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

1 2 3 4 5
  • MJ

    “it would be handy if you could point to where this info is set-out”

    It will be somewhere in party procedure documents. I heard it via a Labour Party chap (forget name) who was interviewed at length on Radio 4 on Sunday night. He seemed to know what he was talking about.

  • RobG

    Caroline Lucas is now standing up and saying that all four gulf states, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have now withdrawn from military action in Syria.

    Does anyone have a credible news link to back this up?

    I know that Canada has pulled out…

    … and as I believed I mentioned in another thread, it looks like Australia is going to pull out as well.

    But in the meantime, as I type this Caroline Lucas is really giving it to them (oil sales, role of Saudi Arabia, etc).

  • Mary

    Pan Thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to buy it most probably. Surrey CC Libraries a shadow of its former self. Many branches either closed/staffed by volunteers.

    I came across this intriguing website the other day. Finding out how and why we think and behave eh? Are we just Pavlov’s dogs?

    ‘The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is a social purpose company. We are jointly owned by the UK Government; Nesta (the innovation charity); and our employees.

    BIT started life inside 10 Downing Street as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences. Our objectives remain the same as they always have been:
    •making public services more cost-effective and easier for citizens to use;
    •improving outcomes by introducing a more realistic model of human behaviour to policy; and wherever possible,
    •enabling people to make ‘better choices for themselves’

    We do this by redesigning public services and drawing on ideas from the behavioural science literature. We are also highly empirical; we test and trial these ideas before they are scaled up. This enables us to understand what works and (importantly) what does not work.

    Our staff have either a strong academic grounding in economics, psychology, or randomised controlled trial design; or a background in government policy-making.

    Our Academic Advisory Panel includes Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge; former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell (the panel’s chair); and senior academics from leading UK Universities.

    BIT’s company Board is chaired by Peter Holmes. The Cabinet Office representative is Janet Baker, and the Nesta representative is Helen Goulden. David Halpern (our Chief Executive) and Owain Service (our Managing Director) also sit on the Board.

    We also have two overseas offices. One of these is in Sydney, Australia, and is headed up by Rory Gallagher who is our Director of International Programmes and leads BIT’s work in Singapore. Our second office is in New York, and is led by Elspeth Kirkman, who is working across US cities as part of our programme of work with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

    If you are interested in finding out more about the team, feel free to get in touch.

    Or if you’d like to find out more about our policy work, you can find out more about the team’s work on the publications part of our website.’

    and a new company Behavioural Insights Ventures Ltd. No info but same 5 directors.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    “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)?”


    Andy, you are diverting from the thrust of my post but never mind, I’ll humour you (but don’t forget: une rondine non fa primavera).

    No, I’d say they’re both pretty disgustin, whether used by President Assad’s forces, ISIL adherents or, for that matter, Palestinian terrorists (whether inspired by Hamas or not) blowing themselves up in Israel.


    What was that you were saying about fools?

  • RobG

    Ivan Lewis MP is speaking as I type, and he’s following the usual neo-con line: “all we’re doing is extending our military action beyond a non-existent line” (the Iraq-Syria border).

    No you’re not, you neo-con loons are taking us into direct conflict with Russia, a heavily nuclear-armed state.


  • Pan

    Trowbridge H. Ford
    2 Dec, 2015 – 3:26 pm

    “Never underestimate the stupidity of man.”

    It’s been said before (on this blog quite recently, actually) and will no doubt be repeated until the last syllable of time, but ne’er was given to man a wiser instruction.

    I take it you are the same Trowbridge H. Ford, cited in Laurence Fenton’s “Origins Of Animosity”. (Perhaps we should look there for an understanding of some of what goes on in this forum.)

    Steven Runciman’s “A History of the Crusades” looks like a ‘must read’ (to this commenter, anyway).

    Thanks for that.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    “No I wasn’t aware . Pray tell us more ?”

    To judge by your posts you do appear unaware of quite a few things.

    The solution lies in your own hands, does it not?

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “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”


    And Israel has had no trouble from Hizbollah since, eh? :).

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    It is not generally known on this blog that Montenegro uses the euro as its official currency.

  • Bah !

    Its incredible, Cameron has pulled off another Leveson type charade, its yet another savile like mass falsehood, and nobodys the wiser !

    What really needed to be debated is if this daesh vote is going to be used by smoothface and his torah party henchmen, as a cover for their coming attack on Assad . Despite repeated questioning over the 70k spin none of his henchmen rose to answer, not wanting to be caught replying on video for posterity, Hammond certainly didnt want to be known as the “ice cream van Colin Powell” of an attack on Syria !!

