Today our parliament, by the slimmest of margins, voted against intervention in Syria as the BBC showed footage of alleged napalm-like attacks on schools.
Some are saying it was a good day for democracy, but it really wasn’t.
The Govt recalled parliament because it wanted to act on the knowledge chemical weapons were used it Syria, that much is obvious. However, after consulting others and talks with the opposition, it is clear the motion was watered down – to state we were to wait for the UN reports; to say there’d be a vote on military action should it come to that.
So, today’s motion? Was more a message, to say we would not stand by and watch country commit war crimes against its own people.
Why, then, did Labour table an amendment that was practically the same as the motion and vote against the Govt?
I am, mostly, against intervention. And I have no problem with people suggesting non-military solutions or voting against something they disagree with – but to see MPs vote both ways just because of the name at the top of the paper? Not cool.
And to see MPs jeering at the vote result, talking about leadership challenges, of victories for their leader? It sickens me. There are people dying at the hands of their own government and our parliament resorted to turning a vote on how we could help them into a party political slanging match.
Across both votes the majority, in principle, were for action based on evidence. And now they’ve somehow managed to turn that into the result we have.
Now what? Do we not get a second debate and vote, because the first failed? Do we table another motion on how to help the Syrian people & condemn a tyrannous regime? How long do we have to wait until we DO something – another two years?
The problem isn’t necessarily the result, more how it was reached – and reacted to.
So no, today wasn’t a good day for parliament, even if the outcome was one you hoped for; it was a lesson in how to be a top-class dick.