I’m so glad we’re not going to war. I’d been scanning the papers last week with an increasingly doomy feeling in the pit of my stomach, as tension was ramped up over Syria and David Cameron made it clear he would even come back from holiday – it was that serious – to drag the country into another half-understood mess.
Seriously, I’ve had three conversations in the past week with super-brainy friends, all sitting round and saying, ‘but what on earth is it about, all this stuff in Syria?’ No one really seems to have a handle on it. If there is killing going on with chemical weapons (which obviously is dreadful), who is killing who and why? Is it ethnic cleansing? Is it revenge for an attempt on the President’s life? Is it a really cynical stunt to get the West involved? Nobody knows. And, more crucially, is it actually our business anyway? While the government is busily cutting disabled peoples’ allowances, how can it tell us that there is suddenly enough money around to send who-knows-how-many troops into battle for something quite obscure for who-knows-how-many-years? Why should we pay for a war when the government is cancelling our firework displays up and down the country? How come there is enough to pay for deadly missiles but not enough for Catherine wheels in the park on 5th November?
If that dreadful Iraq shambles had gone better, we as a nation might be more up for it. But we were forced into war, against UN resolutions, against the majority’s wishes, because of politicians who wanted us to be seen as America’s best buddy. And it’s been a disaster, probably causing this latest situation. Far from quickly and surgically lancing a boil, we seem to have spread the infection of terrorism across the Middle East. Maybe there’s an argument for finishing what we’ve started. But, thank goodness, the House of Commons has voted against that.
Thank you to all those MPs who ‘failed to hear’ the Division Bell or simply voted against the government. You did the right thing. Look how America has immediately turned on us and snuggled up to France, calling her its ‘oldest ally.’ So much for calling the French cheese-eating surrender monkeys last time! America is, as usual, the bully in the playground and it’s no good us toadying to it. We should stick up for ourselves – and realise, finally, that we no longer have the will, or the pockets, to sort out other nation’s problems. Let France enjoy the ‘special relationship’ for a bit, and see her soldiers come home in coffins draped in the Tricoleur.