Britons Blame Terror on Foreign Policy


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Britons Blame Terror on Foreign Policy & Newspapers

CAIRO ‹ The majority of Britons believe that Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign
policy has made their country more of a target for terrorists, sentiment that is
plunging support for the governing Labour Party to a 19-year low, The Guardian 
reported on Tuesday, August 22, citing a new poll.

In a Guardian/ICM poll of 1,007 adults carried out over the weekend, 72 percent,
including 65 percent of Labour voters, think government policy has made Britain 
more of a target for terrorists.

Only one percent of respondents believe Blair's actions in the Middle East had 
made Britain safer.

Blair had come under heavy criticism for standing by US President George W. Bush
in blocking an early ceasefire in the Israeli war on Lebanon.

An open letter by 38 British Muslim organizations blaming Blair's foreign policy
for giving "ammunitions" to terrorists has been criticized by the government and
some politicians last week as "dreadful misjudgment."

A report commissioned by Muslim leaders following the 7/7 London attacks said 
that the British policy on Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East were fanning 
the flames of extremism.

And a Home Office's inquiry into the terrorist bombings has conceded that the 
bombers were motivated by London's foreign policy, principally the decision to 
join the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The same poll also showed that support for the ruling Labour dipped four points 
to 31 percent, the lowest since 1987.

It is the second lowest since the poll series began in 1984, noted the British 

The main opposition Conservative Party gained support, rising to 40 percent, its
strongest showing since 1992.

Britain's second-biggest opposition Liberal Democrat Party, meanwhile, gained 
five points to 22 percent.

The poll showed former Labour voters switching to the Conservatives and Liberal 
Democrats in almost equal numbers.

Were those results to be replicated in a general election, the Conservatives 
would win a majority in Parliament by about 10 seats, according to The Guardian.


The poll also indicated that Britons are suspicious of the alleged plot to blow 
up US-bound passenger jets in mid-aid.

Only 20 percent of all polled, and 26 percent of Labour voters, think the 
government is telling the truth about the threat.

Twenty-one percent of those interviewed believe the government has actively 
exaggerated the danger.

A majority of 51 percent think the government is not giving the full truth and 
may be telling less than it knows.

About 15 percent of respondents said they were less likely to fly as a result of
Britain's announcement that it had thwarted the alleged terror plot.

On August 10, Britain arrested 24 people, mostly Muslims of Pakistani origin, in
connection with the alleged plot and raised its terror alert level to "critical"
‹ its highest ‹ leading to elevated security levels at the country's airports.

The alert level has since been lowered and two of the 24 have been released 
without charges.

Eleven of the suspects were due to appear in a London court later Tuesday 
charged in connection with the alleged plot.

Eight of them are charged with conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of 
terrorism, while the three others face charges of withholding information and 
holding information useful to would-be terrorists.

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