Neo-Con YouGov At It Again With Leading Questions 137


This blog has over the years expended some energy on explaining that YouGov is anything but a disinterested seeker after evidence of public opinion, but rather a tool for creating a false impression of public opinion and pushing it in a direction. Needless to say, various legal threats I have received from YouGov and its directors have come to nothing.

Now take this YouGov question in their latest poll:

Would you approve or disapprove of the RAF taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?

There is no need to mention the RAF in this question – it is not their decision and the impression is subtly conveyed that the RAF want to do it. The question is carefully designed to tap in to the public’s well-documented inclination to support the armed forces in any conflict situation.

If you asked:

Do you approve of the government’s proposals for taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?

you would get a very different answer. Which of course is why the charlatans at YouGov asked the first question.

Nevertheless, there are two very interesting facts. Even on this biased question opinion is swinging very fast against airstrikes. Secondly, yet again there is a very real divergence of opinion between England and Scotland.

Since I joined the SNP, the comments section has been riddled with people claiming that the SNP is in fact no less neo-con than the other established parties. Today’s debate on Syria, in addition to the recent debate on Trident, make plain that is absolute nonsense.


137 thoughts on “Neo-Con YouGov At It Again With Leading Questions

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  • Tony M

    We did after all introduce them to Syria, many via Libya. What other populations are their than civilian? Are there countries peopled entirely by the military, policemen, traffic wardens?

    The parallels with Iraq are uncanny. He too, like Daesh was our creation and puppet, to build up then destroy, or in the case of Daesh, merely to tickle for the moment.
    Involvement in Syria is going to make our last quarter century meddling in Iraq look like merely a practice run.

  • Tony M

    Then I’m only going back to gulf war one, it stretches further back, using Saddam to attack Iran in the eighties, back to aerial bombing in the thirties and Churchill’s urging use of poison gases against them. Later we would give Saddam poison and nerve gases to use against Iran, which he went and used against Kurds who were harbouring injured Iranians and some merely taking time out for some R&R with their kindred on the wrong side of the battle lines.

    It’s a long history of intervention, none of it could be called humanitarian.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just don’t understand posters not mentioning the four hundred years of crusades which resulted ultimately in the fall of Byzantium, the great Christian bastion against the spread of Islam

    Too bad no one goes to the trouble of reading Steven Runciman’s great history of the gigantic failure which concluded by saying that it suffered from too much courage, and so little honor and understanding.

    Too bad that he mistakenly added that the crusading spirit then died.

    Never underestimate the stupidity of man.

  • YouKnowMyName

    Does anyone trust the not always neo-con German Secret Police’s POV?

    BERLIN, Dec 2 15:01GMT(Reuters) – Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency, in an unusual public statement issued on Wednesday, voiced concern that Saudi Arabia was becoming impulsive in its foreign policy as powerful young Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman asserts himself.

    The BND also said that with Saudi Arabia – the world’s No. 1 oil exporter – losing confidence in the United States as a guarantor of Middle East order, Riyadh appeared ready to take more risks in its regional competition with Iran.

    Since King Salman succeeded to power in January, Saudi Arabia has orchestrated a military coalition to intervene in neighbouring Yemen to limit Iranian influence, increased support for Syrian rebels and made big changes in the royal succession.

    Riyadh has long viewed Iran as aggressive and expansionary and regarded its use of non-state proxies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’ite militias as aggravating sectarian tensions and destabilising the region. But under Salman, it has moved more assertively to counter its regional foe.

    Germany’s BND pointed to efforts by the two rivals to shape events in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq, with Saudi Arabia increasingly prepared to take military, political and financial risks to ensure it does not lose influence in the region.

    “The thus far cautious diplomatic stance of the elder leaders in the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive interventionist policy,” the BND said, adding the Saudis remain committed to the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Iran, a major ally of Assad, denies having expansionist aims and accuses Saudi Arabia of undermining regional stability through its backing of Syrian rebels and intervention in Yemen.

    The BND issued the 1-1/2 page report, entitled “Saudi Arabia – Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation”, to some German media. Reuters also obtained a copy.

    It pointed to risks stemming from the concentration of power in Prince Mohammad, who it said could get carried away with efforts to secure the royal family succession in his favour.

    The BND said there was a risk he would irritate other royal family members and the Saudi people with reforms, while undermining relations with friendly, allied states in the region.

