So Dave lost the vote in the House of Commons. What does this mean for the future of the 'Speacial Relationship', Red Ed, Parliament, David Cameron and of course Syria?
Is the 'Special Relationship' over, as Menzies (what an odd spelling) Campbell essentially said to the news. Well Menzies is quite mad and he can keep dreaming on. On foreign policy we have had several major gulfs with the Americans and yet we're still allies. At Suez the Americans sided with Russia over our invasion of the Sinai. In Vietnam we refused to help America, also the French helped the Americans. During the Falklands America didn't want to give any support because Argentina was an ally against Communists in South America. We have differed a number of times and yet we have always been pretty close. What will happen is a lot of shouting behind closed doors at most and nothing else.
Menzies Campbell speaking out of his arse for not the first time.
If our Special Relationship is coming under strain it's because of President Obama. This is the man who waged war against British Petroleum (not the name of BP). Hates the UK because his links to Kenya and the oppression we used there, of course forgetting that the side he takes in the Mao Mao Rebellion was far worse in killing people. This is also the President who has worst foreign policy ideas of any American President since time in memoriam, this whole debacle on Syria shows that up clearly. Even he is having problems in America about this, 50% of the US public oppose action in Syria. Congress is screaming to have a debate on this issue, but unfortunately for them the President has more executive powers. Obama is weary however and now looks like he is stalling on Syria. It's not just the British, he shouldn't have set the red line of chemical weapons.
President Obama has messed this Syria issue up so much, i'd resign if I was him.
And speaking of the Executive, this was the day when the UK PM lost the ability to go to war without the consent of Parliament unless it is in defence of the realm or needed action at very short notice. This is a good thing, the fact that Parliament (which is elected by the people) can decide when to go to war is a sign of a healthy democracy. David Cameron wants this too saying in 2006 'the Crown Prerogative — that constitutional quirk that gives whoever is in No 10 the powers of a medieval monarch — needs to be changed.' His respect for Parliament last night showed that the Prime Minister was prepared to do what the demos thinks and not what he believed to be right. The people, or more strictly their representatives, are right. Those MPs who were pushing for a recall deserve a good deal of praise because this is about the only historical thing that has come from this vote.
Parliament is Sovereign.
There were many good speeches in Parliament but remember one well. George Galloway lied when he said that he did not say Israel supplied the chemicals for the Syrian sarin attack (see http://thingselliottsays.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/george-galloway-blames-israel-for-syria.html). I hope this disgraceful man is kicked by the electorate at the General Election, his views are disgusting.
What of the leader of Labour, Red Ed? Was he and Labour being party political? Yes. The calls to resign from the PM and Jim Murphy, the Shadow Defence Secretary saying, how much this was a defeat for David Cameron because Tory MPs rebelled against him show this. But Red Ed didn't have much of a choice actually because of his own party pulling at him. If he had supported the Government motion last night it may have gone through, but this wouldn't have been the case next week. The majority of Labour MPs would not support going to war over Syria and combined with the 80+ Conservatives who do not agree with arming the rebels there would have been no majority for war. Red Ed after a summer of disconnect would have not wanted to look weak or ask MPs to back something they vehemently opposed, especially after threats of his leadership.
Ed during the debate.
Does this do anything for him? Well his celebrations last night were very over the top because if he tries to make David Cameron look weak by rubbing his face in this defeat he's going to find himself on the most dodgy of grounds because he is making fun over an act of war and the deaths of Syrian civilians. It will be very bad for him if does that. Red Ed has however shown he can advert political disaster which does show some political skills. But overall Ed must stay quiet and not make any gains after this Government defeat.
David Cameron may have suffered government defeat but in factual senses this shouldn't affect his Government or leadership. This was a vote to go to war, not on government internal policy. Conservative MPs voted with their conscious against the Government because they don't agree with war, they will still support government bills. He also respected Parliament's decision greatly. 'I get that' David Cameron said just moments after the results of the vote was read out.
But in reality Dave will face damage because nobody wanted this war in the public and he did. His sense of what is actually the right thing to do is clearly a little bit off. His short term rush and lack of political shrewdness is shown, at least he bears this collectively with the government. He must not however go around blaming the opposition for his defeat or saying 'they're a succour to Assad'. The best action is to keep calm and carry on. Hopefully he thinks things through better next time because this was a bad decision for Syrians to go to war (see http://thingselliottsays.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/war-with-syria-was-bad-idea-thats-why.html).
For the people of Syria there is no relief however because, although a little bit less now Parliament has not backed war, the US could start an attack over the weekend. The striking of missiles is not the greatest worry in itself for the Syrian people. The after results of retaliation by Assad, from an increasing involvement in Iran and more Islamists flocking to the area is going to make their lives shorter and worse. Because of the chaotic state of the opposition diplomacy and aid are the best ways to stop the killing and obtain a better Syria.
I thus urge you to donate to the Syrian Crisis Appeal. I've made a donation to the British Red Cross to make sure they save more lives in the area. I've also collected a lot of charity links so you get wider choice in who you give your money to. If anything good comes out of this debate it is the exposure to the UK again of how terrible it is for the people of Syria. 2 million people are refugees (1 million are children), 100,000 have died and the majority of people are unable to even feed themselves. It's all very upsetting and sad. War would not help Syria but it doesn't stop us giving help to this war torn country.
Disasters Emergency Committee http://www.dec.org.uk/node/3181
Save The Children http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/syria-appeal