This morning there was a new YouGov/Times poll asking about whether Britain should take part in military intervention in Syria.

A solid majority of the public believe that there probably was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government or their allies – 61% agree, compared to 5% who believe that the attack was a fabrication, and 5% who believe neither claim. 29% do not know.

This does not, however, translate into support for military action. By 51% to 17% people oppose sending Britain and allied troops into Syria to remove Assad. The more likely option of a cruise missile attack on Syrian military targets also faces fairly solid opposition – just 22% would support it, 43% are opposed.

60% of people say they would support enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria, though given the opposition to other military options one suspects this could be because a “no fly zone” is a rather peaceful sounding euphemism for something that would in practice also involve attacking anti-air defences or the Syrian air force. The full tabs for the polling are here.

While the YouGov figures suggest that there is little public support for Britain getting involved in military action against Syria, there was also some Sky Data polling yesterday which was less clear. Asked if people would support or oppose “UK military action in response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria” 36% said support, 37% said oppose. However, asked about UK military action that might result in conflict with Russia, only 28% said they would support, 48% said they were opposed. Tabs are here.

The reason for that higher level support in that first Sky Data poll is unclear. It could be because the chemical attack was mentioned in the question, or perhaps because it asked about a vague “miliary action” rather than the more specific actions in the YouGov questions. Either way, it is clear that the public are, at best, ambivalent towards military action in Syria, with opposition to most specific proposals and to intervention that risks conflict with Russia.


305 Responses to “YouGov/Times poll on military intervention in Syria”

1 2 3 4 5 7
  1. Crossbat
    You’re introducing a bit of a straw man bringing up the liberation. I totally agree with you that that was down to, not only British but America (forced in on our side after Pearl Harbour) Russians (forced in on our side by H invading them,) not to mention the Poles on our side and no doubt others.
    But in 1939 and 1940 Britain stood alone, America wasn’t interested, Russia had pact with Germany and it was only Churchill and Attlee who had the gonads. Halifax would have sued for peace under a puppet regime and there were plenty in the upper classes who wanted the same, including a recently abdicated King.

    This shouldn’t be party political, I agree. Recent leaders of the Labour Party have made it so, caused in part by the dodgy dossier from Tony B and a total lack of a plan from Bush for after Saddams downfall and their not wanting to get embroiled again in a repeat of the disaster of Iraq.

    Re the current conflict, I will admit that I am conflicted. Part of me says it’s nothing to do with us, let the arabs get on with it and slaughter each other, just strengthen our borders, but then innocent people get slaughtered as well and don’t we then have an obligation to help those so disadvantaged? After all, they want to live.

  2. A lot of people supporting the ‘easy’ option of a no-fly zone will be unaware of what it usually entails.

    it’s not just enforcing patrols ensuring that no Syrian (or other) combat aircraft are able to fly, it requires the systematic destruction of all the infrastructure that might allow them to do so.

    It means bombing runways, hangars, fuel stores, air traffic control, radar and communication facilities, whether military or civilian, leaving nothing available for the eventual aid relief and re-construction effort, and will require the diversion of scarce state funding and manpower into rebuilding them.

    “They make a wilderness and call it peace”

  3. TRIGGUY

    So as a distraction, any thoughts on last night’s locals? In particular the LibDem gain and the strong LibDem performance elsewhere. Both very much in ‘safe’ Tory areas

    As usual local elections are local and a good place to start is the relevant Vote UK Forum thread:

    http://vote-2012.proboards.com/thread/11102/local-council-elections-12th-april

    which as usual links to Andrew Teale’s informative previews. The Rogate (Chichester) gain was probably due to it being a rural ward (candidates matter more) and the Lib Dem being a local GP and already the County Councillor covering it.

    The result in South Northants may be linked to the problems with the Conservative-run County Council which has effectively gone bankrupt due to mismanagement. Because the opposition vote there was split with no obvious challenger, the Tory still got in with a similar percentage to what they lost with in Rogate.

