The coverage of the European elections in UK verged on becoming hysterical at the thought of the European Union on the edge of imminent implosion. Viewed from Britain, this has some basis in the rise of UKIP and the reaction of the Conservative Party to this rival force on its right flank. But this election took place in 27 other countries too, so are the Eurosceptics marching on Brussels?
The past is, of course, an imperfect guide, as voters and parties change and each election is, to some extent, unique. However, this does not mean past polling tells us nothing. On the contrary, as we have shown in previous research (non-gated version here), careful analysis of past polling reveals common underlying trends and patterns in British public opinion.
Parliament has just voted not to join in a war. MPs were recalled from their summer break to vote on whether the UK should join in US-led strikes on Syria if such strikes go ahead. There has been chemical warfare in Damascus. An attack on 21st August has killed around 350 people, including women and children. That has been widely reported, and the evidence for it seems good.
The street protests going on in Egypt this month have been claimed as the biggest ever – even ‘the biggest uprising in history’ according to the BBC. Reuters has described the number of pro-Morsi supporters on the streets in Cairo alone as in the ‘tens of thousands’ with more in other cities; Wikipedia says ‘millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets’ before Morsi was overthrown. Millions? Really?
A recent New York Times article stated that U.S. officials believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels in that country. This conclusion is based on the “testing of soil samples and blood drawn from people who had been wounded”. The agent found, according to U.S. officials, is sarin gas. This is the same agent that was used in a deadly Tokyo subway attack back in 1995.