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”

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  1. Am I correct that the Fixed Term Parliament Act means that the next general election will be on Thursday 5th May 2022?
    At least it will not clash with The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham between 27 July and 7 August 2022 ?
    Four years of happy polling unless we get an early general election.
    At least nothing exceptional on the horizon over the four years. Not like leaving the EU ?
    A World Cup in Russia possibly intermingled with cruise missiles in the vicinity ?
    A post-World Cup Russia now with nothing to lose if the plans for long term tourist revenue are blown by Salisbury-Syria perceptions, then deciding like Millwall fans ‘You don’t like us, we don’t care’ so why not move into a few nearby Nato countries.
    Police morale collapsing as police numbers collapse and serious crime soars.
    Teachers striking. NHS striking. Freezing winters in which we can not import enough gas to heat houses, schools, hospitals.
    Premier League soccer goes bust.
    Local and national newspapers all go bust.
    BBC Licence fee protests start in earnest among students who can not watch free on smartphones or tablets.
    Or this military intervention in Syria is not ‘Mission Accomplished’.
    No reason why public opinion should move at all by May 2022 but you never know so happy polling.

  2. The Indy has a new BMG poll reported here, including:

    Asked to what extent people would back “UK forces conducting targeted air or missile strikes on Syrian government military targets”, just 28 per cent supported them, while 36 per cent opposed, 26 per cent neither opposed nor supported the strikes and 11 per cent did not know.

    ….

    Almost half of people asked (47 per cent) backed a no-fly zone to protect civilians in Syria’s civil war, just 11 per cent opposed, 9 per cent neither opposed nor supported and 12 per cent did not know.

    There was an even split when asked if people would back some troops in Syria in non-combat roles, with a third backing the idea and a third against, but there was strong opposition to deploying soldiers in combat roles – with 48 per cent disapproving and just 19 per cent approving.

  3. Crofty

    I remember bringing in a copy of Spycatcher home from the USA, when the “regime” here had banned it.

    Did that make Thatcher’s government “evil”?

    In 1989 “Lord Horror” was banned under the Obscene Publications Act, and the author jailed.

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the UK till 1960

    There’s a long list of banned books on wiki

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments

    Not all regimes that ban books are necessarily “evil” – or if you so wish to define them so, the term “evil regime” would be tautological.

    “Evil” is a value judgment, and while most on here would (I hope) be happy to describe Pol Pot’s or Hitler’s regime as evil, even that view isn’t universal, as is shown by the Nazi salutes openly given by such people as the EDL, some Scottish Unionist extremists, or the Spanish Nationalist mobs.

  4. @ ALIENATED LABOUR
    “They must be pulling their hair out at Tory HQ when the results of these polls come in.

    They’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Corbyn and yet the Labour party support has barely been nudged.

    Furthermore the polls out at the moment pre-empt two important events – one is the free bus passes for under 25’s and the other is May’s bombing of Syria, which as polls seems to show, is hugely unpopular. I could see that having a very slight affect on the polls in Labours favour, and help boost turnout for younger voters in the run up to the local elections.”

    If the Tories want to dent the 40% Labour support, they’d better think of ways of putting more money in the pockets of the middle and working classes. And genuinely stop loading debt on their kids if they choose to go to University.

    One positive is that tackling the wider excesses of the green energy racket through focusing on vfm has stopped energy price inflation further hollowing out working families incomes.

