YouGov Survey 2011 British Attitudes Towards the UK’s International Priorities

Chatham House has noticed that things are a bit slow on ARRSE over the summer break and so they have fielded this for your attention:

The Chatham House-YouGov Survey 2011 | Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Key findings include:

By a clear margin, most people think the most important focus of British foreign policy should be protecting its borders, including counter-terrorism; out of a list of ten items, the public's lowest priority is dealing with international crises.
The four greatest threats to Britain (from a list of 12) are thought to be international terrorism, interruptions to energy supplies, organized crime (including drug- and people-trafficking) and instability in the world's financial system. Climate change is seen as far less of a threat.
40% think Britain's foreign policy over the past year has damaged Britain's reputation abroad; only 6% think it has enhanced its reputation.
The biggest contributing factor to Britain's international reputation is thought to be the fact that English is a global language of business and diplomacy.

"The first impression from YouGov's latest study of UK public reactions to foreign policy development and the wider international scene is of people's continuing attachment to the UK's independence as an island state. This, however, is accompanied by a lack of enthusiasm for any particular role for the UK in the international context, except perhaps contented passivity."

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chairman, Gatehouse Advisory Partners; former UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Please feel free to comment.

This will be spin doctor's masterclass. I'd love to see what they come up with for climate change legislation and so forth.
So basically, most of the public think we should mind our own business, protect our own borders and stop fighting political vanity wars?

Qu'elle surprise!
This will be spin doctor's masterclass. I'd love to see what they come up with for climate change legislation and so forth.
Changing minds on climate change?
Bernice Lee
Research Director, Energy, Environment and Resource Governance
While the general public sees climate change as a relatively low priority for foreign policy, 60% believe
Britain should tackle climate change – whether unilaterally or making action conditional on the actions of
others. Policy-makers have failed to persuade 31% of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Not surprisingly, views about climate change are split along party lines. It is ranked among the top four
threats to the British way of life by just 12% of prospective Conservative voters, as against 23% of Labour
and 33% of Liberal Democrat supporters. More of the opinion-formers – some 14% of Conservative, 54%
of Labour and 41% of Liberal Democrat supporters – view climate change as a high priority. There is a
marked disconnect between opinion-formers and general public respondents intending to vote Labour –
one of the highest discrepancies among the international issues surveyed.
Opinion-formers and the general public also differ when considering appropriate strategies for the UK
in tackling climate change. While 46% of opinion-formers argue that climate mitigation should take place
irrespective of other governments’ approaches (down 4% on last year), 27% believe Britain’s action should
be conditional on those of others, while 25% think that no action is needed. Those working in businesses
are also far more cautious than civil servants and political advisers when it comes to unilateral climate action.
That's the expert analysis on this particular subject. CH cover most of the foreign policy issues which have exercised ARRSErs in the past. It really is worth a read.


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