Mr Cameron can play an important part at the G20

 

 Those who say Mr Cameron has been marginalised by the Parliamentary vote on Syria are quite wrong. Mr Cameron could play a crucial role. He  should speak for peace. He should seek a way through the rows between the USA and Russia. He should speak out to get the participants in the crisis around a table.

He could also propose a different way of responding to Assad’s atrocities. Why not seek the agreement of the international community to outlaw Assad, telling him should he ever leave Syria he will have to stand trial for atrocities where there is evidence of his involvement, and taking further  action to freeze any money and assets he and his cronies may have abroad until they have  answered the charges against them. The very least the west should do is to proceed by legal means and establish the evidence.

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79 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed Cameron should be grateful to the house for strengthening his hand. He can now play a positive role rather than dropping a few (symbolic gesture and incubating more trouble) bombs on some conscripts and civilians from great heights . All he has to do now is turn nearly all his other policies through 180 degrees too.

    Start with some cheap energy (not expensive by government design), some competition in banking, sound money, halving the state sector, simplifying employment laws and other regulations, getting taxes down, cancelling HS2, relaxing planning, re-negotiating a “Switzerland on Sea” EU deal, and providing some positive, smaller state, future vision.

    Alas he has left it rather too late by three years. Anyway is he genetically capable of using reason & logic over PR & irrational appeals to silly emotions?

    • Bazman
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Simplifying employment laws and other regulations? Such as? You have yet to answer this but repeat post this. So tell us how you propose to ‘simplify employment laws and what needs simplifying given and again you are told of self employment, short term contracts, zero hour contracts, umbrella companies. It is not as if an employee has any rights before three months and little before three years. If you mean, and again you are told, no redundancy and the ability to fire for complaining about conditions such as safety or for becoming pregnant without permission, you are wrong. The rest is just RWC propaganda as usual and we could go through that, but lets see your ‘sensible’ reply to a simple specific question that you have so far failed to answer on many occasions. Less rights is what you want, so explain how competition among the lowest paid crates jobs? By desperation?

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        “Explain how competition among the lowest paid crates jobs?”

        Simple it makes the businesses more competitive and they can thus sell more goods or services make more profit and thus expand. They can then justify more investment in plant and expansion in the UK, rather than contraction, closure or expansion elsewhere.

        Almost anything that gets in the way of a free agreement between employer and employee is negative, the best protection for an employee is knowing he/she can get another job easily. Daft laws just creates pointless jobs for HR people, courts and more lawyers the last thing we need to be competitive.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          “the best protection for an employee is knowing he/she can get another job easily”

          I believe so, but with the government deliberately allowing and encouraging mass immigration the employer’s counter is that he/she can easily get another, cheaper and more compliant, employee.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          The problem is with this theory is that it relies on people working for a pittance which in this country as we have seen needs the governments to bring up the wages to a suitable living standard by the use of benefits. You need to explain how and why a middle aged man should compete with East Europeans living five to a room/car and why he or she should subsides a companies profits by working for next to nothing. It does not make sense for he or she to do this. You seem to think that this can be achieved by desperation as making British peole as desperate as Chinese or Indian citizens in these countries. Expansion of the company by low wages is not going to produce high wages. You seem to forget that these companies are not going to share their profits and anyone who would work for nothing in the vain hope they at some point will pay decent wages is a fool saying. Not my businesses! You are looking for servants not workers.
          A final point lidogic is that you have yet again failed to say what what needs simplifying. Again and again you are told of self employment, short term contracts, zero hour contracts, umbrella companies. It is not as if an employee has any rights before three months and little before three years. What is getting in the way of free agreement between employer and employee? Answer this and tell us how there can be enough penny paying jobs within a commutable distance given you are saying ‘Indeed!’ to Transport for only those that can afford it!? Silly fantasy and RWC No reply? I wonder why?! Yet you will go on and repeat your lies and fantasy whilst telling us of BBC nonsense. Reply with a sensible answer.

      • David Price
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Dear Bazman, Whilst I have some sympathy with your predicament your position is as extreme as Lifelogic’s. What is your answer to the problem given we exist in a global economy now. There is no putting the genie back in to the bottle, you can’t demand the continuation of differentials and standards of living since the customer can go somewhere else literally at the touch of a button.

