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Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough

Posted on June 05, 2018 by

We’ll shortly round up the last pieces of data from our Panelbase poll of English voters last month, but this one merits singling out, we think.

Wait, what?

A full 50% of English people are willing to accept other countries dropping bombs on UK cities, or actually invading the UK, either to “avert a humanitarian catastrophe” (so potentially good news about the impending nationwide rollout of Universal Credit, if the Syrian and Libyan air forces can get their acts together in time) or, in 11% of cases, simply if other nations judge it to be in their interests.

Let’s just read that last bit, in particular, again. 11% of English-born, English-resident voters – that’s almost 6 million people – think it would be fine for other countries to bomb the UK for no better reason than that the other countries believed it would in some way benefit their own country to do so.

Barely a quarter – 28% – of respondents thought there were no circumstances in which attacking or invading the UK was acceptable. But 61% were willing to be bombed for SOME reason, and a bit more than half of English people (50.1%, or 56% excluding Don’t Knows) were willing for the UK to be bombed or invaded by foreign countries even in a non-military situation.

Those are stupendous, almost unbelievable numbers. But they’re not faked in any way, they’re absolutely genuine results obtained by a member of the British Polling Council by asking a straightforward and clear question to a properly balanced and weighted sample. How on Earth did we get them?

Well, you can never tell for certain, but we suspect it might have been by asking this question immediately beforehand.

Because if you frame military intervention against others as a legitimate and routine foreign-policy option, even the most blinkered person finds it difficult to perform an about-face the very next minute and say the same rules shouldn’t apply to themselves.

There’s probably some sort of important lesson in there, but for the moment it appears to have slipped our minds.

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  1. 05 06 18 12:56

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough | speymouth

73 to “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”

  1. CmonIndy says:

    I dont know what to say.

  2. Andrew Coulson says:

    Brilliant question! Destined to become a textbook classic, I think……

  3. DaveM says:

    From having worked for one of the better-known ‘pollsters’ in the past, it would have been interesting if you’d split the sample and asked half of them the same questions but in the opposite order. There may have been a difference (equally, there may not have been much of a statistically significant difference at all). But those are interesting findings, nonetheless!

  4. Dr Jim says:

    The results seem quite clear to me, don’t ask the population of England questions with actual words in them

  5. bobajock says:

    Shame they cant think outside their boxes.

  6. Scott Shaw says:

    The lesson would be “Do unto others” surely. But I don’t believe they would realize as the English/British state has never believed in that motto for life.

  7. Heather McLean says:

    Are you certain that they actually understood the question they were being asked?
    Truly astonishing!!

  8. Truth says:

    If only you’d been able to ask Ruth Harrison.

    She has no trouble volte facing, or being a monumental hypocrite.

  9. gus1940 says:

    Re this week’s survey by The BBC on how proud English people are of being English I wonder if similar polls are being carried out on Scots and their relationship/loyalty to The UK.

  10. Returnofthemac says:

    Agree with Doctor Jim. Sadly suffer them on QT every week. My own fault shouldn’t watch.

  11. Macart says:

    Wow! Now that is an eye opener.

  12. aLurker says:

    5 June, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    If only you’d been able to ask Ruth Harrison.
    __ ____ _____ ____ ____ __ ___ ____ ^^^^^^^^
    HaHa HawHAw

    Thankyou for the reminder!
    I had quite forgotten about the Ruth Harrison appreciation incident

    recent history: 2nd February 2017
    ‘The Midge: Have you met Ruth Harrison? Defence Secretary flubs Scots Tory leader’s name’

  13. Welsh Sion says:

    Gus1940 @ 12:48pm

    BBC Survey Archived for you by Smallaxe on “Off Topic” – with thanks to Smallaxe.

  14. Iain says:

    Would be interesting to see the results if the order of the questions had been reversed.

  15. ClanDonald says:

    If you ever do an England-only survey again, can you ask that question again without the leading first one? Just so we can see how hypocritical voters really are.

  16. Derek Taylor says:

    Wow English people are stupid good work rev. Weird how somebody being in a different county makes them stupid but here we are.

