Old Viscount Stansgate’s vapid witterings from his millionaire mansion in Holland Park kept Labour unelectable for 19 years while the Tories ran riot. The enduring legacy from his time as Minister was Concorde which the taxpayer had to give away to allow Michael Winner to pay £8,000 for return tickets to Barbados and Norton Motorcycles sold off to American asset strippers at taxpayers’ expense. Oh, and he closed down Radio Caroline. I don’t ever see making Labour unelectable being a badge of pride? I don’t ever see consistently trying to undermine a progressive Labour Government actually delivering for Britain as Jeremy Corbyn did for 13 years being a badge of pride?
The UK is already at war with ISIL and similar groups and been attacked by them. There is no real connection with what we do and whether or not we are targets. So the choice is not war or no war. The choice is whether we use the full range of military, diplomatic and economic options to deprive them of their statelet status and help free the people of Rakka & Mosul from their tyranny. People are dying in large numbers as Muslims, Yazidi’s and Christians are massacred by ISIL.
We then need to actively oppose the sectarian Wahabi ideology behind them but that fundamentally is an issue for Muslims. To suggest that Tony Blair has no heart or ideology is just white noise, he had heart enough to not stand idly by in Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Kosovo, Ireland and yes Iraq where Saddam had invaded two of his neighbours with disastrous consequences, killed 600,000 Iraqi’s and DID have a WMD development programme, the fruits of which he only covertly destroyed under international pressure. I opposed the Iraq War but Britain’s involvement was a somewhat inept sideshow and to imagine if it had not happened Iraq and the Middle East would now be a bucolic paradise with its people living in peace and harmony is delusional, deeply delusional. The fundamental problem are corrupt authoritarian regimes which do not represent their people and have built failing nations.
Magnificent speech by @hilarybennmp :heartening at to hear the issue laid out as resistance to theocratic fascism.
— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) December 3, 2015
Furthermore, despite the white noise generators and stuckists on the “Hard Left” (so hard they have never convinced the Electorate of anything) repeating their mantras ad nausea the action on Iraq was never ruled illegal by any competent Tribunal. Tony Blair is not a War Criminal, no charges, no forum, no hearing, no verdict. Period. Furthermore, the fact is the majority of British people supported the action on Iraq at the time as did overwhelmingly the British Parliament, which is sovereign. Tony Blair put himself in front of the British Electorate afterwards and won a further strong mandate. So let us not support attempts to rewrite history, hindsight is great but you don’t have it in the hard school of real world decision making.
Hilary Benn makes powerful closing speech in Syria debate. J Corbyn's grim face a picture. Unprecedented parliamentary scene.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) December 2, 2015
Hilary Benn was today praised for “one of the truly great speeches” seen in the House of Commons after making a passionate plea for Labour MPs joining him to support air strikes in Syria. The shadow Foreign Secretary spoke immediately before his Government counterpart as a marathon debate on British intervention drew to a close tonight. Asking the Speaker’s permission to address Labour directly, Mr Benn said: “We must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for this motion tonight.“
In a speech which was delivered in scarcely more than a whisper at points to a rapt House of Commons, he told Labour MPs their party had always been “defined by internationalism”, adding: ”We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. We are here faced by fascists,“ Mr Benn said. ”Not just their calculated brutality but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this Chamber tonight and all of the people that we represent.”
Why we should support the UN, stand with France and do our bit against ISIL/Daesh in Syria as well as in Iraq https://t.co/gSBZcLf6OE
— Hilary Benn (@hilarybennmp) December 1, 2015
Mr Benn defied his own leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had condemned the Government’s strategy and urged his MPs to vote against “another ill-fated twist in this never-ending war on terror”. Corbyn sat stony faced, a look he has practiced over most of the past three decades reciting the same old cant against supposed imperialism. Unfortunately for his supporters, today we saw exactly why his 32 years of campaigning as an MP have borne so little fruit: it’s a weak case, which he isn’t very good at making.
Hilary Benn showed us a glimpse of how an effective Labour Opposition with fire in its belly could hold this hopeless, self serving, economically illiterate and scandal tinged Tory Government to account. More than that, Hilary Benn showed us how a future Labour Government could run this Country for the common good of the majority, not for the smug Tory profiteers or for the delusional Left trying to flog their rejected dodgy goods to an Electorate which has rejected their time warp “reality” again and again.
Labour must not unlearn the lessons it spent many hard powerless years learning while the Tories pulled the country apart and we betrayed the people we should represent.
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.