  5. ALIENATED LABOUR
    The attacks on Corbyn are IMHO ineffective because the Tories can not paint a relevant picture for nouveau Corbyn supporters.
    The polls seem to support this.
    To people under a certain age in mainland Britain the themes of communism, IRA, nationalised industries and anti-semitism mean nothing.
    Even Valerie Vaz Labour South MP repeatedly gaffed on Radio 4 on March 26th ‘[Jeremy Corbyn]’s been steeped in anti-Semitism… we must make sure we continue to show people we are an anti-Semitic party”.
    Moreover these Radio 4 gaffes do not cut through to people who have not been educated to have any idea what this means in theory or in practice.
    People below a certain age only hear: cancel my debts; give me a house; give me a job; give me a big pay rise; make me happy.
    They do not care about nuclear war because they do not think anyone can ever fire a nuclear weapon at them in their homes.
    They do not fear communism because they have no knowledge how often it means no food in the shops, no new clothes for a decade, no toilet paper. They do not have any idea that it has often led to starvation and extreme poverty with collapse of taken for granted living standards.
    They have literally no interest in the IRA and besides if several Prime Ministers and The Royal Family have met the old IRA leaders, then why is Corbyn criticised for meeting them ?
    They see privatised vital services such as energy, phones, internet, trains etc as trying to trick them into a very bad deal and to be outwitted.
    Ditto car insurance.
    They just want a house and not being told they can not have one.
    They want the house where they want it. Especially if they are in London.
    From my research the attacks on Corbyn are attacking the wrong target if the Tories want people to be afraid of voting for him.
    Painting a picture of No toothpaste, no toilet paper, no foreign holidays, no mobile phones, rationing of internet, no Sky TV, no Hollywood movies on the cinema, no cars, petrol rationing, no bank accounts, no ATMs, compulsory military conscription, 24 hour queues for a jar of coffee or loaf of bread, gulags for street protests etc and other communist traditions might make Corbyn voters shy away.
    But the IRA, pacifism and CND, and alas anti-semitism just are not working.
    Whether people polled should care is very different to the fact that at the moment the polls show the attacks are not working because too many Corbyn fans just do not care.
    The Tory strategists think they ought to care and refuse to adapt to the fact they do not.
    They are frustrated with the people being polled.
    They could try commissioning polling what would make you stop supporting Corbyn ? What would he have to do to make you turn against him and vote against him ?
    But they seem to prefer to change the voters rather than change the research and strategy.

  6. oldnat

    I know you like a good ole mcnit-pick [or quibble…] but I said that there are evil regimes that ban books and have banned books.

    I didn’t say that all regimes that ban books [or Beatles LPs as in America] are therefore evil * as that would have been so silly that I didn’t feel it needed saying. I was also replying to a metaphor as I have never been anywhere yet and asked the question:

    “A book or a bomb sir? We offer a discreet wrapping service.”

    * Of course, banning anything by the Beatles is fairly close to evil.

    ps

    I am in the early stages of designing a new, exciting board game to be called;

    “QUIBBLE, CARP OR SNIPE?”

    The idea is that opposing players have to decide whether a challenge to a statement is one of those three, by playing the appropriate card.

    I’ve no idea what happens after that as that’s as far as I’ve got; as you can see, it has great potential and I thought you might like to help.

  7. Crofty

    I agree that you didn’t specify that only evil regimes banned books.

    I was really questioning why you restricted your comment to “evil” regimes, though.

    Your comments would not have been weakened (indeed they would have been strengthened) by just saying “governments”.

  8. JONESINBANGOR

    You write
    If the Tories want to dent the 40% Labour support, they’d better think of ways of putting more money in the pockets of the middle and working classes. And genuinely stop loading debt on their kids if they choose to go to University.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………….
    You have insight but the choice young people want when polled in schools is not what the government want them to want.
    When polled most young people want the choice of leaving education when they want. But they are denied leaving at 15, 16, 17 and 18 or older. Most people in their 60s had these choices.
    Huge numbers of people really want to leave at 15 .
    Even more at 16 especially if there is a job to go to.
    Most stay on for A Levels and then for University because there is no job to go to.
    It is a holding option not a real choice. They see no choice.
    Yes 10 to 20% would want to go to University because they ‘like’ academic environments.
    But the present figures going to University reflect a cynical con to keep youth unemployment figures down by governments. It takes over 1 million out of the jobless figures. It was referred to in ‘Yes Minister’ in the early 1980s and has become much more pronounced now after the Blair target of 50% at University.
    It started with the increase in leaving age from 15 to 16.
    Many nurses, lawyers, managers, accountants, retailers, business owners, plumbers, electricians, bankers etc presently in their 60s started work aged 15.
    This University Ponzi scheme (so called by Nick Timothy who was Theresa May chief advisor 2010-2017) will eventually collapse. Most graduates only chance of work with a degree is to teach the subject which requires getting ever more A Level and University students.
    Huge financial pressure is put on schools to get children doing A Levels and going to University.
    The governments since the early 1970s have been clueless how to cope with having no effective jobs strategy for young people other than to persuade them not to have a job.
    Moreover allowing UK businesses to import ready made well trained experienced hard workers on the cheap rather than be compelled to train the young people already here is cross-party wisdom.
    Because the University machine has to be paid for, and it is no longer 100% of taxpayers supporting 5% to 10% of young people (who do not have very rich parents who paid for their school education) in Universities, so getting young people increasingly in mortgage level debt is the only way to finance the cynical con.
    Given the choice of leaving school, getting paid, getting jobs at 15, 16, 17 and 18, then there would be 4 out of 5 University staff unemployed.
    The Ponzi sheme goes on for now.
    BTW the government will not commission polls on what jobs people in Year 7 to 13 actually want or expect to get. The reason is they pretty much know well over 15% want to be in the police and army. Thus, they will mostly have almost no chance on present police and army recruitment plans which can not cope with even 5% of those wanting to join.
    Basically five decades of government policies of sweeping chickens under the carpet along with elephants in the room, well the whole lot is coming home to roost.
    Good job we are not falling out with Russia, Syria, then maybe in time China and the Universities do not depend on their student monies to keep going.

