One descriptive word that I’m seeing, in relation to David Cameron’s House of Commons defeat during the debate on military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, is ‘historic’.
Fraser Nelson of the Spectator is calling this the worst foreign policy defeat for a British Prime Minister since the debate over the aftermath of Battle of Yorktown in 1782. Lord North the Prime Minister of the time was said to have exclaimed ‘Oh my God. It’s all over’, when told of Britain’s defeat by combined American and French forces during the war of American independence.
Whether or not this description is accurate what cannot be denied is that this is indeed a serious and possibly disabling blow to David Cameron’s credibility. Here we have a PM who cannot hold the support of the majority of the House of Commons, he has become a leader who cannot convince the House to support his policies. Cameron is starting to unravel in a very public way.
By vacillating and fence sitting and trying to be all things to all men in the run up to the 2010 election, David Cameron didn’t so much come over as a principled Conservative, but rather as a chancer. Here is a man who couldn’t even lead his party to a convincing victory over Gordon Brown, probably the worst British Prime Minister in modern history. That is a spectacular non-achievement.
In office he hasn’t done much better. Cameron has not done anything to try to isolate Britain from the economic contagion afflicting the EU and worse, has carried on the policy of letting Brussels dictate and micromanage Britain’s economy, to the detriment of us all. Scandalously even Britain’s borders are now governed by EU regulations, we cannot interdict or remove those foreigners who are plainly not good for us, because of EU freedom of movement directives and the European Court of Human Rights. He engaged on a divisive Gay Marriage policy when all that was needed was a few minor changes to the Civil Partnership Act to remove anomalies such as ‘no religious content in civil partnership ceremonies’, to make the Civil Partnership Act truly equal.
Cameron has not, as a true Conservative should do, stood up for the individual against an over-mighty State, he hasn’t acted to clear out the Leftist ‘plants’ from the public services, ensconced there by the last Labour government, many of whom take a delight in promoting their Islamic pets to the detriment of everyone else. In fact, even worse he has shown himself to be yet another politician who can’t find a bad word to say about the often deranged followers of the ‘prophet’ Mohammed. Cameron has postured while the country has festered and has been truly shown to be a leader without visible means of support.
This defeat may have been not only about Syria, but also about so many other failures of the Cameron Government. David Cameron has failed and he has been failing from the first moment that he went into coalition with the Lib Dems, without making sure that the Lib Dems (who I wouldn’t trust to sit the right way round on a toilet) did not have too much influence on Government.
Many of us are uneasy about intervening in Syria. I was, eventually, a supporter of intervention in Iraq, although I recognise that one of the crucial failures after Saddam was toppled was that the nations making up the military coalition failed to keep Iraq’s infrastructure going which meant that Jihadist and sectarian groups took advantage of the chaos.
Some of the MP’s may have been sitting in the Chamber yesterday, with the word ‘Iraq’ in the forefront of their minds and memories of both former PM Tony Blair’s apparent mendacity, and the subsequent danger of putting British troops into the middle of a volatile civil war zone, fighting with one hand tied up by Human Rights Laws introduced by one T Blair.
But Syria is not Iraq. With Iraq we knew that Saddam Hussain had used Chemical Weapons on the Kurdish people so there was concrete proof that the Iraqi government had used WMD’s on its own people. The issue was whether or not these Chemical Weapons were a threat to either British interests or neighbouring nations.
With Syria, there is doubt, not only about which side has used Chemical Weapons, but also about the wisdom of intervening in a conflict where an attack on Assad would be to the advantage of the same Islamic thugs and nutters who are doing so much damage worldwide. To attack Assad, who I recognise is a nasty dictator, would be to hand a victory to the Islamists. Assad might be a bastard but he was, until the ‘Arab Spring’ a relatively stable dictator who ran a country where unusually for an Islamic country, the minority Christians could live comparatively unmolested.
The anti-Assad rebels do not seem to be a bunch of putative democrats, but rather the vanguard of a new authoritarian Islamic dark age for Syria.
Although it is right that if Assad has launched CW attacks he should face justice either in the international courts or in the Syrian courts in the future, but at the moment, there is nothing to be gained for Britain in getting involved. Of course we as a nation should help those Christians under threat from Islamic jihadis in Syria, but this could be done by offering asylum or resettlement in a more Christian friendly nation. The religious minorities of Syria are not going to be helped by fighting on the side of those who desire to oppress and exterminate them.
It is indeed a horrible dilemma. If a military style action takes place to rightfully punish Assad’s government for its use of Chemical Weapons, then the winners will not be the Syrian people but the armed Islamic gangs fighting against Assad. That is not an outcome that we should either wish on Syria or anywhere else for that matter.
I watched a talking head, whose name escapes me, on Sky news a few days ago, who compared inaction over Syria with inaction in the 1930’s when the terrible dictators were rising. I disagree with that statement, because back then, we went to war against the fascist murderers, whereas if we intervene on behalf of the mostly Jihadist Syrian rebels, then we will be backing the fascists. This would be a mirror image of the 1930’s, but this time we would be fighting on the same side of the fascists, religious ones this time not nationalist ones.