The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times survey is up here and has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%.

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with attitudes towards the Chilcot Inquiry and Iraq. Asked in hindsight whether Britain and the US were right to take military action against Iraq support has now dwindled to 25% (down from 27% two years ago, 30% in 2007 and a peak of 66% back in April 2003, the day after the fall of Baghdad). 63% of people now think that the invasion of Iraq increased the risk of terrorist attack against Britain and 54% think it has made the world a less safe place.

Asked about Tony Blair’s role, 48% of people think Tony Blair deliberately misled the public (down 4 points from 2010), 32% think he genuinely thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (unchanged from 2010) – as the years pass, the proportion of people saying don’t know is gradually sneaking up. In a slightly more nuanced question, 29% of people say Blair was essentially correct to warn of the dangers of the Saddam regime, 16% that he misled Parliament but did not intend to do so, 13% that he deliberately misled Parliament, but we should now move on, 24% that he deliberately misled Parliament and should be prosecuted.

Turning to the question of the Chilcot inquiry, 50% of people think the inquiry is worthwhile, 35% of people think it is not. Despite this broad support, only 19% think it will make a genuine effort to get to the bottom of Britain’s involvement in Iraq, 53% think it will be a whitewash. Two-thirds of people think the length of time it has taken to publish the report is unreasonable.


346 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 32, LDEM 7, UKIP 15, GRN 7”

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  1. many people opposed the law, not because of the legal position, but because it was blatantly about the US securing control of a vital oil producing region in middle of an important strategic area (bordering iran and saudi arabia).
    WMD was widely seen as a feeble – and false – justification.

    And – btw – @neil a

    “I don’t really understand the objections to the Afghan war. The US was, in effect, the subject of a direct attack by the government of Afghanistan”

    The taliban – although they were playing host to bin laden and co – had no knowledge of Al Quedas plans wrt attacking the WTC.
    The attackers – IIRC – were all saudis who had never set foot in afghanistan.
    The objection to the war was based on the likelyhood of it unleashing yet more death and destruction on afghanistan with no discernable benefit for its people. In retrospect – that is pretty much what has happened.

  2. Iraq/Chilcot

    I don’t think it’s right on the soldiers to start wars without the country fully behind it.

    Getting the whole country behind it requires full and *honest* deliberation beforehand.

    If the political and media class are going to lie and deceive to get a war they want and then collude together to let the people who deceived the public get away with it then the only sensible response from the public is to oppose all military interventions on the ground the political and media class can’t be trusted.

    This is more or less what’s happened imo and and as a result Iraq and the Chilcot non-inquiry are between them boosting the more non-interventionist parties: Ukip, Green, SNP, by a little bit each.

    btw Iran has apparently fully completed de-dollarizing (for trade purposes), not that all these countries in the process of de-dollarizing (including Russia and China) is anything to do with the drums beating for WWIII or the media would report it wouldn’t they.

  3. Alec
    The security services had a lack of middle eastern analysts and language speakers, they had almost no spy networks on the ground, and as a result relied almost entirely on defectors for intelligence. The same people who have an interest in toppling Saddam. Their claims were not sufficiently tested against independent data.

    As usual you sound very well informed so I imagine the answer is yes, but are you familiar specifically with ‘Curveball’?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_(informant)

  4. “I feel like the press have played/are playing a very dangerous game this Parliament – deliberately pumping up UKIP”

    Not sure how non-stop attacking is pumping up – well I do but only as an unintended consequence.

    The interesting thing with the media and the Greens will be whether they try to attack or try to pump up and if like Ukip the option they choose doesn’t work the way they think it will.

  5. @ Mr Jones
    ‘ don’t think it’s right on the soldiers to start wars without the country fully behind it.’

    I agree – and for myself would like to have seen the British and Americans defeated however unlikely that was . Given the disparity in the military technologies on both sides, like so many of our interventions it amounted to an act of bullying cowardice – on a par with using machine guns to attack others armed with bows and arrows.

  6. to clarify

    “I don’t think it’s right on the soldiers to start wars without the country fully behind it.”

    This is particularly related to how the wounded get treated long-term.

  7. Well personally I’d never want more British soldiers to get hurt than less right or wrong but regardless there should be full and honest deliberation before forces are committed imo (with an exception for small jobs with secret squirrels).

  8. Graham,

    “Given the disparity in the military technologies on both sides, like so many of our interventions it amounted to an act of bullying cowardice”

    What utter Nonsense.

    I can accept arguments for a conflict not being legitimate and there are many you can make about both Iraq and Afghanisten but not using military force because you’ve got a bigger better army and that’s unfair is just tosh!

    That’s like saying a Police Marksman shouldn’t be allowed to shot someone threatening to stab a hostage because he’s only got a knife and the Marksman has a rifle!