        There will always be those who exploit others and they certainly aren’t just the private sector management by a very long stretch. The key to surviving and prospering is adaptability and finding ways to provide value to the customer and people who employ you, as has always been the case.

        So instead of railing against the caricature of a capatalist baron why not put your passion to use and offer constructive alternatives?

        BTW this is not intended as a flame and I don’t demand a response, netiquette does not demand people respond especially to flames, quite the opposite

        • Bazman
          Posted September 7, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

          The global economy does not allow or enable Britains to work for third world wages and compete with Chinese and Indians on who can live in the most primitive conditions and eat the least. The question is who will pay for these living standards. The state or the employer? You need to get real.

          • David Price
            Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            You offer no alternatives, but merely demand that you must maintain your lifestyle at the expense of everyone else. It sounds like you are the one who needs to get real.

            Why do reject any effort on your part to reduce your cost of living? For example, you’ve said in the past you would refuse to grow your own food even if you had to as that is for peasants. You have boasted of using an aircon yet you could save money and energy resources by chosing not to in a climate that simply doesn’t require it.

            If you want to continue your chosen line of work but can’t compete why not join your competitors or change your line of work?

            Why should everyone else subsidise you because you refuse to change, to adapt like so many others have?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            I have massively reduced my cost of living by paying off my mortgage, so no hair shirt for me. The aircon is well nice thanks! My point is that there cannot be third world living standards in Britain and peasantry such as those found in Russia. Middle class Goodlife fantasies are just that. It isjust not possible, so someone has to pay and as the taxpayer has seen fit to let companies pay no tax and let investment slide in infrastructure and education putting the average person in ever harder conditions, with the underclass just pushed aside to rot on benefits. Then it is the taxpayer who must pay…Real enough for you. No reply so it must be? Ram it.

    • Hope
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      JR Cameron’s judgement is flawed no one believes him. He has almost got very decision wrong, starting with going into coalition. He will be history, like Brown, a PM that never won an election. Unfortunately the Tories will be out of power for a very long period because of him and his pro EU advisers’ poor judgement. Missed opportunity.

      Reports yesterday how some of the Syrian rebels linked to Al-Quaeda were destroying a Christian village of no significance. Are these the rebels Hague was helping the othe day? Is this where our taxes are going, borrow and give away to people who hate us and who we are so called fighting terrorism? Dear dear, how could they be so wrong an so many issues. What was Van Rompouy doing at the G 20? He is not a leader of any country- yet.

      Reply Mr Hague assures us he talks to rebels who wish to create a democracy and who do not carry out atrocities. He now accepts there are also bad rebels who do behave badly.

      • Hope
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        A bit like Iraq, Libya and Egypt then. He cannot know who he is dealing with. Some of whom are ridding their countries of Christianity in a systematic way in appalling circumstance and the UK does nothing even though it helped to create the situation. What a mess.

        Are the Tories going to change any of the a Labour policies (or civil service lefty bias) that form the UK foreign policy? How about changing Robin Cooke’s and Claire Short’s policy that shapes overseas aide? With the exception of true humanitarian aide, how about getting some return for helping countries to develop towards self sufficiency? Stop the EU from having a say on what the UK chooses to do with foreign aide. Why should the EU dictate what a sixth of the money is spent on. Presumably Cameron is happy to borrow and let the EU give away about£2 billion on the UK’s behalf?

    • Bazman
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Britains financial woes will be solved by competition as will unemployment by creating competition among the most desperate? You would do well to remember that there was no lack of competition in banking as during the housing boom. They spiralled into credit insanity. So competitive were they at the peak that mortgages were written off almost at inception giving credit to desperate people who would do anything to maintain payments. Your idea of millions working for pennies to help companies expand all powered by desperation and benefits to maintain living standards is just as laughable. Socialism for the rich.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The Assad family fortune held overseas has already ready been frozen by the US, EU and UK as far back as 2011 and a seat in the dock already awaits him at the ICC should he ever be captured. For Dave “the heir to the warmonger Blair” to suddenly start talk “peace” would be a remarkable piece of doublethink

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Nina – Talking of double think I must mention Bazman here.