  17. Geordie says:

    Beautiful skewer! I can just hear the clanging sound of a monumentally huge penny dropping when they came to the second question. Too late by that point, of course. Because to give a different answer from Q1 would be to immediately admit hypocrisy, double standards and a blase approach to bombing other countries. Well, they are clueless, shifty Johnny Foreigners after all, aren’t they…?

  18. Vestas says:

    Sir Humphrey would approve of the juxtapositon of questions 😉

  19. MajorBloodnok says:

    Maybe they thought only English cities that have the most immigrants in them would be targeted first. Anyway, can’t wait to read about this in the Telegraph.

  20. Reluctant Nationalist says:

    It shows, Rev, that most of those who were polled had enough self-awareness to be embarrassed about displaying overt hypocrisy in a crass manner. They thought they were ‘on the record’ and needed to look good. Reverse the question order and the total approval for intervention would be much lower for both home and away, affected by the same phenomenon. I think.

  21. Street Andrew says:

    Dr Jim says:
    5 June, 2018 at 12:39 pm
    “The results seem quite clear to me, don’t ask the population of England questions with actual words in them”

    I think this might be nominated for the Wings succinct reply of the year trophy.

    Brilliant Dr Jim.

  22. Street Andrew says:

    They are apparently mostly liars judging by the response every time there is a bomb goes off somewhere in Britain.

    Aerial bombardment and drone assassination by national powers don’t seem to be seen on the same light as ‘terrorist atrocities’.

    Funny that.

    Funny peculiar, not funny Ha Ha.

  23. Dr Jim says:

    How about this question:

    Would you rather the UK bombed Scotland to kill off nationalism….
    Would you rather the UK gassed Scotland to kill of nationalism thereby leaving the infrastucture intact

    I’d put money on Daily Mail readers clamouring to answer that

  24. Dr Jim says:

    @Street Andrew

    I do my best and I thank you sir, when do I get my £5?

  25. Proud Cybernat says:

    And if THIS had been asked (I wonder)?

    Q1: In terms of voting, the UK is outnumbered in the EU parliament by around 10:1. What do you think is the best course of action for the UK?

    a) Stick with it–it’s democracy & we’re a Union (41%)
    b) Leave it and take back control (54%)
    c) Create a new Union with USA (2%)
    d) Don’t know. (2%)

    Q2: In terms of voting, Scotland is outnumbered in the UK parliament by around 10:1. What do you think is the best course of action for Scotland?

    a) Stick with it–it’s democracy & we’re a Union (65%)
    b) Leave it and take back control (25%)
    c) Create a new Union with EU (2%)
    d) Don’t know (8%)

    More than likely. Their precious, precious Union and all that.

  26. dakk says:

    More proof of what I have known for decades.

    The defining values of the English and their pathetic Britnat Scottish wannabees are warmongering, hypocrisy and dishonesty.

    Not nice people.

  27. Derick fae Yell says:

    How many times has Scotland been invaded?

    My count is

    Rome x 4
    Ireland x 1
    Norway x 1 (not counting occasional plundering as invasion)
    England x 27

    “The Lord in his wisdom gave us the Cheviots as a defensive barrier. We really needed the Alps” (Oliver Brown)

  28. Robert J. Sutherland says:

    All of which illustrates the limits of polls, I fear. People are willing to contemplate all sorts of theoretical possibilities when asked by a pollster that they wouldn’t tolerate for an instant in reality.

    The most obvious actual case being taxes. People will contemplate all sorts of wondrous tax-raising possibilities in a poll, but come an election where they are faced with someone promising to actually levy the same…?

    The most pertinent of which, at the moment, being Brexit. There are apparently a lot of people for whom the notion still has no sense of reality. Yet. (Including, it would seem, everyone in the Tory UKGov.) Once it does actually happen, it will be a very different story, but by then it will be way too late.

    Time more people woke up to reality about matters that are likely to have effects as potentially shattering as bombs being dropped, and which are a whole lot more likely to happen, and very soon now.

  29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Wow English people are stupid good work rev. Weird how somebody being in a different county makes them stupid but here we are.”

    Um, that’s a really odd conclusion to draw from the data.

