Bucolic Brits Blame Blair for Busted Bombing

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Would-be terrorists plan to bomb British planes. British cops catch the plotters before they can act. Support for the government's anti-terror policies… uh, plummets. The mostly unimpressive UK Conservative party has raced to a 9-point lead over Tony Blair's Labour government, and the busted bomb plot is fingered as the reason. (Leads don't mean too much; Elections won't be held until 2009 or 2010.)

The Tories have gained over the last month while support for Labour has
fallen heavily in the wake of the recent alleged terror plot against
airlines. An overwhelming majority of voters appear to pin part of the
blame for the increased threat on Tony Blair's policy of intervention
in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ministers—including Mr Blair—have repeatedly denied that there is a connection.
But 72%, including 65% of Labour voters, think government policy has
made Britain more of a target for terrorists. Only 1% of voters believe
the government's foreign policy has made Britain safer, a devastating
finding given that action in Iraq and Afghanistan has been justified in
part to defeat Islamist terrorism.

A measly 20 percent of Britons think the government is telling the truth about the breaking up of the plot.

The Bush administration hasn't experienced any popularity dives after a thwarted terrorist threat. The Iraq war has always been more popular and more successfully linked to 9/11 here; in the UK, it was completely seen as a war of choice. But in the last year or so, news of foiled terrorist attacks have given Republicans weaker and weaker bursts of support, like diluted drugs hitting a long time junkie's bloodstream. Check out the way USA Today spins a post-airplane plot Bush rating of 42 percent as a solid comeback. After Saddam was captured in 2003, Bush spiked from 52 to 58 percent.

(Cross-posted at AS.com.)

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  1. Who has done the fingering? The unerring impartials Reuters and the BBC? (guffaw, chortle)

    Interesting, b/c in several speeches Blair has made by far the most persuasive case (vs. any other Western leader) for ME intervention over the past few years.

    One must also consider Cameron’s crafty message and strategy on UK domestic policy as another major factor in Labor’s weak polling.

    Thanks be to Saint Mariano (Rivera) that it ain’t direct democracies we live in.

  2. One must also consider Cameron’s crafty message and strategy on UK domestic policy as another major factor in Labor’s weak polling.

    Bingo. People didn’t believe TB three years ago, they’d still vote for him.

    This change has a lot to do with more boring stuff like schools, hospitals, transport and sleaze.

  3. The British people, as opposed to Americans, have actually seen with their own eyes a longrunning terror campaign in their homeland brought to a stop – that of the IRA. And it happened as a result of ending, not starting, a war.

    And they have also, undeniably, seen an increase in terror attacks and near misses since the start of the Iraq War. It’s really not suprising that they’d draw the conclusion that war increases terroris and peace reduces it.

  4. It’s really not suprising that they’d draw the conclusion that war increases terroris and peace reduces it.

    This is what happens to countries that don’t get the Weekly Standard.

  5. Had a conversation with a Brit tourist in a bar last weekend. He brought up IRA analogy too.
    He said the Brit government gave in to their reasonable demands and the IRA was generally placated. I asked him what reasonable demands do the Islamic radicals have? He admitted he didn’t know of one, in that he didn’t think Israel should be tossed to the wolves. So, what demands – reasonable or unreasonable – do these terrorists have? Which on the list can “we” accomodate and which are unacceptable to people who stand for individual liberty?

  6. Creech,

    Don’t look at me. I didn’t put that out there as a way of advocating for a certain policy, but to explain the British public’s mood, and why it’s different than the American public’s.

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