October 03, 2005

Is Atlanticism doomed in the UK?

Below, Mr. Bennett quotes Dr. Liam Fox extensively. Anglospherists might be disillusioned to see that, when The Spectator put various facts about the four main contenders for the Tory leadership to the public, Dr. Fox's Atlanticism was viewed strongly as a negative. Or was it? If you follow the link at the bottom of the Spectator page and download the PDF of the poll, something interesting emerges.

When it is pointed out that Kenneth Clarke "opposed the war in Iraq," That is viewed positively by 56% and negatively by 15%. The point made about Dr. Fox is the opposite, but adds his fondness for the special relationship: "He is a strong believer in the special relationship with the USA, and a supporter of the war in Iraq." That is viewed positively by 26% and negatively by 46%. Now, if the pollster has done his job correctly, it is surely fair to assume that, had the question not mentioned the USA and just mentioned Iraq, then the Clarke figures would have been reversed for Dr. Fox, with 15% viewing support for the Iraq War positively and 56% negatively. Yet, with the addition of the US element, we see 11% more favorable and 10% less negative. Assuming this interpretation is correct, then Dr. Fox's Atlanticism actually carries with it a 20 point positive rating.

Perhaps all is not yet lost for the Special Relationship.

Posted by Burkean at October 3, 2005 02:48 PM

Yet more evidence that the Anglosphere Institute needs to -- eventually -- get the money together to do its own surveys. No one is asking the questions we are interested in, since they don't line up well with the currently-contemplated political positions and alternatives.

Posted by: Lex at October 3, 2005 03:01 PM

I am not sure which public we are talking about. If it is the Speccy readers, they are not particularly Atlanticist or pro-American. Right wing anti-Americanism, alas, flourishes in Britain. It seems rather a complicated question and people may have been replying to one part of it but not the other. Liam Fox seems to be living up to his surname - twisting this way and that. As far as I can remember all the candidates but Clarke supported the war in Iraq. Maybe not Rifkind.

Posted by: Helen at October 3, 2005 05:45 PM

What has kept any Anglospheric sympathy alive in the past 20 years is the determination of those on the Continent to do things even more annoying than we Yanks are perceived as doing. I was a naive Anglophile as a young man, and probably won't ever fully drop that. But my experience in the cities of England has been more sharply negative than what I encounter in the smaller towns.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at October 3, 2005 07:43 PM