Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Liberal Democrat MPs to back air strikes against Isil in Syria

It is a horribly difficult decision, but I think this is the right call. And I am pleased that all eight (count 'em of our MPs will be voting the same way.

Nick Clegg explained some of the thinking behind this decision in an interview with the Yorkshire Post today.

I wonder if his prominence today reflects an acceptance that he should have accepted the foreign affairs post he was offered when Tim Farron became leader?

Anyway, this is what he said:
"I'm minded to support the extension. Not really because of the military argument because just as much as opponents exaggerate the risks, we are already in a war with Isil. We are already chucking bombs at them and I think people slightly exaggerate what a step it is when they criticise it." 
"Equally I think people who overstate what will be gained militarily are also overstating their case. The idea that extra British bombs will militarily change the dynamic completely is stretching credibility. 
"I just don't think anyone should overstate the case for or against. We are already at war, we are already dropping bombs from 30,000 feet, we are already conducting surveillance missions over Syria, they are already attacking us, they've already murdered Brits on the beaches of Tunisia. It's already highly likely there's going to be an attack on British soil at some point." 
He said France's request for help from the RAF had been a key moment in helping him make up his mind. 
"[France] are an incredibly important ally of ours. If that had happened in London and we asked the French, I think we would want the French to try and help us out as one of our closest, nearest neighbours," he said.


Anonymous said...

Better that any of our eight MPs should vote the right way than all eight of them decide to vote the wrong way. Tim's five tests have not been met and yet we are going ahead.

Allan Heron said...

Not just Tim's test - Clegg signed that letter a former leader.

If France's request as an "important ally" was the critical factor why did Clegg agree to sign?

If this is a view held by them all, then what was the point of setting terms that were going to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Yet less than two months ago Clegg was telling us:
"On the substance on which we based our collective decision in 2014, nothing has changed. If anything, the evolving circumstances make air strikes less justified. All there is on the ground in Syria is chaos, blood and anger. We would simply be throwing more bombs into a furnace."

Should we expect that by February he'll be telling us what a dreadful mistake it was to bomb Syria?

Why do politicians always carry on believing they're right about everything, no matter how many times they reverse their positions and how many times events prove them wrong?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting to contrast the positions of Corbyn - supported by most of his members but opposed by part of his parliamentary party - and Farron - apparently opposed by most of his members but with parliamentary unanimity (at least in the Commons)?

Anonymous said...

Norman Lamb is saying on twitter that he is still considering his position.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't previously seen the quotation from Farron below, from an interview with the Guardian published on 17 July this year.

"If you want to make them martyrs and play into their hands, you do this." And less than five months later, Farron does this.

He also showed a deep reluctance to support direct British military involvement in the Middle East. He said: “If we have got troops operating in Syria and we are part of air raids, then there is no mandate for that. Indeed, there was a vote in parliament two years ago that denied that mandate. I am sure Isis are aided by the involvement, certainly on the ground, of what are perceived to be western military personnel. Their whole message is that it is them against the west. If you want to make them martyrs and play into their hands, you do this.

“If you want to defeat them, you encircle them by other means and use regional actors. It is really important that British Muslims are reminded that Isis is about murdering other Muslims, and the minute we give Isis the ability to paint through their propaganda a picture of this being the evil west against this Islamic state, then we have absolutely let them have a coup.”