By John Millington
The historic defeat for Prime Minister David Cameron and the Coalition government last night was an important political event.
It weakened the PM’s authority within his own party; it perhaps restored some limited faith in our fledgling democracy and most importantly put a break on Britain bombing another sovereign country’s territory in contravention of the UN Charter.
It could have also been a spring board for Labour leader Ed Miliband to make substantial political capital out of the defeat by insisting that David Cameron was a a lame duck Prime Minister, that Miliband himself and his party were ready to lead Britain out of recession and to put the pressure on Cameron in the form of a no confidence vote in the near future.
Instead due to Miliband being wobbled into a sort-of anti-war stance – remember if the Tories had been less partisan, Labour’s amendment would have passed and war would be now one step closer – his inability to put clear blue water in terms of policy and political ideology between his party and the Tories and a seemingly ingrained reluctance to even want to be Prime Minister, he fell back on the most gentle of criticisms of Cameron, labelling him “cavalier and reckless.”
Amongst the recriminations from gung-ho pro-imperialist (sorry “progressive interventionist”) types who want regime change for the geo-political interests of the US French and our own ruling class (honestly these people care about Syrian kids); a strange air of self congratulation is coming from sections of the anti-war movement.
Tomorrow’s demonstration called by Stop the War coalition against British bombing of Syria will now serve to “celebrate stopping UK intervention” in Syria and to tell the US not to go ahead with its pre-planned war against Syria.
This is slightly odd given that it is highly unlikely President Obama will see a small demonstration by a foreign public and think it’s time to clip those hawk wings once and for all.
And secondly Britain is already engaged in military operations in Syria as are 10,000 foreign fighters, 150 of them British who have all lined up with the extremist rebels.
According to recent Mirror article, the SAS, other Special Forces teams and MI6 spies are in Syria supposedly searching for missiles and chemical weapons.
Have they been removed? Have they had their mission plans altered?
And these 10,000 foreign fighters; who are they? Who trained them?
The political class have set the terms of the debate around Syria since day one and this has gone largely unchallenged.
A cursory look at the foreign press shows there is increasing doubt that the Syrian government is even responsible for the recent chemical weapons attack last week and that in fact rebels financed by Saudi Arabia may well be the guilty party.
However the debate in Britain has largely ignored this.
In fact there has been acceptance of western terms such as “dictator” attributed to President Assad without a proper evaluation of the political situation there.
As the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) – a body representing millions of workers across the globe said in a statement on Syria: “The “democracy” applied in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Mali: we do not need it, we do not want it! No more blood for the interests of the multinationals.”
“The forces within the country, which are morally and practically supported by the USA, Britain, France as well as Turkey, Israel and the Emirs and Kings of Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc., have nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people, neither with the “peace” nor with the “democracy.”
Surely the next step for the anti-war movement is to expose and oppose current British involvement in destabilising Syria still further, watching carefully for any escalation and to ultimately bring itself in closer alignment with anti-imperialist and the class orientated trade unionism espoused by the WFTU.
Imperialism is still on the front foot. There is no time for celebration.