  9. Johnathan Stuart-Brown

    A lot to dig through in your post but I’ll give it a go.

    Firstly shouting “communist!” very loudly is unlikely to have the sort of desired effect. Young people don’t associate communism with the Soviet Union, and the pre-soviet definition of communism as a stateless and classless society where wealth is held in common seems to be the one that prevails. In previous eras this would be the distinction between Communism with a big C (more properly the prevailing ideology of the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism) and communism as an ideology seperate from that. However, for a generation raised after the fall of the Soviet Union, the former definition carries little weight and the latter is the one that sticks. I can report it is is much more fashionable to describe yourself as a communist than a fusty old socialist amongst the younger left-wing activists I work with. As Maxine Peake, former communist party member, once said “a communist is just a socialist who means it” this is the sort of attitude that prevails, so I don’t think stories of empty shop shelves and shortages of toilet paper is going to work in dissuading them.

    In fact the real danger is that by associating the term communist with Jeremy Corbyn rather than make Corbyn unpopular it risks rehabilitatong the term communist amongst young people who like Corbyn. A similar process with the term socialist took place in the US when the news media constantly called Obama a socialist – it didn’t make Obama look bad it made socialism seem cool. In fact it helped pave the way for the Bernie Sanders to campaign as an open socialist, albeit a very moderate one by our standards, against Hillary Clinton.

    I’ll respond to your other points a bit later

  10. Jonathan Stuart-Brown

    “the choice young people want when polled in schools is not what the government want them to want.”

    Got a link to that poll/these polls?

  11. @Joseph1832 – “I find it remarkable that Remainers seem to think that the objection to the continued jurisdiction of the ECJ and EU law as some sort of artificial redline.

    No state is subject to the court of another entity, nor the law made by another state’s legislature. As Michael Barnier might say: It does not happen, it does not exist.

    Yet Remainers treat it as perfectly normal to have such a thing.”

    One of the sad things about Brexit is the crass lack of knowledge on display throughout the debate. You’ve been around on UKPR long enough to see my and various others post on this, so I’ll be charitable and assume you missed these posts, but really – if you are going to make such sweeping assertions, then I would suggest a bit of rudimentary fact checking first.

    The UK has signed up to the International Court of Justice. UK citizens could be subject to the International Criminal Court. The UK is bound by judgements made by the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization.
    The UK is required to meet judgements made in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The UK abides by European Court of Human Rights judgements. If the UK is involved in a nuclear accident, we are subject to findings made by the European Nuclear Energy Tribunal, set up under the OECD. We are also signatories to many Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms under various trade treaties, as well as being a signatory to more than 100 Bilateral Iinvestmnet Treaties with other countries around the world plus some 55 treaties containing investment provisions. These contain reciprocal undertakings that promote and protect private foreign direct investments made by UK investors overseas and by overseas investors within the UK.

    To say that we are not subject to the court of another entity is just laughably wrong, which is why I struggled to understand what @TOH was really getting at. Happily, by accepting WTO membership, he seems to have confirmed that he is happy to be subject to the court of another entity, but that he just doesn’t like the ECJ.

    Can you see why some of us struggle to see this as a matter of principle?

