While the House of Commons was voting to bomb Daesh in Syria on that late Wednesday night, it seems as though the Labour party was also voting to go to war … with itself.
And similarly when we saw the first airstrikes carried out just hours after the vote, the Corbynite militia fired their first round of ammunition at those who dared to disagree with their leader who, we keep being reminded, is the imperial proprietor of the biggest mandate in a Labour leader’s history. How could you possibly stump up the rationale to disagree with a leader of the opposition supported by hundreds of thousands of £3 members?
Well, a majority of 174 MPs seemingly did – many of whom have been targeted with threats of violence by so-called pacifists since. From an RAF base in Cyprus, four RAF Tornados targeted Daesh-controlled oil fields in Eastern Syria. Meanwhile back at home another piece of clapped-out, old machinery was honing in on its own key strategic targets.
Self-appointed Commander-In-Chief of the Free Corbynista Army and defence expert former Mayor of London Ken Livingston, while being firmly against Trident, decided to launch a nuke of his own against his own party’s MPs.
Just a month after being controversially appointed by the NEC to the role of co-chairing Labour’s defence policy review (apparently, the shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle can’t do that on her own) and subsequently insulting one of Labour’s own MPs who suffers from depression, Ken seems to have acquired the sweet taste of becoming British politics’ number one, has-been irritant.
He’s now calling for all of Labour’s 66 MPs who voted with the government in favour of airstrikes to be deselected by Labour in 2020. So just to clarify, this would involve the purge of the shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, the aforementioned Maria Eagle and the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson.
Has old Kenny boy forgotten that Labour MPs were handed a free vote on this issue? Which brings me to the unofficial death of collective responsibility – in the Labour shadow cabinet at least. We saw an extraordinary situation where Labour’s front bench made opposing arguments in the Commons. Why? Because it seems Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘new kind of politics’ with honest and open debate actually has a lot of the ‘old’ politics in it.
For Corbyn, a devout pacifist and member of the Stop the War Coalition, would never have offered a free vote had he not been threatened with mass cabinet resignations. Ironically, this was the cabinet that was so carefully selected in order to consolidate Corbyn’s position early-on in his premiership. And then the Campbell-like spin followed proclaiming that the free vote represented the importance of MPs voting with their conscience.
I fear that Corbyn’s lack of leadership has led to a poor debate on the issue and crucially a lack of scrutiny. Labour and the rest of the so-called opposition allowed themselves to be caught up with their self-righteous reputations by taking offence at a leaked comment made by the Prime Minister at a meeting of the parliamentary Conservative party in which he allegedly called people who were opposed to Syrian airstrikes as “terrorist sympathisers”.
Instead of scrutinising claims and questioning strategies, MP after MP wasted precious time of that ten-hour-long debate asking the Prime Minister to apologise in order to sanctify their inaction. But of course, the people of Syria would rather the Prime Minister be questioned over his misinterpreted jibes rather than the very serious matter of war which was actually being proposed.
Whatever your view on the decision, it must be understood that MPs were faced with the very serious decision of how they best thought to protect their constituents – the people who actually got them elected, not Ken Livingstone and his band of merry Corbynistas.
Unfortunately for Syrians, unlike the British in regard to tax credit cuts, they could not be saved by the unelected millionaires of our usually hapless parliamentary upper chamber. Instead they were condemned to remain sitting ducks while another Western nation chose to bomb them in the name of democracy.