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The Parliament Versus The People

Posted on August 30, 2013 by

Some random unordered thoughts on this evening’s events at Westminster.

cameronsyria

1. Somehow, democracy won tonight, while all of its main protagonists lost. The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour were ALL defeated, and by some freakish fluke the will of the British people triumphed over that of their representatives.

2. All three parties fundamentally backed armed intervention – the coalition openly, Labour with qualifiers and conditions – yet contrived implausibly to foil themselves. Tory backbenchers voted against the government. Dozens of Labour MPs didn’t turn up to support their party’s amendment. Liberal Democrats voted FOR war. Everything’s upside-down.

3. Labour types are reacting with furious indignation to equally-furious Tory allegations that they’re “giving succour to Assad”. We’re not sure why. They clearly ARE doing that – Assad will be greatly relieved tonight. But that’s fine, because this isn’t about Assad’s ego.

This is about doing the best thing, or more accurately the least bad thing, for the people of Syria and elsewhere. Making Assad happy is bad. But the cost of making him sad would have been horrendous, and counter-productive in all sorts of ways. It’s a price worth paying, and it’s petty to pretend it hasn’t been paid.

Anyone who voted against military action should wear Assad’s happiness as a badge of honour, to show that they were prepared to make a difficult and painful choice because it was the right thing to do.

4. In itself, it’s really not THAT shocking that the government was defeated. It’s a coalition with a fairly narrow majority voting on an issue of conscience that the public was strongly opposed to across the board. If it couldn’t lose tonight’s vote, we might as well have bulldozed the Palace of Westminster and turned it into a car park or something else more useful.

5. Cameron’s political mistake, for which he might yet pay highly, was to reject Labour’s amendment. Had he accepted it, he’d have secured a conditional mandate for intervention. By arrogantly trying to steamroller the vote, he shot himself in both feet. But there’s no chance he’ll resign.

6. Miliband’s “victory” will be greatly muted by the number of his own MPs who didn’t back him (one resigned from the shadow cabinet over his unconvincing position), and by the fact that it relied on Tory rebels and the hated nationalists.

If the SNP and just a single Plaid Cymru MP had backed the government, the motion would have been carried. Labour on its own would have been embarrassingly impotent even against a deeply divided administration – as we write this, it appears that over 40 Tories and Lib Dems rebelled.

7. And where was Gordon Brown? What a disgrace to the people of Britain, and in particular the people of Kirkcaldy, that the most recent ex-Prime Minister couldn’t be bothered to get off his backside and turn up at his supposed place of work even for this. He’d better have an amazing excuse.

8. We still find it hard to believe that the UK won’t end up bombing Syria sooner rather than later. But Cameron’s post-vote comments might yet mean that this is one of the stupid messes the Americans get into by themselves without our help.

British democracy is horribly, fundamentally broken. Tonight Parliament reflected the will of the people – a rare achievement – almost by accident and in spite of itself. It wasn’t just greater than the sum of it parts, it was the nemesis of the sum of its parts. But reflect it it did all the same, and it’ll be fascinating to see the consequences.

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    1. 30 08 13 10:30

      We have to talk | laidbackviews

    186 to “The Parliament Versus The People”

    1. pa_broon74 says:

      Not what Dan Hannan is saying on twitter right enough.
       
      “I think we may be witnessing one of those divergences between press (‘U-turn! Humiliation!’) and public (‘The PM listened: good’).”
       
      Mmm…

    2. annie says:

      Don’t see what Labour are so pleased about both were defeated.

    3. Gavin says:

      Not really sure that any positive association should be attached to wearing “Assad’s happiness as a badge of honour”… :-/

    4. James Morton says:

      It does seem that some in Westminster are determined to ignore the lessons of history and get involved in someone else’s civil war.
      Lets not get too comfortable though – America is moving warships into the region and so is Russia. This could turn into something quite nasty all because some lame duck politicians were keen to get some political Viagra that only a war with a third rate power could provide. But this third rate power has some serious first rate pals in the wings.

    5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think we may be witnessing one of those divergences between press (‘U-turn! Humiliation!’) and public (‘The PM listened: good’).””

      Yes. This. Cameron was very smart to say what he said after the vote.

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Not really sure that any positive association should be attached to wearing “Assad’s happiness as a badge of honour”… :-/”

      I am, for the reasons what I wrote. But I don’t think he’ll really be happy. He’s fighting for his power and life, and almost certain to lose both of them.

    7. Tinyzeitgeist says:

      One small step, but the question remains,,,what will the USA do? I remain very concerned about events in the region spiralling out of control as a result of any western military intervention in Syria. All efforts must surely be brought to bear through the UN to seek some sort of ceasefire and peaceful resolution to this abhorrence.

    8. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I may be wrong here but I think I read somewhere that Milliband had given Cameron the impression that he would back the coalition. Some time  later he changed his mind and brought in his amendment. This was, in my opinion, a vain attempt by Milliband to try and gain some popularity with the electorate, not that he has that much to start with though.
       
      There is one outstanding question about this vote tonight and that is where did all the MP’s go? What I mean is that there were allegedly around 100 MP’s missing from the votes tonight. 100 MP’s, including as Stu has pointed out a certain G. Brown, earning £68,000 plus expenses could not be bothered to turn up to Westminster to vote on something as important as ‘should UK go to war with Syria as America’s lackeys.’ These individuals should all be named and shamed without exception. Regrettably we can do no more but at least naming and shaming should really resonate with what few morals, if any, these cowards have left.

    9. muttley79 says:

      I think the USA are going to attack anyway.  Obama has not given himself any wriggle room after saying chemical weapons use in Syria is a red light issue.  Also, Obama is under considerable pressure over the NSA issue.  Obama has turned out to a massive disappointment.  The guy is a fraud in my opinion.  If Assad is going to be deposed by the USA, then I think he will make them pay a terrible price.  This has the potential to be far, far nastier than even Iraq.  I reckon this is really aimed at Iran, I am not sure if Assad did order chemical weapons or not.  It looks as though American power is on the decline.     

    10. Tony Little says:

      One of the background issues is the decline in the prestige of the UN.  This shouldn’t be happening as this is exactly what the UN is for.  But the USA/UK alliance demonstrated the complete impotence f the UN over Iraq.  Despite calling the invasion illegal, what did/could the UN actually DO?  Nothing.  
       
      The USA has no mandate from the rest of the world to be the world’s policeman.  They are a country in decline with massive internal problems.  The old adage that you resolve problems at home by having a war can only be tries so many times.  This may be the final use of that card.
       
      And, yes I agree with you mutely, Obama IS a fraud.  But I said to friends at the time of his first electoral win, that I couldn’t understand why they were so excited.  He is just a product of the rich and powerful political elite and that he would be no different in foreign policy to Bush or any other past President since Kennedy.  
       
      At least it seems that the UK’s involvement will be harder to push through.

    11. Tony Little says:

      EDIT: Apologies muttley for misspelling your name, didn’t see it before the edit facility closed

    12. Doug Daniel says:

      “Yes. This. Cameron was very smart to say what he said after the vote.”
       
      It was quite good, wasn’t it? He seemed to take it on the chin far better than I suspect Tony the Warmonger would have.
       
      I was quite perplexed by the coverage on Scotland Tonight and Newsnicht afterwards, with journos talking of what this meant for Cameron. They really do live in a fucking bubble. Lindsay McIntosh’s comment about it meaning Cameron had “lost control of foreign policy” was practically the dictionary definition of hyperbole. If a government can’t lose a vote – especially by a slim margin – and continue in its current format afterwards, then democracy really is fucked. And as for the pathetic attempts to turn it into some way of criticising Alex Salmond…

    13. Jimbo says:

      No official list yet, but here’s an *unconfirmed list* of Lib Dem MPs thought to have abstained or voted against the Government:
      Gordon Birtwhistle
      Malcolm Bruce
      Paul Burstow
      Tim Farron
      Andrew George
      Julian Huppert
      John Pugh
      Ian Swales
      Sarah Teather
      Roger Williams
      (David Ward)
      http://www.libdemvoice.org/government-defeated-on-syria-motion-by-13-votes-35953.html
       
      It looks like that great pacifist, mealy mouthed Ming Campbell, voted for war.

    14. muttley79 says:

      An interesting development for Scottish politics in the year before the referendum will be the state of relations between the Tories and Labour.  Only around 18 months before the next general election, and this vote will have adverse effects on their relations.  Would Cameron and co shed tears for the permanent removal of over 40 SLAB MPs at Westminster?  It would certainly make their life easier. 

    15. gordoz says:

      This was a vote all simplified by a certain Mr F Boyle.
      “Let’s kill some Syrians to stop Syrians from killing other Syrians. That’ll show ‘em. Go Jesus!”
      Despite the awful events this problem is best solved by Syrians alone or neighbouring friends. In any case there are other bigger world players with likely vested interests who should have more influence in this arena.
      All a bit like intervening in  a violent fight between a ‘warring couple’  …. even with the best intentions …  still very likely that both will turn on the peacemaker at some point. Seen it happen so many times.

