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The second vote that MPs really should hold on Syria

2 September 2013

Even though George Osborne did everything he could yesterday to kill talk of a second vote in the House of Commons on action in Syria, speculation about that vote still makes the front pages this morning.

There are probably safer bets to place. But one of the failings of Parliament last week – amidst all the cheering for a boost for democracy that is apparently characterised by ministers getting stuck in soundproofed rooms and missing key votes – was that in failing to pass either the government motion or the Labour amendment, Parliament failed to even condemn the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. That was underlined by the terrible sounds and images from yet another attack – filling the late night broadcasts as MPs clattered through the Palace of Westminster into the division lobbies.

Unless further horrific evidence emerges, and unless the Prime Minister is able to get Ed Miliband to back intervention, David Cameron would be foolish to even contemplate calling another vote on military action: even though last week’s vote was not authorising military intervention, parliamentarians used it as an opportunity to reject the principle, both in their speeches and voting. But perhaps there should be a second vote, and one that all parties can unite around: one condemning the gassing of innocent children.

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  • Pickwick

    Any such vote `gassing innocent children’ would be both abstract and emotive without mentioning the perpetrators and since no `compelling evidence’ as to who this was has been provided by the authorities such a vote would appear pointless.

  • Pickwick

    I have just posted a comment on here through Disqus it appears to have been censored I see no sign of it here: is this others experience too?

  • Pickwick

    Any vote against gassing innocent children is simply abstract and emotive without directing it against named perpetrators and since no `compelling evidence’ has been provided by the authorities as to who that was it would serve little useful purpose.

  • No1important

    Sort of like that article on the reverend opening his door to be offered a £90 fine for a homophobic crime or have it passed to the cps and face a court prosecution a larger fine and maybe a custodial sentence.

    Hi Mr Assad you can accept a hearty condemnation from the UK or err nothing!

    Really, excellent that calls for a celebration, Asma go put that expensive champagne you ordered from London on ice, I’ll go throw a few more babies on the bbq. Oh and go and invite all the peaceniks too, we’ll get them to let off a few more rockets, and tell them it’s just a firework display.

    A condemnation, what a waste of time.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “But perhaps there should be a second vote, and one that all parties can unite around: one condemning the gassing of innocent children.”

    Could we also have a vote from Parliament on behalf of the established Church condemning the persecution of Christian communities in those Middle East countries which have recently “found democracy”.

    Oh, of course that doesn’t fit the “progressive” agenda. The silence from our “leaders” on that one is deafening.

  • David B

    Remember the Point of Order on Thursday night when Ed Miliband asked David Cameron to rule out the use of force under the “Royal Purgative”. A position Cameron accept in full because of the vote but Labour are now criticising him for accepting the will of parliament. An interesting position when the opposition are calling on the government to ignore the will of parliament and the position they held when the vote was taken.

    This could yet turn into a real moment of high farce with those who voted against the government on Thursday demanding a new vote so they can change their mind and those who voted with the government refusing the vote, effectively stopping military action which they supported.

    Cameron should state that he will not call another vote until Labour publicly state their support for a single motion proposed by the government. This could yet prove to be a moment of short term political gain for long term political pain for Miliband and Cameron should make him squirm on the hook he fashioned for himself.

    • HookesLaw

      Miliband’s stance combined the twin attributes of being absurd and obscene.

    • Colin Forbes

      Apologies for the pedantry in advance – but I very much like the idea of the ‘Royal Purgative’ being applied to all politicians of all parties and all stripes. Is it too much to hope for?

      • anneallan

        Does it mean HM leaps out from behind a curtain and pops a crisp bag? Or does something unmentionable with her sceptre?

  • Magnolia

    Isabel, you and Clarissa are flying the flag for women here in a sea of men so you need to be sharp. Your many appearances on the BBC bode well for your future career despite references to ‘self whipping parties’ and your suggestion on the radio, that “The Tory Party are bonkers in lots of senses” but here, we are precise.
    What possible purpose can getting parliament to vote against the gassing of innocent children provide on preventing further atrocities or on justice for those children? Such a vote would be the equivalent of ‘political ma******tion’ and would serve no practical purpose what-so-ever. It would be the equivalent of voting to condemn cat, dog and donkey kicking.
    It might ease consciences but that is all.