      On an earlier thread – discussing missile attacks on Assad – he was talking about inflicting violence on this Syrian ‘gangster’ because violence is all that gangsters understand.

      Does this mean that Bazman supports corporal/capital punishment in our penal system ?

      • nina Andreeva
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Ask him not me.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 5, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Andrea – the thought came to me some while after Bazman’s unexpected comment advocating violence had been made. Rather too late in the day, I’m afraid (the story of my life !)

          The mention of ‘double-think’ seemed the ideal opportunity to reprise the issue.

          Hopefully Bazman might explain himself. And whilst he does so perhaps enlighten us as to how the double-thinkers’ mind works in government.

          I do wonder why those of seemingly Leftist persuasion can recommend the deterrent effect of punitive warfare whilst not seeing that a similar deterrent might apply through capital punishment to violent criminals in this country too.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            Given that corporal and capital punishment has been proved to be useless at preventing crimes there’s no reason to use it.

          • zorro
            Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            They might refer to Stalin…..’One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic’

            zorro

          • Bazman
            Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            They are criminals and like gangsters they only understand life imprisonment or being ‘whacked’ as they call it. Except in this case they are criminal states. The Russian government can be compared with the Mafia and if you understand Russian they talk like Mafia and have their demeanour. State assassination is not the same as capital punishment. Ask Israel.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            I do not think I of the left (other than on freedom & personal liberty perhaps) I regard myself as being just of the rational best for most people middle ground. I certainly do not want to see capital punishment it is repugnant. It does not really deter very much and cannot be corrected. It also end up costing even more than prison and can encourage “I have nothing to lose” so lets kill some more criminals. It is perhaps the only thing the EU has got right.

            The Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six spring to mind (etc ed).

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

            Bazman – You show great inconsistency in your reply.

            The British people are let down by double-thinking politicians who normally put the rights of criminals first as it is the ‘civilised’ thing to do.

            Why does the attitude change when it comes to attacking foreign despots ? All of a sudden the death penalty becomes a most effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment.

            I’ll tell you why.

            Because anything less is weak and ineffective (as is our criminal justice system) and is seen as such on the world stage. Without the threat of the death penalty a national leader is unable to strut his stuff.

            It’s mainly about posturing – not about avenging foreign children gassed with Sarin.

            There is no national interest here. Our MPs were right to vote against military intervention.

          • Hope
            Posted September 6, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            Corporate and capital punishment does not work is a fallacy created by lefties who prefer the rights of criminals over victims. Utter nonsense.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            You try to link capital punishment with state assassination which is not the same. The death penalty is just wrong and we are wasting our time discussing it especially with hang em’ an flog em’ Tory RWC’s.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

            @Hope

            If capital punishment works why does the USA have a high crime rate than European countries that don’t have capital punishment?

            Perhaps you should do real research into the most effective ways to deter crime.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    It is interesting and strange to see how many politicians and journalists have concluded that because we have rejected the use of force in Syria we have abandoned our influence in the world. Do they see no solutions other than bombing? Although Cameron has declared that this country will not be involved in military action in Syria he doesn’t seems to have grasped the mantle of peace maker. Difficult I suppose when he and Hague have been such hawks for so long, wanting to arm the rebels and bomb Damascus. No one can tell us what would replace Assad if he were overthrown and yet they want him overthrown. We are told that the rebels are a disparate group including Al Quaeda and other islamic jihadists. Do we want them to take control? If not, how are they to be stopped? Cameron and Hague must have a strategy for this, mustn’t they?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Why should Cameron and Hague have a strategy for Syria ? Does Canada have one ? Does Italy ? Does Spain ? Do we have to have a UK strategy on everything. As we are part of the EU why not let the EU have ” a strategy” through the EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, likewise we are a member of the UN security council. Let’s just support a joint agreed course of action from the EU and UN (ie. no action at all)

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        No, let’s not.

        Instead let’s behave like an independent sovereign state and decide our own foreign policy, which should of course include leaving the EU.

        • ian wragg
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Well spoken.

  4. GrahamC
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Why would Cameron want to do that – he wants to use force just as much as the yanks . No brownie points in not being tribal is there?