    16. gordoz says:

      Doug Daniel says:
      Yes – Lindsay McIntosh’s pathetic efforts stuck out as somewhat of a plant.
      What planet has she returned from Westminsteria ??

    17. JimbotheScot says:

      Interesting how it will all pan out
       
      seems Cameron had already made up his mind re: the facts and was ready to jump however high Obama asked

    18. Chic McGregor says:

      Caption: “Your country needs a U-turn!”

    19. Jimbo says:

      “I remain very concerned about events in the region spiralling out of control as a result of any western military intervention in Syria.”
       
      Yes, I think that was a major concern too for the 80% of British people who are opposed to the UK getting involved. The public, in my opinion, always appear to show more common sense than many of our elected representatives, who seem to get a hard-on at the prospect of voting for industrial mass murder.
       
      Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin summed them up quite well: “The West handles the Islamic world the way a monkey handles a grenade,” 

    20. Chic McGregor says:

      Decameron: ” I am assailed, harassed and well-nigh pierced through and through. Which censures I hear and mark”
       
      D. Cameron:  ditto.

    21. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Muttley said:
      Would Cameron and co shed tears for the permanent removal of over 40 SLAB MPs at Westminster?  It would certainly make their life easier.
       
      I’ve been thinking exactly this for some considerable time now muttley. Whilst Cameron might keep up the front of Milliband’s ‘one nation’ I do believe that there is a growing voice getting louder in his head that is saying ‘get rid of Scotland = getting rid of Labour = decades of power for Conservatives’ and he will eventually succumb to the idea of long term rule over Scottish oil. Let’s face it via the lobbying that goes on rUK will soon have it’s own long term oil field, called England thanks to the close links of the fracking companies and the Tory party.
      Yes he will always be remembered as the Tory who ‘lost’ Scotland from the union but surely, in Tory eyes, he’ll be seen in the long run as the man who delivered the decades of Tory rule in rUK. More over, in ruling for these decades he, or rather the Tories, will probably see the death nell of the Lib Dems and Labour will be severely damaged.
      I know that in public Cameron regularly claims to be fighting to retain Scotland within the union but privately I’m sure he does have moments where he thinks that ‘losing’ Scotland would not be as bad a price to pay as some make out. Let’s face it he loses Scotland Lib Dems lose 11 MP’s, Labour lose 41 MP’s Westminster lose those pesky 6 SNP MP’s all for the loss of his one and only Scottish Tory. I can’t believe that these sort of thoughts are not wandering around his head.

    22. fordie says:

      I always struggle with this. Wish to protect the innocents vs dislike of the British Imperialist position vs desire for the local stakeholders ie the neighbouring countries, who properly should intervene but don’t do so, to do so. We all have a moral imperative. How do we manage that responsibility?

    23. Alba4Eva says:

      Question:  Is Cameron trying to bail out before September 2014?

    24. CameronB says:

      Syria are not the broken and defenseless push-overs that Iraq was. Syria’s air space is protected by two of the world’s most sophisticated air defense systems. Expect lots of plane to be shot down. Not unless those hacking the Iranian nuclear facilities have also managed to hack Syria’s defense control systems. Afghanistan has never been a push-over.
       
      What is so wrong with the current Assad? The human rights abuses were his father’s bag, and mostly related to his fight against western backed ‘Al Qaeda’ and the regular interrogation services provided to western powers too squeamish to do their own torturing. The current Assad had launched a process of democratisation before the trouble started. By trouble, I mean snipers shooting at peaceful demonstrations. Assad is obviously mad though, as he is prepared to gas his own people the minute UN inspectors arrive to investigate chemical weapon use. Yeh, right.
       
      Does anyone remember the name John Negroponte? He was US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, and is known to have played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives. Well, would you be surprised to find out that JN was appointed US ambassador to Iraq in 2004? One of his Baghdad team was Robert Stephen Ford, who was subsequently appointed as US Ambassador to Syria in January 2011. This is how you prepare the “Salvador Option” for Syria. 
       
      The west started this humanitarian disaster, in an attempt to bring about regime change. Not because the current Assad is a cruel autocrat, but to weaken Iran. The reason we are at this stage now is because Assad had defeated the terrorist.
       
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31437.htm
      http://www.democracynow.org/2004/4/28/dems_ignore_negropontes_death_squad_past

    25. Alba4Eva says:

      Jimbo, “It looks like that great pacifist, mealy mouthed Ming Campbell, voted for war.”
      The only time I have not voted SNP, was when I voted for Charles Kennedy in the strong Lib-Dem stance against Iraq.  I was also one of the 100,000 odd folk who marched through Glasgow for that cause.  I knew the Lib-Dems had lost all credibility for everything they formally stood for, but tonight, they simply became nothing in my eyes.

    26. Jimbo says:

      Fordie
      “I always struggle with this.”
       
      I know what you mean. I can’t help thinking about all those poor Westminster MPs who have invested in the arms industry – The quandary they now find themselves in. Vote for war and make killing –  vote for peace and take a hit. What to do, what to do?
       
      Has Michael Gove invested in the arms industry? Going by his wife’s (Sarah Vine) Tweets, she’s not too happy with the vote.
       
      Sarah Vine @SarahVine

      I am SO angry about today’s vote. No military action would have come out of it. It was simply about sending a signal. Cowardice.
      11:11 PM – 29 Aug 2013 from Westminster, London, United Kingdom

       
      Sarah Vine @SarahVine

      Pathetic losers who can’t see past their own interests.
      11:13 PM – 29 Aug 2013
      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2013/aug/29/mps-debate-syria-live-blog

       

    27. Never underestimate public opinion a few years ago we would have been getting up to 
      news of a done deal that is why it is important to help others to get on line 
      to see past media spin

    28. bramasag says:

      If rUK wanted to save Syrians from Syrians they would have a flotilla of ships to take refugees out of the war zone. They won’t ofcourse as immigrants feed rascism and the UKIP vote. More indiscriminate murdering using wmd is a hangover from empire.

    29. Big Al says:

      Whilst this is not a subject for levity I do have to ask if the HoC has had a Damascene conversion?

      More seriously it would be good if a debate about the Syrian situation was held in Holyrood. I suspect any outcome would be vastly different in its position than HoC and would serve to further highlight the differences that now exist between Holyrood and Westminster and possibly expose Labour having an untenable position. 
      If any outcome was possible I would hope the UN would demand an immediate cease fire, reinforced by a multinational PEACE keeping force. Unfortunately the UN seems to be a rather toothless dog these days.

    30. Cath says:

      ” I am not sure if Assad did order chemical weapons or not. “
       
      “This is the extremely big problem governments and the media create for themselves when they repeatedly lie, spin and lose trust. I no longer read the newspapers, or watch BBC news anything like as much as I used to, and that is because over issues I do happen to know about – Iraq (which I did a huge amount of reading over in the run up to that war), Scotland, and even some science issues – they are so often wrong, misleading or downright lying.
       
      So when I do read or watch UK news about things I don’t know about, I don’t trust it at all. The US and UK have wanted to go to war with Syria for ages – they’ve been threatening it since Iraq. So when the BBC tells me governments are jumping to the conclusion it was Assad, I simply don’t believe that narrative. Crying wolf springs to mind.

    31. JLT says:

      I think Parliament got it wrong tonight. This is not Iraq. This time, weapons of mass destruction have been used.
      Intervention should be taken against Assad and his regime. The heart of the question is not whether Britain should get involved, it’s ‘do we allow rogue nations to use chemical weapons?’
      What should happen next is Cameron goes to the UN and gets a ‘world’ mandate raised. It is the UN who should be dealing with this; not Britain and the US. I believe an overwhelming majority in the UN would want some sort of intervention and for Assad brought to justice. By doing that, you’ve drawn a line in the sand for any other would be power-players.

    32. john king says:

      rev stu says

      “I am, for the reasons what I wrote”
      I name you Ernie Wise and claim my £100.00 🙂

    33. Weedeochandorris says:

      Good we’re not being led into the viper pit again thanks to lying governments and huge egos. The middle east is best left to sort out its own problems by their own people who understand what is going on.  This letter to The Financial Times illustrates that nicely – A short guide to the Middle East.

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/the-middle-east-explained-in-one-excellent-letter-to-the-edi

    34. Weedeochandorris says:

      Help, how can I make that link to the FT letter blue so you can click on it and be transported there? Thanks anybody 🙂

    35. Tony Little says:

      @JLT
       
      Well, SOMETHING has been used, or at least appears to have been used.  But the UN Inspectors have not yet given their verdict on what has been used and its chemical make up.  It may well be a jerry-built bomb which anyone could have created, rather than a fully fledged WMD.
       
