Posts Tagged ‘Mirfield’

Vox Political: Six MPs Explain Why They’re Voting against Bombing Syria

December 1, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has posted six individual pieces about Labour MPs, who are against bombing Syria, in which they give their reasons for opposing the government’s policy.

They are

Cat Smith, the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood,
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/cat-smith-labours-lancaster-and-fleetwood-mp-will-not-support-air-strikes/

Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/cardiff-central-mp-will-vote-against-air-strikes-in-syria/

Matthew Pennycook, the MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/greenwich-and-woolwich-mp-weighs-in-against-air-strikes-in-syria/

Paula Sheriff, the MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/paula-sheriff-labours-dewsbury-and-mirfield-mp-opposes-air-strikes/

John Mann. Mann has criticised Corbyn about the way he handled setting out Labour’s policy, putting his own beliefs ahead of everyone else’s. But he is also going to vote against bombing Syria.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/john-mann-is-a-corbyn-critic-but-like-corbyn-he-opposes-air-strikes-in-syria/

And Keir Starmer, the Labour MP for Holbourne and St. Pancras, formerly Director of Public Prosecutions
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/former-dpp-keir-starmer-is-no-pacifist-but-he-wont-support-air-strikes-in-syria/.

These give various reasons for not supporting Cameron’s decision. These include the lack of UN and international support, concern for the ordinary people caught up in the bombing and the further destabilisation that will occur, and the belief that bombing alone will not solve the problem. Starmer in particular makes it clear that Cameron’s statement that there are 70,000 fighters already in Syria willing to take our side is wholly unrealistic.

Mike has also written another long piece observing that the media seems desperate to make Labour seem responsible for Britain’s bombing of Syria, if this goes ahead, despite Corbyn and the majority of Labour members opposing it.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/syria-have-the-uk-news-media-ever-been-as-desperate-to-convince-the-public-of-a-lie/

This bias is shared not just by newspapers like the Metro, but also by the Beeb’s own Newsnight programme. The narrative being spun here is that if some Labour MPs do vote with the government, the bombing will be due to division in the Labour party. Mike observes that they’re desperate for a war and more blood spilt, but want to blame it on the Labour party instead of with the government.

I can’t say I’m surprised at the tactic. When Thatcher and Major were in power, the constant refrain from the Tories was that Labour was divided by factionalism, and hence a shambolic mess that shouldn’t be in power. Quite different from the confident and monolithic Tories, whipped into line by Maggie. This changed with the control-freakery of New Labour, but now that Cameron has emerged from the Left of the party – actually, the traditional centre ground before Bliar took it to the right – they’ve simply dusted off and revived that bit of Tory rhetoric. They’ve also remembered how unpopular the invasion of Iraq was, and how deeply Bliar and his crew have been resented for that. And so they’re determined to pin this on Corbyn’s Labour. Even though they’ve been loudly denouncing Corbyn for being somehow unpatriotic and openly supporting terrorism from the IRA to Osama bin Laden.

It’s unsurprising that most of the Tory media are against Labour. It’s also almost to be expected that Newsnight would follow suit. The Beeb is currently fending off Tory plans to strip it of the licence fee, or privatise it. Their response has been to roll over and adopt a fawningly pro-government position in the hope that it will somehow appease them. It won’t.

It’s also a strategy by which the media can hide their own volte face in supporting the bombing. Nearly a decade and a half ago, many Conservative MPs opposed the invasion of Iraq, and various Tory rags like the Spectator also took an anti-War line. Now they’re pro-war, in contrast to the grassroots of the Labour party, which is opposed to it. But it’s clearly an uncomfortable position. After all, Private Eye and other consistent critics of humbug by the great and good make a point of showing up cases where MPs and the media have changed their opinions when it’s been convenient. Their support for bombing now could cause people to question whether their opposition to the Iraq invasion came from genuine conviction, or simply because this time the calls for military action came from the Labour party. So they have to pass responsibility for bombing onto Labour, in order to avoid criticising their favoured party, the Tories, or appearing to contradict themselves by supporting military action in circumstances similar to Bliar’s invasion of Iraq.