    Peter.

  9. Peter Cairns
    ‘That’s like saying a Police Marksman shouldn’t be allowed to shot someone threatening to stab a hostage because he’s only got a knife and the Marksman has a rifle’

    I am sorry but I do not see the moral parrallel at all there. After all we were the Bad guys – ie the aggressors. Just a pity the rest of the world failed to get around to trying to impose sanctions on the US and UK in the same way it has done more recently against Russia re- Ukraine.

  10. REGGIESIDE

    Agree with all points in your post.

    GRAHAM

    “Given the disparity in the military technologies on both sides, like so many of our interventions it amounted to an act of bullying cowardice – on a par with using machine guns to attack others armed with bows and arrows”
    _____

    Not sure if you’re referring to Iraq but the Taliban put up a much better fight than Saddam with much more primitive weapons .

    The case with Iraq was not so much the disparity in the military technologies (although decades behind UK/US) but more to do with Saddam’s war plans.

    His army was a sitting duck and in the case of the final days of his downfall a lot of his army parked their tanks in non aggressive formations and stood down. Some reports said some of his army generals were paid by the US not to put up a fight.

    His air force (first gulf war) was nowhere to be seen and his utter inhalation in that war was more to do with his lack of a proper Strategy than technologies although I do admit he would had been defeated in any case even if he had a good plan.

  11. ARTAIR
    Which “Mrs T” are you refering to? It seems this is yet another stereotypically silly comment as ‘Mrs T’ was not even in office at the time, nor had she been for some time!

    The Mrs T.

    The invasion was at the beginning of August 1990. Mrs T did not resign until November 1991. The fighting did not recommence until after the mid-January deadline set in UNSC Resolution 678 had passed.

    BTW, I’m no Labour supporter, as you may have noticed, but on the one occasion I needed to contact him, the MP representing my last UK residence – Ken Livingstone – corresponded with me and one of the junior cabinet ministers of the time [to my shame I forget the name] and was successful in getting my bank account [and those of others in the same situation] unfrozen around the beginning of October 1990.

  12. OOOPS! Mrs T resigned in November 1990

  13. Burns’ birthday today I think. I hope Scots on this site are having a good time.

  14. Graham,

    Stop changing the subject.

    Who started it isn’t the issue, your contention was that our actions were cowardly because we were far stronger.

    If you believe that you live in La La land.

    If you have 400,000 troops and your opponent only 4,000, there is nothing cowardly in deploying 80,000 and finishing the conflict quickly and decisively.

    In Afghanistan Nato deployed about 20,000 troops out of a total strength of over 3m! If we had deployed 120,000 I suspect it wouldn’t have lasted 12 years let alone have been indecisive.

    I opposed both wars as unnecessary, but the idea that it is somehow unfair if you have a bigger army, and use it, is just daft!

    Peter.

  15. All this war talk brings back memories when I was growing up in Wokingham and visiting my friends in nearby Sandhurst.

    There is a street near his home called (Co#k A Dobby) and in one of the gardens on the street there is a tower which screeched without fail every morning. We used to stand at the bottom of the road at 2 mins to 10 and race up before the siren went off and however was last up was doomed.

    For years we thought it was the army testing out the sirens (there are a few in the area) in case war broke out but later found out they were used in case of a lunatic breaking out of Broadmoor Hospital.

  16. #who ever
    ………………..
    “CHARLES
    Burns’ birthday today I think. I hope Scots on this site are having a good time”
    ____

    Sláinte

  17. The Telegraph is reporting a good vote for Syriza.

    I can see an impact on the GE here for sure, and I’m don’t have a clue how.

  18. @CMJ,

    I think it will depend on what happens to the Syriza government in office. If they succeed in persuading the EU to lift austerity and give them lots of money, expect a boost for the left in May. If they default, followed by a massive new recession, expect a boost for the right.

  19. @Neil A

    If our current political situation is a chaotic fire, then I agree a Syriza win would be a right old bucket of petrol.

  20. Bhaskar Sunkara [email protected] 58m58 minutes ago

    First exit polls: SYRIZA: 35.5% – 39.5%, ND: 23% – 27%, Golden Dawn: 7% TO POTAMI: 7%, KKE: 5%, PASOK: 5%, Independent Greeks: 3.5% – 4%.

  21. Alec

    “The top UK legal adviser believed the action legal”

    To be accurate the UK Government’s main legal adviser, the Attorney General for England and Wales, eventually said that a “reasonable case” could be made for invading Iraq without a further UN resolution.

    He changed his provisional advice after Blair had ignored his earlier advice and after visiting the USA.

    He might also have believed that the war would be legal – but that cannot be inferred from the evidence given to Chilcot.

  22. Glad to see Golden Dawn put back in their box. But crikey, PASOK! How the mighty are fallen!

  23. @Neil A

    Like the Conservatives in Canada some time back?

    Tonight will be fascinating. The European political elite will not be sleeping well tonight…

  24. PASOK have lost almost 90% of their vote since 2009. I can think of no greater vote share loss for a governing party in a Western nation in recent memory.

  25. CATMANJEFF,

    “The European political elite will not be sleeping well tonight…”

    There is no European Political Elite, there is only the politicians we elect to make tough decisions on our behalf and those who smear them with tags like “Elite” because they don’t like and don’t have the courage to make those kind of tough decisions.

    I should also say that despite the fact that my Party often use it, it is pretty much the same with the term “The Westminster Establishment”

    Peter.

  26. Peter,

    I would find your evidence more persuasive if there was clear evidence from past interventions of any attempt to combat adversaries who stood a fair chance of prevailing in conflict. The opponents selected – Iraq – Yugoslavia – Egypt in 1956 – were never likely to be able to mount an effective defence. Had they possessed weaponry comparable to those who attacked them I suggest they would not have become victims of intervention.
    The West failed to mount a military attack on the odious South African regime in the 1950s /1960s at least partially on account of the human cost of any operations undertaken. To restrict offensive military action to attacking those states unable to mount a serious defence on account of the limited resources available to them is highly suggestive of bullying.

  27. @CATMANJEEF
    Seats prevision (OM at 151)
    SYRIZA (Radical Left )148-156 [GE 2012: 71]
    ND (New Democracy, EPP)65-75 [129]
    Golden Dawn (Nazis() 17-22 [18]
    RIVER (POTAMI, social liberal) 17-22 [new party]
    KKE (Communist) 13-16 [12]
    PASOK (Social Dem.) 12-15 [33]
    Ind. GREEKS (Conserv.) 10-13 [20]
    Movement of Dem. and Soc. (diss. PASOK) 0-8 [new party]

    Others 0 [17, Dem. Left]

  28. @Peter

    The term ‘Elite’ is not a smear.

    There are a hand full of very senior politician in Europe who are very influential. The political dream of a monetary union leading to fiscal and political union is evident.

    As Greece will show tonight, there are millions of citizens in Europe who don’t very grateful that these senior people have taken it on themselves to make tough decisions for them.

  29. @OldNat @Alec

    The legal case for the war was extremely thin. That is why it is alleged that the AG’s full legal opinion, complete with caveats, was never presented to Cabinet.

    The war would only have been legal if SH’s had been in matetial breach of his obligations under the ceasefire Resolutions and been threatening imminent war against Kuwait or any other country. The UNSC passed resolution 1441 declaring SH in material breach of the ceasefire resolutions (highly questionable whether he actual was but anyway), but setting out a new inspections regime. The US expected the weapons inspectors to march to their tune but they didn’t. The scene was set for the UNSC to consider a further resolution on what to do next, in particular to consider US/UK attempts at new Resolution backed up by the threat of force for non compliance. However, it became clear that the US and UK could not convince a majority of the UNSC of the case for such a Resolution. So they dropped the attempt, blamed France and unilaterally went to war. The UK needed some beef to pursuade its public, hence the ridiculous 45 minute claim.

    Labour figures later suggested they had gone to war for political reasons. That they were frightened of the implications for the UK in further international conflicts if it had not supported the US, particularly as the UK no longer had a strong enough military to enable it to punch at heavyweight on the international stage.

  30. There are certain terms which I do find rather lazy when applied to politics – Elite, Mainstream Media (especially when abbreviated to MSM), Establishment, LibLabCon, etc. I think it’s important to specify exactly who you’re talking about when using these terms.

  31. @ Virgilio

    Presumably those provisional seat tallies already include the 50-seat bonus for the largest group. If so, probaby not an overall majority. Is that right?

  32. @Graham

    So what you’re saying is that the West only goes after the despots it can beat. That seems like a reasonable way to go about things.

    If you’re suggesting the West should pick a fight with Russia / China, I suggest you consider mutually assured destruction, or if we’re talking conventional forces, read up on the terrain and distances involved for either of those countries. It’s not something any nation wants to consider.

    I don’t consider Gulf War 1 as bullying. Saddam was the bully and was put back in his box. Gulf War 2 was not necessary. However, if we are going to get into the mechanics of war, it’s always wise to pick the wars you can win.

  33. @Virgilio

    Thank you.

  34. @UNICORN
    Right. First party gets 50 seats bonus, the remaining 250 are attributed via PR with 3% threshold. My feeling is that SYRIZA will get OM. This probability will become a certainty if the newly created “Movement” of socialist ex-PM Papandreou does not get 3% and therefore gets no seats.