      We also do not know with any certainly WHO may have done it.  Suspicion obviously falls on Assad, but it is also possible that the rebels fired it.  The military evidence as to the perpetrator is not clear cut.
       
      So before assuming that the leaderships of the two most militarily aggressive nations in the West are right, why don’t we allow proper process to run, and proper evidence to be gathered. 

    36. JLT says:

      My fear is, that if no UN action is taken against Assad (and pretty soon), then this is one of these ‘little’ moments in history. I’m not comparing Assad to Hitler, but who knows with other possible rogue nations out there. By not taking action, would it be saying something to say the North Koreans or the Iranians. What’s to stop NK doing something daft off the coast of Japan? What’s to stop Iran now pursuing nuclear weapons with a vengeance?
      This to me, has the hallmarks of the German Army re-entering the Rhineland in 36, the Sudetenland in 38, and Danzig in 39. By not making a stand right at the start, it could be worse in the future. History has said (as did also Hitler) that if Britain and France had charged into the Rhineland in 36, then Hitler’s government would have collapsed at that point. It would have been seen as a Lion with no teeth or claws. Three years laters, a bigger ego, and mass industrial production, and Germany was the super-power in the world. The history of Europe as well as the world would be very, very different!
      That is why I believe that there is nothing to smile about here. Assad will be relieved, and his advisors know it. If the US backs off, then it’s a green light to any other would be power hungry nutter out there, who may now flex his muscles to spread their influence.
      I believe it was wrong for the US-UK to be going down this path alone. It should be UN led (where the US-UK) can then lead it. If the UN does bear its teeth for once, does sort out Assad legally, then I believe. at that moment …democracy will have won a major victory. But tonight, there is nothing to smile about.

    37. john king says:

      arbroath 1320 says
      “Milliband had given Cameron the impression that he would back the coalition. Some time  later he changed his mind and brought in his amendment. This was, in my opinion, a vain attempt by Milliband to try and gain some popularity with the electorate, not that he has that much to start with though.”
       
      Exactly, the rev alluded to this in his blog when the will of parliament (happens to coincide with the will of the people) it could be seen as a healthy democracy, but really? how often does that happen? how often do governments enact policies not in the manifesto they were elected on?
      this country Scotland/UK is not democratically served and the main paries still have this fevered belief that we’re there to serve THIER  purposes and not the other way round.
      We all understand governments have to react to the real situation as it is and not as it was when they were elected but the wholesale destruction of the welfare state by the tories was always their (unwritten) manifesto which only goes to prove the old adage
      you can fool some of the people some of the time
       

    38. john king says:

      sorry
       was just sick there, 
      just heard Paddy Ashdown pontificating about how ashamed he was after that commons defeat, 
       Ashdown who seems to think the UK  is the conscience of the world 
      proclaiming that Assad, Putin, and Farage will all be cheering today, 
      (how does Farage’s opinion matter one jot?)
      he seems more concerned about Britain losing face than the thousands of children being “left to burn” that he expresses such desire to help
      LETS BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS MR ASHDOWN,SYRIA IS NOT OUR BUISNESS ,if the people of the middle east want to get involved to separate the warring factions let them get on with it 

    39. john king says:

      muttley says
      ” I am not sure if Assad did order chemical weapons or not.  It looks as though American power is on the decline. ”
      I still think it (if true) was astonishingly bad timing of Assad that he should order a chemical attack just as the UN  inspectors arrive, 
      that scenario stinks to high heaven  
      the Americans are more interested in the far east anyway 
      god help Australia 
        

    40. john king says:

      “It looks like that great pacifist, mealy mouthed Ming Campbell, voted for war.”
      who knew?
      my description of him as Ming the Merciless 
      was right then? 
        

    41. CameronB says:

      @ JLT
      You appear to have a strong opinion re. Syria, but my I suggest you are poorly informed about the issue. The Americans have been training the rebels/terrorist in how to ‘secure’ chemical weapons that they might come across. Remember, some of these guys were killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan not so long ago. This training required that chemical weapons were supplied to the rebels by the US.
       
      This is not a civil war, this is state sponsored terrorism aimed at regime change.
       
      http://nsnbc.me/2013/07/03/former-french-foreign-minister-dumas-blows-the-whistle-on-western-war/
      http://nsnbc.me/2013/06/15/the-u-s-is-channeling-chemical-weapons-to-al-qaeda-in-syria-obama-is-a-liar-and-a-terrorist/

    42. john king says:

      jlt says
      “intervention should be taken against Assad and his regime. The heart of the question is not whether Britain should get involved, it’s ‘do we allow rogue nations to use chemical weapons?’”
      Depending on what source you believe there are between 189 and 196 countries in the world,
      remind me JLT  why does that make the UK and the USA  the only options to chastise warring countries?
      why dont we get off our arrogant high horse here and ask countries like Turkey  Lebanon, Iran what are you going to do about this? ITS RIGHT ON YOUR DOOSTEP

    43. Anon Sailor says:

      So we sell arms to Syria and stand well back? Thats a fairer Scotland!

    44. john king says:

      jlt says
      “My fear is, that if no UN action is taken against Assad (and pretty soon), then this is one of these ‘little’ moments in history. I’m not comparing Assad to Hitler, but who knows with other possible rogue nations out there. By not taking action, would it be saying something to say the North Koreans or the Iranians. What’s to stop NK doing something daft off the coast of Japan? What’s to stop Iran now pursuing nuclear weapons with a vengeance?”
       
      If I’m being honest jlt you sound like the me of ten years ago, but luckily I stopped viewing the world through the prism of the US/UK agenda some time ago and when you take those milk bottom glasses off, you suddenly see the world in an entirely different light, call it a Damascene moment if you like, maybe it was when I started watching Al Jazeera (who I think of as one of the best new companies in the world) who give a BALANCED pro and anti west opinion , and allow their viewer the courtesy of accepting they are adult enough to decide for themselves rather that the mashed up pulp spoonfed to us by our western media.

    45. john king says:

      ps apologies jlt (or anyone for that matter )
      if you wear milkbottle bottom glasses 🙂

    46. john king says:

      “So we sell arms to Syria and stand well back? Thats a fairer Scotland!”
      what part of, Scotland as a country did not get to make the choice as to whom the UK sold weapons to, do you not get anon sailor?
      as an independent country we GET  to choose our own friends and whom we sell (if at all) weapons to 

    47. Murray McCallum says:

      I wonder if the UK will allow its base in Cyprus to be used if the conflict in Syria does escalate?
       
      I also question if this is actually over yet – don’t we still have to hear from the UN inspectors?  I also would not be surprised if our intelligence services were re-appraising intelligence received.
       
      In the meantime, as said in article, “least bad” decision made.

    48. Derick Tulloch says:

      Not often I say that but UKIP’s early and firm opposition to war probably had an effect on those 30 Tory backbenchers and probably quite a few Labourites also – so kudos to them on this one. And Boris Johnson will be a very happy man this morning.
      As for the Fiberals – had contempt before and still have it.  men and women of Straw
       

    49. sneddon says:

      Fordie- ‘We all have a moral imperative’ yes to butt out of another country and stop selling it gas and chemical weopons.  Another thing is there a difference in being blown up, shot or stabbed or killed by gas?  You are still dead.  Stupid booody Obama, Hague and Cameron   damn lot of them.  Nothing gives us the right to be the policeman of the world.  What about the lack of western intervention when Saddam gassed the Kurds and the marsh arabs.  The current atrocities in North Korea.  Two faced buckets of vomit the lot of them.  IMHO

    50. john king says:

      Has the possibility of a stray/deliberately aimed bomb dropped by an aircraft of a tank shell had hit a cache of chemical weapons captured by the rebels and caused the casualties we (saw?)
      I just for the life of me cant believe anyone could be THAT STUPID as to unleash these weapons almost within sight of the inspectors who were already on the ground 

    51. john king says:

      Murray McCallum says
      “I wonder if the UK will allow its base in Cyprus to be used if the conflict in Syria does escalate?” 
      What about the Cypriots? don’t they get a say? 
      If I were the prime minister of Cyprus given its geo political position in the Mediterranean I would be telling all of us to bugger off  

    52. CameronB says:

      Murray McCallum
      The UK has been moving aircraft and equipment to Akrotiri airbase in the last few days.
      http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/15070

    53. Roger Terrett says:

      “It looks like that great pacifist, mealy mouthed Ming Campbell, voted for war.”
      who knew?
      my description of him as Ming the Merciless 
      was right then?

      Seems more like Ming the Witless these days, maybe the effect of having to behave like a Zombie for U-KOK.

    54. MajorBloodnok says:

      Anon Sailor says – So we sell arms to Syria and stand well back? Thats a fairer Scotland!
       
      So Scotland has an arms industry?  Who knew.

    55. Roger Terrett says:

      Oops, that quote didn’t work right.

