Afghanistan, Brexit and the illusion of “Global Britain”

Nobody with the slightest humanity could equate the horrific events in Kabul with McDonalds running out of milk shakes. Yet in recent UK news broadcasts, stories of mildly inconvenient food shortages at home have vied for viewers’ attention with the desperate plight of families 4,000 miles away. In their very different ways, both stories give … Continue reading Afghanistan, Brexit and the illusion of “Global Britain”

War and politics: lessons from Eden, Blair and Churchill

Perhaps opinion polls should come with the same warnings as financial advertisements: past performance does not guarantee results. Even so, as Boris Johnson faces criticism for Britain's role in the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, a trip down memory lane suggests that foreign policy disasters do not necessarily destroy the reputations of governments. Let’s start with … Continue reading War and politics: lessons from Eden, Blair and Churchill

British voters now dislike both main parties

Time to separate the noise from the signal. Polling headlines often pick out the noise—dramatic changes that might be short-term, or reflect sampling fluctuations, or both—rather than the signal: the underlying state of public opinion, which conveys more significant messages. Two polls in recent days point in different directions. YouGov’s poll in Saturday’s Times reported a “collapse” … Continue reading British voters now dislike both main parties

Post-Covid, the Tories’ 2019 manifesto still matters. Will their broken promises come back to haunt them?

Election manifestos are like the small print on the guarantees that come with television sets, toasters and other such purchases. Much time and effort is spent getting right the words that hardly any of us ever read. Still, most of us know that the small print in a purchase matters. It establishes the contractual relationship … Continue reading Post-Covid, the Tories’ 2019 manifesto still matters. Will their broken promises come back to haunt them?

Voters, including many smokers, want tough action to make tobacco history

This blog takes me back to an old hunting ground, when I was President of YouGov and a trustee of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) – and YouGov first conducted major annual survey for ASH. This year’s survey assessed public attitudes to the Government’s declared ambition to reduce the number of smokers to 5 … Continue reading Voters, including many smokers, want tough action to make tobacco history

Global Britain versus Modest Britain: why Boris Johnson’s ambition is doomed to fail

Boris Johnson talks frequently of his ambitions for “global Britain”. He wants the United Kingdom, post-Brexit, to play a great role round the world. In a Government report published in March, he said that this is vital for the UK’s “safety and prosperity”, and definitely not a “vainglorious gesture”. How seriously should we take Britain’s … Continue reading Global Britain versus Modest Britain: why Boris Johnson’s ambition is doomed to fail