  12. Now it seems the Israelis have joined in and just attacked the Iranian base in Aleppo. Part of an arrangement perhaps?

  13. Johnathan Stuart Brown

    The sorts of things that young people want are very modest. They want a secure home, well paid jobs where they are able to contribute in a meaningful way to the community they live in and not just making money for unseen shareholders, they want to be able to study without the albatross of debt hanging around their necks, and not just to get better jobs but for the empowerment that comes with knowledge in itself, irrespective of the job market. They want functioning public services and the right to have time off if they are I’ll.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that when you explain to young people the cost of housing in the dreaded 1970’s as compared to today, they are green with envy. People in unskilled manual labouring jobs could actually afford to live in their own homes, whereas today people in equivalent work are lucky to be able to rent a single room for half their salary. You explain to them the reason for this was trade unions greater rights to organise and they ask why isn’t that the case today which always leads to a fruitful conversation on Thatcher and the policy of destroying the democratic institutions of the working class to combat inflation by imposing real-terms wage restraint, coupled with privatisation and the concentration of larger amounts of capital into fewer and fewer hands. Young people aren’t daft and they know that in order to out business back on its their futures were sold out from beneath them before they were even born.

    We are often accused of offering “free stuff” to the young and it’s an accusation I readily accept. I want the young to have as much free stuff as possible, so they can have the very best chance in life,and I want to pay for it by punitively taxing the very rich and reducing their level of wealth and power. Old fashioned, no-nonsense, Robin Hood socialism – redistributing wealth away from the already rich and investing that money in a better future for young people. The more the Tories object to this the more young people come to the conclusion that the Tories aren’t on their side, dont care about their well-being, and are only interested in maintaining the wealth and power of the elite.

    I want all public services to be financed by taxation and free at the point of use. I want to carve out a section of the economy that is totally insulation from the market and not treated as a commodity

  14. Alienated Labour @ Johnathan Stuart Brown

    Both of you describe “what young people want”, but evidence for the assertions that you both make is rather lacking.

  15. Johnathan Stuart Brown

    The sorts of things that young people want are very modest. They want a secure home, well paid jobs where they are able to contribute in a meaningful way to the community they live in and not just making money for unseen shareholders, they want to be able to study without the albatross of debt hanging around their necks, and not just to get better jobs but for the empowerment that comes with knowledge in itself, irrespective of the job market. They want functioning public services and the right to have time off if they are I’ll.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that when you explain to young people the cost of housing in the dreaded 1970’s as compared to today, they are green with envy. People in unskilled manual labouring jobs could actually afford to live in their own homes, whereas today people in equivalent work are lucky to be able to rent a single room for half their salary. You explain to them the reason for this was trade unions greater rights to organise and they ask why isn’t that the case today which always leads to a fruitful conversation on Thatcher and the policy of destroying the democratic institutions of the working class to combat inflation by imposing real-terms wage restraint, coupled with privatisation and the concentration of larger amounts of capital into fewer and fewer hands. Young people aren’t daft and they know that in order to out business back on its their futures were sold out from beneath them before they were even born.

    We are often accused of offering “free stuff” to the young and it’s an accusation I readily accept. I want the young to have as much free stuff as possible, so they can have the very best chance in life,and I want to pay for it by punitively taxing the very rich and reducing their level of wealth and power. Old fashioned, no-nonsense, Robin Hood socialism – redistributing wealth away from the already rich and investing that money in a better future for young people. The more the Tories object to this the more young people come to the conclusion that the Tories aren’t on their side, dont care about their well-being, and are only interested in maintaining the wealth and power of the elite.

    I want all public services to be financed by taxation and free at the point of use. I want to carve out a section of the economy that is totally insulated from the market, so that healthcare and basic utilities are not even thought of as being commodities or products but as a right everyone is entitled to as much as their freedom of conscience and association, ultimately to create a basic minimum standard of human dignity which is universal, a social floor beneath which no-one can fall. Policies such as universal basic income and universal basic services are a big part this.

    These are exciting and bold policies which can capture the imagination of young people and convince tens of thousands of them to come and join our movement and build a better future for themselves. It’s the first step in demolishing the failed Thatcherite consensus young people have lived under their whole lives and replacing it with something better. It wouldn’t constitute socialism, ice described it on here sad Social democracy on steroids, but it’s big step in that direction that once fully established will change the balance of power between the working class sand the ruling class in our favour, and make building socialism that much easier inthelong run.

