Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Disgraceful behaviour from UK politicians lets Assad off the hook


Syrian children lay dead after being gassed in Damascus

Syrian children lay dead after being gassed in Damascus

MPs cheered last night when the Government was defeated in the House of Commons. What have we become when the cockpit of our nation brays from the green benches as children are gassed and burned in Syria by a brutal dictator who has no respect for international norms or decency? As Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said yesterday in the House, Hitler had not even used chemical weapons in the second world. The implication is Assad is worse than Hitler and Great Britain says it’s got nothing to do with us.

I am depressed and angry by the behaviour of the 285 MPs who voted against what was a watered down motion approving military action to stop the agonising deaths of children in Syria’s cities, which explicitly said would not take place immediately leaving the UN inspectors to complete their work and for the UN security council to debate the grave situation again.

The long dark shadow of Iraq has made our parliamentarians impotent. In one fell swoop, they have diminished our standing in the world, they have damaged the special relationship with the United States – a partnership which adds great value to upholding international law and has saved the globe from great evil three times in the last century. Chemical weapons have been banned by the Geneva Convention for nearly ninety years. Even Saddam Hussein used them only once. Assad has used them 14 times in the last year. Whilst the glorified social workers which now seem to make up the majority of the UK parliament acted like armchair Generals, Assad seemed so convinced the West would do nothing he yesterday dropped an incendiary bomb with what seemed to contain napalm on a school playground burning children, men and women to death. But the so called “will of the people” in Britain decided that’s quite ok.

Parliamentary democracy is the least worst system there is as Winston Churchill once said but it is not a panacea. If politicians never led and just followed, we’d have public hanging brought back to entertain the masses. David Cameron made a literally fatal political calculation – haunted by Iraq – by taking his call for action against Assad into a mess of a parliament full of feuding factions in all parties with a Coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at its helm. A sixth-form politics student could see how this would end up. And the irony is the Prime Minister didn’t legally need to seek a vote in the House of Commons. He has the power under Royal Prerogative to initiate military action to protect Britain’s interests, let alone to stop the slaughter of infants in their beds. But he chose to blink and humiliated Britain on the world stage as a result.

As former Liberal Democrat leader and soldier Lord Ashdown said this morning: “What is the point of having armed forces?” During the twentieth century, Britain stood tall, punched way above its weight against tyranny and the defence of freedom. After tonight’s vote, I feel we have become a different country, one that reflects our geographical size rather than the great influence we once had on the world stage. We can no longer use our extensive military force within the international system to protect crimes against humanity. Instead of looking out to the world which I keenly advocate (one of the reasons why we should pull out of the EU, which has shown itself to be completely toothless on Syria) we have become an isolationist. This has a serious geopolitical impact. We have become as bad as Russia and China have behaved during the last two years of the Syria civil war.

One politician from last night who deserves our greatest wrath is not David Cameron but Labour leader Ed Miliband. He chose to score political points at the expense of children being wracked by nerve agents in their homes. Miliband is a political opportunist of the worst kind and I hope to God this pygmy never becomes Prime Minister.

The current Prime Minister is not much better when it comes to making the right political choices. He has spent the last eight years as leader of the Tory Party distancing himself from his backbenchers and grass root activists, which has implicitly given approval to his former Eton chums to abuse ordinary Conservative Party members. Is it therefore any wonder he can’t rely on his Party’s support when the going gets tough? His backbenchers don’t trust him, never mind follow his lead. The whips are so frightened of the Tory rebels they obviously had no idea the Government was about to be defeated. It’s a dog’s breakfast which isn’t going to get any better as we head towards the 2015 General Election and the disintegration of the Coalition shortly beforehand.

I don’t feel the need to call for David Cameron’s resignation as some readers might expect as there is no alternative. The Prime Minister’s resignation would lead to a General Election and the likely result would be a Labour-Liberal Democrat Coalition. Then we really would be finished.

Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

13 thoughts on “Disgraceful behaviour from UK politicians lets Assad off the hook

  1. Syria needs more violence like a penguin needs a fridge. No good could possibly come from bombing al-Assad. Since genocide is not an option for any faction, enemies will have to talk to each other, at some future juncture. The way forward is to short-circuit the violence and solicit that dialogue now.

  2. I would call for the Prime Minister’s resignation. I don’t see how he has a choice. He took a course of action involving a War/Peace decision to the House of Commons – and he LOST.

    If I were Hague I’d go on a point of principle. How can he make a case for British Foreign Policy now everyone knows a few idiot MPs can scupper whatever he says?

    And the Chief Whip should be FIRED. No chance to resign, there is no way he should have allowed this defeat to happen. I like him, he was a good Leader of the House, but as Chief Whip he has been a complete failure.

    • Bloody hell, I’ve been overtaken by Mr Redsell on attacking Cameron. From historical precedence, you have a fair point. The PM and FS have been severely weakened which means the UK is weakened – that’s not acceptable when there is a method to resolve it.

      • The UK is not weakened by Cameron’s embarrassment but strengthened by its powerful democracy.

  3. The world is laughing at our divided leadership. The French are looking more reliable than we are. Iran and Russia are laughing at us. Humiliation isn’t the word.

  4. ………. or because we are letting Assad kill his own people, Damascus Mick?

  5. How does doing nothing save lives? Don’t be ridiculous.

  6. How does killing people save lives? Don’t be rediculous! The way to save lives is to negotiate peace, not go to war.
    If al-Assad was a Western, rather than a Russian ally, the question would never have arisen. Think back to the West’s response to Pinochet muderous activities.

  7. Augusto Pinochet didn’t break the Geneva Convention by using Chemical Weapons.

    Chemical Weapons are banned. The next tyrant that decides to use them may be in confrontation with British troops. He’ll know he has no worries about using them, because the world has ignored this tyrant today.

    The use of Chemical Weapons must not, can not, should not, go unopposed. Unrecognised. Without sanction.

  8. Our despots may do as they please, but yours must abide by international war.

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