  35. @Statgeek
    ‘So what you’re saying is that the West only goes after the despots it can beat. That seems like a reasonable way to go about things.’

    That is rather an invitation to other states to act in the same way.Our own action as aggressors in 2003 was despotic anyway!
    I supported Gulf War 1 because we were evicting an aggressor.

  36. Graham,

    “That is rather an invitation to other states to act in the same way”

    Eh I think you’ll find that’s exactly what they do, Milosovich and Saddam’s being good contemporary examples!

    I think you’ll struggle to find many, if any, historical examples of leaders deliberately starting wars they didn’t have to which they fought they would lose!

    Peter.

  37. @Graham

    “That is rather an invitation to other states to act in the same way.”

    With the blessing of the UN, it’s not a problem. The 2003 war did not have the blessing of the UN, so those who arranged it should be charged with war crimes.

  38. @Graham

    I don’t think “other states” need an invitation. Decisions to act aggressively are far more constrained by the geopolitics and relative military strengths involved than by any kind of legal precedent.

    Anything China wants to do, but doesn’t do, owes more to the US 7th Fleet and a dependence on western trade than to what the UNSC thinks, or the previous military adventures of the West.

  39. CATMANJEFF,

    “There are a hand full of very senior politician in Europe who are very influential.”

    There are a handful of politicians in every democracy that are very influential and they often have views that aren’t universally or even substantially popular;

    The poll tax, privatisation, PFI, Iraq.

    But that doesn’t make them an Elite or sinister!

    The Elite tag is a smear because it is routinely wheeled out by people who don’t share there views or objectives. It’s like UKIP and there ilk calling for a “Proper” debate on Europe!

    We’ve had a full open debate on Europe going on for decades and there is nothing improper about it. Those that don’t like the outcome are that ones claiming it is somehow flawed but only because it hasn’t resulted in what they want.

    Peter.

  40. Peter

    I was just chatting to my nephew in New York on Face Time just now, and mentioned this discussion.

    From a US perspective, he commented that you don’t have to be a politician to be part of the Elite. The Elite just buy the politicians!.

  41. OLDNAT,

    It’s worse than that!

    The Elite just have to stand still and the politicians are drawn to them like moths to a flame.

    Politics is full of fairly average but ambitious people who think they are special and important and so they find the lure of the rich and successful almost irresistible.

    They don’t have to be bought or brided they tend to offer their help and services just to get into what they see as the inner circle.

    But that doesn’t mean their is an elite with a plan or anything sinister, just weak! They aren’t running things or conspiring more just being washed along by the current.

    Peter.

  42. CMJ
    Not sleeping well tonight?
    On the contrary I think this is exactly the result that some for example in the Bundsbank will want. They will believe the Euro has been insulated and will not be affected by a horrifying Greek collapse. The surprise might be that the hawks on Greece may be led by France and Italy rather than Germany as they will fear prospects for themselves if Greece achieves any respite.
    The overall majority or very close to it means that Syriza will have no allies to blame.
    To be clear I feel very sorry for the Greek people and would wish that they did get some help.

  43. GRAHAM & STATGEEK

    The problem I see with today’s wars is that we are told they are for humanitarian purposes. I accept and hope that the West will never go to blows with Russia or China or worse still the both of them at the same time.

    However I see today’s wars as double standards. Take Nigeria as just an example. Thousands dead but no intervention. Israels illegal settlements in the Westbank, no intervention and the list goes on and on.

    If the UK and America really had human rights and democracy at the heart of their foreign polices then we would had invaded Saudi Arabia by now but of course they are a friendly dictator who support many thousands of UK defense jobs.

  44. Just seen the Greek results. I imagine the price of porcelain will go up now. ;-)

  45. 16% of the vote in Greece is in, looks like the exits polls were about right (assuming the votes are going to come in fairly uniformly)

    SYRIZA on 35%, heading for 146 seats
    ND on 30%

    Biggest question will be do they get to 151 seats or not.

  46. Alan
    They will have a chice of partners (if needed). Potomi have advertised their moderating influence as their key selling point.

  47. Partisan hopes aside, does anyone actually believe or accept Syriza to win significant concessions from Greece’s creditors? What are the chances of avoiding a unlilateral default?

  48. *expect not accept

  49. Syriza look like they will fall just short of an OM.

    I think – and hope – that the ECB/Merkel will have to rethink austerity or they will face a growing popular democratic revolt against it that will bring the whole Euro project crashing down.
    spain has and election soon and the italians are also looking at greece with much interest.

    Sanctimonious lectures about sticking to agreements when millions have been brought to penury without having voted for any of these agreements in the first place are not going to go down well.

    I suspect a big dollop of euro fudge will be served up – with austerity relaxed but being dressed up as face saver for the germans.

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