  16. @AL
    I agree with what you say at 11.07, except for one thing.
    Whilst I’m all for taxing the very rich (I wouldn’t use the word punitive) I don’t think that will raise enough to pay for the aspirations you (and I) have.
    There will have, i think, to be some redistribution from the moderately rich – those with assets above, say half a million pounds (practically all homeowners round here) or income above – oh, I don’t know what level, but lets have a genuinely progressive income (and capital gains) tax. Oh, and less mollycoddling of well-off pensioners (like me) who get 10% off their income tax because we don’t pay NICs, plus lots of other perks.
    As I said yesterday, my experience doorknocking is very different from yours but I’m struck by how many of all ages (and particularly middle class) are switching Con-Lab. Whether they are telling the truth, we’ll find out 2 weeks on Thursday, but it has been genuinely surprising. I have not experienced any form of abuse or even open hostility since before the GE.
    Of course, I caveat as ever by admitting that I am an alien from another planet, called London.

  17. Polling pouring in!

    From Britain Elects

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 40% (+3)
    LAB: 40% (-4)
    LDEM: 9% (-)
    UKIP: 3% (-)
    GRN: 1% (-1)

    via @Survation, 14 Apr
    Chgs. w/ 08 Mar

  18. @JSB

    I don’t disagree with what you are saying.

    I expect that a Labour Government, promising a free lunch to all, is now almost inevitable in 2021/22.

  19. That’s 4 polls, by different pollsters, with fieldwork between 9 & 14 April – all showing a dead heat in GB VI between Con and Lab.

  20. Apologies for the double post by the way I’m on my phone and it does that sometimes – as well as the typos the autocorrect seems to produce

  21. @ ON

    “That’s 4 polls, by different pollsters, with fieldwork between 9 & 14 April – all showing a dead heat in GB VI between Con and Lab.”

    Statistically, that’s actually extremely unlikely. I think they’re cribbing.

  22. Trigguy

    The question is “Who is cribbing whose answers?”

  23. Survation tables here

    https://t.co/P6C2TEJv1I

  24. @Alec:

    There is a world of difference between being subject to a tribunal for an international body of which you are a member, and being subject to the courts of another state.

    International tribunals tend to have equal representation of judges from the disputing states, plus impartial judges. You would not have a position with a WTO dispute where the entirety of the bench was comprised of judges from the other side – which is what it will be if the ECJ is in charge with UK/EU disputes under new arrangements.

    There is a positive need for an impartial tribunal with any new arrangements – although I do not believe that Brexit will actually happen. Absent such a tribunal, the EU will be constantly threatening us to declare us in default, and threaten dire consequences for every administrative error. The EU, if allowed to interpret a treaty, will be as imaginative and self-serving as they have been in interpreting Article 50. A tribunal process is needed to give fairness to determining disputes, and to contain the consequences. The ECJ serves that role within the EU – international tribunals serve that role between jurisdictions.

  25. Just emerged from another weekend of hugely enjoyable Championship football, with another instalment to come tomorrow (tragically, Birmingham City may plunge further into relegation trouble :-)). I retire after 41 years in the British automotive industry on 25th May and what a celebration it might be if the Villa win the play off final at Wembley the following day. My first day as a free man too!! Due to spend some time with some friends in South France (SNCF strikes willing) from Monday, 28th May and I’ve already factored in a London weekend prior to accommodate all eventualities. Mrs H is still blissfully unaware of the purpose of my cunningly constructed itinerary! Thinks the Friday arrioval in London is to avoid the rush to St Pancras on the Monday!

