found topline figures of CON 24%, LAB 28%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 26%, GRN 7%. Labour remain in the lead, but its very close between Labour, UKIP and the Conservatives, with just 4 points separating Labour in first place from the Conservatives in third. Taking just those who say they are 10/10 certain to vote would put UKIP up into first place, on 30% to Labour’s 29%. Note that the fieldwork started before the Nick v Nigel debate, so be carefuly of reading too much of a post-debate effect into the results. Tabs are here.

This morning we also had the second of this week’s Populus polls. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12% (tabs here)

189 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35, LAB 36, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. Perhaps people are missing the point regarding the slip over the use of the pound in iScotland.

    It’s inconceivable that a currency union would be permitted if constructed under SNP plans. While the link between negotiations on currency and Faslane was made expressly clear in the unattributed comments, I suspect the wider point was more along the lines of how Scotland will react in the negotiations.

    If AS accepts control over budgets and tax rates residing in Westminster, then there is no reason not to share sterling, and indeed every reason to do so.

    Politically, this has been a disastrous bit of spinning for the No campaign, but in reality, the questions are really all for the SNP. How far are they prepared to negotiate to get what they want? The UK can easily walk away from a currency union with limited negative impact, for Scotland, the downsides are far greater. There will be a negotiation, but it’s Scotland that will have to lower it’s sites. The big question is how would Scottish Yes voters respond to the final shape of the independence deal when they realise it’s not the one they signed up to.

  2. Faslane is to London what Sevastopol is to Moscow. In 1940, Churchill bitterly regretted the handover (in 1938) of Queenstown, Berehaven & Lough Swilly, but at least there was still Lough Foyle, and discreet/tacit intelligence support by the Irish Free State. If it had been absolutely necessary, these bases would have been retaken.

    I am sure that the UK government would pay to keep Faslane, but it would be critical for the UK to have a sympathetic government in Edinburgh in the very unlikely event that Scotland votes yes in September – the polls are not moving significantly. Russia only retook the Crimea (70 years after its previous recapture from the Fascists) because of the EU-instigated coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government.

  3. Hi Old Nat,

    Good point about Rangers last night.

    [Snip – AW]

    No secret to one and all, I’ve been re-reading Kahnenberg’s Thinking Fast and Slow, and my feeling is Osborne’s team read it very carefully and have applied the psychology of choices, i.e. Prospect Theory, to devastating effect

    No time to expatiate now, the dog demands her walk, but I think Prospect theory makes a great deal sense of what the Osborne team have done, and there’s no doubt the psychology involved is powerful. The miracle is that (if I’m right) the Labour vote has survived it – to date, almost.


    @” I’ve been re-reading Kahnenberg’s Thinking Fast and Slow, ”

    I prefer Kahneman’s version.

  5. Mr Nameless

    “Also, I think it’s quite funny that the same day equal marriage begins is Norman Tebbit’s birthday.”

    Why is it funny I suspect Norman Tebbit feels the same way about Gay marriage as I do. Not funny at all.

  6. @JOHNKAY whilst I’m sure that there may be individual examples of Ukip MEPs or local councillors motivated by personal gain to line their own pockets I don’t think they have the monopoly on this. Not being as keen pick up their daily attendance allowances can hardly be portrayed as the worst form of graft.

    In local councils, the tier of government Ukip don’t wish to abolish, their attendance is assiduous and some have voted to reduce their own salaries and perks.

    Integrity in politics and going against self interestis distributed throughout the political spectrum. Hilary Benn I believe set the record for least expenses claims? Margaret Thatcher did not pick up the same sinecures as Kinnock and Blair have. Dennis Skinner, Jon Redwood, Frank Field, Anne Widdecome, Enoch Powel and Ken Clarke have all taken principled stances guaranteed to mar their advancement in their parties.

    In short it’s a mixed bag and you can vote for who you like, including wreckers and joke candidates.

    I care what the polls say about Ed Miliband; I don’t care what DiF & Rich say about him or about his brother or about his dad or….
    Report comment

    That’s a fair point Amber, but the polls say the public don’t believe he is ready to be PM. And you could also make that comment about most opinion on this site.

  8. and I still don’t understand why liking his brother is so objectionable? I just thought he was a very accomplished politician who I and many people across the centre could see as PM. I suspect he would have had a moderate view to reform whilst still supporting private growth and business to drive the economy, not regulation and centralisation of control.