    This may suggest a renewed willingness for an anti-Con vote to group around one Party, depending on area, which might lead to extra Tory losses. But by-elections are often exceptions and we need to look at longer trends.

  4. Of course the other interesting thing about the YouGov poll is how little coverage it seems to have received. Given that it was commissioned by the Times, I would assume they printed something, (Google can’t find it, but that may be due to paywalls), but otherwise the only outlets I found that coverered it were the unlikely duo of Russia Today and the Spectator.

    Reuters seem to have picked it up and it was covered in quite a few non-UK media (usually as “Only one in five support”). But the British silence is surprising and a good indication of how the media now only reports the facts that ‘fit’.

  5. SARISSA

    A lot of people supporting the ‘easy’ option of a no-fly zone will be unaware of what it usually entails.

    Indeed – Anthony makes a similar point. It’s an odd thing to ask as no one seems to be suggesting it and it would almost certainly result in direct confrontation with Russian aircraft. I suspect it may have only been included because similar questions were asked with regard to Libya where those factors were absent or less important.

  6. Trigguy and WB
    I know that we shouldn’t read much into local by-elections, but in terms of what is happening in Northamptonshire at the moment the Middleton Cheney result may be more interesting than it appears, since it looks from the changes in the figures as if neither Labour nor Libdems could find anyone to stand last time, yet between them on this occasion took more than half of the vote in a village where most residents wouldn’t be expected to even recognise that colours other than blue might exist.

    It may indeed be telling that candidates were able to be found this time around, and possibly reflects the fact that Middleton Cheney Library is one of the 21 out of 36 libraries in the county earmarked by the now bankrupt County Council for closure (with a further seven due to be open one day a week under their original plans).

    Feelings are running extremely high in the county about this, and even the steadfastly right-wing local rags are laying into the County Council, gleefully reporting on the queues of Tory members lining up to beg central government to take them over and put them out of their misery.

    Concerning Churchill, I’ve enjoyed the discussion on here yesterday and today, which even if it has little to do with polling is the sort of thing that reflects the debate here at its best.

    The point I was trying to make when I posted first thing yesterday was that, regardless of his actual competence or success, almost all PMs since have aspired to a moment or action or campaign which will lift them from the mundanity of merely running the country to having a ruddy great statue in Parliament Square and an insurance company named after them.

    It would appear that history was both kind and helpful to Churchill, and has smiled less favourably on his successors.

  7. Are No Fly Zones that hard?

    The West imposed two on Iraq for over a decade.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_no-fly_zones

    You don’t have to destroy the infrastructure just the planes.

    Although you also have the options of letting the Regime put them out of use, either by moving them to a third party state, much like Iraq did to Iran during the Gulf war, or as with arms control moving them to a secure location where they can be monitored, as with US/USSR verification agreements.

    I doubt Assad would be happy with the later two options, but if it is use them or lose them?

    In iraq they were i think allowed to continue to fly helicopters and transports but as Assad has delivered barrel bombs from both, I don’t think that would be a likely option.

    Given the state of his airforce and that Russia could still fly and it’s doing most of the damage a face saving compromise that both sides could live with is in theory possible but it requires Putin to back down and trump himself or those around him to have the brains and skill to pull it off.

    Peter.

  8. Peter Cairns (SNP)

    Well, in the Libyan no fly zone they assumed that UAZ four-wheelers could also fly, so they were taken out (as long as they belonged to the regime).

  9. It’s somewhat odd that Russia has “irrefutable” evidence that the West staged the chemical act – but at the same time claim they have previously carried out thorough investigations and such an attack never happened.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    The problem is that they can and they are jolly good at it – and there are a lot of people who want to believe them, so they do.

  10. Had the Cabinet also agreed on bombing Myanmar? Ok they don’t gass children, only burn them alive. Bombing the Philippines perhaps?

    It’s not a pro-Assad question by the way (I don’t remember much protest when he killed communists, mind). It’s a question of hypocrisy. Just as in the case of Iraq – you see gassing the Kurds there was done by chemical weapons sold by the US as agricultural fertiliser – I don’t know if the label made it clear that the bodies first had to rot in the fields.

