Latest post on Left Futures

A Labour abstention on Syria makes no sense

PLP Syria debateMehdi Hasan reports at the Huffington Post that Labour could table a ‘reasoned amendment’ to the government motion tomorrow on Syria which demanded that any action against the Syrian regime be contingent on UN approval and after the UN inspectors finish their job (which Ban-Ki Moon says will take four days), and then abstain on the government motion on the assumption that it lost the vote. Such an abstention would satisfy no-one and have no basis in any principle.

Such an amendment, though a significant improvement on the government position, would certainly not satisfy all Labour MPs, nor party members, let alone the British public who oppose missile strikes by a margin of 2 to 1. Many would oppose any British involvement even with UN approval and UN leadership.

However, Cameron intends to propose a UN resolution condemning the chemical weapons attack by Assad and “authorizing necessary measures to protect civilians” (which would presumably be used to justify a US/UK/French rather than UN-led action rather than an UN-led intervention). This is unlikely to be carried based on the current Russian and Chinese position, and no-one believes that this would stop British or US intervention.

Therefore, if such an opposition amendment as is suggested was moved but falls, parliament must take a position for or against the intervention which will happen if the government wins the vote. Whether they are whipped or not, Labour MPs must surely take a position for or against intervention.



  1. Sandra Crawford says:

    The vast majority of British people do not want this intervention. The motive is questionable when the government have no evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons. Del Ponte of the UN has pointed out that the rebels have chemical weapons (in May this year).
    If Labour do not vote against this, they will lose many supporters.

  2. John p Reid says:

    Sandra, even though I agree we should nt get involved, the fact that the majority don’t want too, isn’t reason why we shouldn’t, apparently the majority of a Brits didn’t want us to get involved,when Germany invaded Poland,

  3. Rob the cripple says:

    Best one yet John, the people of the UK did not want to go to war over Poland that may well be so, but they soon backed the Government did they not.

    I think the fact is one side does not want us to get involved which is Assad’s lot, but the so called rebels would do anything to ensure we are.

    The answer is wait find out which side the inspectors know did it, or which side they believe and then decide.

    The real problem now is we do not know enough, a no fly zone may well mean our planes will be shot down, so you will have to look seek and find Assad’s missiles, some of those will be placed near hospitals schools and anywhere he thinks the Yanks will not hit after Iraq and Afghanistan we know the mess that can happen thinking the USA will not fire or the UK for that matter.

    Miliband has to wait for god sake not go off half cocked wait for the inspectors to report them make a decision.

  4. Following recent hours’ spectacular triumph, Ed Miliband ought to use his Conference speech to promise to save what little remains of Sunday trading restrictions after Thatcher and Major, which is already declared Labour Party policy in this Parliament.

    To promise to renationalise the Royal Mail, thus killing its privatisation stone dead, because no buyer would take the risk.

    And to promise to take each of the rail franchises back into public ownership as it came up for renewal, thus renationalising the railways at no cost.

    All while demanding a straight In-Out referendum on the day of next year’s European Elections, which only the Government could deliver.

    At that point, even if it were not already, as some of us maintain that is and that has now been for years, then the paleocon case for endorsing Labour at the next General Election will become unanswerable.

    It will then be over to Stephen Glover, Max Hastings, Philip Johnston, Peter McKay, Peter Hitchens (who has already been on record for a year that he will endorse any party committed both to the Sunday trading point and to rail renationalisation), Tim Stanley, Freddy Gray and all the rest of them.

    They have done sterling work on Syria. The electoral consequence of their position is now obvious.

  5. John p Reid says:

    Rob cripple, maybe some of the public did change their mind over WW 2′ but the fact that the public may or not want something, doesn’t make it right, apparently leading up to the 2nd Iraq a majority wanted it,

  6. James J Paton says:

    We do not know if the British public do or do not want an intervention, military or otherwise, because they are never properly informed or consulted on any Government or Opposition policies. What we do know is a lot of British people care about helping the most vulnerable by non-military means e.g. Oxfam, Red Cross etc etc and plethora, of unfortunately now competing, rather than cooperating, charities. Not unlike ‘elements of the ‘left’ (undefined and undefinable) who are now partyless given the betrayals of the Blair/Brown Governments and now the Milliband opposition(?). This is particualrly true of the wasted opportunity to redefine politics and the system under their tenure. They behaved like true dictators and not benevolent ones. And like the ‘historic fragmented factional left’, we spend endless hours, days, weeks discussing and arguing amongst ourselves while Syria’s children burn. The Labour Party is defunct as a democratic force for good and change and the sooner the vast majority of its membership/supporters realise it the better and build a new ‘Jerusalem’ based on a fairer internal (party) and external (Westminster) system the better. Sigh. I’m based in a mindless and numb True Blue North Yorkshire Tory heartland, where the forces for good could really achieve things, but those forces, like elsewhere, are devided and dischordant by out of date failed party politics and tribal loyalties. So I’ll just carry on and focus on community politics and related action and decision-making, by other means – social networking – outside of the local and national political system. PS I’m not an ‘-ist’ or a ‘-ism’, Trotsky or otherwise, but a former Labour Party member from 16, who was a shop steard at 23, councillor at 25 (in ’86), Westminster candidate in ’97 under the horrors of Blair, Brown and Mandleson dictatorship and Euro candidate in ’99. Sensibly gave it all up to concentrate on proper meaningful politics due to the horrific illegal war, that we are still paying the human and financial price for, whilst our education, health and housing go down the pan.

  7. Rob the cripple says:

    So what is special with Syria for god sake what about the Africa murders and killing genocides , we campaigned to get something done about Darfur.

    The issue is are you all saying that Assad is that stupid to use a small quality of germ warfare to get the yanks to say lets go.

    I somehow doubt it and if he did he deliver it in blue cans and not a missile.

    Then you have the brotherhood who were once powerful then gave up and are the biggest political group, would they use it only 100 dead hero’s to the cause.

    I’m sorry but if the Yanks want to do this go for it and then stay and sort out the massive civil war, after all more has been killed since the yanks and the UK left Iraq then poor old Saddam could have dreamed off.

    Afghanistan will be a nightmare once the troops have pulled out will we return of course not.

    Syria will be another Egypt are we thinking of helping the people out in this country.

    We are told 100 people have died of chemical weapons are we really saying Assad who has a real serious weapons can only deliver death to a 100, some how i think this may well be the rebels getting the yanks involved and it’s worked.

  8. John p Reid says:

    James J, who?

© 2024 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma