Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Week the West Blinked



Two game changing events took place this week in world politics. firstly we saw UK MPs shamefully vote to rule out any military action in response to the genocide taking place in Syria, signaling the dawn of a new isolationist agenda in the UK. Then today President Obama addressed the world to climb down from his threat of an imminent missile strike on the Assad Regimes' key military assets and replaced it with a future vote in the US Congress to gain their support for any further action.

In one of the first major tests in the post Iraq and Afghanistan era, in the face of a cruel dictator unleashing chemical weapons on 14 occasions and just this week the dropping of napalm on one of his country's own schools the West has done the very thing we could not afford to do we have blinked.

David Cameron took his eye off the ball when it came to ensuring his whips were doing their jobs in making sure he had the numbers in parliament, the whips failed to see the small but present group of conservative MPs determined to push an isolationist ideological agenda at any cost, Ed Miliband turned this way and that way and by the close of play he had ended up at no way and today we heard the President of the USA facing the choice of unilateral strikes against Syria without the support of his closest ally the UK or a political climb down, instead he chose to pass the buck to his congress shirking his duty as commander in chief.

But the people who are clearly not blinking are the Assad Mafia (government is clearly not a fair description of them) and his allies Russia and China. Following President Obama's speech today we saw the artillery which had been silent since firing chemical weapons into the rebel held suburbs a week ago opening fire again in almost a gleeful celebration of Obama's live streamed backing off speech. We also heard earlier today Syria's biggest President Putin facing the cameras to condemn the words and allegations made by the USA about the regime making it very clear that there is no thawing of Western Russian relations on this issue. 

While all this goes on the people who are really the losers are the Syrian people, the children still dying due to the severe burns they received from a government napalm laced bomb and the families too scared to leave their homes worried about being shot for simply being out on the street. So far the focus of this debate has been around personalities, Cameron, Miliband and Obama a sign of the state of the political system we live with today. The debate that really needs to happen  is about people, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons no different to those living in the UK or the USA other than where luck had them born. People who are facing the cruelest circumstances with no end in sight and the use of Chemical Weapons which so far has gone unchallenged putting at risk people anywhere there is a dictator who may feel free to use such heinous tools to do his evil bidding now the lease of international pressure has been loosened.

On Friday I sat numb watching the vote in the UK and was very vocal in expressing how ashamed I was of my countries parliament but today I saw that shame turn to anger as the last bastion of hope for Syrian people the USA start to turn their backs on the people too. "Great leaders take on the burden of life and death when it is in the interest of their nation and the world", Despite seeing what had happened in the UK Obama has failed to live up to this maxim and has shown how many politicians in today's world are willing to pass the buck when it benefits them most.

Its time to keep our eyes wide open face up to the evil taking place in Syria and deliver a critical blow to the regime of terror that's in place there.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Our Shame Over Syria



I write this after a night where I ever never been more ashamed to be involved in politics, a night where my opinion and respect for our political elite hit a new low and after a night where innocent children and families in Syria where told their suffering doesn't matter by the UK Parliament.

Watching the debate in Parliament you would think that the conflict that we were all discussing was that of Iraq and that we had suddenly entered a time warp going back to the dark days following 9/11. MP after MP rose to give so called pearls of wisdom of how the government had made the wrong decisions when they decided to act over the Iraq war and others warning of entering into a "war with Syria". Yet the honorable members were actually debating a motion of principled future military action if necessary in Syria not Iraq and indeed no mention of all out war or a grand invasion that seem to be being implied by some of the principled opposition to the motion in the chamber.

The tone of debate was even more bizarre when MPs from my own party rose to read out how they had taken straw polls and received 250 emails from busy bodies opposing any intervention in Syria. While at the same time BBC NEWS was showing footage of children being burnt to death by Napalm in a school in Syria.

Ed Miliband added to the Circus that was the House of Commons when he decided that playing a game of twister turning this way and that over whether we should intervene and in the end finished with simply a position of party politics clearly demonstrated further by disgraceful Labour MPs calling out in repugnant fashion for the Prime Minister to resign following the government losing the vote on the motion in the chamber.

We have a proud history as a nation of standing up for the vulnerable and innocent around the world that have found their basic human rights threatened in the face mass genocide from a brutal dictator, but last night MPs shattered that reputation in one spineless walk through the lobby and the real losers as a result are the 1000s of innocent Syrians who will now continue to be murdered by the Assad regime.

We have set down in principle that a dictator can use WMDs and chemical weapons indiscriminately as long as they do so during the fog of war relying on the west's fetishistic obsession with its own mistakes over Iraq and culture of the political elite more concerned with opinion polls and their majorities than the lives and suffering of innocent people facing genocide in another nation.

War is repugnant and the cost of military action is a tragic one but one that far outweighs the cost of refusing to act when a nation has decided it is free to exterminate vast chunks of its own people.

I will never shape my views by straw polls or let the fact that I may be criticised for taking such a strong view on Syria, some things go far beyond politics and elections this is one of those issues I am a good Samaritan and I wont apologise for that.