    56. john king says:

      jimbo says
      “I know what you mean. I can’t help thinking about all those poor Westminster MPs who have invested in the arms industry – The quandary they now find themselves in. Vote for war and make killing –  vote for peace and take a hit. What to do, what to do?”
       
      then they think thank god for our foresite in creating all those foodbanks eh?
      if this thing goes tits up we’ll at least still be able to get a free good, and you know how much everyone likes a free good?

    57. Murray McCallum says:

      CameronB
      I saw last night that Hammond appeared to not comment on use of Cyprus?
      john king
      I agree with you, but I do not think the Cypriots have a say when it comes down to the crunch. I hope I am wrong.
       
      Looking at apparent “UN Updates” in the press about who used chemical weapons. I think best to wait and hear actual UN inspector statement. If they clear Assad’s regime?!

    58. turnip_ghost says:

      I remember my history lessons well and the League Of Nations is ringing bells here.

      Unless the UN reign in the US and actually DO something this will be the beginning of the end for the UN. Just like before, I think the US will leave because the policies the UN (Or League of Nations back in the day) don’t suit them.

    59. Craig P says:

      Alba4Eva – me too. The only credible anti-war vote in Westminster was the Lib Dems under Kennedy. What issue could be more important, I thought, than getting rid of a government that has started a war in your name that you don’t want? However the rest of the electorate didn’t seem to give a monkeys. That was when I knew we would have to do the right thing the hard way, with independence. 

    60. CameronB says:

      Murray McCallum
      I may well be wrong, but I think Akrotiri airbase is sovereign British territory.
       
      ———————————————————————————————-
       
      I’m only half way through this but thought it might be useful, even though it doesn’t mention Qatar’s financial backing of the rebel/terrorists. Perhaps Qatar are not considered “global players”.
       
      Syria Facts: The Complete Guide to All the Global Players Involved in the Syrian Conflict
      http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/15095

    61. AHamilton says:

      Scotland’s only Tory MP David Mundell voted for war, that man does not have enough humanity, courage or intelligence to fill a walnut shelll.

    62. gordoz says:

      @ JLT you sound very BT to me perhaps you need to get out a bit more on a Saturday night.
      This was a vote all simplified by a certain Mr F Boyle.
      “Let’s kill some Syrians to stop Syrians from killing other Syrians. That’ll show ‘em. Go Jesus!”
      Despite the awful events this problem is best solved by Syrians alone or neighbouring friends. In any case there are other bigger world players with likely vested interests who should have more influence in this arena.

      All a bit like intervening in  a violent fight between a ‘warring couple’  …. even with the best intentions …  still very likely that both will turn on the peacemaker at some point.
      Seen it happen so many times. Take it you have not.

    63. I for one am glad we are not getting involved in ‘the smell of napalm in the morning’.
      What the real people of Syria need us to do is support the refugees and displaced within Syria and the surrounding countries. We can do that via the Red Cross, Shelterbox and numerous other international charities rather than killing more civilians and causing even more refugees.
      Russia and the USA caused the mess that is Syria; Russia and the USA are the only countries that can stop the Syrian people’s suffering and they could do it inside 24 hours if either of the two petted giants could be bothered. Pipsqueak UK makes no difference to this equation by not getting involved in killing even more civilians, the reality is getting involved would only make things worse.

      History will show the UK Parliament made the right decision, for the wrong reasons on Syria. A decision made on the same base, petty politics that is operating between the USA and Russia – that of the playground bullies facing off and, just like in the playground, everyone is interested in the result but no one is going to help either of them.

    64. bunter says:

      @ Anon sailor
      The UK controls arms exports in compliance with its foreign policy, not Scotland. Maybe you should be asking why the UK continues to arm  to the teeth,  the regimes in this part of the world , which are profoundly unstable. I know, some are our friends (though few democracies). Remember Saddam was our friend and we armed him, then look what happened. Scotland would have the values and foreign policy stance in accordance with its electorate and  99% of its neighbours come independence, and we will be noones poodle. Within the UK, you see very few Scottish values to the fore as we decide nothing.

    65. Tamson says:

      Wee Dougie Alexander’s fingerprints are all over Labour’s dicking around last night. The guy thinks he’s a modern Machiavelli, but really he’s just an idiot.

    66. gordoz says:

      Anon Sailor says:

      So we sell arms to Syria and stand well back? Thats a fairer Scotland!
      Assume you mean we as in UK or Great britain ?
      Huge contribution ….. no really, well done for all the effort.

    67. Albalha says:

      @cameronb
      Rather odd if Qatar is not considered a global player, any launch on Syria will leave from the US Al Udeid air base there, just as happened in Iraq.
      And of course we already know the US B-1B and F22 Raptors have been moved there from other air bases in the area.
      That’s not to go into Qatar’s increasing ‘diplomatic’ role, per capita wealth, LNG deals with the US that are signed up til the next ice age, etc.
       

    68. Mosstrooper says:

      The US wants to attack Iran however has no reasonable excuse so to do.
      Nasty wee civil war breaks out in neighbouring Syria with rebels opposed to Assad.
      US “helps” rebels with funding, demonises Assad government. 
      Iran supports Assad. 
      US attacks Assad regime–Iran supports Assad — US attacks Iran.
      RESULT

    69. cadgers says:

      Assad is the figurehead I think he has lost control, he has a few loony brothers in the wings.

    70. Ghengis says:

      “UN Official – Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas Not Assad’s Army” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE53RqGQltk
       

      “Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE)”
      http://guardianlv.com/2013/08/syrian-chemical-weapons-attack-carried-out-by-rebels-says-un/
       
      Robert Fisk: “We should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But now?” http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/we-should-have-been-traumatised-into-action-by-this-war-in-2011and-2012but-now-8789506.html
       
      Also great comment from CameronB above: http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-parliament-versus-the-people/#comment-499571
       
      I feel fully informed now.
       
      .
       
       

    71. Krackerman says:

      C’mon guys – there was never any prospect of the UK going to war in Syria – other than a few punitive missile strikes from subs we simply don’t have the capability.
      Cameron is merely going through the motions in support of the US.
      But it’s not a simple issue at stake here – if Syria is seen to use WMD’s against a civilian population and clearly get away with it then we’d better get used to more scenes of kids coughing up their lungs on TV. Whether it really was the regime or not that used them the perception around the world will be that they did…
      I think someone further up said “what’s wrong with Assad”… really? I mean REALLY??

    72. Gillie says:

       
      It would be very interesting to compare the vote in 2003 with 2013. A substantial of number of MPs who vote last night would have been around for the vote in 2003.
       
      A breakdown on both votes would reveal the warmongers, the party loyalists, those with a conscience, those who abstained and those who didn’t even bother to turn up. 

    73. CameronB says:

      Albalha
      I thought it was odd that they were left out, as they are one of the key players. Perhaps they are considered a ‘regional power’, with ambitions to stir up global conflict. Iran is the target of this aggression and they currently have observer status with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

      P.S. When does a government become a regime?

      @ Krackerman
      Can you tell me his crimes please?

    74. Brotyboy says:

      I am at times reminded of a badge I bought in Strawberry Fields about 2 years ago; 
      Who Would Jesus Bomb?

    75. Seasick Dave says:

      When does a government become a regime?
       
      About the same time as a freedom fighter becomes an insurgent.

    76. Mosstrooper says:

      @Krackerman 9.19 am
      So the UK weren’t going to war they were only going to drop a few “punitive” missiles on Syria.
      Well then THAT’S ok
       

    77. southernscot says:

      I noted the excitement almost glee from journalists as it looked like another British military intervention.
      Did anyone else feel the palpable disappointed tone in many a journalist after the vote.

    78. Albalha says:

      @CameronB
      Re regime, taking its modern definition, basically should be any country with an unelected or largely unelected government. Lots of the UK’s so called allies fall into that category but of course it’s only when they fall out with you that they’re referred to as a regime.

      Edit, just spotted your remark @seasickDave
      Also of course when is a rebel not an insurgent etc.

    79. Linda's Back says:

      Very O/T and with the Rev’s indulgence I reprint this from Scotsman’s letters pages. Prof Browning’s letters are more usually found in the Daily Telegraph but I am sure about the other chap.  

      “How refreshing to read Professor Brian Quinn’s comments and Bill Jamieson’s related article on the major uncertainties of currency union (Perspective, 29 August).
      Quinn is a giant among central bankers whose experience, knowledge and understanding of all the practical aspects of monetary and currency issues extends far beyond the glib fantasies ­expressed by the financial pygmies promoting independence.
      In the independence scenario, where the Bank of England continues to act as lender of last resort, Quinn has added his wisdom to reinforcing the view that it is virtually certain the Bank of England would judge the Scottish banks to be riskier and, therefore, apply higher regulatory requirements to protect depositors.
      That action would inevitably encompass the protection of the holders of Scottish bank­notes in circulation north of the Border.
      However, the circulation of Scottish banknotes will become severely at risk, either because the Bank of England will no longer be prepared to be involved in that unique burden of prudential responsibility for banks integral to the economy of what then would amount to a foreign country, or because the Scottish banks themselves, as Bill Jamieson flags, will have re-domiciled south of the Border.
      With the cessation of Scottish banknotes, coupled with Scotland continuing to retain the (by then English) pound, what would take the place of the £3.5 billion of Scottish notes in circulation? Bank of England notes, of course! There would be no alternative; a result that would daily and most visibly expose the fallacy of so-called “independence”.
      The alternative, longer-term, aim in an independent Scotland of it creating and taking full control of its own currency is fraught with even more frightening uncertainties.
      Not the least of those would be the new currency’s potential weakness on the international currency markets. Such a significant risk would result in a massive exodus of wealth from Scotland and into established currencies south of the Border and elsewhere.