  11. WB

    Thanks

    It is worth recalling that Churchill was not welcomed universally as leader by his own Party !

  12. CROFTY

    :-)

    Just been watching the Press Conference by their UK Ambassador.

    Quite extraordinary.

    He makes Geoffrey Boycott look like an amateur.

  13. Crofty

    Lqvrov was more specific – he didn’t say the West, he said, a Russophobic country – not too difficult quiz question.

    Yes, the Russians putting out a lot of slightly overlapping, slightly contradictory statements. It’s part of the maskirovka. But they won’t let Assad fall (for the time being).

  14. Incidentally this this about Churchill as “warmonger” seems to a bit of a straw man – at least as far as most of the Left is concerned. You get a few mutterings on the real extremes from that side, but most of the actual accusations seem to come from the far Right; both British ones who blame him for losing the Empire and US ones who blame him for involving the US in WWII.

    Churchill himself was well aware how much he owed Labour and the Left both in opposing Hitler before the War and in government during it. He was also well aware of his own faults.

  15. LASZLO

    THeir ambassador has just said on live tv The “White Hats” staged Douma. & that ” everyone knows” they staged Khan Shaykhun.

    He said UK supports them.

    All this in answer to the question-who was Lavrov talking about?

  16. One of the things that annoyed me as a Councillor was how often and keenly people faced with a difficult choice would resort to raking over the coals.

    They did this to avoid having to face the tough choice but also because it often gave them reasons not to our others to blame.

    I stopped counting how often meetings called to deal with an important issue that needed fixing ended with; “We’ll if they hadn’t done that back then we wouldn’t need to so really they should fix it because they are to blame!”

    If you use past actions or inaction as a measure then you can easily avoid doing what needs done.

    If you counter or challenge doing something about assays use of chemical weapons by highlighting mistakes of the pass or hypocrisy you may well end up repeating those mistakes.

    “We can’t take action about this atrocity because we didn’t take action the last time!” effectively means the current atrocity goes unpunished. We are tarnished by the sins of the father.

    That doesn’t mean we should act now but rather that our actions if any should be based on the facts and the merits of what lies before us rather than b clouded by the shadows of the past.

    We should learn form histories mistakes and do it better, or differently or not at all, but we shouldn’t be dictated to by them.

    Peter.

  17. @Roger Mexico

    “Incidentally this this about Churchill as “warmonger” seems to a bit of a straw man – at least as far as most of the Left is concerned. You get a few mutterings on the real extremes from that side, but most of the actual accusations seem to come from the far Right; both British ones who blame him for losing the Empire and US ones who blame him for involving the US in WWII.

    Churchill himself was well aware how much he owed Labour and the Left both in opposing Hitler before the War and in government during it. He was also well aware of his own faults.”

    Very well said.

  18. Oh dear,
    watching that press conference did not exactly fill me with confidence in modern journalism. Disorganized, garbled, weak questions (except for that German lady). The ambassador was having fun though, he didn’t seem to want it to end!

  19. Churchill was a great leader – cometh the hour, cometh the man and all that. I thought the Darkest Hours was great. I would have given it 10 out of 10 but for the scene on the tube, which seemed false and contrived.

    My father was at Dunkirk and my mother was a postwoman in central London during the Blitz. Both of them had only good words to say about Churchill, although both voted Labour in 1945. Probably the only time my mother voted Labour in her life.

    I don’t know whether we should team up with Trump in bombing Syria. There are arguments for and against. A quick scroll through this thread is like listening to a sixth form debating society; of a boys school of course.

    @ Colin

    if awful things are coming up on your Facebook feed, and they sound pretty abhorrent, shouldn’t you be tackling them there?

  20. Colin

    Thanks for giving a link to the Gazprom stuff – though it does just seem to be the full detail of the Statement of Objections issued by the EU in 2015, which I vaguely knew of but without more detail than it was about anti-trust law behaviour by Gazprom.

