Coffee House

Syria debate: the sensible and profound punditry on Twitter

30 August 2013

At 10.00pm last night, Parliament votes against giving British approval to an American missile strike that was going to happen with or without us. But to the New York Daily News, it’s a sign that the British have gone AWOL. And to many in Britain, it’s a sign that the world has ended. Here’s a selection of the more emotional responses to last night’s vote:

In 50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed/ashamed. Britain’s answer to the Syrian horrors? none of our business!

The Respect MP George Galloway who rediscovered his liking Labour…

It was also a victory for Ed Miliband who helped engineer the balance of forces which brought about an historic victory for parliament

…before becoming tangled up on what hue has said about the supply of chemical weapons to the region:

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One MP was keen to offer non-hypocritical advice to the Prime Minister:

Would Cameron please explain what he’s trying to do. Preferably in Englisg

While other activists may have read too much into the situation:

After yesterday “historic” vote on #Syria, Churchill’s statue in Parliament Sq will be replaced by Neville Chamberlain’s

Cameron must resign. What was his role in the chem attack pretext for bombing

Some of the hawks on Fleet Street were not impressed with the outcome either:

The second I go on holiday a good portion of the House of Commons appears to want to abdicate Britain’s status a serious country. Lame.

I do not give a fuck what this means for Miliband and Cameron. It’s the message it sends to Assad that counts. I am ashamed.

Britain has become a nation of crisp-eating surrender monkeys.

Everyone’s favourite other party has tried to muscle in on the Westminster action, despite a lack of representation:

UKIP calls on William Hague to resign following Syria vote

And let’s not forget the deleted tweets from MPs and MEPs who didn’t think before putting thumb to smartphone:

Saddened to see that *PREGNANT* Lib Dem Bearsden MP @joswinson voted FOR the attack on Syria & its children #noshame

Paddy Ashdown & other strutting make-believe Napoleons mourn loss of UK World Policeman role that cost UK £50bn & 643 lives in last 10 years

Support the war or terror – Support Assad – Stop Cameron

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Show comments
  • Rossspeak

    The unfortunate truth is that the British public are war weary – 10 years of blood and treasure spent in Afghanistan for no apparent gain – a war in Iraq that was totally unnecessary ( and we were lied to to persuade us to back it) – and recently support to overthrow Ghadafi in Lybia – only to see sectarian chaos replace him.

    The situation in Syria is tragic – but so have been so many genocidal wars ( Rwanda, Cambodia etc. etc.)

    We can no longer be the world’s policemen – no matter how just the cause – unless the United Kingdom’s DIRECT strategic interests are threatened – which is not the case in Syria.

  • Abhay

    How can William Hague, shill-in-chief for this intervention, continue in his job?
    Nigel Farage has asked for his resignation.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Looks like brother Nige has gamed this out pretty well, unlike the Cameroons. He’s picked out a clean target, isn’t overshooting, and has a good chance of either belting a scalp or lumbering the Camerloons with proven and marked deadweight. Somebody is not going to recover from this, and it’s best if Dave figures out who that’s going to be, and soon, or it might just be him.

      I’m waiting to see what happens to Clegg. That one may need to ferment a bit.

    • milliboot

      Who cares what Nigel Farage wants ? he is a nonentity.Please stop trying to make us interested !

      • Abhay

        Leader of a political party that did well in 2012 local elections
        The media invite his views

        Less of a non-entity than you certainly

  • Abhay

    David A’vitch, that Blair-boot-licker is still around and shilling for the war party which is basically supporting Sunni-wahabi cut-throats in Syria. Didn’t he retire?

  • Olympion

    The Syrian rebels are mostly Islamists, Jihadists and Al Qaeda fighters, how is acknowledging that a sign of not thinking?

  • The Red Bladder

    I think it is about time that a political analyst told us exactly what effect this parliamentary decision will have on the badgers of Syria.

    • madasafish

      They’ll all vote for Miliband of course…

      • The Red Bladder

        Might be but then the baboons would vote Cameron, the chimps Clegg and the marmosets Farage. That’s it with party followers – not a brain cell between the lot of ’em!

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I note that you’ve chosen all mammals. That’s species-ist, sir. J’accuse! Just pay the constable when he knocks at your door.