  5. Sue
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Cameron and the UK has no moral standing on this issue.

    1) They sold chemicals to the Assad regime which were capable of manufacturing nerve gas.
    (to make cosmetics according tothe government ed)

    2) (Alleges government is still allowing or encouraging the arms trade to undesirable regimes ed)
    “I’d keep my mouth shut if I were him!

  6. Martin
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Stalin took over Eastern Europe in 1945. What happened in those countries was awful. 45 years later communism fell in Eastern Europe.

    This was after the West played a very long slow determined patience.

  7. acorn
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “Military sources have claimed that the role of senior British officers at the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, has been downgraded because their American counterparts believe that they cannot be trusted with high-level intelligence about a conflict with which they are not involved.

    Roughly 30 British personnel have been working alongside the Americans and French and have been involved war planning for a number of weeks, including fine-tuning a list of targets and orchestrating military assets. But after Mr Cameron ruled out an attack following a Commons defeat on Syrian action last Thursday, the officers have been told that they can no longer participate in classified plans.” (Times).

    Cameron will only be let in the door if Obama decides he wants an excuse not to go to war. “Town Hall” meetings with party agents across the US are polling pretty negative.

    I must have missed my MP’s “Town Hall” meeting so that I / we could tell him our thoughts on the matter. That’s the difference for a US Representative and his party, he / she / it, is never more than two years away from an election. Tends to concentrate their minds somewhat.

    Reply Of course we will not be party to meetings designed to co-ordinate the military decisions of those who are planning to attack Syria, as we will not be doing so. There would be point in our being at those meetings.

  8. J45
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron playing an important part at G20 ?

    Just think of the possibilities. He could even play an important part in the UK if he put his mind to it.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    If the paramount objective is to free a country from a dictator then it may be better not to corner him like a rat, but instead to offer him a means of escape to somewhere he can live out the rest of his days without doing any more harm. In some cases, not all, that would be the speediest and best practical solution. I realise that some lawyers would object that the dictator must be brought to justice and his crimes must exposed and he must made to pay the price so that others would be deterred from emulating him, but the reality is that such trials do not seem to have much of a deterrent effect. I think that is especially true when external powers insist that the person cannot be tried by the nation which actually suffered under his rule, but must instead be brought before an international tribunal. The original precedent here being the Nuremburg trials, which were essentially show trials held at the insistence of Stalin; Churchill had urged a more pragmatic line, that the Nazi leaders should be given no more than summary trials and then shot, and maybe he was right about that. Did the world gain anything through Slobodan Milošević being put on trial at the Hague? I doubt it.

    Reply The idea of establishing the principle of putting perpetrators of atrocities on trial is to act as a deterrent to dictators who might other wise wish to push the boundaries.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      That can only deter those who include the possibility of being arraigned before an international court as a significant factor in their calculations. Given that they are relying on their ability to direct physical violence against any domestic opponents to maintain their domination of the country, the prospect of arraignment before an international court is usually pretty remote unless they annoy some external power to the point where it is finally prepared to deploy sufficient countervailing physical violence to bring about their overthrow and capture, and moreover it is willing to see the innocent suffer alongside the guilty. I don’t see anybody rushing to bring about the overthrow of Mugabe and get him hauled up before an international tribunal to account for his brutal rule in Zimbabwe, and nor I think that Mugabe has ever had any great concerns about that possibility.

      • Hope
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        The IRA murderers were let out and allowed to join political parties. What would be the difference? Less people would die when the west try to effect regime change, as it is doing country by country. The chaos an dkilling has not stopped from the previous wars, people are still dying. Why go into a fourth country and do the same?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Would you have tea with Pinochet as Thatcher did or bang him up under house arrest as Blair did?
      Pinochet pushed the boundaries and gave us vital help during the Falklands War. He also is alleged to have sanctioned murder and assassination against his own people.

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Well isn’t it a true accolade for your blog? One of the things we have discussed has been on the news? And predictions made have been shown to come true.

    I am of course talking about IDS and Universal Credit, something that I flagged to you some time ago was in serious trouble, you told us you had spoken to IDS and he was saying all is well, and I responded that no it was a sinking ship.

    Well I listened to IDS on the media this morning. Its clear he still doesn’t get it. Doesn’t understand why things are belly up and the kinds of people he needs to get it to succeed.