      (Prof) J Robin Browning
      Retired general manager
      Bank of Scotland

      “In reply to Prof Quinn’s sceptical view of Alex Salmond’s policy of a sterling currency zone, his spokeswoman, presumably with his approval, claims the eurozone as an exemplar, saying that its reforms allow the European Central Bank (ECB) to oversee member states thus providing a “co-ordinated and integrated system of financial supervision”.
      That may be what the theory says, but the reality is that Germany, the largest and richest member, calls the shots, so much so that the eurozone crisis – and there is one, a big one – has been postponed until after the German elections.
      Ask the Greeks, Portuguese and Irish whether they are under the hammer from the ECB or Angela Merkel, and they will point in the direction of Berlin.
      It is Germany which says there must be internal devaluation in those countries, and nation-breaking austerity, because if this policy was not followed the German taxpayer would have to foot the bill for Greek and other debt in a “co-ordinated and integrated system”.
      Not a cent of aid has been given to Greece and the others, just more loans building up more debt.
      Small Scotland in a currency zone with large England would leave only one final master, and you would not find him in Bute House.
      Before this hole in the independence case gets bigger, someone in the SNP parliamentary ranks will have to tell the First Minister to think again.

      Jim Sillars
       
      Scotsman has not printed any letters supporting the Scottish government’s view  in response to Brian Quinn or defending the Scottish government on the dualling of the A9 debate.  Letters have sent.
       

    80. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ CameronB – When does a government become a regime? Good question and I wish you hadnt asked because I have just scrambled my brain cells, burned 2 perfectly good slices of bread & failed to connect my caffeine drip.
      Had a look at WikiP and when I got to this bit my desire to revert to ‘windaehingin’ took a great leap.
      Cognitivists and Regimes
      cognitivists use a post-positivist methodology which does not believe that social institutions or actors can be separated out of their surrounding socio-political context for analytical purposes. The cognitivist approach then, is sociological or post-positivist instead of rationalist.
      Eh? Maybe I should go along to Mitchell Library on Saturday and ask the BT gadgees what this means?
       

    81. ScottyC1314 says:

       
      Rev, can we have a rogues gallery type article please of those who voted for war or didn’t bother their arse  turning up. It’s something, I expect, would be shared widely. Gordon Brown front and centre. 

    82. Albalha says:

      Someone above asked for an Iraq vote comparison, here’s the detailed list of who voted and which way.
       
      http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2003-03-18&number=118&display=allpossible

    83. Luigi says:

      Ironically, Cameron’s defeat yesterday could end up saving his backside. Imagine if he had got his way! The country is in no mood for another military adventure in the middle east.

    84. ScottyC1314 says:

       
      It seems my MP, Malcolm Bruce, voted for military action. How very liberal of him.

      Edit: Unless he wasn’t present which is just as bad

    85. Gaz says:

      As ever, the important thing is how the protagonists react to this.
      Cameron lost his motion but his post-debate remarks suggest he will accept the will of parliament.  He consequently has an opportunity to portray himself as a PM who respects parliament and therefore the people.  If he does this well, he will be able to contrast himself to his immediate predecessors whose public reputation on such profound issues is in tatters.  This could turn out to be a huge win for Cameron in the long term.

      As for Miliband, the volte-face he performed to secure a rather threadbare victory might have bolstered his short term position within his party but it will, in the end, undermine his authority as a leader.  It is fine to change your mind, but to do so in such a short space of time, on such a profound matter for no apparent reason other than political expediency simply confirms his weakness.

      In strategic terms, the result of this is that Labour is now stuck with Miliband as leader until 2015 and Cameron now has a chance to build a broad appeal as a different kind of PM to Blair and Brown.  This effect will be magnified as the many establishment figures who remain wary of Cameron now see the threat that Miliband as PM would present.  Their focus, as it would have over time anyway, will now move swiftly from ‘get rid of Cameron’ to ‘make sure Miliband doesn’t win’. 

      For me, the events of last night make the prospect of an outright Tory win in 2015 much more likely.

    86. Albalha says:

      Just done a quick lists comparison …by my reckoning three Scottish Labour MP’s didn’t turn up – Gordon Brown/Michael Connarty/Brian Donohoe

    87. Albalha says:

      @scottyc1314
      He was very much there, made a speech.

    88. Jimbo says:

      @ Stevie Cosmic:
      Thanks for the link, Stevie.
       
      I don’t see my MP’s name in that list, so he was either absent, abstained or voted for. I’ve been scrabbling about looking for a list of absentees but having no luck.
       
      IMO, unless seriously ill, not bothering your back-side to turn up for such an important decision is just as bad as voting for the industrial mass murder they were contemplating.

    89. Albalha says:

      @jimbo
      Who is your MP?

    90. Gillie says:

      I would say that UK foreign policy, military policy, international standing and Special Relationship are all now in tatters. The UK is now like the Grand Old Duke of York. 

    91. Albalha says:

      @gillie
      I hear he’s remarrying his former wife …..topsy, turvy world indeed

    92. Albalha says:

      Here’s a list of all Lib Dems who voted with the coalition last night
      http://www.libdemvoice.org/syria-debate-how-lib-dem-mps-voted-35961.html

    93. Luigi says:

      It looks like that great pacifist, mealy mouthed Ming Campbell, voted for war
       
       
      Poor Ming almost choked on his pizza when they lost the vote.

    94. Albalha says:

      Correction 4 missing Scottish Labour MP’s add Ian Davidson

    95. gordoz says:

      Albalha says:
      30 August, 2013 at 10:20 am

      @gillie
      I hear he’s remarrying his former wife …..topsy, turvy world indeed
      Didn’t Nate Silver say there was abosulutely no chance of that ??
      Or was that something else ??

    96. Jimbo says:

      @Albalha,
       
      Michael Connarty.

    97. Krackerman says:

      Mossy – put the dummy back in – that’s not a statement of morality but fact. Stop trying to paint it as something it’s not.

    98. Albalha says:

      @jimbo
      As I posted above he was absent

    99. ScottyC1314 says:

      thump thump thump…….the sound of nails being hammered into the Liberal’s coffin in Scotland…..thump thump thump

    100. gordoz says:

      O/T
      No update on the Hacking of YES headquarters ??? Somebody mentioned carpets & sweeping in an earlier thread.
      Are Bulmer & Jenkins in jail yet ??? Wasn’t a heinous crime committed ?? Thats what the press mad out.
      Guess thats that then.

    101. gordoz says:

      Did anybody hear Lord (really ?) John Reid this morning pontificating about last night’s vote and how great it was for Labour ??  And how nobody seriously should ever contemplate going to war without having the facts to hand ???
      Seems they all have selective memory on ‘Planet Westminsteria’
      Rev : Surely there is a piece on this kind of muppetry somewhere ??            Airtime for Airheads ?
       
       

    102. Jimbo says:

      “As I posted above he was absent”
       
      Somehow missed that post with the link attached, Albaha. Thanks.

    103. Albalha says:

      @jimbo, no worries
      Now further examination shows G Brown, M Connarty and I Davidson as the absentees for Labour in Scottish seats ….the New Statesman list misses out B Donohoe but looks like he was there.
      The media, sheesh.

    104. wee162 says:

      Scottish MPs who voted in favour of war;
      Alan Reid (LD Argyll & Bute), Alistair Carmichael (LD Orkney & Shetland), Danny Alexander (LD Inverness), David Mundell (Tory Dumfries), Jo Swinson (LD E Dunbartonshire), Malcolm Bruce (LD Gordon), Ming Campbell (LD NE Fife), Michael Moore (LD Berwick etc), Robert Smith (LD W Aberdeenshire & Kincardine)

      Scottish MPs who couldnae be arsed voting on war/ hid;
      Anne Begg (Lab Aberdeeen South), Charles Kennedy (LD Ross, Skye, Lochaber), Gordon Brown (Lab Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath), Ian Davidson (Lab Glasgow SW), John Thurso (LD, Caithness, Sutherland, & E Ross), Michael Connarty (Lab Linlithgow & E Falkirk), 
       
      Everyone else voted against. Particular note of praise imo to Mike Crockart the only Lib Dem who voted against his party line rather than voting for it or hiding like the rest of the dirty dozen Lib Dems.