          • The Red Bladder

            It is, indeed, a fair cop gov. You’ve had a go at me fair enough but you should see the letter I’ve had from the baboons’ solicitor – by golly they don’t like being associated with David Cameron one little bit, not even the blue bottomed ones!

  • Mike Barnes

    Never heard of Henry Reilly before but he’s right. Shame he bottled it and deleted his tweet.

    If a Syrian rebel turned up at Heathrow airport tomorrow he’d be detained as a terrorist suspect, we’d want to know who he’s working for and where he got his weapons and training.

    But as long as he stays in Syria we’re on his side.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I liked all 3 of the deleted tweets.

      But one of them will likely draw a fine from the PC police.

  • telemachus

    “UKIP calls on William Hague to resign following Syria vote”
    Now we get to the really weighty stuff
    Hague proselytising right winger not withstanding is worth a hundred Farages
    Thank God that UKIP are now seen as an irrelevance

    • Noa

      Not by you obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t bother mentioning UKIP.

      • telemachus

        Perhaps we should be addressing matters properly within our domain; the cessation of immigration, addressing the National Debt, the wasteful haemorrhaging of taxpayer funds on welfare, the NHS and foreign aid, a disastrous renewable energy policy and the restoration of an effective independent defence capability.

        • Noa

          A fan!

          I would add, Brexit.

          And as PfM has been voting up some of your recent posts, perhaps he might even let you post on CHW if you ask him nicely.

    • Tangolition

      William Hague should do the right thing and resign

      The ramifications of the British government’s failure to win support for military intervention in Syria are long and deep. William Hague as foreign secretary should shoulder the blame and resign.

      Hague as leader of the Conservative Party (1997-2001) accepted resignations on matters of principal, specifically over House of Lords reform. In February 2012 Hague recognised the Syrian National Council as a “legitimate representative” of the country. He said: “Today we must show that we will not abandon the Syrian people in their darkest hour”. Should he still continue as the foreign secretary in face of such a House of Commons vote? Is it right for him and the Tory party to permit Cameron to carry the can for values based foreign policy that are ending so disastrously in Syria?

      William Hague has been pursuing a policy to “transform the relationship between governments and their populations” in North Africa and the Middle East. He said so in a speech to business leaders in March 2011. He was the architect of sending ground strike aircraft to protect Libya’s second city Benghazi, ultimately leading to the death of Gaddafi. Did such a remarkable success encourage later foolhardiness?

      William Hague is now inextricably linked with surgical military intervention against “repressive regimes”. He advocates they will “find themselves on the wrong side of history.” However Hague is dangerously associated with “bandwagon” politics, as Blair once highlighted. That is none more so true than with this “Arab Spring”.

      However I am in two minds about UKIP’s call for Hague to resign. If he does so he will resurface later as a Tory grandee. If he fights to stay despite this “lost war vote” it tantalisingly promises his permanent exclusion from UK politics. Long live this new relationship between governments and their populations! I prefer political gambles. I hope Hague does the wrong thing and hangs on to power to the end of his own story.

      • telemachus

        He believed in action to punish the perpetrator of the heinous gas attacks
        The people did not agree
        Why should he resign
        Men of principle are to be admired even if wrong

        • Tangolition

          Anyone with wit can reel principles off with conviction. Hague has been hot-housed in a bubble since “He first made the news at the age of 16 by speaking publicly in 1977.” Abroad now around the world he is either a courageous “man of principle” or a vile war-mongering Mekon.

          The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

          Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

          A principle is easier to claim than spell right! Lord, spare Syria.

          • milliboot

            I dont really see your point, he is an excellent Foreign secretary.Sour grapes ?

            • Tangolition

              George Canning (1770 – 1827) was an excellent foreign secretary. William Hague is an excellent wit from peasant stock. What has he done for Rotherham, Doncaster or other Northern towns he was born into? Instead he masquerades a “Yorkshire man”, claiming affinity with Yorkshire because he “resides” in the rural, most northerly tip of North Yorkshire. He is the worst type of parvenu who artfully hijacked the legacy of the Thatcherite revolution on several occasions.