    The IntelliNews link that you provided does provide greater context, but perhaps the timing of the leak is better explained by Finland having given consent to the construction of the Nord Stream II pipeline in their waters, while permission from Sweden and Denmark is still pending.

    http://www.intellinews.com/finland-gives-final-nod-to-construction-of-nord-stream-ii-139927/?source=baltic-states

    Since the main points of the objections were published by the EU in 2015, and they have also published summaries of the effects in the CEE countries of Gazprom’s suggested changes to policy, the DT article seems have missed the key point in the story.

  21. @ToH

    Thanks for reply. Hope it didn’t keep you from allotment but somehow I think that unlikely.

    ‘Politics trumps economics’. I meant that the referendum represented a political choice, one that could be made for economic or other reasons.

    Voters had accepted that they would be a short-term economic hit. I don’t think that Brexit voters did so. Very few of them (8%) last figures I saw thought that their personal finances would suffer as opposed to 57% jof remainers. Personally I think that the perception that we could spend EU money on NHS and that foreigners were driving down wages and taking our jobs did count in the decision.

    The ability to strike what trade deals we like. We can strike the trade deals that other people are prepared to strike with us. This will not change. Nor will the fact that a trade deal struck with one country will impact on the terms offered by another. In this particular case we are choosing to jettison a trade deal with a countries with whom we trade a lot for the hope of trade deals with countries with whom we do not trade much at all. (USA and arguably China excepted).

    Control of our borders – As a libertarian are you proposing to interfere drastically with the ability of firms to hire the people they say they need. And if you are not are you confident that you can bring down immigration? I would agree with you that we should reserve the right to ban anyone we want from entering UK but we should also accept that if we do so there will be consequences and that we can place restrictions on our freedom in this respect for the common good. (hence obligations on asylum seekers).

    Full control of our laws = Would this include the freedom to break international laws (e.g. on nerve gas), ignore WTO restrictions, pollute to our hearts content. It seems to me we need to be much more specific about what we want to control

  22. ‘White hats’ I think is the nickname given to military observers/advisers from non-combatant nations.

    So I think Lavrov is effectively claiming that US/UK special forces did it…

    On the change in Russian approach from the initial denial that anything happened and that it was a western fabrication… presumably this is because Russia knows full well that it happened but was hoping the West would not get proof – Macron saying categorically that France does have proof forces Russia to come up with an alternative story.

    Remember that the Russian leadership don’t really care if they are believed overseas; they care that they are still believed at home (which they generally are), that they can confuse and divide opinion overseas (which they have) and that they can intimidate the leadership of other major powers (which they can).

  23. Good Afternoon from a cool Bournemouth East.

    The interesting discussion on here about the era of 1939-1945 led me to reflect on why the CPGB supported the Stalin-Hitler pact but had to change policy when Nazi Germany attacked the USSR.

  24. VALERIE

    I only mentioned it in the context of the chat about Churchill.

    I don’t think it was “awful”. Just wrong.

    But as someone said if you can’t be an iconoclast in your twenties, when can you be?

    JC would have a lot less voters too :-)

  25. BFR

    I think it has a specific meaning in the context of Syria :-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Helmets_(Syrian_Civil_War)

  26. @NEILA

    The point I was making was that we had categorised people as losers when they were not and even people on benefits felt that other people on benefits were not deserving because by definition they were scroungers it was why there was a massive push to reduce benefits because it was viewed as people on benefits were scroungers and as such were undeserving.

    The criterion for being successful in the 90s was characterised as loads ‘a’money a house and a nice car as someone who is a Londoner by birth and lived through the Dockland explosion and the lots of thing that did not work in favour of the local neighbourhoods there.

    The point is that some of that was blown out of the water when Osborne had a succession of omnishambles budgets. You’ll remember the woman almost in tears as she voted for benefit cuts because she though they were supposed to be stopping scroungers now she was characterised as a scrounger.

    I felt that was the most depressing part of the coalition and the Tory government was that this characterisation was to my mind dubious and amoral

    Yes there are people who scrounge but the idea was not directed to rich people who scrounge but it was directed at benefit recipients.

