‘West no safer since Osama death’

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
May 05, 2011, 10:20 PM GMT+0

Most British people believe that the death of Osama Bin Laden will have little effect on the safety of the West from terrorism, our survey has found. In addition, nearly one third of people feel that it will actually make the West less safe, while just one in ten thinks the West is safer in a world without Bin Laden.

  • 52% of Brits said they thought the death of Bin Laden would ‘make no difference’ to the safety of the Western world from terrorism
  • 31% said that they thought the killing would make the West less safe
  • 10% thought it would make the West more safe

This viewpoint is arguably reflected in the cautious reaction many Western leaders have shown since the killing of former Al-Qaeda head on Sunday last week. Despite US President Barack Obama’s assertion that ‘the world is a safer place’ post-Osama, and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague conceding that Bin Laden’s death represented a ‘devastating blow’ to Al-Qaeda, Hague stressed that a terrorist threat ‘remains’. Similarly, the terrorist threat level to the UK has stayed stable at ‘severe’, which means a threat is likely but not imminent, while Prime Minister David Cameron has advised MPs that the nation should ‘stay vigilant’.

In the United States, Obama’s chief counter-terrorism advisor said that Al-Qaeda ‘remained a danger’, as US embassies around the world were put on alert in anticipation of possible ‘reprisal attacks’, and Obama confirmed that photographs of Bin Laden’s body will not be released because to do so may ‘pose a national security risk’.

See the survey details and full results here