    These latest polls, confirming the earlier YouGov one, are surprising and, for Labourites, reassuring. I would think that Tory High Command, after a relatively good period for May, where she’s been able to deal with issues where’s she’s stronger, like national security, and the buffeting that Corbyn has taken on weaker terrain for him, will be mortified to see no movement away from Labour and towards them. My guess is that they must have thought, heading into the local elections, that they’d engineered, by a mixture of luck and design, some political weather that was going to translate into a decent May-bolstering performance. That might still transpire, but the incumbent government party usually gets a kicking in local elections. This is political sod’s law but I wonder if Labour’s far superior foot soldier strength on the ground might exacerbate this even further, converting the urge to kick the incumbent governing party into something even more wounding. I’ve always thought party organisation tells far more in local elections than GEs. If one party is superior to another in this respect then it’s accentuated in the locals. 35% turnouts makes it absolutely crucial to get your vote out

    I wonder if we might be heading for another difficult period for May. Some headline grabbing council losses next month, the gathering fall out from her uncharacteristically headstrong rush to join the Syrian air strikes and growing unease over rising crime could spook nervous Tory MPs again. Brexit obfuscation has to give way to the realities of hard facts too now and it won’t be quite enough to rely on the inevitability a Corbyn self-immolation.

    Because the old boy just seems to keep bob bob bobbing along!

    :-)

  26. Survation poll showing zero lead – Oooohhhhh (Jeremy)!!!

  27. CB11

    “the gathering fall out from her uncharacteristically headstrong rush to join the Syrian air strikes”

    The Survation polling today suggests a lot more support for May than for Corbyn over Syrian strikes.

    Thatcher still the most trusted to handle international crises!

  28. While there I don’t know of evidence about what the youth want about their education (apart from anecdotal ones), I can say pretty confidently that those who are 10 today and would leave school at 15 (effectively illeterate, as there wouldn’t have been enough time to make dealing with letters, arguments when the boundaries of the subject are blurred and numbers – not understanding maths at the level of GCSE is also illiteracy – a routine) would not have a job beyond those earning the minimum wage when they are 20.

  29. crossbat11

    Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. My grandad spent 50 years at Jaguar in Coventry following his stint in the navy. Always said the latter was harder work and more dangerous than the former although I suspect there’s a hint of sarcasm there.

    As for ground game, I think this is the most overlooked aspect of the last general election result – that Labour’s huge membership was simply able to turn their vote out more efficiently than the Tories. The numbers out on the streets for Labour when I was out and about were massive – regularly campaigning with groups of 50+ and with an average age of under 30 too. When the Labour party turns up on your street it is a carnival type atmosphere, people come out of their homes to see what the fuss about, people have political debates with you on the streets, really heathy democratic culture and I think that scares people in positions of power and influence. Momentum did an incredible job of mobilising those people, especially when you had party HQ effectively sabotaging our efforts by denying access to funding and resources in target areas. I will always wonder how well we might have done had the Labour party machine been on our side instead of working against us.

    In local elections turnout is key to success, and if we can replicate that we should be able to outperform the polls. Based on the campaigning I’ve been doing in Leeds we’re well on course to accomplish that. However I should sound a note of caution that Labours vote tends to concentrate amongst lower income and younger groups of voters who are traditionally less likely to vote. Whilst we were able to turn out a lot of those people in a general election we may not be able to turn them out for a local one, since these are people less engaged with, and more cynical of, the political process than older, wealthier Tory voters. Our support may be neck and neck with the Torirs but we have to work much harder to reach them than they do.

    Still, I expect some modest gains in the next round of elections. Nothing earth shattering – we’re starting from a much higher benchmark so the chance of huge gains is pretty much nil, but I expect us to take a few Tory councils in London and improve our position in all the major cities outside of London holding elections.

    Finally I should point out that the Labour left hand a long-term strategy, and has long-term objectives. Whilst it feels much better going into elections neck-and-neck with the Tories instead of being 20+ points behind our focus is on solidifying our support in the under 30’s category so we can dominate in the long term. That matters much more to me than the next election cycle, or the current headline voting intention.

  30. @Jonesinbangor:

    Public opinion is very odd these days. Theresa May had an unassailable reputation for being strong and stable for almost a year – and then that was overturned. Corbyn spent almost two years as an obvious liability – until that flipped on its head. So now it appears that public opinion is once again stable, but in Corbyn’s favour.

    The truth is that this is probably a phoney war.

    At some point, maybe as early as June, the end-game in Brexit will start. The EU will begin to close in, and Remainers in Parliament will begin to move in for the kill. You may feel that the lunacy of Brexit will be exposed – I feel that Labour is basically in the EU’s pocket, and will have difficulty in a quick kill in avoiding making that obvious.