    Such as shame such a lot of public money is being wasted.

    Such a shame people with inappropriate experience have been put in charge again, and the salespeople rather than the delivery people from the vendors are being listened to.

    We as a country really need to do a whole lot better. There really needs to be a way for people like me to get our message to ministers and be listened to, call it whistle blowing or benefit from years delivering rather than BS.

    For what its worth the MOD DCNS billion pound plus programme is belly up too, they have subcontracted the procurement to ATOS who have put a bunch of salesmen and politicians in charge too. So obviously going to be a disaster.

    I suppose if the cabinet office CTO people had any real experience rather than having led a school IT department and been to a few conferences that would help.

    I am left with an overwhelming sense of sadness that we the British nation cannot run things better than this no matter who is in power. I guess the civil service needs a big shake up, but they will never see why and in what way the same as I can.

    What do you suggest?

    Reply Mr Duncan Smith assures us the universal credit project renmains on budget and will go national as soon as the pilots are working well. The whole idea of pilots was to iron out problems on a small scale and at sensible price without repeating any mistakes nationwide.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      for what its worth I have a 100% track record of predicting correctly these things, as I did for eBorders, NHS IT, and so on. its not magic I have just been doing it for real for a long time and know a lot of people in the business. IDS has none of those things. it will be a failure, my predictions so far have been proven correct.

      I am not sure the NAO are adding much positive value other than stating the obvious.

      We need to try harder, simple political blocking answers are not good enough.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      The National Audit Office’s report is telling you that the universal credit project is a being badly managed and that the DWP has refused to explain how this project is meant to save billions. Care to explain why you’re trusting IDS over a less biased report.

      As the DWP has had to write off £34 million on a failed IT system for Universal Credit. Unless part of the budget included wasting £34 million it’s unlikely to remain on budget.

      Finally as the Universal Credit wasn’t working during the small scale trial (they even had to scale back the small scale trials because the IT system wasn’t working) it’s unlikely that it will work nationwide. Until they can get the Universal Credit to work correctly during a small scale trial there’s no point trying it nationwide.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        Uni
        You would think the current complicated benefits system was working well for either applicants or staff who have to try to understand it.
        Your solution? …No change

        Just standing on the sidelines and booing anyone who tries to make changes isn’t useful to anyone.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Edward2,

          Change is fine, if run by people with appropriate skills it has a fighting chance of going well. As it is the UK civil service approach is normally to staff key posts with totally inappropriate people.

          Aided by all the leading parties who have been in power.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            I agree Iain, and whilst not generally a conspiracy theorist, I do wonder if some within the Civil Service might be doing their very best to derail any changes to the benefits system.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          Who exactly determined that the current system was too complex? Was it IDS because he needed a reason to change everything to suit his won ideology?

          There’s no point replacing a complex but functional system with one that is meant to be simpler but doesn’t work. Blindly supporting unrealistic proposal because they support your ideology won’t fix a problem (assuming a problem actually exists).

  11. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    In as much as it is possible to “know” from media coverage what is the correct procedure in response to the crime of using chemical weapons, it seems what should be done is to bring charges against Assad and for him to stand trial in an international court. It seems there is no legal basis for military action to be taken by way of “punishment” or to deter future such use.

    Indeed, military action seems to be illegal, and Syria would be legally entitled to defend itself, and to call upon its allies to help in such defence.

  12. david
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    ” Why not seek the agreement of the international community to outlaw Assad, telling him should he ever leave Syria he will have to stand trial for atrocities where there is evidence of his involvement, and taking further action to freeze any money and assets he and his cronies may have abroad until they have answered the charges against them.”
    Wouldn’t that encourage him to keep fighting? Surely we want to find something that encourages the Syrian government to search for peace. Of course the problem is that some Sunnis want to kill all Alawites. If I were an Alawite I might support Assad.

    • zorro
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      The majority of the SAA is Sunni, it is not sectarian, it is being painted as such by those who wish it to be so.

      zorro

  13. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    All this talk about putting Assad on trial is utter humbug. Why bother wasting time discussing it? As soon as Russia, whose unpunished Soviet Communist system which was one of the greatest mass murderers of all time, says boo to us we will run away and look for another easy target to vent our faux-moralistic liberal opprobrium on.
    The only people who I am interested in seeing going on trial are our home-grown politicians who deliberately set out to wreck our country (etc ed) and who continue to do so. Assad is a distraction.

