Friday, August 30, 2013

A good day

Like (I am sure) other readers of this blog, I spent today embroiled in the painful task of consulting on redundancies made necessary by the slash and burn economic policy of our hateful Coalition Government. It's hard to feel good about work where the best we can achieve is generally damage limitation.
It was, however, slightly cheering to do this work on a day when that Government had suffered a serious - and well deserved - defeat in Parliament. The defeat of both the Government's appalling call for "in principle" support for military action in Syria and the Opposition's amendment (which did not rule out such action) makes UK involvement in an attack on Syria politically impossible for the time being. It is a welcome setback also for those who have long been planning an assault on Iran.
More than ten years after the largest demonstration in the history of this country it seems the sound of our marching still echoes around the corridors of power.
This is, without question, a good thing.
That's not to say that there's any particular cause for cheer in relation to the horrendous position of the Syrian people, caught between the Scylla of Assad''s brutality and the Charybdis of the opposition.
But UK support for Western military intervention would not have alleviated their plight, the resolution of which will not and cannot come from London (or for that matter from Washington or Paris). All we can honestly do is send moral and material (not military) aid to the Syrian people, who face the unavoidable challenge of taking control of their own fate.
The armchair warriors, led by Blair, may bemoan the UK "turning its back on the world", failing to accept responsibility or even endangering our "special relationship" with the USA.
Let them whinge!
We have little enough to amuse us these days, so we ought to be allowed to enjoy the impotent purple faced rage of Dan Hodges and Paddy Ashdown (as much as the damage to the reputation of our odious Prime Minister).
What Parliament has done, however "accidentally," has been to break the spell of the UK's "Walter Mitty Great Power status".
About bloody time.
How about we give up the permanent seat on the UN Security Council to which the UK is entitled by nothing other than the lingering stench of empire?
How about we withdraw our troops from their international deployments?
If the "first industrial nation" (and former pre-eminent imperial power) wants to show real responsibility in the twenty first century then - as John McDonnell said in Parliament last night - let's offer our help as assistance with conflict resolution (rather than cruise missiles).
Instead of posing as a moth-eaten ersatz "superpower" with our pathetic nuclear weapons (which are entirely dependent upon the USA) why could we not reinvent this country as a nation of inveterate peacemongers?
However it happened, our deeply flawed Parliamentary democracy today delivered a body blow to the received wisdom of seventy years of UK foreign policy.
In the midst of all these cuts and job losses, this weekend sensible trade union activists will allow ourselves a few moments to smile.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Think you may mean Assad not Arafat! But agree with you.