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. @Neil A

    “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?”

    Decent, I think. I’d doubt they’d get a cancellation, but a generous renegotiation, with sufficient flexibility for Syriza to implement some of its policies, will be in order. The hope of the Troika will be, I imagine, that Syriza will fail to some degree on their own terms so that they will then be tainted in power and the narrative of ‘look it all didn’t work, we must continue with austerity’ can be applied – seeing Syriza out and getting New Democracy back in and implementing it.

    The alternative, of being obstinate and deliberately sabotaging, will just ground in Greek opposition. They could, as Paul Mason says on his (IMO very good) blog on the issue, crush Syriza but what would be the point? Doing that would surely get them out of power, but would likely just build support for Golden Dawn (a much more terrifying prospect – particularly with Le Pen on a high in France).

  2. “does anyone actually believe or accept Syriza to win significant concessions from Greece’s creditors”

    After the crash the banks ended up with a massive black hole of toxic gambling debts (aka mortgage-backed securities) and all the economic decisions taken since 2008 (QE, ZIRP etc) have all been about the slow and ongoing bail out of the banks.

    A lot of this toxic debt is Greek hence the strategy since 2008 of slow bleeding of Greece while trying to prevent it defaulting.

    However the recent ECB decision to start using public money to buy the banks’ toxic assets (QE) could be focused on Greek debt first.

    (I assume that’s why the Germans finally caved to QE.)

    So it’s a question of timing. If that part of the Euro banks’ gambling debts related to Greece can be offloaded onto the public quickly enough then the Greeks won’t get a better deal because one that is done the banks won’t pay for a Greek default – the public will.

    On the other hand if the Greece related debt held by the Euro banks can’t be offloaded onto the public fast enough so the banks would be damaged by a Greek default then yes Greece should be able to get a better deal – because that would protect the banks.

    Bailing out Greece has always been to do with bailing out the banks, nothing else.

  3. @MrJones,

    You say that like bailing out the banks doesn’t matter…

  4. I do like the way so many on here who are hoping that Greece deals a body blow to the Euro because of a backlash against Austerity happen to be people who back George Osbornes policy of……Austerity!

    Peter.

  5. Final estimation for Greek GE (projection based on 25% of results)
    SYRIZA 36.5 – 150 seats
    ND 27.7 – 76
    GD 6.3-17
    RIVER 5.9-16
    KKE 5.6-15
    PASOK 4.8-13
    Ind. Gr. 4.7-13
    SYRIZA 1 seat short of OM, we must wait for the real final result.

  6. “You say that like bailing out the banks doesn’t matter…”

    Having a political class owned by the banks is slowly destroying the Western world.

  7. @Peter Cairns,

    Not sure I can detect the people you speak of. I don’t really see anyone hoping Greece deals a body blow to the Euro. Mainly I see people hoping that Greece can force a major change of policy in the Eurozone (and in international finance circles generally). I am genuinely unsure how much appetite there is for that in the higher echelons of European governments and international institutions. Agreeing to it would clearly completely change the political environment and would lead to a series of political victories for anti-austerity parties across the EU (and probably a major leftward drift by mainstream left of centre parties too). For that to be the “preferred option” for the powers that be, how bad would a disorderly exit from the Eurozone have to be (for the rest of the EZ I mean – I don’t imagine the fate of ordinary Greeks is a massive priority outside Greece)?

  8. @MrJones,

    Perhaps, but if that’s the case I’m not sure destroying the banks is the solution.

  9. PS to my post of 4:15 pm today….

    My wife remembers that the minister Red Ken involved was William Waldegrave, who was then an FCO minister, just before he was promoted to the cabinet in November 1990. My apologies to him for having forgotten!

  10. What an extraordinary election result in Greece today and I can’t help but feel slightly exhilarated by it, such is its departure from the usual predictable outcomes. No men in grey suits being replaced by other men in slightly greyer suits and no technocratic ex-bankers put in charge to do Merkel and the ECB’s bidding.

    Syriza’s stunning win is a victory for democracy more than anything else and for the ordinary people of that beautiful but benighted country. Their new government will face appallingly difficult challenges ahead, and the political and financial establishment of Europe, possibly further afield too, will be praying and plotting for their failure, but I wish Alexis Tsipras and his government all the luck in the world.

    The Greek people have done a wonderful thing today and cocked a gigantic snoop at the orthodoxy that has impoverished and humiliated them these last 20 years.

    I raise a glass to them all tonight, and will say a little prayer too.

