My response to Jeremy Corbyn’s request for my views on Syria:
I think that Jeremy Corbyn is a moral coward. He wants the prerogative of the harlot down the ages, power without responsibility, but he cannot have it. To govern is to choose. And, although sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones you still have to choose. If he cannot accept that then he must ask himself what is best for the future of the Labour Party. As Tony Benn once said, no one is bigger than the party.
We are engaged in combat with ISIS in Iraq, therefore, we are at war with them and they will not exempt us from any future attacks, just because we are bombing them after our help was sought by the Iraqi Government and, only given, after a vote in the affirmative by the House of Commons. ISIS has declared war on all who do not share its narrow, intolerant interpretation of Islam. They strike out as easily at co-religionists, with whom they disagree, as they do those of other faiths or no faith. ISIS destroys our shared history and culture, when not selling it for hard cash, without a qualm.
If Corbyn really wants advice from me, rather than my joining his claque, I would suggest he put down a reasoned amendment that, whilst Labour will not support the extension of air strikes in Iraq to Syria, Labour will support British military forces replacing French troops operating under the flag of the United Nations (and, if appropriate, in France’s Overseas Departments and Territories) so that they may be redeployed where they may do the most good. We would then, as Corbyn has himself promised, be providing practical support to the French Government. Moreover, Labour would support the despatch of naval units and auxiliaries to the Eastern Mediterranean to support humanitarian aid activities as well as the deployment, where possible and appropriate, of UK land forces, in particular, medical, logistics and catering troops to assist, support and protect those providing help to refugees.
The Leader of the Labour Party should be looking to find a way to unite our party around a series of actions that are more than a gesture and that will make a difference to the men, women and children, who are, as I type, being killed, maimed, tortured, raped, forced to change their faith or die, sold into slavery or sent out in the world with just the clothes on their backs by ISIS.
I think that as every day passes, Jeremy Corbyn and a fair few of his supporters, particularly those not part of the Labour Party, display a frightening lack of emotional intelligence. Their seeming lack of concern about the plight of the victims of ISIS is only exceeded by their view, that no matter how hard the Tories make life for their fellow citizens, it is better to have a principled and unbending, but unelectable man leading the Labour Party than someone who is electable, but in their opinion unprincipled, at the party’s helm. Someone who, after the next General Election, will be able to begin to reverse the damage of 10 years of Tory misrule. I do not want to have to explain to voters after the next General Election that Labour losing for its principles is somehow a better outcome than putting their interests first and winning in an ‘unprincipled’ way.
Who set up Corbyn and his claque to have the final say that no loaf is better than even a few slices? A Prime Minister, born into the working class, once said, you may keep your principles shining bright and not get your hands on the levers of power or get them a bit tarnished, get your hands on the levers of power and do something (for the condition of the working class). I share that sentiment. Does Jeremy Corbyn, who comes from an affluent, middle class background, do too? And, if he does not, why does he thinks he speaks for me and my family, that he may include us in his definition of our people?