  14. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Obama and Cameron have not been scheduled to meet at the G20 ,yet Putin said that it would be the proper arena to discuss the Syria problems. There is no reason why he cannot speak out in an international arena praising Obama for seeking the opinions of congress before firing missiles on Syria, and acknowledging Putin for standing fast in his voicing of the need for international agreement. There is no reason why he cannot state the case of all the countries ,outside the Syria crisis, of fear of taking sides and causing escalation to involve superpowers fighting against each other. The peace mission must also make clear that Assad or his underlings, if they are found incontrovertibly to have been the aggressors against the Syrian people will be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    • zorro
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      What about if it is the rebels who were behind this event? Will the USA be taking action against them for this outrageous behaviour? Surely the same logic……perhaps a 60 day campaign to degrade their operational capability, but, of course, not taking sides nor influencing the outcome of the conflict…..

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Funnily enough, I’ve not heard the governments or media mention that the rebels should be punished if they were behind the attacks…..Will they be punished for all the atrocities and be headings of civilians?

        zorro

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          exactly , yet omission is being held as an ineffectual method of handling the proposed missile attack against Assad . On the other hand omission to propose punitive action against the ‘rebels’ is peculiarly omitted.

  15. Neil Craig
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I disagree absolutely. Nothing is more certain to prevent any negotiations and make Assad fight to the last bunker than the “world community” saying he will be brought to “trial”.

    If we want dictators to retire peacefully or even semi-peacefully we must allow them to retire.

    In any case I do not think such “trials” have anything to do with justice. After 4 1/2 years of “trial” in which no actual evidence against him could be found, Milosevic, instead of being released was poisoned in solitary confinement by persons officially unknown. A particularly sophisticated poison was found in a blood test so there is no question that this happened.

    On the other hand, while the bombing of Yugoslavia was unquestionably an act of aggression and hence criminal nobody on the NATO side was even charged. Other western organised “trials” show asimilar imbalance. (queries actions of Mr Blair ed)

    Compared to (the west ed), let alone (word left out ed) al Quaeda (word left out ed) in Syria and Libya I suspect Assad is rather deccent. Certainly he would rather have been a south London doctor and was only drafted when his brother died. He did, in fact, run a referendum in Syria on introducing full democracy over 14 years and won it easily. Does anybody think real democracy could be ontriduced in nSyria faster than that or that it will be at all by our Saudi funded allies?

    Reply Most of us find the actions of the Assad regime abhorrent.

    • Neil Craig
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Many of us find the numerous atrocities carried out by our government in Kosovo abhorrent too. In the case of the most obscene, which even the Council of Europe admit is true, I think undeniably more abhorrent than anything Assad is accused of.

      Since you always edit out any mention of it John I have to assume you really think so too.

      Reply I edit it out because I have not checked the facts and do not have time to research the history of Kosovo.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    In order to get a point across it is first necessary to get someone to listen to you . I understand that Cameron was ” cold shouldered ” in St. Petersburg .

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    My point was that they wanted to rush into military action in Syria with no strategy for what the desired outcome should be.
    As for the EU, the sooner we leave the better as far as I am concerned.

  18. Andy Baxter
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Cameron is seen as weak and ineffectual both domestically and internationally so he lacks gravitas and influence, his days are numbered:

    pie in the sky if he Cameron or anyone else) thinks he can ‘influence’ parties at the G20 over Syria.

    So Mr. Redwood shouldn’t you be adding another sentence to this one above?

    “He could also propose a different way of responding to Assad’s atrocities.”

    something along the lines of “He could also propose a different way of responding to the rebels (well documented and very graphic) atrocities as well”

    If Obama escalates Syria and supports the rebels in the proxy Sunni Shia religious, economic and political war for ideological domination of yet another Islamic state he will only increase regional and global insecurity not lessen it. Assad for all his faults and ‘crimes’ is the lesser of the two evils we in the West have had to live with since the emergence of militant Islam.

