There’s no such things as unintended consequences, just poor planning. Last Wednesday the House of Commons voted to authorise RAF bombing of Syria. In the following hours, RAF jets attacked civilian oil installations in Syria. This was reported as using high level free fall bombs. Were there reports of civilian casualties? The government announce an increase in security for the Queen. The government of Syria announces that the RAF attacks are illegal acts of war. Seventy two hours after the vote, Londoners were attacked on the tube, albeit in only one incident with a knife. At the time of writing, there has been no fatal casualties from the London incident.
This immediate litany of events prove Cameron’s and the Government’s lies on legality, effectiveness and safety.
It would be wrong to make political points at this time, which is why I don’t plan to publish this immediately but all those who voted for this action should reconsider their vote and trust in the Government and the Security Services.
Several Labour MPs complain about the lobbying activities, claiming that they are being bullied. The problem is that thy believe that they have a right to ignore their membership and consider that being reminded of the reselection process, and in some cases simple lobbying is bullying. I was amused by Jess Phillips MP’s catalogue of threats of reselection from non members, and her counting of the abuse from non constituents, some of her other comments are less measured. I also approve of the “Stop the War” quote about those that want an abstract moral dilemma can join religious orders. The persistent denigration of the opponents to bombing’s arguments by labelling their tone unacceptable and to exclude the so-called threat of de-selection as a legitimate conversation is exclusively an attempt to demonise the arguments and their proponents. Telling elected officials that the issue is so important to you that it’ll influence one’s vote is always part of the lobbying process.
There’s also the conflation of the mandate as a candidate and the mandate as an MP. Under the current rules of the Labour Party, sitting MPs that want to stand for re-election have to be confirmed in a “Yes/No” trigger ballot. The members have the last word on whether an MP can stand for re-election as a Labour Candidate. MPs in safe seats can ignore their party if they want, but it would be a mistake.
For those falling back on Edmund Burke’s argument that MPs are representatives not delegates’ let’s remember that Burke was speaking before universal suffrage, before mass media, before compulsory education and before the internet. He was a conservative in a pre-democratic age, he has nothing to offer a modern democracy.
David Osland on Left Futures helps us out by explaining the true meaning of purge, terror tactics, the shelling of Fort Sumpter, Fascist and for some reason Kronstadt.
There is an unpleasant, growing tendency in the Labour Party to play the victim card. Liz Kendall’s campaign’s reaction to Helen Goodman’s clumsy attack on her lack of life experience is one example, Yvette Cooper’s team’s reaction to (Lord) Charlie Falconer’s alleged comments on Burnham’s superiority as a candidate over Cooper and Kendall is another. The non-incident of the picketing of Stella Creasy’s home, and Tom Watson’s reaction; it’s a continuation of the attempt to demonise the arguments of others and to distract from the issue of substance, which in this case is whether to authorise the RAF bombing of Syria.
But let’s remember, it’s Cameron’s Government that brought the question to the House and let’s also remember that it was a Tory, Lucy Allan MP, who is accused of faking a death threat to herself. Given the events in Leytonstone, this is particularly sick.