    • HookesLaw

      Correct votes without action are useless.

    • James Strong

      Oh, dear me, no.
      Why do you care whether the posts here are written by men or women?
      Why can’t we have more disabled coloured transgendered writers on this site?

      • Magnolia

        Because the site has a very strong male perfume about it which could be off putting to Right minded women.
        Isabel makes a point of sticking up for the disabled which is one of her strong points.

  • Bonkim

    British Parliament has lost its way.

  • colliemum

    “But perhaps there should be a second vote, and one that all parties can unite around: one condemning the gassing of innocent children.” – has anybody applauded this?

    Why not have a vote condemning the killing and brutalising of innocent children? What about the ‘children’s armies’ employed by various rebels in African states? Not worthy of a mention in the HoC?

    Such votes are meaningless if not followed by actions, and it should be quite clear by now that we do not want military involvement by our Armed Forces – people in France, Germany, the USA also do not want this.

    Why are our politicians incapable of forcing the Arab League to intervene? It is their problem. Btw – why not listen to this:

    “The Al-Azhar University in Cairo, considered Sunni Islam’s highest authority, said on Sunday that it opposed an American strike on Syria, calling such intervention “an aggression against the Arab and Islamic nation” that would endanger peace and security in the region.”

    It is beyond belief that our politicians still have not the faintest idea about islamic sectarianism, but treat Syria’s rebels as if they were some sort of western democratic idealists. Have they never heard of al qaeda?

    • HookesLaw

      They are not treating ‘Syria’s rebels as if they were some sort of western democratic idealists’
      But then, you are so stuck in your own prejudice that you are not bothered about listening.

  • Bert3000

    The armchair generals who sit in front of the telly and demand that something be done, by someone else, every time they hear a report of some problem in someone else’s country, need to shut up now. We’ve had enough of our servicemen killed in pointless wars.

    • HookesLaw

      The wars aren’t pointless.

  • dalai guevara

    Kamikaze is a Japanese tradition.
    We respect them yet we cannot understand the concept.
    We shop at M&S instead, even for lapdog food.

    • HookesLaw

      I dare say you at least know what you are talking about.

      • dalai guevara

        collars are my special interest

    • Colonel Mustard

      Hardly a “tradition” but rather three commemorated historical points in time. The first two the typhoons that destroyed Mongolian invasion fleets in 1274 and 1281, the third the attempted emulation of that phenomena in 1944-45 with deliberate suicide attacks on Allied warships by piloted sea and air craft. The word itself refers to a divine wind or wind of the gods rather than to suicide per se, for which there are many other forms and words in Japanese.

      • dalai guevara

        all correct.
        …and now in Naskh, please.

  • Ian Walker

    Why should Parliament need to publicly condemn Assad and Syria? What do you want next – rename the student union bar after Nelson Mandela?
    Grow up.

    • dalai guevara

      GCHQ has triangulated your position.
      You are from Swansea.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Rather than making a pointless vote condemning the gassing of innocent children, perhaps Cameron could explain to the House and the country, WHY it was that the Government issued chemical export licences to British firms to export nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months AFTER the sectarian civil war began?

    Perhaps he didn’t think they’d be used?

    If we stopped such exports to unstable, undemocratic regimes and stopped selling other arms to them, this kind of atrocity would happen less frequently.

    • HookesLaw

      The Independent quotes thus
      ‘The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills insisted that
      although the licences were granted to an unnamed UK chemical company in
      January 2012, the substances were not sent to Syria before the permits
      were eventually revoked last July in response to tightened European
      Union sanctions.’

    • RobertC

      “Rather than making a pointless vote condemning the gassing of innocent children ….”

      Innocent children? That would rule out the children from Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish families. And atheist families!

  • WatTylersGhost

    Stop flying this kite on behalf of the government. If you want to fight in Syria, may I suggest the 17.05 from Heathrow to Amman this afternoon.

    • HookesLaw

      Read the article – its not flying a kite – its demanding a National Day of Hand Wringing.

  • Andy

    If Cameron has any sense at all he will leave this issue alone. And when Assad gasses some more children, and there is the usual clamour that ‘something should be done’, I would say ‘tell that to Miliband’.

    • Mynydd

      Mr Miliband has said there good be a second vote it was Mr Cameron who ruled it out.

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