    The facts are that in the level of fraud is a fraction of a percent compare that to the tax system where the rich tax dodger are never categorised a scroungers is rather telling.

    My point is the treatment both in the media of the poor is often given to dehumanise and mischaracterise the issues surround poverty and more importantly drive the view that scrounging is wide spread you your comment of ‘many, many’ seems to imply.

    The point is most of our benefits money goes to those in work.

  27. valerie

    ” A quick scroll through this thread is like listening to a sixth form debating society; of a boys school of course.”

    Since I only made it through 5th form, ta v much.

    [Anyway, you can be matron if you like.]

  28. @Colin

    Thanks for that clarification – I was not aware of that specific local meaning.

    So it’s the local search and rescue teams that are detonating chemical weapons in their own neighbourhoods, presumably in the hope f triggering western intervention.

    I suppose there is a kind of twisted logic there… although it’s not entirely clear to me where search and rescue teams would have got Chlorine-based weaponry from.

    Or it could just be the Syrian government, which has both the weaponry and past form on this…

  29. OLDNAT

    It is, as you say, a matter which goes back some years.

    The guts of it I take to be :-

    *Russia’s State owned energy company engaged in pricing & supply practices which were aimed at “segmenting” a supposedly unitary market along national boundary lines’ for political purposes..
    *Eastern EU member States were comparatively disadvantaged. Germany was comparatively advantaged.
    * The Commission may have turned a blind eye to some of this & now seeks a settlement which might still leave Eastern EU member states comparatively disadvantaged.

    But it is complicated to summarise & I may not have it exactly right.

    Leaving aside the Commission’s conduct in all of this, the conduct of Gazprom merely confirms what we know about Putin’s Russia.

  30. The argument of what should we do about Syria is often set against limitations of what we have in our toolbox. I always see the problem of wanting to be a fire man but only having petrol rather than water to douse the flames.

    We have not been good at nation build large countries without boots on the ground. the last successful intervention was in Sierra Leone, something which required very little in the way of military power. Everything else we have had since the 90s have actually been to my mind unsuccessful. Kosovo ended being a ethnic cleansing but basically of Serbs rather than Kosovans something that we aided. We just overlooked the issue. In Iraq basically we left it to the Iranians behind the scenes to clear up our mess and now in Syria we seem to unable to put boot’s on the ground but we have to do something with our petrol filled fire engine.

    I would be all for some form of intervention if we are sure what we are trying to achieve my point is it is not clear what we are trying to achieve. It almost ends up we are bombing Syria because we can. There have been numerous atrocities that are happening around the world and many despicable regimes of which many we call our friends so part of feeling is this is all hypocritical and moreover serves no purpose of that nihilistic fervour of see ourselves as the good guys.

    So we bomb them, whoever the them are and then what…..we would scratched our itch and ,everything will be back to normal. Personally I would be much more understanding of a plan which looked to solve the problem rather than scratch our moral itch. Bomb Assad will not make a difference in my view indeed even in the view of the people doing the bombing. Sometimes I understand the need to do something but I don’t think that bomb solves the problem or even advances ourselves to a solution.

    Lastly someone quoted the Daily Mash as point of satire part of my angst is that just as the thick of it was supposed to be satire and it turned out to be factually accurate. I feel we coming to the same point in regards Syria. We’ll keep bombing until we get it right ( the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result)

  31. BFR

    Exactly-and all those children being doused in water , injected, strapped to oxygen masks & generally looking absolutely terrified , were acting.

  32. BFR

    …………..I assumed Lavrov & his UK ambassador meant by “staged”-acted-pretended & filmed.

    Your post assumes you think he meant the White Hats ACTUALLY used the CW & then filmed the results.

    I’m not sure what he meant now.

    Either way it seems unlikely !

  33. Colin

    Lavrov, without naming the UK, accused the UK. So, the answer is yes, and, of course, it is part of a propaganda machine.

    ————————–+
    One has to hope that if chemical weapons was used (I don’t doubt it) it is not from the stock that the UK sold to Syria in 2012.

