23 August 2009

Afghanistan: The poll findings that no government can ignore


Before we get to the main business of the day - who leads the Labour party at the next election - the none too small matter of Robert Ainsworth and Afghanistan needs some further attention.

One other finding of the ComRes poll is:

All British forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan as quickly as possible:

Agree  60% (64% in July) Disagree 33%  (33% in July)

A Mail on Sunday poll has a different take, but the conclusions are the same:

The BPIX poll finds that 69 per cent do not believe we should be fighting a war in Afghanistan. Only 31 per cent believe the mission is worthwhile.

These verdicts should be most worrying for Brown, as he remains hidden away from reality:

Only 26 per cent think Mr Brown is handling the war 'fairly well'. Seventy-two per cent say he is handling it 'fairly badly' or 'very badly'.

Also, a mere 1.6 per cent believe Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth is dealing with the war 'very well'. Thirty-eight per cent say he is doing 'very badly'.

Mr Brown has repeatedly tried to justify the war by claiming that it is helping to protect the British people from terrorism - but the survey shows that three-quarters of voters do not believe him.

Brown needs to take note of these judgements during his remaining time in office.  He is still Prime Minister and has ultimate responsibility for our troops and the performance of Ainsworth.

It remains to be seen whether Dannatt will speak out after his retirement at the end of the week, and what further damage he will do to the credibility of Ministry of Defence.  One matter, of which there can be little doubt, is that Ainsworth shouldn't continue in office.  His performance is causing collateral damage to the MoD and our troops in the field.

How much longer can any Prime Minister put up with headlines like the one above with ‘our boys’ fighting a war?


PS: Tucked away at the bottom of the Mail article are the results of a BPIX poll on the state of the parties:

Tories would win 36 per cent of the vote, Labour 24 per cent and the Liberal Democrats 17 per cent.

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