  9. Consistently Scots don’t seem to care about the currency argument. Their being pragmatic; in the short term it’s a non issue and in the long term it can be solved. It’s now ludicrous that the No Vote is being undermined by its terrible focus of the past few months. Scots are just not buying any of the “you can’t” arguments.

    In the end the only important effect is that the Westminster leaders in the UK government have been once again undermined by Salmond with Salmond seemingly doing nothing to achieve it!

  10. Rich
    David Miliband – clever, competent, Conservative. What’s not to like?

  11. @Daodao – “…because of the EU-instigated coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government.”

    I know you go big on this, but I think you are grossly mistaken, and are making the category error of conflating tactical moves, which could arguably be seen as misguided, with some level of strategic manipulation that simply isn’t there.

    The EU, as an institution, is incapable of some pretty basic management of it’s own organisation. You think that despite this, it acts with a single minded determination to subvert foreign democracies to suit it’s own, unstated crypto fascist purpose. You are completely mistaken, and you are assigning motives and capabilities to the EU than simply don’t exist.

    There is an argument that the EU has been too quick to back rebels in the Ukraine, and has misunderstood Russian sensitivities in a historically complex region. This is the view taken, it seems, by Farage.

    I suspect there is something in this. It’s difficult to argue in favour of democracy in general, but then jump in to support movements seeking to topple democratically elected governments, which is effectively what the EU has done in Ukraine. Russia has historical sensitivities, and insists on seeing their western border region as an area of conflict. That is something we must understand, but the EU can’t be blamed for.

    To characterize this possible error in diplomacy as some kind of EU inspired coup is categorically wrong headed. Your notion of the legitimacy of the previous Ukranian government is equally difficult to sustain. Yes, it was once elected, but when it starts doing things that subvert the democratic basis upon which it was elected, then you have a constitutional crisis. If anyone was serving to destabilise the situation, it was Putin’s Russia. And not for the first time.

    The desire to extend EU and/or NATO influence may be fraught with geopolitical complexities, but we really should reassure ourselves that this really isn’t about German expansionism, and it has nothing to do with fascism. To try and make this link is, in my view, childish politicking and not a particularly intelligent reading of modern history, but that’s only my personal view.

  12. @Daodao

    “…EU-instigated coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government…”

    I obviouly can’t stop you believing that, but the EU couldn’t instigate a coup against a mouse in a cathouse. It wasn’t EU troops on the streets in Crimea, it wasn’t EU helicopters violating Ukranian airspace, it wasn’t an EU annexation of Crimea that deprived the Ukraine of 40% of its coastline and (if the Crimean nationalisation of the offshore fields goes unchallenged) all of her gas reserves. It was Russia.

    There’s a line in the new Captain America film (“How do you know which are the bad guys?” “They’re the ones shooting at you”). It isn’t the EU that’s building a gas monopoly that will make it easier for you to die in winter. It’s Russia.

  13. Is the UK in the process of recovery ? The current account deficits for the last two quarters have been the worst in the developed world. Worse than Greece apparently.

    I have a feeling that some of the good news stories on the economy, may well start to become negative, as people realise that the growth is based on debt e.g housing boom, retail spending on credit cards.

  14. Agree with Martyn on that one.

    I think there was some discussion of the UKIP leader’s position on this on here. When I looked it seems that one of the things he is saying is that the US seemed to support democratic and pro-western reform, but in effect raised false hopes by not then offering much support. Not sure whether that is the message he wants to give, or whether he is being isolationist.

    I have read a number of accounts of Hitler’s advance through areas with significant German or German-speaking populations, Austria and Czechoslovakia and how this was accepted at the time, leading Hitler to become even bolder.

    Much to my sorrow, as I am not a gung-ho militarist, I am afraid that a similar situation might be developing now. I hope I am wrong.

  15. Reading through my last post, in case it is not clear, it is Russian expansionism I am worried about .

  16. @ Alec

    While the EEC was founded as a way of binding the then West Germany into Western Europe and prevent renewed Franco-German conflict post WWII, since the re-unification of Germany and EU expansion into Eastern Europe, the EU’s political and economic centre of gravity has moved to Berlin. The recent problems in the Ukraine were sparked by the EU’s determination to bring that country into the EU’s (effectively Germany’s) economic hinterland, reminiscent of the approach of previous German governments many years ago. The EU was annoyed by the Ukrainian government’s rejection of those proposals in November 2013 and was determined by whatever means to establish a government in Kiev that would toe its line. Hence the Euro-Maidan protests and the coup. About a third of the ministers in the new (some would say illegitimate) Ukrainian government are neo-fascist, and it was only after its creation that Russia felt threatened and took back the Crimea.