  34. Yes, Lavrov used the word “staged”, so acted, not real, fake news.

    It overlaps and contradicts the earlier statements, which is the usual tactic, while appeals to the fact that there have been staged videos in Syria.

    It works as long as the chemical attack is not demonstrated and identified, as there is no way to prove that there was no staging until then (argument from the vacuum). Having said that it is difficult to imagine that such a statement could change the narrative.

  35. Charles

    Thank you for your reply. I have a few comments to add.

    On why people voted for Brexit we clearly disagree and I am not sure that further discussion is going to get us anywhere. One of the factors neither of us has mentioned before, is that the British do not have a favourable view of the EU certainly those over 50. I think that and sovereignty were the main reasons. I guess we just disagree. Incidently in the longer term I do think we will be able to spend more on the NHS because we have left the EU.

    “The ability to strike what trade deals we like. We can strike the trade deals that other people are prepared to strike with us”
    .
    That shows up one of the differences between us I would have written:

    The ability to strike what trade deals we like. We can strike the trade deals that other people are prepared to strike with us, and we are prepared to strike with them.

    See the difference I believe we are relatively strong and I am optimistic about the future. The way you write it is just pessimistic.

    “ I would agree with you that we should reserve the right to ban anyone we want from entering UK but we should also accept that if we do so there will be consequences and that we can place restrictions on our freedom in this respect for the common good. (hence obligations on asylum seekers).”
    Good, I can agree on that wording, when I say I want us to control our own borders. Immigration was not a big issue with me but us alone having the final say who can come in is. I agree for many immigration was a factor (Neil A comes to mind) in voting to leave.

    “Full control of our laws = Would this include the freedom to break international laws (e.g. on nerve gas), ignore WTO restrictions, pollute to our hearts content.”

    I think that is a rather silly question phrased the way you put it. What I meant is quite clear, full control of our own law making, so that parliament and the UK Supreme Court are the arbiters. That would mean for example, that once we leave the EU at some future point if we are unhappy with some of the details in the leaving treaty we could by a vote in parliament to withdraw from that treaty.

  36. ROBERT NEWARK

    You seem to be suggesting that some of us on the left are not anti Assad or Russia because we are against a bombing campaign. Far from it. Both Putin and Assad are repugnant men but there are others elsewhere in the world just as repugnant. We do not need to get involved in escalating tensions in Syria.

    ToH

    Would a World Cup boycott work? It would certainly anger Putin and deprive the Russians of a major sporting spectacle but I cannot see the various footballing federations around the globe agreeing to do this en masse.

  37. Laszlo

    “One has to hope that if chemical weapons were used it’s not from the stock that the U.K. sold Syria in 2012”

    I think you mean in 2012 Vince Cable signed export licences for chemicals for use in metal window frame production but although the licences were signed no chemicals were delivered.
    Now you could of said that in the early 1980’s chemicals were exported to Syria for the same reason that may have been used illegally in the production of chlorine gas.

  38. Turk

    The UK sold dual purpose chemicals to Syria between 2002-2012. The trouble is two-fold. 1) Syria wasn’t a signatory to the chemical weapon convention; 2) the civil war (or uprising) started in 2011 (well, a bit earlier, but it was very latent).- hence the reference to 2012.

  39. Turk

    Indeed – the buyer was Brass Plate (buying sodium flourish and potassium fluoride – both classified as duel purpose).

    It’s like Saddam being beaten by Iran, so the most important thing is some agricultural chemical. Assad is in trouble, so the metal framers needed some shine.

  40. Laszlo

    So basically the U.K. never sold chemical weapons to Syria like you seem to suggest in your first for effect post.

  41. Turk

    Yes, and no.