              Canning House in London is a testament and celebration of the sterling work done by Canning in the new South America. Hague warrants no such legacy. Opportunistic sallies for the benefit of the media are by its nature bereft of true testament. History will never judge him well unless he resigns over Syria. I have no expectation he will.

              As “for sour grapes”, Yes! I, as a Scottish Conservative, have much to mourn. As an adopted Yorkshire man I fully support the independence of Scotland as it will herald much better for our North. This is a sorry state but something forced upon us by Hague and his ilk. Scottish independence will bring about in time a renaissance of the North, able to attract international capital as once was into Edinburgh. That will end London’s “city state” status and this sham of Conservatism which perverts the institutions it seeks to conserve so vilely.

        • Abhay

          But the last I checked this was a democracy where the govt rules by people’s will and consent. And when you lose that you do the honourable thing – resign.

          In this case, at the very least, Hague should resign. Because he has been after this Syrian intervention for almost 2 years now. Shouting from the roof tops. Shouldn’t he now do the honourable thing?

        • milliboot

          Yet, Burnham who presided over the farce of Stafford and is still boring us all on a regular basis !

    • Abhay

      ”Thank God that UKIP are now seen as an irrelevance”

      What a fatuous remark.

      You have the 2012 local election results That does not point to irrelevance.

      The venom with which you and several other commenters here pounce on UKIP at every opportunity is indicative of UKIP’s relevance.
      And then I guess we will have to wait for EU and national elections.

  • Andrew Parke

    I think you’ll find the BBC’s favourite ‘other’ party are the Greens…

    • David Lindsay

      Well, the Greens do have an MP. The anti-war Respect has one. The anti-war Alliance Party of
      Northern Ireland has one. The anti-war Plaid Cymru has three. The
      anti-war SDLP also has three. The anti-war SNP has six. The anti-war DUP has eight.

      And the anti-war Labour Party, which has just kept the United Kingdom out of this war, has 257.

      Collectively, they have a total of 280 more anti-war MPs than UKIP has.

      That is to say, 280 more than none.

      The Independent MP Sylvia Hermon, who voted against the Government, also
      holds one more seat that that. Indeed, no MP from Northern Ireland
      voted for this war. Not a single one. Over there, they know what a sectarian civil war looks like.

      • kyalami

        Are we talking about the anti-war Labour Party that was pro-war two days earlier, that raised a number of requirements to which the government acceded and which then anyway decided to vote against?

        Or is there another anti-war Labour Party?

        • David Lindsay

          No, that’s the one. And it has just kept this country out of the war.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …no, it was UKIP, lad. The Millipedes were afraid UKIP would outflank them.

            • telemachus

              UKIP are a busted flush son
              Miliband listened to the people

              • the viceroy’s gin

                The Millipede was ready to play field marshal not 24 hours before he voted ” no “, after he was informed that a ” yes ” vote would be politically damaging, i.e. it would have allowed UKIP to campaign against the entire bubble full of LibLabCon clones, just as it wishes, and that would have put some Millipedes at risk. .

                Not a single MP, and they forced this vote, in a chamber stuffed full of bombs-away socialists. Amazing.

                • telemachus

                  And he listened

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You mean, he obeyed… UKIP’s threat forced him to obey.

                • telemachus

                  The key thing is that the will of the people prevailed
                  This democracy thing could catch on
                  The dictatorship of party leaders is finished

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, the LibLabCon clones are still in power.

                • telemachus

                  Not for long
                  We will have a reasonable Government responsive to the will of the people in 20 short months

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, the current polling numbers don’t show that happening. They indicate a continuation of the LibLabCon clones.

                • Cooper cap

                  Capital punishment anyone?

                • 2trueblue

                  Don’t you just love Millipede? It was obviously a long hard period of consideration that brought him to his final decision that was born out of integrity, and thus they all found they had that same sort of integrity.

              • Austin Barry

                Miliband listened to the people?


                I look forward then to the Labour Party’s new position on mass, culturally unsympathetic immigration.

                They’ll want to stop it, won’t they?

                Well, won’t they?

                • telemachus

                  I guess the party of the people understands that our Nation needs the influx of talent and dynamic drive to take us to a new era of greatness

                • Chris Morriss

                  Do you have a random word generator, with a basic English grammar shell, to produce these snippets of unreason?