    But the point is that, whatever happens (slow kill or quick kill), and however public opinion responds, it will wipe off the map most of the present considerations.

    One thing I would say is that Corbyn is targeting an election not a referendum to change things. He doesn’t want a coalition of Remainers amongst the current MPs to manage overturning Brexit. He wants an election, because as leader of the winning party he becomes PM – he doesn’t want Tory remainers installing Starmer.

  31. @ Alienated Labour – how much more tax are you personally happy to pay for your socialist utopia?

  32. More from Survation tables –

    On the launching of military strikes against Syria:
    Support: 36%
    Oppose: 40%
    Undecided: 24%

    Theresa May [should/should not] have had to have a parliamentary debate vote before intervening militarily in Syria:
    Should: 54%
    Should not: 30%

    Yet she is still seen as handling the Syrian situation better than Corbyn!

  33. @Andrew Myers

    Whatever it takes comrade, although taxation is just one method of providing revenue. Council housing for example makes a profit in the longer term even when it is on sub-market rates, and can be used to subsidize other services. Free transport too, has a knock on effect of increasing workforce mobility and in turn increasing economic activity and tax intake. If you invest wisely, education and transport being good examples, you can reduce the long term costs involved and in some instances even make a profit.

    Personally I earn well under the median income – about 13k a year since you asked, so I’d probably gain far more than I would lose from these sorts of policies. But that’s fine, people should vote for what’s in their interests, and the interests of their community and their class.

    If you’re earning over 100k a year or whatever the threshold is then we should be blunt – we have very little to offer you. People who are that wealthy are not the priority, although as a matter of principle I think it’s only fair if you ask the rich to pay a much higher share of tax they aren’t excluded from using the services their tax money pays for. Universality is a key principle I think and means testing creates costly and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.

  34. @Alienated Labour

    Even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum, there is not much that I disagree with in principle in what you say. The issues I have are:

    1) If you put entrepreneurs and high paid employees in the same bracket you will ultimately suppress business start-ups and therefore jobs and growth.

    2) I don’t trust JC or JMcD to deliver a sustainable model, not to mention DA,

  35. Andrew Myers

    “If you put entrepreneurs and high paid employees in the same bracket you will ultimately suppress business start-ups and therefore jobs and growth.”

    True – but where would you put the Duke of Westminster? Prior to inheriting £9 billion, he was an Accounts Manager for a green energy company.

    He was no entrepreneur nor (presumably) highly paid for his former employment.

    Should inherited wealth cascade down the generations, despite the inheritors having done nothing to get the cash?

  36. @Andrew Myers

    “1) If you put entrepreneurs and high paid employees in the same bracket you will ultimately suppress business start-ups and therefore jobs and growth.”

    ——

    Not quite so dimple because you can use taxation to fund new start ups and jobs though.

    The internet you’re using arose via state funding, and it’s supported a lot if business.

  37. Or simple even.

  38. “QUIBBLE, CARP OR SNIPE?”

    ——-

    That’s a snipe to begin with!

  39. @Alienated Labour

    “If you’re earning over 100k a year or whatever the threshold is then we should be blunt – we have very little to offer you.”

    ————

    There’s always the Spirit Level aspect. That growing inequality might also make the wealthy suffer via added stress due to growing tension and isolation, and consequent illness etc.

    Bit controversial, but plausible…

  40. We could have a board game called “simples”, for those occasions when something is oversimplified. (Not too many people do that on here though, but it found be helpful…)

  41. @Andrew Myers
    Business start ups are not the problem, though. As a nation we are pretty good at start ups but the business model too often is start up, build a bit of value, then flog it. We have a largely financialised business model and very little Mittelstand culture.
    I like (or actually hate) the story of Callard and Bowser, compared to ‘Werther’s Original’, a very similar product.
    C&B started making Butterscotch in the 1850s and stayed in the Callard family until 1951, when they sold out to Guinness. Guinness flogged them to American Beatrice foods in 1982 and they in turn flogged them to United Biscuits in 1988. UB flogged them to Kraft in 1993. Kraft flogged them to Wrigleys in 2005 and Wrigleys effectively closed them down. They had commanded about 1/3 of the UK toffee market.
    August Storck started making sweets in 1903 but Werthers Echte wasn’t born until 1969. Now this family business is on the fourth generation and if you want butterscotch in the UK, it will be Werthers Echte, now rebranded as Original.

