Thursday 29 August 2013

Syria: Labour forces a Tory climb down

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday it looked certain that London would follow cravenly along behind their masters in Washington and lob a few missiles into Syria while the Americans sent hundreds into the country. Parliament was recalled to rubber stamp the move, because as we all know, our rulers are loyal to the USA and just have to support whatever nastiness that odious country wishes to pursue.

So what went wrong? By yesterday afternoon it was obvious that the numbers did not stack up for a victory in a Commons' vote so none is to be called for the moment. Just why did America's most trusted servants remember what their balls were actually for?

We are lucky in having a Tory government. Had Labour been in power then Miliband could have done a Blair and relied on his payroll vote coupled with the overwhelming majority of the Tory opposition to win the vote. Hard though it is for any normal person to believe, but having a Tory government came in handy yesterday because it is always easier for Labour to be true to its principles when it is in opposition.

Secondly, the seeming rush to war reminded more than a few people, especially on the Labour side, of 2003 and the similar rush to go off and start a war against Iraq. I honestly doubt if many people back then actually believed in all the weapons of mass destruction nonsense, but I suspect that many thought that it would be a cakewalk that would end very quickly, and bring tasty reconstruction contracts in its wake. The seemingly open-ended desire of the Americans to bomb Syria must have led many to speculate that if the air offensive failed then an invasion of the country was probably the next option. 

Finally, the intervention of Tony Blair in favour of the aggression needs to be considered. His remarks may have shifted more than a few Labour doubters into the opposition camp. People will have remembered his promises of a decade ago and the lies that were told to ensure that America's will was adhered to, and they would have remembered the price that our country paid in blood for that criminal adventure. In his own small way, Blair may have unwittingly helped to avert an immediate attack in 2013, something which must gall him if he ever thinks about it.

We are not out of the woods yet, and the suspension must be that the opposition parties will revert to type and support the USA when the chips are down. However, Labour has a wonderful opportunity to damage the government over this just by seeming to be reasonable and asking for more time to consider just what happened in Syria that may, or may not, require a military response.

The longer that goes on the weaker that the government will be, and that is something that we should all wish to see.

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