                • Noa

                  As part of the world Caliphate you mean.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They’re still hunting for a UKIP antidote re immigration. Give them time. They only just got the war vote thing figured out, just in the nick of time.

                • Noa

                  But why would they offend their new core voter base?
                  Because the old, disenchanted, aspirational white working class has decamped elsewhere?

                  Oh dear! Tony, Gordon and Ed didn’t think of that.

                • David Lindsay

                  Because the old, disenchanted, aspirational white working class has decamped elsewhere?

                  Not based on any actual votes cast, it hasn’t. It no longer even abstains, they way it did under Blair.

                • ArchiePonsonby

                  Not to mention an EU referendum!

            • David Lindsay

              Don’t be silly.

              When it comes to anti-war parties outside the Commons, there are dozens. Literally dozens. Most of them on the Left. UKIP, indeed!

              • the viceroy’s gin

                There are 4 parties of consequence. None of those dozens are among them. One of the 4 just forced the outcome of one of the more consequential votes the West has seen in recent years.

                And they don’t have a sitting MP. Remarkable.

                • David Lindsay

                  Madness. Utter, utter madness.

                  Not that you really believe it. You cannot possibly.

                • madasafish

                  You mean you believe UKIP has an MP?

                  How strange…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Not a matter of what I believe.

                  It’s a matter of what is. Those bombs away numpties didn’t do what they did by accident. It was by fear. Fear alone drives the bubble’s occupants, lad.

                  UKIP might walk directly into their kitchen, pour themselves a snort and sit down for supper. That’s what those bubble denizens were afraid of.

          • First L

            By lying through it’s teeth in order to let Syrian kids die by being burned to death with white phosphorus.

            • David Lindsay


        • 2trueblue

          It is all about politics, just politics.

          Liebore switched because they could kick Cameron in the teeth.
          This qualifies them as being what?

      • Noa

        For someone who keeps saying that UKIP are an irrelevance with no seats you do, I think, protest too much.
        Why would that be?
        As the latest poll shows a consistent 13% level of support for UKIP, more than enough, if a conservative/UKIP alliance was to be formed prior to the 2015 election, to ensure Labour remains caste into the outer darkness with the Liberal Democrats happily extinct.
        And that scenario excludes the very real possibility of UKIP gaining seats in its own right.

        • telemachus

          Ukip support fallen by a third, says latest poll

          Support for Ukip has fallen by a third after its popularity rose following
          council elections last month, a new poll has revealed.

          • Noa

            You needn’t worry about it!

            Neither UKIP or its supporters do. We look forward to successfully fighting the local and EU elections in 2014 with our increased support and moving on to the 2015 campaign.

            • telemachus

              The EU elections 2014 for UKIP will be like Custer’s last stand

              • the viceroy’s gin

                It could be, if the other parties subsume the UKIP agenda.

                You wanna bet on that happening?

                • telemachus

                  Problem is they have lost the Zeitgeist
                  Voters do not like Party Leaders who squirrel assets away in tax havens

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Like the other lefty up above, you don’t understand what UKIP is, and what’s happening. It’s not about “party leaders”. That’s the LibLabCon game, the clones. Populism is another matter altogether.

                  UKIP wants you to play that clone game. It’s better for them. They want LibLabCon as their composite opponent. That’s how they’ll prosper. It’s only when the LibLabCon clones crack and split a bit that UKIP can see any waning of influence.

              • Noa

                Delightful Friday night badinage Tele, but ultimately meaningless. Now I must prepare for dinner, an aperatif, pizza…

              • MirthaTidville

                I think you mean Cameron but I`ll let you off with the typing error

              • David Lindsay

                They are tied with the Tories for a distant second place. They may very well come third.

              • Alexandrovich

                I hope so, with Nigel playing Crazy Horse.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            UKIP rightly stepped back, following those local elections. They had no need to force themselves into the public eye, and it’s likely that transient polling numbers reflect that.

            • telemachus

              ICM’s telephone poll last month showed a strong Labour lead of seven points, but this month ….the continuing collapse in support for Ukip, down from 18% in May – just after its local election success – to 12% in June and now just 7%.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You take UKIP at 7%, and I’ll take the over. How much do you want to put on it? I’ll cover it all.