    You know – “we sold them air-to-ground missiles and aircrafts that can launch such missiles, but missiles could have been also used as exhibition of a particular symbol, and the aircraft to draw artistic lines on the blue sky. Judging from the company’s name “Standing Straight” and “Now we are really drawing the line” we couldn’t detect any link to military use. “

  42. The latest YouGov-Times poll (f/w 9-10 Apr) has had the usual sneak-out-late-on-Friday treatment. Only tables without commentary so far:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/jfvhk2jlbk/TimesResults_180410_VI_Trackers.pdf

    Con 40% (-2)

    Lab 40% (-1)

    Lib Dem 9% (+2)

    SNP/PC 4% (-)

    UKIP 4% (-)

    Green 2% (-)

    Probably just MoE but the first time the Tories have lost their lead for a while. Poll was taken Mon/Tues so VI could have changed since then.

    Most of the trackers are similarly static, but the slight drop I noticed in Labour’s topic handling last week is reversed and more with some up 3 or 4 points.

    Most of the important issues are down by a few points but there two exceptions. Defence and security is up 3 to 22 and Crime rose from 19 to 27, so +8 points. Normally the latter would help the Conservatives, but their rating on ‘Law and order’ went down from 31 to 29 while Labour’s rose from 18 to 22. Clearly the argument about police cuts benefited the latter.

    Wrong to Leave now leads 46 to 42. The question Once the Brexit negotiations are complete and the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU have been agreed, do you think there should or
    should not be a referendum to accept or reject them?
    is Should 38%, Should not 45% – the same lead as a month ago. Though it would interesting to see how many want a “Stay anyway” option.

  43. @PTRP
    “So we bomb them, whoever the them are and then what…..we would scratched our itch and ,everything will be back to normal. Personally I would be much more understanding of a plan which looked to solve the problem rather than scratch our moral itch. Bomb Assad will not make a difference in my view indeed even in the view of the people doing the bombing. ”

    To be honest, not making a difference is the best case scenario.

    Even if there are those who still believe, after the succession of failures of the “jump in with both feet, initiate regime change, try nation building, run away” strategy that it’s still an option that is bound to work some day, no one is suggesting that here. No one is even suggesting the level of intervention that would be necessary to alter the course of the Syrian Civil war,

    So as I see it the military option can then only produce four options (accepting that they shade into each other). None is positive.

    1. The intervention is so token it has essentially no effect. Outcome is at least neither good not bad.

    2. The intervention kills a few on the ground but does not substantively degrade the Syrian Government Forces’ ability to progress the war. Outcome, a few more dead Syrians,

    3. The intervention kills and substantively degrades the Syrian Government Forces’ ability to progress the war. Outcome, Assad doesn’t win as quickly, yet more dead Syrians.

    4. The intervention provokes East-West conflict. Outcome, pretty much any number of extra dead, and not just Syrians, you might care to speculate.

    But never mind, our politicians have scratched that itch.

  44. Wow Lib Dems surge by 28%. No doubt they are preparing for Government!

  45. Passtherockplease: “We’ll keep bombing until we get it right ( the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result).”

    Of course, there have been eight rounds of talks to negotiate a peace, and they have all failed, so by that logic we should also stop peace talks?

  46. Peterw

    Of course the other way of looking at it it sends a message to Assad and the wider world that the use of banned chemical weapons is not ok. And to Russia in particular that the west is not the push over that Putin currently thinks it is.

  47. Roger Mexico

    3% for the BNP in Scotland and 0% in E&W in that YG poll!!

    I suspect an error has crept in.

  48. The pattern is clear – you don’t achieve peace until one side is losing sufficiently to agree a surrender. The sooner that day comes, the better – but the status quo is two sides locked in a mutually destructive stalemate, with no chance of peace breaking out.

    I still think we can’t idly stand by, or be taken in by the wishful thinking that a diplomatic resolution is just around the corner. But if there is to be military intervention, the West should take its time, and politicians should listen to generals over their political advisers or their electorates. The quicker we rush into conflict, the less likely we are to get this right.

  49. A thoughtful piece on the Home Office’s hounding of British citizens with a Commonwealth heritage at a time when Brexiters are singing the praises of the Commomwealth:

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/13/commonwealth-citizens-harassment-british-immigration-policy?__twitter_impression=true

1 2 3 4 5 7