  30. Roger Mexico says:

    Well that’s amusing. Were the 109 people who chose the ‘national interest’ option in question Q19 mostly from the 158 people who backed UK national interest in Q18, by the way, or are there different things in play here? Equally were the people who chose the options consistent or not?

    It’s also worth pointing out that Q19 effectively gives “dropping bombs on UK … military intallations” as an option for intervention which some might read as it being only fair (after Q18) that foreigners could counter-attack after being invaded. Or they might simply not have read the question correctly and assumed it the previous question re-asked.

    You do occasionally get the hypocrisy-catching questions in other polls – for example asking if people want freedom of movement for Brits in the EU (yes!) and then for EU nationals in the UK (No!), but this is a lovely case.

    Also any chance of updated tables after you’ve finally finished dribbling out the results?

  31. Bob Mack says:

    Is Homer Simpson and his family in that poll? Doh!!!

  32. Proud Cybernat says:


    AUOB Edinburgh March date confirmed (6th October):

  33. Artyhetty says:

    They just can’t have understood the questions being asked of them. If they did understand, we are all f****d.

  34. louis.b.argyll says: gullible people are, even to their own hawkish preconceptions.

  35. Arbroath1320 says:

    Grabs bag(s) of pop corn and crate(s) of Irn Bru so I’m fully prepared for full blown BBC/STV/SKY/MSM neutral coverage of the impending bombing of cities across England. 😀

  36. Reluctant Nationalist says:

    This reminds me of something Tony Blair said about the ‘British’ people after Labour won again (I think it was 2001). He said that he thought the British were essentially decent and good; and gave an example of this decency by describing the typical change of tact and profuse apologies that followed the revelation that the Labour canvasser at their door who they had been slagging off Blair to was, in fact, his son Euan.

  37. sinky says:

    Heard long interview on Radio Scotland at 12.15 approx with some guy (missed intro) on about lack of educational opportunities for white working class kids in Manchester area and lack of Goes etc. No reference to position in Scotland where more working class kids go onto college than in England.
    If our broadcasters don’t relate to Scotland or put Scottish position in context with others then what chance have we to convince doubters on Indy Ref2

  38. sinky says:

    Should read GCEs damn predictive text

  39. S.Perspective says:

    Maybe they were just tired and unattentive after having answered nearly 20 questions.

  40. Capella says:

    Poor old England. Stu is the only person who cares what they think.
    SIR Curtice has a What Scotland Thinks site. He has a What UK Thinks. There is even a Yougov What the World Thinks.

    But no What England Thinks.

    Well done for giving our neighbours the chance to air their opinions.

  41. Dorothy Devine says:

    Dr Jim , novichok ? Or should I say successful novichok

  42. Artyhetty says:

    re:Dr Jim@1.34

    I wouldn’t give them any ideas,it’s what the demonisation of the SNP and Scotland is for, in England. Shhhhhhhh!

  43. Les Wilson says:

    For those who have missed this
    “The UK government is coming under increasing pressure to release the so-called “Doomsday Brexit” papers, which revealed a no-deal Brexit could see Scotland running out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals running out of medicines within two weeks.”

  44. Talk about Scotland running out of things they ran out of courage after the act of union was forced on.them and they protested but accepted it and are still doing so aye when will we see their like again???

  45. Arbroath1320 says:

    Apologies for O/T here but it appears that one of our most favourite of favoured newspapers has been fined by the Scottish courts. 😉

  46. Robert Louis says:

    Next poll of Scots, born in Scotland, ask: ‘does anybody of sane mind, actually watch cricket?’

    Then, of those who say yes, ask ‘Do they enjoy the experience in any way?’

  47. Ghillie says:

    I can only imagine that 100% of those polled would be extremely unhappy if the unthinkable happened.

  48. Scottish Steve says:

    Our southern cousins aren’t the brightest bunch are they? Perhaps this is why Scotland was cajoled into Union. They needed us to run their empire for them.

    “God help England if she had no Scots to think for her.” – George Bernard Shaw.