    105. Albalha says:

      @wee162
      Anne Begg voted against

    106. dmw42 says:

      My apologies for going O/T, I did post on another thread but, this is far too important to be missed.
       
      HMRC has just released updated figures of revenues received from ‘UK’ oil & gas production.

      Since 1979, the UK Treasury has received £182,955,000,000 in oil revenues alone. Where the fuck has it gone?

      See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/prt/table11-11.pdf (full press release here).
       
      I don’t ‘do’ faceache or twatter but for those who do, these figures deserve to be out there. Anyone attending the secret ‘klan’ meeting tomorrow may want to raise this as well.

    107. gordoz says:

       Linda’s back
      ‘Keeping the pound – Fraught with even more frightening uncertainties’
      Prof  J Robin Browning
      Retired general manager
      Bank of Scotland
      ‘What like the certainty of the recession that actually happened while our casino bankers all  watched – that kind of certainty is good ??) 
      Im more scared that these guys think we would trust anything a banker or former says especially Brian Quinn / taken appart by Professors Andrew Hughes Hallett BTW.
      As Thomas Jefferson said :
      “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies”

    108. Dan Huil says:

      Westminster finally admits to its reduced role in the world?
      Time for Scotland to establish its own international influence.
       

    109. Linda's Back says:

      dmw42 says:
      30 August, 2013 at 11:02 am
       
      Brent Crude Oil price fell yesterday  to $115.16.
      And seem to recall BT rubbishing Scottish government forecast of $100

    110. wee162 says:

      @Albalha
       
      Bugger, sorted their names out by first name from the Hansard record, and she’s listed as Dame Anne Begg so I missed her. Thanks for the clarification.

    111. Gillie says:

      Dan Huil says: 

      Westminster finally admits to its reduced role in the world?

      Time for Scotland to establish its own international influence
       
      Well put Dan. This is something that needs to be repeated in order to be heard.

    112. balgayboy says:

      gordoz says @ 10.44:
      Reid committed 3,300 troops to Helmand province, Aghanistan in January 2006.[52] As Secretary of State he is often misquoted as saying troops would leave “without a single shot being fired.” He actually said “We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot because our job is to protect the reconstruction.” [53] By 2008, 4 million bullets had been fired by the British armed forces.[54]
      Misquoted or not he still committed them…if I remember correctly his reason was to stop the Afghan opium trade to the EU & UK…obviously it has not worked and unfortunately  many casualties on all sides have proven this. Always remember his smug smile when he was being interviewed by the press on this decision.

    113. Albalha says:

      @wee162
      You’re welcome, as I said higher up the New Statesman got it wrong too, lists B Donohoe as not voting.
      Though I still haven’t seen a definitive list of the absentees, 30 or so Labour MPs, 3 from Scottish seats. Can’t be bothered cross referencing for the rest, someone, somewhere will no doubt do it.
      The irony is that had there not been such a large number of Tories voting against, and that’s on a 3 line whip vote, Dave could well have scraped through due to the number of Labour who couldn’t be bothered turning up.

    114. Bill McLean says:

      I’ve come to realize that this may be the only decent thing our late, unlamented monstrous Prime Minister Tony Blair (disappeared Middle East peace envoy) ever did! By “crying wolf” over Iraq he has made it almost impossible for the warmongers at Westminster to go to war in circumstances that have nothing to do with them – apart from affecting their shares in armaments! Cameron B – you are correct! The British bases in Cyprus, unfortunately, are Sovereign, so Britain can do as she pleases with them – colonialism by another name.

    115. gordoz says:

      balgayboy says:

      Always remember his smug smile when he was being interviewed by the press on this decision.
       
      Smug doesn’t do him justice.
      Just surprises me that the media still think there is mileage / validity in his views on life, the universe & WAR.

    116. Grant_M says:

      They’re all under pressure…
       
      http://bit.ly/15aPvtI
       
      (courtesy of BBC News Channel today)

    117. Gillie says:

       
      The only option now for the UK government is to send in the Special Peace Envoy, Tony Blair to Damascus. 

    118. gordoz says:

      Gillie says:
       
      The only option now for the UK government is to send in the Special Peace Envoy, Tony Blair to Damascus. 
       
      Don’t think it not being considered right now !
      St Tony Blair that is.

    119. MochaChoca says:

      @Linda,
      In 2010 the OBR forcast for this year (and last) was $87/barrel.
      So about 25% out for a three year forecast (on the low side of course), and yet unionists seem to take the OBR predictions as gospel for a 30 year forecast.

    120. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      dmw42 says:
      30 August, 2013 at 11:02 am

      READERS! For the LOVE OF GOD stop cut-and-pasting poster details (as above) into your comments. It triggers [CITE] tags, and you know what [CITE] tags do to my blood pressure.

    121. Luigi says:

      Correction 4 missing Scottish Labour MP’s add Ian Davidson
       
      “Ah wiz there, ah tell ye, Ah wuz there!”

    122. balgayboy says:

      MochaChoca says:@ 11.46.
      Watch the price rocket if our friends across the pond start their shit. Obviously the OBR had not included unwanted western intervention/interference in their risk assessment.

    123. Gillie says:

      Quote George Osborne, ” There would now be national soul searching about our role in the world. I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all of the world’s problems.”
       
      I think George the world has realised for many a year that the UK were only ever a fig leave for American foreign policy and military intervention. Now even that pretence has been dropped after last night’s vote. The UK is much diminished and I would argue the world is a safer place as a consequence. 

    124. cirsium says:

      @JLT, 7.14am
      The civil war which is destroying Syria is being fomented by other states – for example
      http://ragingbullshit.com/2013/08/28/bandar-ibn-israel/
      http://ragingbullshit.com/2013/08/27/war-in-syria-the-ultimate-deception/
      This might also be of interest – General Wesley Clark on the plan to destroy seven states in the Middle East including Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran (thanks for the heads-up Tinyzeitgeist) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJyVlvYv2TY

    125. Murray McCallum says:

      Backbench MP Gordon Brown has got an excellent attendance record in this parliament. I am surprised he missed this significant vote.
      http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Gordon_Brown&mpc=Dunfermline_East&house=commons

    126. balgayboy says:

      Gillie says:
      30 August, 2013 at 12:00 pm

       Quote George Osborne, “ There would now be national soul searching about our role in the world. I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all of the world’s problems.”
      He forgot to add that the imperialist UK has been the cause of many of today’s world problems.

    127. JLT says:

      To some of the replies that I have received.
       
      What I said if you read again, is that I believe it should be a UN led coalition against a very nasty dictatorship, and what I mean by that, is taking out his weapons of mass destruction. I’m not talking about a UK-US invasion of Syria. Far from it.
      But believe me, if we let Assad, or any other tin-pot dictator off the hook when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, then who knows where it will end.
      What happens, say …if Iran’s influence grows in the middle east, once it acquires the bomb? What happens if North Korea sets off a nuclear warhead 250 miles from Japan? What happens if Russia flexes it muscles over the old Soviet states?
      If you give an inch, they will steal a foot. This is about stopping the progression of ‘where should the line be drawn’. This is not Iraq. This time, there really has been Weapons of MD used here.

    128. Albalha says:

      @luigi
      Aye but he wasnae ….btw in the end it’s 3 G Brown, M Connarty and I Davidson and as @wee162 pointed out for the Lib Dems C Kennedy and John, Viscount 3rd, Thurso

    129. gordoz says:

      JLT says:
      30 August, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      To some of the replies that I have received.
      Isn’t you title missing a letter JLTB 
      JUST LIKE TONY BLAIR !

    130. Tony Little says:

      JLT
       
      If it is proven to the satisfaction of the UN that Assad’s government is responsible, then is the time to act.  But bit is NOT yet so proven as the evidence has not been collected and analysed.  that’s what the UN inspectors are doing right now.  
       
      All we have as “evidence” from the USA is “WE SAY SO”.
       
      Carla del Ponti says it was the REBELS.
       
      Other experts have expressed doubts about whether is was Assad.
       
      So, let’s get the facts before rushing off into the sunset.  

    131. Ghengis says:

      JLT – Where are you getting your information from? What makes you think Assad was responsible for the chemical attack?
      As far as I can find, the UN inspectors have not reported back yet.  They are due to report their findings tomorrow. https://www.un.org/news/

    132. JLT says:

      Right stop! What’s with insults? I have insulted no one.
      Let me tell you, this is progressing like something from The Scotsman. If you can’t debate, don’t insult.
      I’m very surprised that this is happening on this site. I have in no way backed Cameron or BT. I have said that I believe in a UN MANDATE! LED BY THE WORLD!
      If you don’t know your World History for the last 100 years, I suggest you read European History 1919 to 1950. Giving into dictators in the 30’s was a very bad idea.
      I want the UN to check everything first. Just as it should have happened back before the Iraq fiasco

    133. Albalha says:

      @JLT
      What interests me re the taking out of chemical weapons is, strike mistakes, human shields apart, how do you prevent toxic spread, doubt that’s the term, but you’ll know what I mean?