    Saudi Arabia faces a budget deficit that economists estimate could total $120 billion or more this year. This has led the Finance Ministry to close its national accounts a month early to control spending.

    Prince Mohammed, who is second-in-line to rule, is also the Saudi defence minister and head of a supercommittee on the economy. The young prince has enjoyed a dizzying accumulation of powers since his father became king and placed him in the line of succession ahead of dozens of cousins. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Noah Barkin/Mark Heinrich)

    70,000 wahabbis sitting on the wall, if one green jihadi should accidentally fall there’ll. . .

  • fwl

    Some of the media are still exercising reasonable objectivity and eg Reuters have just put out a long story on how Russia has said it has proof that Turkey is buying ISIS’ oil. Hope some MPs see that and reflect again before they vote. They may conclude that its just Russia saying that. But they know how the media works and they can see how that story has been allowed to grow.

    Why? I don’t know but I would infer that part of our establishment can see something in it.

    V simply if your going to have a fight with someone but have a chance to weaken him first take the chance. Cut the oil money. Cut their access to weapons. Cut their media air. Watch and wait.

    You don’t buy your foe steroids and guns and then challenge him to a fight.

    I thought we were a pragmatic nation.

  • YouKnowMyName

    and there are rumors that KSA borrowed a few Dimona toys from Pakistan, AQKahn and all that

  • Andy

    Habba, Hezbollah did nothing of the sort. The Israelis attacked using ground forces in the mountainous areas of South Lebanon and got their tanks disabled and their soldiers bagged up. They then began to negotiate a ceasefire. Your age must be making you forgetful.

  • fwl

    Good man David Davies (Con) has just made the point that Russian getting good intelligence on 100 targets a day, but the 70000 rebels can only manage 6 targets a day. Now he is onto oil trade and Turkey and says “get our allies to do their jobs”.

    Compare Yvette Cooper (Lab) with David Davies. She case not made out but France asked for help so lets bomb. Good grief.

  • lysias

    I wonder if the undersampling of SNP voters, instead of being just a chance fluctuation, was in fact deliberate on the part of Yougov.

  • fwl

    Tim calls himself a Christian liberal but channels all singing together, sadness if refugee camp and says lets bomb.

    I’ve not seen Khalid Mahmood before (Lab – Birmingham). Another good man calling the alleged 70k for what they are.

  • Andy

    Habba, would you say barrel bombs are a more disgusting tactic of warfare than suicide/car bombings in town centres and market places (regularly used by your pals in ISIS on Syrians in Damascus)? A barrel bomb is explosives in a barrel, I’m sure the victims of them are no more aggrieved than those that are victims of metal encased explosives. Regarding accusations that Assad used chemical weapons, If you really believe these second rate theatrics:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3MV3hKFILA

    …You’re an even bigger fool than I thought you were.

  • Macky

    Major error by Corbyn to not impose the Whip, and on many so levels, not least that the Blairite snakes would have been made to fall on their own swords.

  • MJ

    “Major error by Corbyn to not impose the Whip”

    He couldn’t. The decision is made by the shadow cabinet, not the leader alone.

    Obviously there are too many neocon bots in the shadow cabinet right now but that will change provided Corbyn can hold out until the next party conference, when all the new members will be able to debate and vote on party policy.

  • loony

    Habbakuk. Russia has repeatedly and publicly expressed the view that it considers NATO expansion provocative.

    Given the stated position of Russia it is self evidently obvious why it is provacative.

    I am not sure why you feel the need to point out that Montenegro does not border Russia, since no-one has claimed that it does.

  • YouKnowMyName

    Montenegro is a lovely place where you can buy a cheap ski-chalet in Roubles, wait for the afternoon earthquake (as daily arrives) then enjoy your new beach-chalet until the next earthquake throws you into the sea.

    NATO will have fun landing aircraft, there’s not that many flat bits, but the R&R should be nice, maybe
    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/prostitution-claims-shakes-montenegrin-police-09-10-2015
    (32.5 percent of the sex workers in Montenegro uses or has used drugs, Valentino’s is the best known strip club in Podgorica)

    In fact, perhaps NATO just bought Montenegro, vicars, tarts and all?