  49. wull2 says:

    If you use a rag that intentional misleads the majority of readers on the front page, does that mean you are happy to mislead the public with your product. Just asking , I am confused, so until you make it clear I will not buy the products.

  50. Juan says:

    Maybe they’re just addicted to bombing. Doesn’t matter where or who is being bombed. It’s just for the love of bombs! Would explain decades of their foreign policy and choice of having Boris at FO. That’s in itself was as cry for help and actively provoking someone to bomb them.
    There’s no other logical explanation.

    England seems more foreign with every passing day.

  51. yesindyref2 says:

    Most excellent Rev, context is everything.

    I sincerely hope Andrew Wilson sticks to his guns and doesn’t stoop to defending the SGC Report on twitter. It’s not an easy thing to do – to not reply – but often, having made a point, it’s the final and best point you can make – silence.

    And on that note, worth reading the comments on this thread, bearing in mind who the players are (or finding out as you go along):

    Very interesting stuff.

  52. ronnie anderson says:

    Chris Bell
    Nuggets o Pish

    Your donations to the crowdfunder have now been passed on to the Rev, Nuggets o Pish ah hiv actually to go the bank counter & tell them the names of donators for the receipt . ( might be a change of name chist tae save ma blushes lol .

  53. yesindyref2 says:

    @Dr Jim: “@Street Andrew
    I do my best and I thank you sir, when do I get my £5?

    You are Nicola Sturgeon and it’s me claims my £5.

    *hysterical laughter hahahaha*

  54. yesindyref2 says:

    Been given this page as a good one, the table in it, to check out or talk about MMT, not read it no time, but yrtis onyways.

  55. yesindyref2 says:

    @Robert Louis
    I worked in England a lot, and in fairness there’s nothing like a Sunday with the sun shining, a village green with 2 or 3 pubs around it and tables and chairs outside, drinking pints, eating a Sunday roast special, and listening to the sound of leather on willow.

    Well, in fairness there’s quite a lot like it, in different ways, some things even better.

  56. yesindyref2 says:

    Mmm, the cry rings out “Howzat?”

    “Very tasty thanks and a big plate too, my glass seems to be empty, another pint of that Olde Elephant’s Bottom real ale please”.

  57. galamcennalath says:

    Two unrelated conclusions …

    1) proves how people can be pre-conditioned to answer questions in a certain way by previous questions

    2) shocking that so many people would accept widespread death and destruction so casually and calmly

  58. galamcennalath says:

    OT The New Statesman just reporting …

    “Jeremy Corbyn will table an amendment to the government’s Brexit legislation calling for a bespoke European Economic Area-style deal.”

    … weasel words worthy of the Tories!

    ‘A’ and ‘bespoke’ and ‘style’ … it means f’ck all and the EU will just laugh at it.

    How stupid do they think we all are? Well, perhaps a partial answer to that lies in the questions and opinions featured in this article!

  59. Robert J. Sutherland says:

    It occurs to me that in this instance the English poll respondents might just be showing a touch of humour. (Taking the p*ss, even).

    Whereas we may be struggling somewhat.

    (No doubt risible will appear before long and put us all right. =grin=)

  60. Robert J. Sutherland says:

    galamcennalath @ 18:53,

    Which only goes to prove that JC the Messiah does have a sense of comedy! Does a late career change on the stage beckon, perhaps?

    One might be tempted to advise him not to give up the day job, except he doesn’t seem to be very good at that either…

  61. Muscleguy says:

    @Robert Louis
    At this time of year the thwack of leather on willow and cries of howzat? come over our back fence competing with the screams of the swifts doing acrobatics in the sky.

    For that is the home ground of the Forfarshire Cricket Club.

    I was born in Scotland and am of sane mind. I must explain though that I grew up in NZ from age 6 and started playing and appreciating cricket.

  62. ScottieDog says:

    I didn’t intervene in the ‘debate’ between the banker and the dog food guy.
    Its a case of two people arguing about different aspects of the wrong axiom. A bit like two 13th century astronomers arguing over their models of the sky.

    Sadly using the neoliberal view of Indy validated that idiot Hague.

    Prof Mitchell’s contribution on currency was very enlightening. I just hope to hell the SNP will give it the attention it deserves.