    134. Tony Little says:

      Albalha
       
      I think that the military discussion was on ‘taking out’ Assad’s conventional forces.  Of course that begs the question – do they actually know where his WMD actually are, should they in fact exist at all?  Or is this the Iraq Grid Referencing protocol where, IIRC when inspectors went to EVERY site “identified” by the USA as a site of WMD there was nothing there!

    135. gordoz says:

      Come on JLT / your words
      “But believe me, if we let Assad, or any other tin-pot dictator off the hook when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, then who knows where it will end”.
      Who does that sound like ?

    136. Tony Little says:

      @gordoz
       
      I have just read that in a Rory Bremner “Tone” voice.  You know, it does work!

    137. frankieboy says:

      People in Syria will still die today and every day. The British Press are concerned about ‘humiliation’ and who won an argument. That just about sums up the UK establishment.

    138. gordoz says:

      Tony Little says:
       
      I have just read that in a Rory Bremner “Tone” voice.  You know, it does work!
      Scary … I hadn’t thought of trying the voice; it does work.
       
       

    139. Albalha says:

      @TonyLittle
      I don’t what Syria does, doesn’t have -though the US and Israeli satellite observers will know, whether they tell anyone else the reality, that’s quite a different story – but on the general point of chemical weapons I am curious to know what happens if you strike a warehouse full of them from a great height?

    140. gordoz says:

      Albalha says: @TonyLittle

      Contaminent  … Sorry meant Containment

    141. Albalha says:

      Looks like 92 MPs were absent from the vote last night, clearly there will be some understandable reasons, but, for a vote of this magnitude it’s pretty poor show. 14% no shows.

    142. Tony Little says:

      @Albalha
       
      Me neither, but a realistic assumption would be that a major blast would spread the stuff over a wide area.  The use of a “conventional chemical bomb” needs some kind of charge to launch the materials into the atmosphere.  But I am given to understand that it is far lower than a conventional high-explosive bomb.  So maybe a sufficiently high blast would actually destroy the chemical agents.
       
      We have some informed readers, so maybe one of them has an answer. 

    143. Murray McCallum says:

      Amusing comments from two military specialist relatives of mine regarding potential UK involvement in Syria.  They were suggesting the UK options for mobilisation included:
       – Chelsea pensioners
       – Spitfires
       – Friendly Spanish trawlers
      I think moral in our armed forces is very low due to years of neglect by New Labour Tories.

    144. JLT says:

      OK Gordoz,
      I’m the fool. I’m the idiot. Tell me …once Iran gets the bomb, what do you think Israel is going to do? North Korea has been setting off atomic weapons for fun around near Japan. What happens when something goes wrong, and say a missile blows far too close to the Japanese coast?
      To be honest, I feared this was going to happen during this ‘Arab Spring’ – that Britain would get caught in a civil war that is going horribly, horribly wrong. And now, it has.

      I’m talking about stopping the use of MD’s. Better to keep it to Bullets and bombs, sad as that may seem.

      For me, I find it may be best to take a stern line with Syria. I don’t really give a toss what Britain says. This should be UN led …led by the world. It may just make Iran, North Korea or even Russia pause before doing anything daft in the future.

      As far as I can make out, Gordoz, you seem quite happy to condemn everyone, and that’s fine. Shoot me down, mock me, but I know my history, especially European History. But, let me ask …what is your answer to this problem? You point a finger at me and mock me, but let me tell you this. France and Britain did nothing in the years between 36 and 39. Remind me again what happened next?

      I would rather we did stop this madness at this very moment while it is in its infancy, rather than at some future date, we end up asking ‘How did it come to this?’

    145. dmw42 says:

      Albalha, I don’t know the validity of these statements but, according to some military experts, there are, what are called ‘agent defeat’ weapons designed specifically to neutralize chemical weapons without dispersing toxins into the atmosphere. One type apparently first punctures the chemical weapons containers and then smothers the toxins with neutralizing agents before they can be dispersed. 
       
      Other military experts however claim that these ‘agent defeat’ weapons are still too experimental, or wouldn’t work, or would only work if Syria’s air defences were destroyed beforehand. These experts claim that to destroy any chemical weapons, there has to be boots on the ground to ‘take out’ the air defences and to pinpoint the chemical weapon storage.
       

    146. Chris says:

      Our foreign policies have, for far too long now and with devastating consequences for all involved, been dictated by America and the Israel lobbies in the West.
      Voting YES! next year means we have a chance to break with the wicked neo-con agenda and never again soil Scotland’s name with these wars.

    147. Chic McGregor says:

      Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld sell (or give) sarin gas to Saddam back in the days when he was supposed to be a good guy?

    148. Albalha says:

      @dmw42
      Thanks for that, very interesting. That was my instinct, that, to be simplistic, you need to go in and physically remove them.
      If you remember Iraq we were told that was what the weapons’ inspectors would be doing, (had they found any) but not in this case, much more limited remit.
      Why can’t their remit be extended, put in a different type of UN people if that’s required.

    149. Albalha says:

      @chic
      The initial Halabja reports out of the US blamed Iran, both sides used chemical weapons, of course much like Assad, one day you’re a pal next day you’re a foe.
      A Washington Post report for the late 90’s that may be of interest, everybody sold all manner of things to Iraq!
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/iraq/stories/wartech091790.htm

    150. gordoz says:

      JLT : calm down bud.
      Syria is very very sad and distateful / Assad is a monster to take his country into civil war but; thats just it this is civil war.
      Most of their commentators in exile still say – for the west stay out; this is for Syrians to sort out. Thats enough for me: I dont have answers other than that sorry. Bigger Players should sort out Im sure you understand that position. Can I personally take up arms and save the children of Syria, sadly no. I would caution you if that is your cosideration. My thoughts remain that this requires negotiations and diplomatic expertise to resolve peacefully. Otherwise this civil war will have to resolve the issue for Syrians, sad as that may be.
      I dont relly give a toss what Britain says either but you did come across a bit Tony Blair.
      If you expect a ‘devolved territory’ like Scotland is at present to sort this out, then we live in different worlds. I just dont want Scots troops  killed in Britains Empire building exerceise. That all.

    151. CameronB says:

      JLT
      I apologies if I came across a bit brusquely earlier on, but can you explain why you think Assad is a dictator? Are you perhaps thinking of his father?
       
      As far as parallel with mid 20th century European history are concerned, the most obvious example would of course be the Gleiwitz incident. False flag events have been used to provide justification for countless wars.
       

    152. Mosstrooper says:

      There is a smell of Godwinism about JLT’s remarks and an amazing amount of what ifs.
      On those grounds, why don’t we invade Israel? after all it already has nuclear weapons. Oh no wait– these are friendly nukes. Hmmm! back to the drawing board

    153. Chic McGregor says:

      @Albalha
      Thanks for the old WP article (whatever happened to their integrity?)
      Quick Google:-
      An oldish Gruniad:
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/dec/31/iraq.politics
       
      A new article from a stirrer site:
       
      http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/08/sarin-gas-how-the-us-gov-is-framing-syria-with-iraqi-wmds-2749306.html

    154. Jamie Arriere says:

      “Yes. This. Cameron was very smart to say what he said after the vote.” It was quite good, wasn’t it? He seemed to take it on the chin far better than I suspect Tony the Warmonger would have.
      __________________
       
      And yet I’m sure if he had won the vote, today he would be getting fitted out for a flak jaiket with his name on, dusted down his book of Churchill’s speeches and begun practising his miliary gait!

    155. JLT says:

      Mosstrooper
      The reason we use the Nazis, or Godwinism, is that it is a benchmark. To do nothing, but vote, condemn, or make faint noises is the reason we had WW2. Knock it if you want, but it is principle as well as a warning when dealing with failed states. Nazi Germany is used as a study in how failed states acquiring destructive weapons can lead to absolute disaster when nothing is done.
      Lets just say, we do hee-haw. Iran laughs and goes out and gets the bomb. Assad remains in power (lets say his forces did authorise the chemical attack), North Korea decides to build bigger and better rockets, Russia exerts its might by bullying previous Soviet states. One day, it kicks off. Someone does something daft in the middle east. Then what? Instead of having dealt with it now, we have 2 rogue states with possibly 1 or 2 major powers backing them flexing their muscles. What happens if Iran gets the bomb and exerts its influence over the Arab world. Think the Saudi’s won’t be screaming at the Americans to do something?. Then where do we go? What do we do then?
      Seriously, are my ‘If’s’ so outlandish? Japan is up in arms each time NK tests a nuke or a missile near Japan. Saudi Arabia never bickers with Israel because Israel stands up to Iran. Three different theologies in an uneasy and unholy triangle, but if Iran gets the bomb …game changer! I would rather have a nuke free Iran than a nuked Iran facing a very paranoid Israel. I hate what Israel does to the Palestinians, but until the US somehow forces Israel to change its ways, we’re saddled with the ‘friendly nukes’.
      Believe me, mate. If I could change the world, I would have the issue of nuclear weapons or any other MD’s controlled by the UN. Nothing can be sanctioned without World approval.
      I don’t like what the Big 5 on the Security Council get up to any better than you do. Hypocrites …the lot of them. But if I play Godwinism, then it is better to have a benchmark of what could happen, rather than just shrug our shoulders, moan at Syria, and accept that it ‘hopefully, it just might never happen again. History tells us that things are repeated. I fear that this chemical attack crossed a line. To ignore it, would be stupid, as well as criminal’

    156. Vronsky says:

      The removal of Assad was and remains US foreign policy.  When they attack Syria  the UK will back them.  Interesting and surprising though it is, this vote changes nothing. Assad isn’t on the CIA payroll and needs to be replaced by someone who is.

