Who do the British regard as allies?

Milan DinicResearch Manager
October 14, 2015, 3:51 PM GMT+0

An overwhelming majority see America, Germany and France as important UK allies

With the spread of Islamic State in the Middle East, tensions between Russia and the West over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria escalating, civil war in South Sudan and an accelerating arms race in South East Asia, people have increasingly begun to worry that we’re entering a new Cold War. Interestingly, although analysis shows the number of conflicts falling around the world in the past few years, the death toll and violence is increasing. In what seems to be an ever more dangerous world – who do the British trust to be their close friends?

The United States, Germany and France are considered by an overwhelming majority of the public to be the most important UK allies, a new First Verdict poll reveals. Nine out of ten people see America as the closest international friend of Britain. Interestingly, more people say Germany is as an important ally than say France is, while only one in five see Turkey and Saudi Arabia as vital UK counterparts.

Although the special relationship bond between the UK and US  was strongly exemplified in the Blair years – from Anglo-American coalitions in the Balkans to Afghanistan and Iraq – it is the conservative supporters who are slightly more inclined to see America as an important ally compared to those who back Labour.

Saudi Arabia not an ally

Britain has decided to pull out of £5.9m Saudi jail deal which was supposed to provide “training-needs analysis” to the Saudi justice authorities. It is claimed the decision to back off from the project was made due to Justice Secretary Michael Gove’s opposition to assisting a regime which uses beheading, stoning and lashing as punishments.

First Verdict research shows a strong majority – 7 out of 10 – agree we should not assist Saudi Arabia in such a way.

Furthermore, the majority think we should not consider the Saudi’s as an ally whose social/political culture we must respect. Only one in five disagree, including this commenter who said: “by engaging with them you can influence them rather than just tutting from the side-lines”.

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