  • RobG

    Fwl, I agree that David Davis just gave a good speech. In particular he spoke of Turkey’s involvement in ISIS oil sales; something that other speakers have talked about (has the Beast From Bolsover spoken yet?).

    What very few MPs are talking about is the involvement of Russia in all this. Russia has been invited by the Assad government, and thus are in Syria under international law. The rest of the combatants are not (despite that UN resolution, which does not invoke Article 7).

    Following the shooting down of a Russian fighter plane by Turkey, Russia is employing sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in Syria.

    What happens if Russia declares Syria to be a no-fly zone for America and it’s ‘coalition of the willing’? This could easily happen (remember, Russia is there at the invitation of the Syrian government). Russia and America have almost completely opposite aims in Syria.

    Are our ‘boys in blue’ really going to fly into Syrian airspace and bomb anti-Assad forces under these conditions?

    Alex Salmond is giving a good speech as I type this, but still no mention of the Russian angle and the risk of a major conflict.

    I think most British MPs have been lobotomized.

  • Mary

    Some Red Tories have held forth including Yvette Balls, the HJS rep Gisela Stewart and even Margaret Beckett*. I was surprised to see her as I thought she had pushed off for more lucrative offerings.

    Cameron has slipped out, probably to report on progress to François, Barak and Bibi. He has left Fracking Fallon i/c.

    Most of them are looking bored stiff and are playing with their…..smartphones!

    ~~~

    *Beckett was Foreign Secretary when Craig said this in 2006.

    US military honoured in secret by Britain
    June 20, 2006
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2006/06/us_military_hon/

    ‘The row comes as protests mount at the CBE given to Andy Hayman, the head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terror operations who is at the centre of investigations into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station last July and the raid at Forest Gate, east London, earlier this month.

    Bechtel, who has a personal fortune of more than $3bn (‘1.62bn), is 50th on America’s rich list. British ministers have awarded his company contracts for the London Underground, the upgrade of the west coast main line, the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Jubilee Line extension. Bechtel’s nuclear subsidiary has received almost ’30m to help set up the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

    Bechtel’s contracts for US reconstruction work in Iraq have caused the most controversy. One of the firm’s key board members is George Schultz, who was secretary of state under Ronald Reagan and who, as chairman of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, was one of the loudest cheerleaders for regime change.

    The full list of awards to non-British citizens was only disclosed after Beckett agreed to place the details in the House of Commons Library following a series of parliamentary questions by the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker.

    Baker said: ‘This shows that what matters in Tony Blair’s Britain is those with power, money and a US accent. These awards are supposed to be for good works and those that have helped Britain. Instead it seems they are being handed out to those who have supported Blair’s misguided policies at home and overseas.’

    Earlier this year The Guardian disclosed that Hans Rausing, the Swedish billionaire and former head of Tetra Pak, was awarded an honorary knighthood for philanthropy in January despite questions over his use of legal loopholes to avoid paying tax.’

    Ghastly woman with unfortunate hair. Keen on gardening at taxpayers’ expense. Also caravanning. At the trough – ‘As she had no mortgage or rent outstanding it was queried how she managed to claim £72,537 between 2004 and 2008 on a house in her constituency when she was renting out her London flat and living in a grace and favour flat.’
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Beckett

    By their words works ye shall know them.

  • lysias

    Latest news on the Straits is comforting. Hellenic Shipping News: No Troubles Reported for Russian Ships in the Bosphorus (Dec. 2, 2015):

    Russian Navy ships currently aren’t experiencing any problems passing through the Bosphorus Strait or the Dardanelles, a diplomatic source from the Russian military told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

    At the moment, Russian naval vessels are experiencing no problems passing through the Bosphorus Strait or the Dardanelles, RIA Novosti quoted a military-diplomatic source as saying on Tuesday.

  • Macky

    MJ; “Blimey, whatever next.”

    😀

    Yes hardly surprising, but it would be handy if you could point to where this info is set-out.

  • MJ

    “What happens if Russia declares Syria to be a no-fly zone for America and it’s ‘coalition of the willing’?”

    There is already a de facto no-fly zone. As soon the S400s were deployed last week the US skidaddled out of Syria and hasn’t been seen since.

    I can only imagine that RAF pilots are being lined up to act as cannon-fodder, to test whether the S400s are really that good and whether Putin has the guts to use them against illegal NATO intruders.

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