If Idle were the hon member for Goodwood and the Downs, as he clearly ought to be, he has no idea how he might have voted last night. Boy Assad is poisonous, just as Old Assad was, but there is something rather comforting about the fact that they are Shia Alawites who run a secular Ba’ath Arab autocracy in an overwhelmingly Sunni state, rather than religious nutters who would have us Europeans all dead or enslaved and a Caliphate in place. ‘Rather comforting’ may be the wrong expression, but you see what I mean.
Obama wanted the retaliation to the chemical atrocity to be ‘a shot across the bows’ of the Assad regime. What? Does he know what a shot across the bows means? It means a warning from which no one gets hurt. Where was he planning to lob his missile - into the ornamental lake in the presidential compound, injuring nothing except the prized collection of carp? I don’t think Obama knows what he is talking about, or what he wants to do. Maybe the story that Cameron has been lobbying Obama for months to get angry with Assad is true. Maybe Sam Cam’s visit to the refugee camp really did set this all rolling.
Cameron doesn’t know what the outcome of the Syrian civil war will be, nor has he expressed a preference, just that there should be no NBC weapons (it’ll take ‘em longer to kill each other with conventional stuff, but what the hell). Intervention will almost certainly not result 100% in the outcome desired by Downing Street and the White House, so the Law of Unintended Consequences will be unleashed (idle, in his 52 year span on earth, has discovered this law to be a bugger). Where is the British interest in all this? It is hard to fathom, though Cameron said he was clear in his own mind. He had reached his ‘judgement’ and he expected to have it supported by Parliament.
If we wondered what esteem Cameron is held in by his own party, let alone his coalition partners and Labour MPs, we now know. Above all, last night’s vote established that the Prime Minister has neither the trust nor the confidence of the country to go wargaming on our behalf.
Mostly, this is Blair’s fault. His dishonesty and conceit will be remembered for as long as history books are written. Only ten years after his Big Lie, even strong prime ministers with working majorities (ie not Cameron) would have had difficulty winning a Commons vote on an issue as vague as Syria.
Cameron tried to square Miliband and thought he’d succeeded, but Miliband welshed on him, mostly for cynical reasons, but also because Miliband is another leader neither liked or respected by his MPs. Miliband is a strange creature – all earnestness and apparent honesty and bleeding-heart empathy, but with a fatal flaw in his character, which seems always to make him re-think after he has shaken hands, and to be dishonourable.
Well, the Ed Miller Band is one big step closer to Downing Street after Cameron’s folly of the past week, so we had better get used to the idea that this buck-toothed, goggle-eyed, camel-nosed Old Labour socialist is a probable, rather than possible winner of the next general election. Time to check that your passport isn’t about to expire.