    Where Russian interests economic and strategic are at stake or threatened Putin won’t hesitate if the odds are in his favour (think Georgia and South Ossetia anyone!) or where he senses weakness, and he has a formidable arsenal at his disposal. And the Russian psyche doesn’t suffer from the same sort of angst over difficult decisions involving inevitable loss of life from military action in defence of such interests that our Western leaders supposedly agonise over!

    Its a total mess and not helped by having a joke of what can only be loosely termed ‘leadership’ both here (and in the EU) and in the US that is more interested in how it looks than on how it should act in the interests of its own and cannot understand cause and effect and the law of unintended consequences!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Putin is seeking to establish a Eurasian Union.

      Armenia has already said that it’s interested in joining:

      http://euobserver.com/foreign/121304

      “The presidents reaffirmed the focus of the Russian federation and the Republic of Armenia on the further development of economic integration in the Eurasian territory … In this context, Mr Sargsyan said Armenia had decided to join the Customs Union and take the necessary practical steps to subsequently participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.”

      And some in Georgia are also tempted by it:

      http://euobserver.com/foreign/121315

      “One day after Armenia said it will join Russia’s Eurasian Union, Georgia’s PM has said it might, in due course, do the same.”

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Can I be your friend , you have more untapped resource than anywhere else we can get our hands on?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          It seems that Putin is aiming to reassemble the old Soviet Union, minus the Baltic states which are now beyond his grasp through their admission firstly to the NATO military alliance and then later to the EU civilian organisation. It could mean that when the UK was approaching the position of being the last remaining member state of the EU which had still not adopted its currency, which it seems is what Cameron and Hague are deliberately planning should happen in order to gradually pile on the pressure for us to join the euro as well, we would be heading to be the last among fewer than 40 EU member states rather than more than 40 EU member states.

  19. Richard1
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    There is a lot of humbug amongst the posturing on a possible attack on Syria. We are assured its not about regime change. But we also hear Assad must be punished for the mass murder he has committed. Where else do we punish potential murders by killing their associates and blowing up property, but leaving them in situ? If Assad has committed the crimes alleged, lets focus on his guilt and that of those around him. He must become an international pariah, be charged with crimes against humanity along with his henchmen. Neither Cameron, Obama, Hollande nor anyone else has yet explained what raining down a few hundred missiles and bombs will achieve. Meanwhile there are plenty of carrots and sticks the West could use to encourage Russia and Iran to co-operate in a focus on bring Assad and other guilty people to justice.

  20. george ward
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    before the present insurrection,minorities were protected by the Assad regime.Now Christians are being murdered.

  21. Mike
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I see that aid to Syria has risen from a scandalous £350 million per year to £400 million per year.

    What is this aid being spent on exactly?

    • Chris
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you could ask Justine Greening via the Comments section for the Conservative Home article she has just written, justifying the aid. She is receiving short shrift on that website, I might add:
      http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2013/09/justine-greening-mp.html

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        She has a point ….Shape or be reshaped…2 million ex citizens from their own homes..1 million children. Being forced to wander, becoming homeless, due to the arrogance of fighting factions and retribution threats, the trauma many are facing losing their loved ones, Assad in TV clips smiling with his entourage grinning, the rebels telling us how great god is and firing on innocent people. They are subhuman and seem to only understand force. Why should we give them more of what they understand? Why should we not work with the people who try to avoid violence and teach them the ways of peace and civilisation (before our own country deteriorates any further.)

  22. Bazman
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I got my new brochure telling me about the new Lloyds TSB. In fact we got two as my wife and I have a joint account and live at the same address, funnily enough. Any car dealership would be proud of the quality of paper and print. Stop paper statements? Having a laugh after this. Would this result in lower bank charges. Good work by a private state funded company. The NHS is going to be the same. No it is not. Quite rightly political Suicide.
    By the way lifdogic. We understand that green energy is not green or clean. This is the crux of the problem. Pretending this does not need solving is an idiotic rant for RWC fantasists.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Do you actually remember the days of smogs Bazman due to burning fossil fule. We had to go out in smog masks , we couldn’t see a few yards in front of us , I had hundreds of patients to care for dying of bronchitis and cancer. It was dirty.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Over exaggerated and absurd nonsense. They probably smoked to much or worked in coal mines and this was their own choice, but seriously this is the problem particulates are extremely hazardous to health as this proves and all talk of fresh CO2 helping plants and food production is a smokescreen. CO2 production and particulates are inextricably linked.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    It now seems that those MPs who failed to support the government’s plan to send some cruise missiles into Syria must be happy with children being gassed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10289572/Syria-MPs-failed-to-stand-against-the-gassing-of-children-says-Cameron.html