    Anyway, the point of my original post was merely to state that Faslane is crucial to UK security, and that the UK government will be determined to have continued use of it, in the same way that Russia views Sevastopol. In the unlikely event of Scottish independence, and the even unlikelier event of an unsympathetic government in Edinburgh, the UK would act to secure its vital interests.

    The mean polling average in favour of the No side in the Scottish referendum vote has shifted slightly, but not really significantly, from 17% in the last 4 months of 2013 to 13% in the first 3 months of this year. However, there would need to be a significant lead for the Yes campaign a fortnight before the poll for the pro-independence campaign to have a chance of success at the actual poll. In similar campaigns (e.g. Quebec, 1995), there was a late drift against the pro-independence camp by voters who at the last minute took fright at the risks of “going it alone”.

  17. @DAODAO:

    You do talk some nonsense, don’t you? Hope you’ve got a tin foil hat.

  18. “the EU’s political and economic centre of gravity has moved to Berlin. The recent problems in the Ukraine were sparked by the EU’s determination to bring that country into the EU’s (effectively Germany’s) economic hinterland, reminiscent of the approach of previous German governments many years ago.”


    Lovin’ the reasoning here!!

    Germany has some influence in the EU, therefore any interest in the EU for Ukraine to vote to join the EU must be like the German invasion of Eastern Europe and Russia “all those years ago”. It all fits!!!…

  19. @Daodao – “The recent problems in the Ukraine were sparked by the EU’s determination to bring that country into the EU’s (effectively Germany’s) economic hinterland,….”

    I’m afraid that’s childish nonsense, and I say that in the politest possible way. The EU is not Germany, and you shouldn’t conflate the two as you regularly do. That’s your first and basic mistake.

    No, the recent problems in Ukraine were not sparked by the EU. There is/was a genuine split in the Ukraine between those who wish to become much closer to the west and those who wish to remain firmly within the Russian orbit. This is a complex internal issue within the Ukraine, which you have to recognise. The EU did not cause this. Yes, there are unpleasant characters within the uprising, as with in the government deposed. It’s complicated.

    If you think that Russia only felt threatened after the creation of a new government, then your understanding of these issues really is much more marginal than I thought. Russia has been actively destabilising Ukraine and elsewhere for a good long while now, as a deliberate foreign policy objective.

    I think you really need to sit back and take a deep breath, and then ask yourself who is ordering a major build up of tanks and artillery within 20 miles of the Ukranian border right now.

    Is it;

    a) Nasty, German led fascists from the (non existent) EU Army


    b) That nice Mr Putin.

  20. “the UK would act to secure its vital interests.”

    You mean England. How would this be achieved?

  21. Much has been made of “interference” by the EU and/or US. But also the Russians have also been actively involved in trying to influence Ukraine’s domestic affairs over many years, so one should not get one-sided about this.

    You can also overstate the effect; the views of some 50 million Ukrainians are not so easily bought from outside, and the main determinant of events there leading up to the recent “revolution” was internal Ukrainian politics, not some kind of great power play in which the Ukrainians were mere puppets. Just because the pro-EU Ukrainians won, it does not mean it was led by the EU.

    Maybe it was a coup, or maybe it was legitimate action by the parliament to removed the president. So what? The Ukrainians are entitled to have a coup if they want one. This does not justify an invasion by foreign forces.

  22. Oops. Forgot to mention polling. But of course, since Farage has made it a party-political issue, we are all waiting to see how these arguments will play out in the polls…

  23. The historical context is crucial to understanding the current issues in the Ukraine. Many members of the current Kiev regime venerate and share the ideology of Stepan Bandera, a leader of the OUN in the 1930s and 1940s. He stated that Muscovites and Jews are hostile to us and must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime. Similar sentiments have been expressed by members of the current Ukrainian government. It was interesting to note that Israel, alone among pro-Western governments, did not support the recent UN General Assembly motion condemning the Russia re-occupation of the Crimea.

  24. With a week of post-budget polling we’re finally in a position to analyse what happened. (The Budget came out on the 19th.) Here’s what we know:

    As Anthony says, the polls have narrowed. To a first approximation, the Tories are up 2% and Labour are down 1%, closing the average lead from about 5% to 2%. Ukip are down ~1%, Lib Dems are unchanged:

    The main drivers in the Tory improvement are an increase in retention- about half from Ukip and half from DKs, it looks like- and increases in Lab -> Con switching and LD -> Con switching. The last two are unusual, because those numbers tend not to move- we may at last be seeing signs of the elusive swing voters.

