Thursday, December 03, 2015

On balance the right decision

I can't recall a situation in which the front bench of the opposition have put on such a public display of division. The incredible scene of the Leader of the Opposition calling for one particular policy and the Shadow Foreign Secretary calling for the opposite may be the first of many divisions to come. But on balance, the decision to use air strikes against ISIL in Syria was the right one.

There can be no negotiations with ISIL, a cult that is engaged in genocide, the murder of gays and the brutal repression of the people in the territory they control. As an historian, I can see the parallels with the Nazis once war was declared in 1939. Nazism had to be defeated militarily. So too with ISIL.

Had I been an MP, I would have voted last night in favour of air strikes. We are already involved in the war. Our aircraft have been bombing ISIL in Iraq. The Commons have voted to extend an existing military campaign. It made no sense to restrict ourselves to one part of the battlefield when crucial targets are in the other part. As an internationalist, I don't believe we could stand back when our allies are under attack and ask for help.

What doesn't help are foolish and inflammatory comments by Cameron equating those opposed to air strikes to terrorist sympathisers. People have genuinely held views and in a democracy, everyone has a right to express them. Cameron should apologise. And on the other side of the divide over this issue, there should be respect from those who oppose air strikes towards those who supported them. It seems however that the threat of deselection is stalking the ranks of Labour MPs. And the offices of some MPs are almost under siege with a tidalwave of abusive messages. This is not the gentler, more caring politics Corbyn says he supports.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Labour's display of disunity even beats the Tories Westland Helicopter affair in the 1980's