  63. louis.b.argyll says:

    In ‘Blighty’ we see war in our living rooms daily, or so we think.

    Sure we’ve had pockets of direct attack on some cities and during 2 World Wars we threw away a couple of million men, which I still can’t get my head around.

    England doesn’t really know what war is.

    Not like most European nations. Fear of invasion is not equivalent to memory of oppression, rape and murder, so the UK sells war abroad.

    Having never recently (as in 250 years) been invaded or occupied, they fall short on appreciation of suffering en-masse, whether their own, or others.

    England definitely doesn’t know what oppression is, given that they repeatedly vote for it.

  64. Reluctant Nationalist says:

    I’ve just had a thought – the English poll respondents might be undercover Scots who fooled Stuart into thinking they were English by dressing as morris dancers and saying, ‘owight gavnah’ a lot.

    Did you not think of THAT, Stu?


  65. yesindyref2 says:

    I’d guess the SNP have considered MMT, but it is too dangerous for them at the moment. Like it or not they are “the establishment” in Scotland, and have to be seen to follow the rules. After a YES vote it could be different, and it would be good to see a fringe SNP group carrying the banner of MMT.

    As for below average, he’s in a corner. Whatever comes out from the SNP or YES he has to draw squiggly nursery pictures to discredit it, in his own eyes at least, and relies on ignorant media dislike of both Indy and the SNP to push his efforts. But in this case he’s on a losing wicket, because he’s effectively discrediting a lot of his previous “work” to do so. I posted one time on one article on his blog, just for interest, and in his efforts to put me in my place he contradicted himself, something he actually often does in his articles. I put a post together with those contradictions highlighted in his own words and for some odd strange unaccountable reason, it never appeared.

    Basically he’s weak, suffering from that kind of superiority complex that has its base in being quite ignorant, but thinking he knows more than he does. Well, a lot of us are like that at times, but as long as we back off it’s OK, whereas for an ego like his it’s a real boon for us becaues he won’t and that always ends in ignominy! Which of course also drags down the sheeplike followers. Meanwhile the more he’s quoted, the better for us.

    That’s what I think, E&OE excepted or accepted 😎

  66. Jockanese Wind Talker says:


    “European governments are advising businesses not to use British parts in goods for export ahead of Brexit”

  67. Meg merrilees says:

    Has anyone heard the trailer for a play on radio 4 next week?

    Apparently we can listen to it every afternoon – is the subject matter a coincidence or a deliberate attempt at creating fear???
    Impartial BBC? I don’t think so – you decide.

    What is is about?

    The BBC is broadcasting a futuristic drama where our next Civil War is between Scotland and England and the trailer begins with the statement:

    ” They’re closing the border with England” and there’s talk of wiping out Nationalists…

    A curious subject matter given current politics, Brexit/Indy ref 2 or is this a coded message to those who would participate in the ‘Ulsterisation of Scottish Politics’.

    Either way the trailer made me feel uneasy!

    And how about this explanatory note on the schedules page

    Martin Jameson’s drama draws on detailed research from BBC correspondents to analysts, contingency planners, and those with first hand experience of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, to make the Fletchers’ adventures a compelling account of what civil war could do to us all.


  68. Breeks says:

    Meg merrilees says:
    5 June, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    The BBC is broadcasting a futuristic drama where our next Civil War is between Scotland and England and the trailer begins with the statement:….

    It’s already fallen at the first hurdle for propaganda. It wouldn’t be a civil war, just a war.

    It’s BritNat horseshit from the same stable as the Scottish Jacobite’s being “rebels”, and Wallace being executed for “treason, when both were loyal to their legitimate Monarch.

    BBC just can’t help itself. There are so many nails in the BBC’s coffin you could bury it at sea, and be quite sure it went straight to the bottom.

  69. Dougie says:

    I worked in Slough for a year (in the office shown at the start of The Office, in fact – it’s not there anymore…but I digress).