              • Noa

                The weekly (25th August) YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is up at the link above Topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%,

                Probably changed after yesterday with an assured Farage presenting UKIP’s latest statemanlike position….

      • S&A

        How well did the British People’s Alliance fare on the voting front, David?

        • David Lindsay

          It never contested an election to anything.

          But Labour still managed to become it.

          Postliberalism (I have accepted the term seeing as everyone says that I a pioneer of the phenomenon, although I have always been far too left-wing to be a liberal and far too conservative to be a capitalist) marches on.

          • S&A

            David, you really are a hoot.

            Rupert Pupkin is a model of realism and self-knowledge compared to you.

            • David Lindsay

              Try a few quotations, then:

              “David Lindsay has generated a brilliant reconciliation of the conflicting strains of the Labour Tradition and is worthy of the closest attention.” Dr Maurice Glasman, Lord Glasman of Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill; Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Director of the Faith and Citizenship Programme, London Metropolitan University; founder of Blue Labour.

              “Current orthodoxy – both in economic policy and right across the board – has so manifestly failed us that we desperately need some fresh thinking and a different way of looking at our problems. That is precisely what David Lindsay provides.” Professor Bryan Gould, Labour MP for Southampton Test, 1974-1979; Labour MP for Dagenham, 1983-1994; Shadow Cabinet Member, 1986-1994; Leadership Candidate, 1992.

              “Before Red Tory and Blue Labour there was David Lindsay. He was arguably the first to announce a postliberal politics of paradox, and to delve into the deep, unwritten British past in order to craft, theoretically, an alternative British and international future. It is high time that the singular and yet wholly pertinent writings of this County Durham Catholic Labour prophet receive a wider circulation.” Professor John Milbank, Professor in Religion, Politics and Ethics, University of Nottingham.

              After last night, your tendency no longer exists as a political force. No Labour MP voted as Blair had instructed. Not a single, solitary one. And Dan Hodges has resigned his party membership. It is all over.

              • S&A

                I assume Martin Miller thinks you’re brilliant as well.

                • David Lindsay

                  I have no idea. But in reference to my more recent book, the following were among the words published:

                  “This book is well researched, is full of facts and deals with
                  contemporary and historical political and social issues. It comes from the left but it should also appeal to those who are concerned with and interested in the great issues and how they are dealt with by our political and other institutions. It is well worth reading.” David Stoddart, Lord Stoddart of Swindon; Labour MP for Swindon, 1970-1983; Government Whip, 1975-1978.

                  “Parliamentary democracy was not invented in 1689. Banking was established by the Venetians, not the Dutch. Much in our history and development owes much to complex ideas and traditions, especially to Jacobitism. David Lindsay’s highly original book explains why and how.” Dr Eveline Cruickshanks, Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London; Chairman of the Jacobite Studies Trust.

                  “David Lindsay has written a provocative, informed, and idiosyncratic work that will intrigue those interested in the intersection of Christian social thought, populism, and Anglo-American politics.” Mark Stricherz, author of Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People’s Party.

                  When I met David Goodhart in July, he knew immediately who I was, and he professed disbelief that I was so young, not something that anyone had said to me in a long, long time.

                  A week later, I was in the queue at the Durham Miners’ Gala to touch the hem of the garment of Owen Jones. Proffering my copy of his book, without my having said a word he wrote, “To David, Owen Jones.” When I seemed taken aback, then so was he. In his words, “Of course, I know exactly who you are.”

                  And so on.

                • S&A
                • David Lindsay

                  They sell well for what they are.

                  As for the funny comments on those pages, they are all by the same person, a former student of mine who has mental health problems and is known to the police. I am not the only object of his attentions. Very sad, really.

                • S&A

                  Woh, that was quick …

                  So where are all the positive reviews, then? You haven’t even got all the endorsements on Amazon. It couldn’t be that you made them all up, surely?

                • David Lindsay

                  It certainly couldn’t be. Be very careful about saying things like that. There just wasn’t the space for them on the Amazon and Lulu pages. That in itself says a great deal, I think.

                • S&A

                  There’s plenty of space for at least one or two of them on Amazon, David.

                  Why not post them there?

          • madasafish

            usual illogical claptrap from a leftie.

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