  42. “Business start ups are not the problem, though. As a nation we are pretty good at start ups but the business model too often is start up, build a bit of value, then flog it. We have a largely financialised business model and very little Mittelstand culture.”

    ——-

    Yes, it’s not just about creating jobs and businesses, but preserving them, and the strategic resources they might provide, instead of just developing them for other counties to benefit more from.

    Your posts about Renault etc. were a good example.

  43. Joseph1832
    “So, there really is no such thing as a soft Brexit.”
    Absolutely correct, I have been saying so that for at least a year now.

    Alec
    “Can you see why some of us struggle to see this as a matter of principle?”

    Absolutely not, you really are inconsistent because last night you appeared to have accepted my post last night:

    “Sovereignty was the mains issue for me in voting to leave the EU, and sovereignty is very much a matter of principle with me so I am glad you accept that at last.”

  44. @Joseph1832 – “There is a world of difference between being subject to a tribunal for an international body of which you are a member, and being subject to the courts of another state.”

    Yes, but we weren’t talking about another state, we were talking about the WTO and the EU, which are both international bodies of which we are members. We also weren’t talking of any future deal between the EU and UK, only trying to get an answer to @Charles’ point about why leavers see such a red line in ECJ jurisdiction but aren’t worried about the Appellant Body of the WTO. It’s just a bit odd if you claim that being subject to an external bodies jurisdiction is a matter of principle.

  45. @Alec

    Perhaps that is because Leavers perceive the EU as ‘another state’, based on the existence of a Parliament, Executive and body of laws?

    The EU is a hybrid, more than a ‘normal’ supra-national body, less than a state (i.e. it clearly fails the definition used by theorists like Bobbitt – ‘having the monopoly of internal legitimised violence’) so I guess there is a degree of interpretation here.

    I can understand the objection to the ECJ having jurisdiction over the UK once we lose our seat. but equally I can see the frustration of the EU at needing to set up a parallel legal panel that looks and feels just like the ECJ except for having UK reps on it.

    It does feel like an area ripe for ‘Yes Minister’ style compromise…

  46. New UKIP leader has already said he’s planning to resign in 12 months time..The Independent (can’t be bothered to post it).

    I think we should all have ago at being UKIP leader, lots anyone?

  47. Alec

    ” It’s just a bit odd if you claim that being subject to an external bodies jurisdiction is a matter of principle.”

    Well at least two of us on here don’t think it odd at all.

  48. Charles

    Have you got any further questions? I tried to engage fully with you and to answer your earlier points.

  49. AL
    “They must be pulling their hair out at Tory HQ when the results of these polls come in.”

    I doubt it. Looking at the new polls, the Survation poll looks the most interesting moving from a seven-point Labour lead to equality.

    OLDNAT
    Should inherited wealth cascade down the generations, despite the inheritors having done nothing to get the cash?

    Absolutely, why not, it seems totally fair and reasonable to me. It’s why I so dislike inheritance taxation.

  50. Inheritance Tax is an interesting one…

    We are all subject to double tax on out income, all the time – we earn it, pay PAYE/NI on it, and then pay VAT on all our non-essential (and quite a few essential) purchases made out of our net earnings.

    No-one seems to think double taxation on spending is a problem.

    But double taxation on money we choose NOT to spend provokes a visceral reaction – somehow it is unfair to double tax what we chose to save.

    Personally I think it is down to our innate desire to leave a legacy in the shape of our children, and money/property is a more tangible demonstration of this than the other common example – the burning desire of some parents to shape their children’s career choices.

    For tax to be effective it has not to be fair but to be SEEN as fair – in this country IMHO we struggle to achieve a genuinely fair tax system because there are strong vested interests promoting the theoretical unfairness of demonstrably sensible and practical tax changes.

    The best example of this is surely the Mansion Tax – the number of aged, low-income grannies sitting in £2m+ properties is virtually zero, yet the proposal is notionally rejected in the right-wing press and parties on the basis of it’s theoretical impact on a virtually non-existent population…presumably because appealing on behalf of wealthy bankers and foreign property investors would not elicit much sympathy from voters!

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