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November 17, 2003
Let's Keep the British Protests in Perspective

All we're hearing in our newspapers is that Britain's about to erupt with anti-American hatred in response to a visit from President Bush. Well, it's a bit overblown, as the Guardian reports in a new poll taken amongst the British electorate:

The survey shows that public opinion in Britain is overwhelmingly pro-American with 62% of voters believing that the US is "generally speaking a force for good, not evil, in the world". It explodes the conventional political wisdom at Westminster that Mr Bush's visit will prove damaging to Tony Blair. Only 15% of British voters agree with the idea that America is the "evil empire" in the world.

Just as here, the UK has a large, diverse population, and it's not difficult to come up with a few thousand mouthbreathers that would be happy to loudly protest damn near anything, especially a representative of capitalism and military strength. Supposedly, Tony Blair was supposed to be politically damaged by this visit and the highly visible protests it would inspire, but if anything, Bush's visit gives Blair another opportunity to deliver his message of engagement in Iraq's liberation and strategic alliance with the US. And it seems to be working:

The ICM poll also uncovers a surge in pro-war sentiment in the past two months as suicide bombers have stepped up their attacks on western targets and troops in Iraq. Opposition to the war has slumped by 12 points since September to only 41% of all voters. At the same time those who believe the war was justified has jumped 9 points to 47% of voters.

The Guardian breaks the polling down demographically, and it's interesting that Blair and US support seems to be strongest among younger voters -- just as in the US:

A majority of "twentysomethings" welcome Mr Bush. Hostility is strongest amongst the over-65s.

It's nice to see that young Britons are supportive of our efforts to eliminate terrorism, but it's damned annoying to see this repudiation from the generation who should best remember American assistance in defeating the Nazis, running the Atlantic blockade to keep them fed (at no insignificant loss of life), and helping them secure their island from the worst effects of WWII. It doesn't mean that they should automatically agree with anything we do -- no one seriously thinks that -- but outright hostility to an American president is just rude under the circumstances.

Even at that, it's hardly the Western meltdown portrayed by the mainstream media here, and in fact, there seems to be plenty of good news from Britain regarding popular support. Let's keep that in mind when we see the protests on TV. (link via Drudge Report)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 17, 2003 11:35 PM

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