    Cameron certainly knows how to make friends and influence people.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      There are plenty of geo-political issues surrounding Syria. None are aired in the MSM and we have to assume the backbench MPs are kept in the dark as well, otherwise the whole public debate would not be conducted exclusively on a highly emotive issue of a conflict which allegedly has already caused 100,000 deaths including presumably women and children.

      (suggests alternative view of the conflict and US role from sources I cannot check out ed)

    • Chris
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      This really is a preposterous claim by Cameron. Does he really think the electorate will be swayed by this? They won’t, and it will be viewed by the electorate for what it is – a cheap tactic. The Conservative Party needs a leader of far higher calibre and integrity than this, I believe.

  24. Nash Point
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s statement that MPs who voted against the use of force in Syria will have to “live with their consciences” is an absolute disgrace, and typifies the man. He couldn’t wait to have an opportunity to unleash weaponry on somebody or other, under the pretext of “caring” about children being gassed. God, he’s so false!
    Personally, I find the situation in North Korea just as, if not more disturbing. There are no “rebels” there, just a downtrodden population being slowly starved to death. How about some missile strikes against Kim, Mr Cameron? Why don’t you stop us trading with any country supporting North Korea? How can you live with your conscience?

  25. Bazman
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Russia and China are involved in the repression and theft from their own citizens and have been for decades. They are hardly likely to vote for anything that could have repercussions for their own policies no matter what evidence is put forward and most would do well to remember this as they laughably defend these countries in their bizarre right wing fantasy views.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Correct, nothing they say or do can be taken at face value.

      On the other hand, it is perfectly clear that evidence that Sarin was used in Syria cannot by itself be taken as evidence that it was used by Assad.

      There are those among the opponents of the Assad regime who would have no scruples about gassing their own people in order to get the US and its allies into the civil war on their side.

      I was mildly amused to see Obama claiming that the use of chemical weapons was not HIS “red line” but that of the “world”, when it is a matter of record that he personally was the first to lay down that “red line” in an apparently unscripted remark at a press conference in August 2012.

      Which it seems has been picked up in the US:

      http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obama-red-line-syria-96287.html

      “President Obama reframes ‘red line’ rhetoric”

      ““He needs to go back and read his quote,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said, referring to Obama’s original declaration last year that Assad would cross a “red line” that would “change my equation” if he used chemical weapons on his own people.”

  26. David Price
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I do not understand how Cameron can continue promoting military action at the international level when parliament has decided that the UK will not be involved in a miltary action against Syria. Either Cameron believes in democracy and so follows the guidance of parliament or he does not…

    Reply I guess Parliament did not seek to stop Mr Cameron supporting others using force, as we were preoccupied by stopping the UK using force. Mr Cameron does always now point out the Uk will not be using force.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      John, you do yourself no good covering for this despicable man. He will destroy our country if he isn’t replaced soon.

    • Mike
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Judging by the comments emanating from Russia today ( a small island no-one listens to? ) it might be worth revisiting your piece above..

      Cameron has not only been marginalised but humiliated too.

      For all his tub thumping the emperor has no clothes. Would love to have been a fly on the wall when he read the newspapers…

      Reply Is that why he was asked to chair the meeting on the humanitarian response to the crisis?

  27. a-tracy
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    This morning I read an article on the Guardian about which Countries are giving aid to Syria http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2013/sep/06/syria-aid-who-gives-how-much.

    Just look at France, Germany as a % of GDP! Why are we giving so much more, why aren’t we asking the other G20 members to step up to the plate.

    I don’t know about diplomatic relevance, we’re certainly donation relevant and where are the Russians and China with aid for the innocents. Its a good thing I’m not in the diplomatic service, the Russians wouldn’t be getting any orders any time soon for our nuclear reactors when they feel they can score political points against us at a summit they are hosting for goodness sakes.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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