    It really is England’s Arsehole. Bombing is the best thing anyone could do to it. As long as they don’t hit the Mars Bar factory 😀

  70. yesindyref2 says:

    @Meg merrilees / @Breeks
    Yes, it would be war not civil war, so they got that wrong. For civil war Scotland would still have to be part of the UK, and unless defence in any way was devolved to Scotland, the only people legally armed in Scotland would be the Police. Some people could get hold of illegal arms I daresay, but if the UK Government left it to the stage where people had got tanks, missiles, jets, helicopters, ships, then it would mean the UK Gov weas even worse than it is now.

    Or the whole UK had already descended into a Mad Max or Mad Boris kind of anarchy.

    It might be interesting to see how they justify their description all the same.

  71. CameronB Brodie says:

    Very interesting findings and just goes to show the strength of influence that “framing” has on how we process information and make moral choices.

    Humanitarian Intervention as Liberal Imperialism: A Force
    for Good?


    Since the end of the Cold War there has been a significant increase in the number of so called “humanitarian interventions” in the internal affairs of states, concomitant to the seeming decrease in the importance of state sovereignty. The aim of this paper is to trace these developments alongside the rise to prominence of international liberal theory, which has had significant influence on the practise of humanitarian interventions throughout the 1990s as well as in the new era of the War on Terror. An analysis of the ideology underpinning liberalism aims to highlight the use of “humanitarian” force as a technique of liberal governance, rather than a reflection of the newfound humanitarian sentiments of the Western world. It will, however, be argued that questionable motives aside, one cannot ignore the beneficial humanitarian outcomes that can result from intervention, meaning absolute non-intervention may be even more morally intolerable than the crusading force of liberal imperialism.

    The English School and Humanitarian Intervention

    Intervention for human protection is a key component of English School thinking about the rights and duties that states hold by virtue of their membership of international society. As a practice, it is as old as international society itself. A defence of intervention on humanitarian grounds can be found in the doctrine and practice of European great powers during the period when European hegemony was consolidated.[i]

    Despite the persistence of the practice, humanitarian intervention has almost always been a divisive issue among diplomats, state leaders and world public opinion. It remains institutionally complex and normatively contested in world order today. The fissures in the international community were evident both during and after the NATO-led intervention in Libya in 2011. Supporters of the intervention were quick to argue that it was a ‘textbook case’,[ii] while others argued that the intervention had risked doing irreparable damage to the responsibility to protect[iii] ‘norm’ and its prospects for becoming the go-to framework for responding to atrocity crimes.[iv]

    Realist Thought and Humanitarian Intervention


    This article seeks to test the assumption that realism is completely hostile to the ethical and political notions of humanitarian intervention. The popular understanding of realism states that the national interest and international order will always trump the moral impulse to assist those suffering gross human-rights abuses at the hands of their government. The article makes the argument that this understanding of realism emerged from a particular period of history and under the pens of specific individuals reacting to these conditions. By affording a much deeper historical scope to the term ‘realism’, this article shows how realism cannot be damned uniformly by those writing and thinking about humanitarian intervention in the present period, and the role it holds in contemporary debates on humanitarian intervention.

    N.B. from a Realist perspective, the first duty of any leader is to defend the nation’s sovereignty. Scotland needs protecting from the sense of narcissistic self-entitlement that is inherent to English culture (seeBrexit, for example).

  72. tammas says:

    These are the sort of people who were as incapable of realising what they were voting for in the same way as they were incapable of understanding what leaving the EU meant.

  73. Gary says:

    I thought ‘priming’ in this way was against the rules of the polling organisations? Obviously not, just bad practise!

    The point you make, I assume, isn’t about bombing but rather about getting questions in polls answered in the way you want?

    I’m on the YouGov panel and, although they are GENERALLY reputable in their choice of question they are not immune to it. Some questions are framed so that ONE response will seem to be a ‘stupid’ answer. The following questions will then take advantage of this earlier push.

    I recognise the difficulty of being ABSOLUTELY fair in any set of questions but I suspect the biases of the question setter and expectations of the company/organisation commissioning the poll have more to do with the overall result than actual opinion.

    But it does lead nicely into Craig Murray’s piece on ‘The Overton Window’ which, when you read it seems so obvious but yet something we rarely consider in day to day life…

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