    The Lab -> Con switchers are obviously a problem for Labour, but the big driver of their decline is actually a reduction in LD -> Lab defectors. It seems like when Osborne produces a “fair” budget it detoxifies the Lib Dems by association:

    You can really see it on the Lib Dems’ graph, where there’s been a huge bounce in retention. Just look at those red and yellow lines dovetail, whee! Note also the slight uptick in LD -> Tory defection.

    And here’s the DKs. Tories have definitely come down about 1% from the budget, although actually it seems like everyone has spent the second half of March firming up their voting intentions. Labourites and Lib Dems just got an earlier start:

    So, in conclusion- Osborne can be very happy with this budget. It even achieved what many people thought impossible for the Tories and changed the dynamics of the LD -> Lab flux. But he and his party still need to peel away another 3 or 4% of Labour’s voters if they’re to have any hope of staying in government.

    (Also Anthony may way to use a week’s polling on either side of the budget next time he looks at budget bounces, because this one didn’t kick in right away.)

  25. I’m not sure how the Nats think that threatening or causing problems for a major element of the NATO defence system (i.e. Trident) is compatible with continued membership of that organisation.

    It strikes me that that is another element of the Nats’ case that hasn’t yet been discussed openly.

  26. David Miliband – clever, competent, Conservative. What’s not to like?

    Well *one* out of three (and I’m not saying it’s either of the first two) isn’t bad, eh?

  27. We’re all being very disparaging of @Daodao’s viewpoint, but he does at least highlight the complexities of the situation.

    I would agree that it’s really difficult for people who support democracy, whether the EU or individual nation states, to support uprisings against democratically elected governments. Recently we have done this twice, in Ukraine and previously in Egypt.

    In both cases, we supported the process by which these governments came about originally, but then didn’t like what they did, and when the uprisings came, we made it clear who we supported. We didn’t say something along the lines of ‘well this is democracy, and you need to put up with it until the next time you have a chance to boot them out at the ballot box’.

    With Crimea, we are in a difficult position politically. They have actually had a vote. However unsatisfactory that might have been, it’s a good deal more than Ukraine as a whole has had.

    So clearly there are complexities and problems, and the west’s stance is not particularly consistent, and involves complicated judgements.

    If this was what @Daodao was saying, I think many of us could agree with him. However, it’s when he veers off into the notion of a German inspired plot that we all switch off.

    In this, he might not be in too lonely company. Thatcher was strongly opposed to German reunification, as were the French, as they saw the rise of a too powerful German block as a potential problem.

    Today, that seems quite hard to believe, but if Thatcher had been able to, she would have blocked a united Germany. What stopped her was effectively the speed of change on the ground, and the realisation that external interference wasn’t going to work.

    I suspect that the error Thatcher and @Daodao both made was to base their views a little too much on what happened in the past. Yes, Germany was instrumental in two world wars, and had significant expansionist tendencies up to 1945.

    The EU has changed things though, as has modern global economics and politics. Trying to shoehorn 2014 geopolitical events onto a mould built in the 1890’s isn’t very helpful, I would suggest.

  28. @ Ale

    I agree that “There is/was a genuine split in the Ukraine between those who wish to become much closer to the west and those who wish to remain firmly within the Russian orbit.” However, while the EU has not caused these differences (they are historical/geographical), it upped the ante and so caused the current problems by meddling in a region that is historically East Slav/Orthodox and perceived by Russia as being within its sphere of influence.

  29. @Alec

    Well said.

  30. @ Martyn

    It isn’t the EU that’s building a gas monopoly that will make it easier for you to die in winter. It’s Russia.
    Nonsense… if you can’t afford the heating bill, just put on an extra sweater! ;-)

  31. “In a poll conducted in the first half of February, only 15% of those asked in the Kharkiv region and 33% around Donetsk wanted Ukraine to unite with Russia.

    “In the same poll, the figure for Crimea was 41%. But then take a month of radicalising politics and Russian takeover, with Ukrainian-language channels yanked off TV. Add relentless reporting on the Russian-language media of a ‘fascist coup’ in Kiev, exacerbated by some foolish words and gestures from victorious revolutionaries in Kiev. Subtract Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians living in Crimea, who largely boycott the referendum. Season with a large pinch of electoral fraud. Hey presto, 41% becomes 97%…

    “…Without the consent of all parts of the existing state (hence completely unlike Scotland), without due constitutional process, and without a free and fair vote, the territorial integrity of Ukraine, guaranteed 20 years ago by Russia, the US and Britain, has been destroyed.”

