Comment at end
21st January 2010
POLL: 77% DO NOT WANT BLAIR TO BE TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES
Just as I said right here.
So, I was right, guys (Lee, cantbearsed, and nn)! Your heartfelt apologies are graciously accepted. Next time you try to get Tony Blair into court over the press’s (mis)interpretation of the facts, make sure you understand the FACTS first.
Other readers will be relieved to know, I’m sure, that with the aid of John Rentoul I have located the ‘missing’ poll on Blair/Iraq/war crimes etc. Many thanks, John.
Go and read Rentoul if you want some decent journalism. He’s even nice about his enemies!
And this – Why then? (Did Blair take us into Iraq – more “Ozwizarditis”?)
Excerpt from “Why then?”: “PS. Barder’s description of Iraq as “probably the biggest and bloodiest blunder in UK foreign policy since the charge of the Light Brigade” is wonderfully eccentric. *Not Attlee for Korea, nor Thatcher for the Falklands, nor any other prime minister for any other military action had given the House of Commons the opportunity to vote on the issue.”
Back to the uncovered poll. It was part of a larger poll I’d missed. In my own defence, it didn’t appear at The Sunday Times, which was kind of lax of them. I did a search at The Times for “opinion polls” and got these returns. NO reference to their own poll from last Sunday. Why not? Weren’t the Blair returns within it helpful enough for them? Oddly enough that search DID turn up a Times article referencing a ‘Sun’ poll, giving Times writer Martin Ivens a chance to opine.
With reference to the commenters at the other post who couldn’t do the sums THIS is the point I was making. Without the questions and the breakdown of the answers it is impossible to be sure of very much. It was also impossible to work out what the 77% were thinking.
As for the “52%”, they were answering the first question – on misleading the public. It seems that even if 52% think that he had misled the public only 23% think he should be charged with war crimes. Two different questions. Got it? Good.
My earlier post was also intended to make another point. Since the AP article’s cherry-picking of percentages had been presented as some kind of damning indictment of Blair, and it clearly wasn’t, since only 23% wanted him to face “war crimes” charges, I felt morally justified in supplying the alternative headline. I did here –
In all modesty, I was right and the breakdown of the poll proves it. The only question referring to Blair being tried for “war crimes” was Question 2 below – on the “broad view of Tony Blair.” The majority – my “77%”, made up of 31+17+18+11 – did not want him to be charged with war crimes (the 11% were “don’t knows”, but that’s still not a “yes”, it’s a “don’t know”.)
So I REPEAT only 23% DID want him to be charged. 77% DIDN’T.
Sorry if this is getting repetitive. But I’ve noticed how soon a lie can get half way round the world. Perhaps the truth needs to be repeated once or twice, in order to get its boots on faster.
YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results
Sample Size: 2033 GB Adults
Fieldwork: 14th – 15th January 2010
QUESTIONS REGARDING BLAIR & IRAQ
Q1) Do you think Tony Blair, prime minister at the time of the war, deliberately set out to mislead the British public in the run-up to the war about whether Iraq possessed chemical and biological ‘weapons of mass destruction’?
ANSWERS, in percentages
1A1) Yes, Mr Blair deliberately set out to mislead the public 52
1A2) No, he did not: he genuinely believed Iraq possessed such weapons 32
1A2) Don’t know 16
Q2) More broadly, which of the following best sums up your view of Tony Blair in respect of the Iraq war?
2A1) Even if some of the details were wrong, Mr Blair was right to warn that Saddam Hussein’s regime was extremely dangerous 31
2A2) Mr Blair misled Parliament and the public about the scale of the threat from Iraq but did not intend to do so 17
2A3) Mr Blair knowingly mislead Parliament and the public, but we should now move on and take no action against him 18
2A4) Mr Blair knowingly mislead Parliament and the public and should be tried as a war criminal 23
2A5) Don’t know 11
A QUESTION FOR THE PRESS
With the Iraq Inquiry grinding away at the past on-screen daily, WHY did this section of the poll fail to make headline news? You can bet that if 77% or even 52% had said they wanted Tony Blair to be charged with “war crimes” it would have been all over the headlines.
Searched the UK Polling Report too. Also couldn’t find it here. Wonder why not. They seem to have a lot of polls covered here, but not this one. Now if I were a conspiracy theorist …