    157. a supporter says:

      gordoz
      Assad is a monster to take his country into civil war …”
      Point of order. Assad is the Head of a legal government. It was attacked by the rebels. So they took the country into a civil war.
       
       
       
       
       

    158. Gillie says:

       
      Interesting comments by Dr Michael Williams, Reader in International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London. He said on BBC News that any strains in the Special Relationship are due to growing American concerns over drastic UK government cuts to its conventional forces and not the Syrian vote.
       
      It is not in American interests to have weakened conventional forces in these isles.
       
      Well we know one solution that would resolve that problem for the Americans – Scottish independence.  That would bring an end to the UK’s nuclear weaponry, which the Americans have always considered to be superfluous.  

    159. Albalha says:

      US ‘popular’ newspaper’s take on it …..
       
      https://twitter.com/benrileysmith/status/373390086035226624/photo/1

    160. Cymru Rydd says:

      Hugely significant vote last night. Surely a historic( and long over due) acknowledgement that the British state is no longer in a position to be an imperial power in the world.  This is very much to be welcomed. It’s a vindication of what nationalists in Scotland and Wales have been saying for years.
      The wider ramifications of the vote are also fascinating: it could well  indicate  a desire to untangle England( as the leading partner of this state) from other wider obligations, i.e the European project, in order to focus on the well documented domestic problems of England.
       Ed Miliband should not crow too much about his “victory” last night; the growing emphasis on England’s needs which will follow this vote will ultimately prove to be his undoing. Cameron (and Farage) might well have the last laugh in 2015.

    161. Angus says:

       
      Arbroath 1320 says:
      30 August, 2013 at 12:30 am

      I may be wrong here but I think I read somewhere that Milliband had given Cameron the impression that he would back the coalition. Some time  later he changed his mind and brought in his amendment. This was, in my opinion, a vain attempt by Milliband to try and gain some popularity with the electorate, not that he has that much to start with though.”
      True.
      Too true.
      The labour pipsqueaks pretended they were with the media (who looked like they believed it was up to them to stir up an attack on Syria in spite of not knowing whether it would achieve the aim of preventing more deaths) and of course the labourtorylibdems appear to believe with no evidence that the chemical attack (the recent one that is) that Assad’s government launched this particular chemical attack.
       
      Ming Campbell said two days ago on GMS that he was against an attack and wanted to get the Syrians to talk to each other with Russia and ‘the west’ on board-then he voted for the Labour amendment, which would be great if Labour were thinking of humanitarian casualty figuresbut one can assume this was political…..to get one over on Cameron and the tories and make beleaguered useless Miliband ‘look strong’ or ‘be in the right’.
       
      Labour just want to bomb Syrians somewhere…..but not quite yet as there are politics to play out first, an attempt to build up some ground.
       
      The article above is a spot on summation of the circumstances that lead to a no vote, and there were no winners……anywhere in the world.
       
      Just a postponement.

    162. Albalha says:

      The arrogance and/or incompetence of this PM lost him the vote. If everyone on the government payroll had been told to turn up they wouldn’t have lost, according to Guardian ten of them ……this includes Ken Clarke, Alan Duncan and Danny A’s PPS ……then, of course, the two who didn’t hear the division bell.
      Which leads me back to an earlier point, with 30 or so Labour MPs absent, how seriously were they taking it.
       
       

    163. Luigi says:

      Cameron’s big mistake was to believe that Ed Milliband was on board.
       
      Lesson learned:
      Never trust a man who would stab his brother in the back.

    164. Albalha says:

      @Cymru Rydd
      Soon after the result was in people were saying that the Tory rebels were the same bunch who rebel on Europe ……isolationalist etc.
      Haven’t done the cross referencing myself, but makes sense. Farage has popped up calling for Hague’s resignation.

    165. proudscot says:

      Now we know why the Tory/LibDem Coalition is so keen to implement IDS’s punitive cuts on welfare claimants. Tomahawk cruise missiles cost somewhere between £500,000 and £1 million. Good to know the “savings” from the bedroom tax and closing Remploy factories for employing disabled workers, would have been spent in such a humanitarian way killing pro-Assad Syrians, to punish them for killing anti-Assad Syrians.

    166. proudscot says:

      Presumably the absence of North British Broon and Anti-Separashun Davidson, among other Labour absentees, was motivated by their tribal reluctance to vote alongside the hated SNP MPs in the Westminster lobbies.

    167. Andy-B says:

      Gordon Browns actions remind me of James Hamilton the 4ths actions
      when he claimed he couldnt vote on the Acts of Union, due to the fact he was suffering from the toothache.

    168. annie says:

      Had BBC News on pretty much all day and I can’t believe the tone the newsreaders are taking with MP’s they are interviewing who voted no – it’s almost as if they have taken it as a personal affront that we are not going to bomb Syria.

    169. Gillie says:

      The joke doing the rounds is that the reason that some Coalition ministers and MPs missed hearing the division bell and so failed to vote was that they were too busy filling in their expense forms.
       
      I wonder how far from the truth that is?

    170. Gillie says:

      Obviously Gordon Brown and Iain Davidson were too busy fending off those nasty nats to vote last night. It’s a 24/7 job you know. 

    171. redcliffe62 says:

      The al Queda affiliated opposition mob in Syria have had Sarin last few weeks and no guarantee it was not them.
      The article in huff post below will make you at least consider if it was the other side.
      Both as bad as each other.
      Read the link below and then ask why few are looking at this in the UK.
      Israel has more Sarin than the rest of the Middle east put together. So having it is not the issue; using it is.
       
      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/charles-shoebridge/syria-chemical-weapons-us_b_3443185.html

    172. Baheid says:

      Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, women or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or “disappeared” , at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.
      Amnesty International, 1996

    173. Albalha says:

      Interestingly some are saying the letter the Syrian Gov sent to MPs had an impact, think they’ve sent one now to all US senators.
      @redcliffe62 Exactly the inspectors have no way of categorically saying who did it.
      Quite a number of possibles, of course, including Assad.
       

    174. gordoz says:

      a supporter says:
      30 August, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      gordoz stands corrected – yet again (apologies)
      I take it we are not saying Assad is a good guy though ???

    175. Albalha says:

      @gordoz
      But where is he on the bad/good guys scale of all current leaders of a country?

    176. a supporter says:

      annie, the BBCs presenters, most notably Packman have been agitating for the ‘West’ to step in and ‘do something’ in Syria for the last two years. Packman got his ass kicked last night by Douglas Alexander on Newsnight who gave a very lucid account of what happened in Parliament’s fiasco yesterday under severe baiting from Packman. All the implied insults and nastiness slipped off his back like water off a duck. I was impressed although not enough to vote for him and Labour.

    177. gordoz says:

      a supporter says:

      I was impressed although not enough to vote for him and Labour.
       
      Steady !!!

    178. Does anyone have a list of the votes broken down by country? I can go through it but it would be easier if it’s already done.
      My theory is that if Scotland was already free then England would be about the drag the rest of us to war. That should be a real wake up call for those down here who opposed bombing Syria but (bizarrely) like London rule.

    179. Dan says:

      Rev “I am, for the reasons what I wrote.”
      Puke! 🙁

    180. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Puke!”

      You get that that’s an Ernie Wise joke, right?

    181. Eric McLean says:

      Think on this. 

      The people of Lebanon believe that the Syrian government (security services) was behind the very sophisticated bomb that blew up the Lebanese Security Chief.  

      The opinion of the sensible Lebanese at the time was that Assad will take revenge on countries against him. 

      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/10/20121020112659633195.html

    182. Albalha says:

      The charity Hand in Hand for Syria is taking basic goods donations in four Scottish locatons today.
      Times for Glasgow and Edinburgh, (not on site) 12-5pm. Also Jedburgh and Dundee.
      http://www.handinhandforsyria.org.uk/
       

    183. Chic McGregor says:

      How can they even think of doing anything with claims like this doing the rounds, albeit sub MSM?
       
      http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/



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