  32. Ukraine have had all the free gas & money from Russia which Russia was willing to give. Now they are making eyes at the EU/US ‘sugar daddies’.

    Joking aside, this is about the gas bill. If the EU & US pay the bill, Russia will leave the rest of the Ukraine alone; if they don’t then Russia will ‘repossess’ it. One way or another, an independent Ukraine is over; it’s now just a question of who their new owners will be: Russia or the IMF.

    David Miliband – clever, competent, Conservative. What’s not to like?


    Agreed! A modern progressive politician who knows the days of big state control were swept away int he 70s and 80s.

  34. Rich

    We often agree but not about this……………..”Agreed! A modern progressive politician who knows the days of big state control were swept away int he 70s and 80s.”

    We still have a big state, that’s the problem.

  35. TOH,

    Yeah know what you mean, especially when my local Govt has more counsellors than New York….but I think he knew that expanding the public sector and hammering business isn’t the way to go, hence a more centre ground appeal.

  36. “The historical context is crucial to understanding the current issues in the Ukraine. Many members of the current Kiev regime”


    Lol, also lovin’ how you try and justify the historical context by diverting from the Third Reich insinuations to the Kiev regime…

  37. Rich

    Agree about that. I think DM has a reasonanble inderstanding of what business is all about, unlike his brother. There seems to be an anti business slant in politics generally these days especially on the left which i think is totally irresposible given our economic position.

  38. Re: expansionist tendencies

    Lots of major powers have had expansionist tendencies in the past. The Grench did, we did, the Spanish, the Germans, and yes, the Russians. But I haven’t noticed any Panzers sweeping through Belgium lately… would what Germany did seventy years ago be justification for another country’s expansionism now?

  39. Grench = French (just in case anyone thought it might be Greece…)

  40. If we’re talking about alternative Labour leaders I’d give Carwyn Jones a look. He’s very much the Labour Boris in his political position – not an MP, but a high level politician with very good approval ratings and a good public speaking ability who could easily slot into a safe seat.

    Here’s his conference speech from 2013:

  41. Mr N
    We don’t need alternative Lab leaders.

  42. I would agree with you, Guymonde. But for the purposes of speculation ;)

  43. Had an intereting chat with a chum who works in the Foreign Office over coffee this morning. He has been undertaking research trying to understand Russian perspective in order to prepare briefings. He is of the interesting conclusion that we have bungled the whole thing as we are internationally defending the indefensible.

    His argument to me was as follows:

    In 1954 the Soviet Union transferred the Crimea and south-eastern territories adjacent to Ukraine from the Russian SSR to the Ukrainian SSR despite the majority population in those territories being Russian speakers. The reasons are slightly obscure. Some Russian sources claim it was a way of stuffing the Ukrainian SSR so full of Russians that it would become a shared Russian-Ukrainian state within the USSR instead of a particularly Ukrainian one. Other Russian sources claim it was an act of favour to the Ukrainian born Kruschev to honour the Ukranian SSR by expanding it.
    The result was, and is, that Ukraine expanded to include territories that were historically Russian – not Ukrainian (despite some ancient historic and rather “dreamy” Ukrainian idea of a Greater Ukraine from the distant past. (The modern reality being that these territories are majority Russian speaking).

    When the Soviet Union split up in 1990-91 the “understanding” was that Byelorussia, Ukraine and Russia would (along with ohter ex SSRs) form the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – which was essentially to be a very close alliance with more home rule than had existed in the USSR – but essentially a common block of interlocked countries. As this independence became more real there became an urgent need to sort out the inheritance of Nuclear Weapons to stop proliferation. At this tsage the Russians accepted reluctantly the ex expanded SSR borders of Ukraine (including their large gifted Russian territories of 1954) on the basis that the Ukrianians handed to Russia all Nuclear weapons. At that point the US and GB guranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty (without a specifying how that guarantee would be activated).
    However, from the Russian perspective this was still on the basis of the Ukraine being in a “dissoluable military and diplomatic alliance with the Russian Federation” and presumably other former CIS members.
    Russia therefore cannot accept that Ukraine will leave this alliance taking with it its gifted Russian territories of 1954.
    In the Russian perspective the borders of the Ukraine, if it wants to follow its own independent path away from a Russian alliance should be those which antedate the 1954 settlemt – namely those of the Ukrainian People’s Republic before the Soviet-Polish War of 1919-21 gave western Ukraine to Poland (lost by Poland under the terms of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact 1939)
    From a Russian persepctive the 1919 borders are the legitimate borders of a Ukraine “not in permenent alliance with the Russian Federation” which was their understanding of the 1991 agreement. See

    The upshot is: Are we being hostile to Russia out of ignorance of their perspective? How much about the history of these borders do we in the West really understand? Is public opinion hostile to the Russian position because of a history of anti-Russian sentiment dating back to the time of the Crimean War of 1853-56 rather than based on a knowledge of the local histoy there? Have we in the West dedicated ourselves to defending territory which shouldn’t have been within Ukraine’s borders in any event?