    They will be celebrating with a takeaway from the Sum Dum Goy chinese tonight for sure. But they dont know the FSB has erdogan bugged, and Putin has foreknowledge of their chicanery like he did noodleman/pyatt in Ukraine, he will swoop to grab a Crimea like rook and all their devilish plans will come to naught.

  • Republicofscotland

    “The solution lies in your own hands, does it not?”


    If I were you I’d give it a rest for now, you might go blind, if you don’t leave it alone.

  • Republicofscotland

    “What was that you were saying about fools?”


    Now that you mention it Anon1 hasn’t posted on this thread for a couple of hours…..strange.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    I wonder if you could aus the running commentary?

    If we wish to follow the debate we are capable of doing it all by ourselves.

    And we certainly do not need your own comments in real time.

    So put a cork in it, there’s a good chap and in the meantime, start on another bottle!

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    I oin’t go in for all this “going blind” business, you know.

    My belief has always been that it drives you mad.

    A belief reinforced since coming onto this blog some years ago and seeing how mad most of the “comments” are.

  • Pan

    Re: book I mentioned earlier (“Thinking, Fast and Slow”)

    An advance warning to anyone planning on reading it who also happens to be, er, how to put it?, of a political mindset not atypical of the kind most prevalent here on Craig’s blog…

    There is one particular sentence in the book (I’m not going to cite it) which will stand out in front of you like a ripe pustule on the tip of your dentist’s nose.

    I put it down to Mr Kahneman having led a sheltered life in academia, rather than something more rabid.

  • fwl

    He may not be popular with some here, but he is worth listening to, has Rory Stewart spoken yet and if so what did he say?

  • fwl

    I’ve got it he said: “You can make me dance sing or anything even tell me to take the dog for a walk, mend a fence,fold over the ironing board, but you can’t make vote for bombs”.

    Those who vote for foolish behaviour are out of order and like to be dollar sniffers down gasoline alley rather than street fighting men.

    Sailing on now…..

  • lysias

    RobG, here you go.

    BBC: Russia S-400 Syria missile deployment sends robust signal:

    Nato and US spokesmen have said little about the S-400, though one senior Nato diplomat acknowledged that the deployment of this and other sophisticated systems into “one operating area over Syria where many different nations are flying” makes the situation even more “complex”.

    Since the S-400’s deployment the number of coalition strikes in Syria appears to have gone down, with more of them carried out by drones. However it is hard to say if this reflects concern about the new threat or simply a response to the ebb and flow of the campaign.

    A confirmation from BBC of the reduction of Coalition flights over Syria.

  • lysias

    Obama anti-ISIS coalition crumbles as Arab allies focus elsewhere:

    One Pentagon official directly involved in the counter-Islamic State fight told The Washington Times that the Saudis haven’t flown a mission against the group in nearly three months. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Bahrain is still involved, but confirmed that Jordan stopped flying sorties against the extremists in August and the UAE hasn’t flown one since March.

    A top former Obama administration official who helped build the coalition last year, meanwhile, said that Persian Gulf Arab powers made a strategic gamble months ago to focus their military resources on helping Saudi Arabia wage war against Houthi rebels seen as Iranian proxies in neighboring Yemen — wagering that the U.S. and the European Union would lead the fight against Islamic State.

  • RobG

    @Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)
    2 Dec, 2015 – 5:32 pm

    What we don’t need is the barrage of propaganda, the like of which I’ve never seen before in the UK.

    It’s a corporate coup d’etat (aka, fascism).

    No wonder you’ve been absent a lot on this blog just lately: with the tide of public opinion and common sense turning against military action in Syria, the likes of you have probably had your work cut out on comment boards all over the internet.

    But don’t worry, our porcine PM has just thrown more billions of tax payer’s money at the likes of GCHQ, so that you jolly chaps can more easily ‘steer the conversation’.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Thanks, Pan, for the support and info about Lawrence Fenton’s work.

    I didn’t know about his article in Media History about Palmerston and The Times.

    Must be based on my article about Brougham and The Times in the bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, and the second volume of my biography of the Lord Chancellor.

    Palmerston became more and more of an imperialist as Brougham’s war with the Whigs started to peter out.

    Palmerston was a great supporter of Louis Napoleon, and his overthrow of France’s Second Republic.

    Fortunately, the ex Lord Chanccellor got his France to get on board for the Crimean War rather than resuming the war against the UK. Earlier Pam had used gun-boat diplomacy against the Greeks.

    Pam gets too much credit for creating the age of equipoise rather than just taking advantage of it.

    Will check out the article the next time I go to Yale’s Sterling Library.

  • loony

    I wonder to what extent it is known, and is of interest, that Ecuador uses the US$ as its official currency

  • Republicofscotland

    “oin’t go in for all this”


    To late Habb, going by the above your chicken has been choked onced to often, it’s new specs for you.

1 2 3 4 5

Comments are closed.