    (and for the Villa as well!)

    :-)

  11. EZ leaders believe they have secured the position to the extent that a Greek exit wouldn’t cause financial contagion. They seem quite bullish about this, with the implications that they are happy to hang Greece out to dry.

    EZ leaders have believed there would not be contagion before.

  12. I am afraid that a change in government will not help the Greeks one iota. It seems that all parties are determined to stay in the Euro, a currency they should never have adopted. The Greek people will soon find that they have again been led up the garden path. Jam tomorrow is off.

    It seems a shame, the walrus said, to play them such a trick. After we made them come so far and made them trot so quick.

  13. “I’m not sure destroying the banks is the solution.”

    They should have been allowed to go bust and then been refloated with a clean balance sheet imo.

    The current situation is like the scene in Master & Commander where the fallen mast is dragging the ship down.

  14. On the other hand, of course, Syriza being a run-away success would be pretty bad for the Troika as well – it could spark a Mediterranean revolution for anti-austerity which could have serious repercussions.

  15. I wonder if Syriza will be any more successful than it’s predecessors at getting the Greeks to pay any tax :-)

  16. Don’t suppose there is any Greek equivalent of the London Mayoral election in terms of saying this strongly Syrizia area has or hasn’t been counted? 50% of the votes in- is it likely to change?

  17. For some reason I always put a zia at the end of Syriza before anyone complains!

  18. It’s hard to see how Syriza can be a runaway success unless the Troika wants them to be.

  19. NEILA

    There are some interesting scenarios over on pb, which have the ring of credibility.

    One of them sees the much trailed “extend( maturity dates) & pretend ( greek debt still has a value) ” emerging from Troika discussions , followed by a split in Sysiza over continued debt to/supervision by the Troika-followed by a new election !

  20. In an East Sussex bookshop today with grandson-asked Mark Strong if he was Jim Al khalili -clang !

  21. @Colin,

    Something like that seems like, sadly, a best-case scenario. Something akin to the splits between the Watermelons and Mangos in the UK Green Party. I suspect any part of Syriza that seriously wants to reach an accommodation with the Troika is going to make itself very unpopular with the parts that don’t. One can imagine a split, with the Mangos relying on support from mainstream parties, and eventually becoming “the new Pasok”.

  22. NEILA

    Yep-I doubt that outright unilateral default is in Tsipras’s thinking.

    So he has to find a way of delivering on all the expectations created, whilst staying on Planet reality.

    The eternal dilemma for politicians.

    Until Greece realises that you don’t get to spend Government money in the way they want, unless someone actually pays tax , their politicians are playing with round pegs & square holes.

  23. Well if people as so keen to see an end to Greece Austerity and to face down the Troika, how’s about the UK bails them out and takes on some of there debt.

    We’re a rich country, with a huge banking centre and we don’t like the Euro and many want the EU to be just a free trade area so why don’t we put our money where our mouth is!

    Peter.

  24. AC on Saddam

    ” his utter inhalation in that war was more to do with his lack of a proper Strategy than technologies”

    Or perhaps just his cunning deep-breathing techniques.

    Anthony: Can we have some specialised threada on wars in Iraq as the subject is so topical right now?

  25. Loaning a country more than it could ever repay could be a mistake or it could be loan sharking with intent to asset strip.

  26. The answers to the regular questions of do you think “X” is doing a good job as “Y”, does not relate to the questions asked in my view. It seems to me that the answers given to these questions relate more to the likes or dislikes of the individuals or the policies they pursue. Individuals could well be doing a good job in their current role but not offering palatable policies or solutions

  27. @MrJones

    I have never understood why banks are ‘too big to fail’. Other industries and businesses fail and that we are told is ‘market forces’ and ‘you can’t buck the markets’.

    When the markets fall then ‘the rich can buy stock in companies cheap. The people that work in those companies get laid-off or no wage rises – meanwhile the rich have an asset at a knock down price.

    We have Austerity so we need QE – which seems to be the government allowing the banks to add ‘millions’ to their balance sheets.

    I am not an economist so can easily be fooled by smart analysis but we seem to be re-distirbuting wealth from the poor to the rich.

  28. @Neil A

    “It’s hard to see how Syriza can be a runaway success unless the Troika wants them to be”

    To some extent, but the Troika could give them too much leeway, and accidentally undercut themselves (assuming hypothetical runaway success); or they could default, leave the Euro and then bounce back.