  44. Further to my last. Rather than sanctions and bad feeling – damaging economic recovery on both sides of the argument: Should we have an international gathering in say Berlin and reach a major settlement with Russia. Namely: Russia gets its 1954 territories back in return for Ukraine (within its 1919 borders) becoming an EU/NATO protectorate, or similar?

  45. I don’t think we can begin to understand the perspective of Europeans who have suffered under the oppression of both Hitler & Stalin.

    Both tyrannies were appalling & millions suffered at their hands.

    Using the word “Fascist” to denigrate your opponent , in that part of Europe begs the question-who is using it & why?

    Hitler & his empire building are long gone thank god. It is what the more thoughtful Europhiles claim as the EU’s raison d’etre -and with some justification.

    Russian Imperialism however is alive & kicking-and throwing the word “Fascist” around to justify it’s “protection” of the Russian diaspora.

    We have been here before-and many many Europeans remember what happened to them as a result.


    @” Russia gets its 1954 territories back in return for Ukraine (within its 1919 borders) becoming an EU/NATO protectorate, or similar?”

    ffs !-haven’t we learned anything from our history of drawing lines on maps.

    How about just asking Ukrainians what they want to be .

  47. I thought David Miliband was dead and buried (metaphorically of course) but as the Blues on this site have resurrected him…
    I never liked him didn’t vote for him in the leadership election and thought the way he sulked after he lost the election showed he wasn’t leadership material.

  48. Tony Dean,

    As far as I can tell, from a legal case the Ukrainian position is unassailable, except on grounds of a precedent (Kosovo) which the Russians don’t recognise.

    The Ukraine has not left the CIS, because it has never been a de jure member of the CIS. Thus Ukrainian membership of such an alliance with Russia cannot be a prerequisite of Russian acceptance of the borders of the Ukraine, since Russia has recognised the borders of the Ukraine without the Ukraine joining the CIS. That’s over and above the notion of a state’s sovereignty being contingent on membership of a military alliance, which is a pretty nutty idea as far as international law goes.

    Needless to say, the notion that the pre-Soviet borders of 1919 are invioable in the absence of conditions being satisfied would be totally unworkable. It’s an ad hoc principle, which Russia does not recognise in the Caucuses, Central Asia, the former Yugoslavia etc.

    The Russian position is entirely hypocritical, even on the superficial level. This is a country that has preached a doctrine of “national sovereignty” for over a decade, and has violated the sovereignty of two neighbouring states in less than six years. (That’s not to say that the West’s position is necessrily coherent either, because of the Kosovo problem.)

    I don’t think most people understand the Russian perspective, and I suspect that anti-Russian prejudice IS behind a lot of reactions. However, that doesn’t mean that the Russian perspective is remotely defensible or coherent (it’s not) or that anti-Russian prejudice hasn’t been a generally sound instinct since at least 1917 (Russia has gone out of its way to make people with such prejudices seem very intelligent).

  49. @ Colin

    All agreed about how appalling Hitler and Stalin were.

    Agreed, use of the word “Fascist” is very emotive – but I suspect Russians are fearful rather than imperialistic.

    Is it imperialism to want back land that was historically an integral part of Mother Russia until 1954, that were transferred to another SSR within the Soviet era (a bit like us in 1974 giving the Vale of the White Horse from Berks to Oxon at the time!) without them then realising the future propsect of a break up of the Soviet Nation causing territories ending up within the wrong inheritor states according and compared to their historic associations?

    Do we have an absurd position where Crimea and the South-East Territories of Ukraine are really Mother Russia trapped by international law in the wrong nation?

    Is trying to get them back “imperialism” – or is it justified? The Russians are rarely subtle about the political way they do things – but ignoring that – do they have a point?

  50. @Colin

    well a lot of Mexicans would like to be USA citizens. Perhaps those boundary should be redrawn? Or perhaps it’s only when it suits the West?

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