Sammy McNally has kindly posted the below guest post:
I think it is fair to say that there are good arguments both for and against Western military intervention in Syria.
I think it also fair to say that the obvious over-eagerness of Davey Cameron (taken with his previous attempts to effect regime change in Syria) undoubtedly contributed to the parliamentary rejection of his confused and watered down request for military involvement.
The unfortunate Tory leader, like a bumbling Bertie Wooster in a Woodhousian farce, who was attempting to both garner support for military action and put off a decision on taking it until the following week(when parliament was back) – had seemingly recalled parliament for no good reason. Jeeves would not have approved.
And Davey had to watch on as his ill-thought out and muddled strategy unravelled, as British concern for the fate of Syrian civilians, gave way to a much greater concern for what Cameron’s parliamentary defeat meant for the ‘special relationship’. Concerns that became increasingly hysterical (and amusing) with British fears that ‘best friend’ status might be bestowed on the awful French who remained keen on military involvement and were referred to as our ‘oldest ally’ by Secretary of State Kerry. (Peter Simpson, the experienced BBC reporter assured his audience in solemn tones that the Americans had chosen these cruel words to be deliberately hurtful).
On this side of the Irish sea, as a former (and continuing) colony, we generally have serious reservations about British overseas military interventions (and not just because we have been on the receiving end on more than one occasion). And particularly so in this case, where the ethnic and religious divisions, the complexity of the politics in the region, the unreliability of Western intelligence agencies, the fallout from interventions in Iraq and Libya, the strength of the influence of Israel on Western foreign policy and the undesirability of the opposition in Syria – would probably outweigh the desirability of punishing the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons – for most of the Irish public.
There were many excellent parliamentary contributions last Thursday, including from some of Cameron’s own party from MPs who also opposed military involvement. But as ever, when it comes to matters of foreign policy and particularly in the middle east – the words of George Galloway are eagerly anticipated.
And George didn’t disappoint – and as usual nailed the issue.
Speaking of the Syrian governments alleged action, George observed.
“Not that they are not bad enough to do it, Mr Speaker, the question is are they mad enough to do it,
.. to launch a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on the very day that UN inspections team arrives in Damascus
…and of course if he is that mad – how mad is going to be if we launch a blizzard of Tomahawk cruise missiles.”
Gorgeous George, arguably the best parliamentary speaker since Churchill, was exiled from the Labour Party, for not swallowing Blair’s attempts to win over ‘middle England’ but somehow seemed to reflect the views of all of middle England – and the rest of Britain –not only much better than the discredited Blair who was calling for military action from the side lines – but also somewhat better than the befuddled Davey.
George’s speech in full below.