    I don’t think this is likely, but I reckon the fear of it will be playing on their minds (and influence the negotiations)

    @Colin

    “Until Greece realises that you don’t get to spend Government money in the way they want, unless someone actually pays tax , their politicians are playing with round pegs & square holes.”

    Well anger at the oligarchs is part of what has swung Syriza into power so I reckon it’s an accepted principle now

  29. P Cairns
    A new EFTA?
    Greece was a devoted ally to the UK.
    Mr J etc
    Greece means absolutely nothing in terms of the banks. The private creditors have already lost just about everything owed to them. Everything is in the hands of the troica. My own view is that the kicking the can down the road option founders on the fundamental terror Germans have of internal financial instability, an irrational fear which has been at the heart of the Euro problem since the start of the crunch. There is no German who thinks you could have let their banks go under and start again. “The day money died is imprinted on their souls Many will want to make an example pour encourager..

  30. @COUPER2802

    ‘I am not an economist so can easily be fooled by smart analysis but we seem to be re-distirbuting wealth from the poor to the rich.’

    That sounds like a much better assessment than the ‘smart analysis’ :) I think J K Galbraith’s recommendation to economists was to take a walk in the streets rather than huddle over their elegant theoretical models!

  31. 64.68% of Greek votes in, Syriza on 149 seats.

  32. Like Crossbat we are celebrating Syriza in the Welsh borders tonight !

    The sheer courage of the Greeks has to be applauded -in creating a genuine left wing radical Party, combining professionals, the poor, and the young, in the middle of a catastrophic economic situation inflicted on them by the corporate global oligarchs, as well as their own corrupt elite and the hopeless ECB. Moreover Syriza fought the Euro elections last year on an international progressive platform which won significant support in Italy, Spain and beyond. Sadly it didn’t sadly resonate with our own so-called progressive internationalist parties in UK who are so uninterested in the rest of Europe. It was revealing that the elected President of the European Parliament, the German SPD Martin Shultz has already congratulated Alexis Tsipras and is due in Athens within days – media feel he will be the “bridge” to a new deal for Greece with Merkel etc. yes, the same Martin Schultz that Labour couldn’t bring themselves to endorse as EC President because he was regarded as too pro-EC, left wing etc.

    I wonder if this will be a further boost to the Greens here ? I just hope Labour and especially SLAB have noted what happens when social democratic parties lose the trust of their voters- the Labour equivalent in Greece (PASOK) got about 5 % of the vote after winning the GE in 2009.

  33. Couper

    “I have never understood why banks are ‘too big to fail’.”

    Yes, if they are too big to fail then the obvious follow-on is they’re too big.

    “I am not an economist so can easily be fooled by smart analysis but we seem to be re-distirbuting wealth from the poor to the rich.”

    Instead of letting the mass of toxic debt from the boom years be cleared by letting the banks fail they were put on life support and their balance sheets repaired in situ through things like QE.

    As far as wealth transfer goes it’s only small beans so far, If/when their balance sheets are safe enough then interest rates will go up, the housing market will crash and they’ll buy up half the housing stock at fire sale prices.

    That’ll be the biggest wealth redistribution ever.

  34. AU

    Certainly-but a little research & reading will reveal that non-payment of tax is endemic through Greek Society. The size of their Black Economy is a joke.

    It is the ultimate circle which cannot be squared-hatred of “Government & their taxes”-and expectation of “Government Spending”.

    To square it , you need someone to lend you the difference.

    Tsipras is now a walking breathing example of a politician in the right place to put all those Far Left economic theories about Debt , Tax & Spending , into practice., whilst also having the mandate to prove or disprove the alleged disadvantages of leaving the EZ.

    It is going to be fascinating

  35. Hold the Front Page – Shock News!

    Tories predicting imminent collapse of Newly Elected Greek Government!

    And it hasn’t even been formed.

    They’re doomed! Bring in the Bankers to save Greece from Ruin!

    :-) :-)

  36. Very pleased for Syriza. What happened to Greece, whatever Greece’s own faults, was excessive and unfair.

  37. @Raf

    Hope is on its way.

  38. Interesting turn of phrase from Tsipras.

    “The Troika is over for Greece”.

    Hard to square that with any kind of serious negotiation over debt repayment.

  39. @Crossbat,

    Nothing imminent, and probably not collapse. Just a split when reality bites. But I’ll try not to rain on your dreams of revolution.

  40. @Colin

    “The size of their Black Economy is a joke.”

    They could always do what we did: estimate it and include it in their GDP measure. That should send them rocketing up :P

    In seriousness there’s a host of problems with the Greek state and it’s institutional structures that need to be sorted out (hence why I think a coalition with POTAMI(?) is the likely result). I think Tsipras, if allowed, is wily enough to make it work but I’m not sure he’ll be allowed to.

    It is, as you say, fascinating and I hope, for the sake of the Greek people, that he succeeds.

  41. Why banks were too big to fail?
    How timely that I speak aboout German psychology? We have been brought up to think the depression of the thirties was caused by the stock market crash of 1929 but perhaps more important for the UK was the collapse of the creditansalt bank in Vienna in 1931. This had a domino effect across the world which greatly compounded the impact of the stock market problem. It resulted for example in an immediate 25% depreciation in sterling. Remember that almost all food was imported at that time and a very large percentage of working class income went on food. Also other currencies more directly just collapsed and the UK therefore could not easily export to many traditional markets. For example the herring industry reliant on exports to eastern Europe collapsed and you can still see rows of boilers along the coast of north east Scotland where ships were run aground in order to claim the insurance.
    All of this was miniscule compared to what the bankruptcy of RBS or/and HBOS would have meant.
    As I have said previously, we in the UK are insouciant because nothing really bad has ever happened here for centuries when you compare it to other countries but we should try harder to understand because our future is not guaranteed

  42. AU

    I share your hope that the enormous expectations -of the young in particular-are not dashed.

    If this makes a start at breaking the high level corruption , bureaucratic haplessness , tax evasion& institutionalised special pleading, state jobs for life, labour cartels & the rest of it-then this result will have achieved something lasting.

  43. @NeilA

    ” But I’ll try not to rain on your dreams of revolution.”

    Well, at least that bit of hyperbole is better than accusing me of advocating the drowning of Howard’s grandchildren!

    I think we need to plough a way through the middle, don’t we? Somewhere between my exhilaration and others sour grapes.

    Or is their a third way?

    :-)

  44. I do hope default and euro exit is Syriza’s plan B. Devaluation is just what they (and other south euro economies) need to get back to normal.

    If plan A is successful (debt renegotiation) then it would actually amount to a step towards further European integration (being a transfer of money between the sovereigns, a point the northern hawks have fought not to concede).

    The main point in favour of plan A (for the Greeks) is that it is favoured by public opinion. But it isn’t clear if it would actually lead to an end to austerity. Only plan B could guarantee that.

    So I think the other European leaders have to decide between further integration and break-up. Without the threat of plan B, no-one is going to take plan A seriously.

  45. Not often mentioned, but West Germany renegotiated some of it’s debts in 1953. These were debts from WW1 and post WW2 loans, that Germany was struggling with. They got a 50% write off, and an extension for the remainder, with additional clauses limiting repayments to years when they ran a trade surplus and keeping repayments to no more than 3% of export earnings.

    Very much the kind of thing Greece needs now. Odd that the Germans seem to have discovered the unbending straightjacket that says all debts must be honoured, regardless, but conveniently forget the favours they were granted by their creditors.

  46. @Hal,

    What worries me is that the rhetoric in Tsipras’ victory speech is pretty impossible to square with anything approaching a “debt negotation”.

    Expressions like “Your mandate cancels the international bailouts” sounds very, very much like an announcement of a debt default. Or at least, that is how it will sound to his audience (and I believe is intended to sound). If he doesn’t really mean that, then his popularity might be hard to sustain. If he does mean it, then debt default, euro-exit and the hurried implementation of an extremely cheap drachma seem to be only months away.

  47. @Alec

    I don’t know all the details, but I thought a very large amount of Greek debt had already been written off to get them to the position they are currently in?

    To be in a position to meet his campaign pledges, by rehiring fired public sector workers, increase wages, nationalise companies etc, Tsipras is going to need to pretty much wipe out those debts altogether.

    If he succeeds, can we be next?

  48. I wonder if Tsipras is playing the markets here?

    We know that the EZ jumps when the markets force them to. If Greece can destabilize markets to the extent that contagion becomes a visible risk again, then the EZ leaders will seek to shut the problem down. Traditionally this is done by chucking cash at the problem.

  49. Barbazenzero

    Apologies, as I did not see you acknowledge your error. But after all that venom was that it?

  50. NEILA

    These are the people pulling Tsipras’ strings :-

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/syrizas-rise-fueled-by-professors-turned-politicians-1422045127

    Boy this is going to be worth watching :-)

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