No UK bombing of Syria

This week the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published a good report. They concluded that UK bombing in Syria would not be a good idea. They recommended diplomatic intervention and the start of a difficult peace process.

Meanwhile the international community is edging towards a similar conclusion. The long war has shown that the main combatants are unable to win. The Assad regime has killed many of its own citizens but still cannot exert its control over large parts of the country. ISIL has limited forces on the ground terrorising locals into acquiescence. The Kurds have established some presence in the north but do not wish to extend their military power over the whole country, recognising this would be impossible and undesirable. Other opposition forces have also proved unable even with western assistance to forge a winning force.

Peace talks will be far from easy. There are several important regional powers to involve as well as the USA and Russia. Many of those interested and powerful in the region do not have a preferred outcome for a new Syria which is feasible. Anyone seeking to rule the whole of Syria has to have great powers of persuasion that they can be fair to different religious and ethnic groupings in the country.

Many in Parliament have decided that Syria is not short of bombs and violence. The UK would not be able or willing to make a large contribution to any western alliance intervention. The West’s Commander in Chief, the US President, is uncertain about committing much force to this continuous civil war. I am glad the PM continues to say he would only bring a proposal to bomb Syria to the Commons if there were a consensus in favour of such action. As the Select Committee has just demonstrated, there is no such consensus.


  1. Lifelogic
    November 5, 2015

    Thank goodness there is no Commons consensus, thanks in large part to Jeremy Corbyn.

    But why on Earth does Cameron desire to take such military action and want there to be such a consensus?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 5, 2015

      I read in the Telegraph that the Police in Bedfordshire seem to want to alienate car drivers yet further as a way to mug more tax of them. It seems more like a declaration of war by them against the people who mainly pay their wages.

      Doubtless burglars, shop lifters, muggers, fraudsters and the likes will suffer no such zero tolerance and often not even any investigation at all.

      I was in a town in Newbury recently and a lot of people were getting parking ticket on a Sunday because the wording of the parking notices suggested (but did not quite say) that there was no charge on Sundays. There was in fact a small £1 charge so lots of nice fine revenues resulted. It is hard to believe that these notices ending “Except Sundays” were worded without the nice fine income being at the forefront of their minds.

      Is it really sensible for councils to mug their residents in this totally disreputable manner?

      Almost all of the (far too narrow) M3 seem to be limited to 50 mph now, with average speed camera’s nearly all the way I see.

      1. Hefner
        November 5, 2015

        And the M3 (at least between Bagshot and the M25 that I use very often) has been like that for more than 15 months, and more often than not with very little presence of work, except over a quarter of a mile at a time.
        In comparison, some work on the M25 near the access to M26, although looking to me as important, seems to have been completed in less than 4-5 months.

        I would really like to know how the companies involved in such a work on the M3 are paid. I guess it must be proportional to the number of miles they “block”!

        1. Lifelogic
          November 5, 2015

          Indeed, no work going on when I went past.

        2. Tad Davison
          November 5, 2015

          I’ll second that! I used the M3 last Saturday when I took my daughter to Southampton to see her boyfriend’s group, Mallory Knox, and the journey was a nightmare. Miles and miles of slow-moving traffic and not a workman in sight.


        3. Chris
          November 5, 2015

          Many locals have remarked on this lack of work going on on the M3, (miles of cones with not a workman in sight) and the excessively long period that the road has been cordoned off for and speed restricted. Rumour has it that the contract was drawn up on single 12 hour shifts per day instead of working two shifts per day, leading to delay. I thought there were supposed to be penalty clauses for work being behind schedule?

      2. Dame Rita Webb
        November 5, 2015

        Well now you know where the money is coming from to pay for the RAF to fly from Cyprus to bomb a Landcruiser in the middle of Syria. Let Putin do the dirty work. If we want to help out get MI6 to disrupt ISIS’s money maker of smuggling oil etc. However Dave and Obama are still equally confused and do not know what they are involved with. Obama whines about Putin killing off his “moderate” Islamist mercenaries in Syria. However he has had to abandon plans of leaving Afganistan because the a similar strain of “moderates” threaten to over run that country.

        1. Mitchel
          November 5, 2015

          I think the Iranians and their allied militia are probably doing most of the dirty work-they have lost three senior commanders (two Generals and a Colonel) killed in the fighting on the ground over the past few weeks.

        2. Qubus
          November 5, 2015

          A late comment.

          #Dame Rita Webb (or is it now Baroness Rita Webb your rise in the establishment is somewhat perplexing? ).

          My experience with the German health service is that I, and my family, have lived and worked in Germany for many years, not spent a year in Berlin as a student.

          1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
            November 5, 2015

            OK then tell me how the German insurance system is going to offer a superior way of funding healthcare in the UK than our current tax and NIC model? Or do you believe that as the funding system changes all the medics and hospitals are going to be replaced too?

            Here is another question for you. If their system is superior, according to the GMC website, why have 3,207 German doctors chosen to currently work within the NHS?

            NB If you had read my comment you would have known that I was very complimentary of the German system this Summer. In and out of GPs surgery in forty minutes, without an appointment, for a thirty odd Euro fee.

      3. Cheshire Girl
        November 5, 2015

        Well, in case you havent noticed, the Police have had their budgets cut substantially, and quite possibly more to come. What other suggestions do you have as to how they could make up the shortfall?

        Also, I havent a lot of sympathy for those who break the speed limit on the motorways. If the limit was increased some people would still break it. I expect you would like there to be no limit. Sorry this is off topic, but I just had to respond!

        1. Iain Gill
          November 5, 2015

          When we have cameras doing people for pulling through a red light to let a blue light vehicle behind through safely… then you know we have lost the plot significantly.

          There is not really a sensible voice for the driver in parliament.

          Join the association of British drivers.

        2. Lifelogic
          November 5, 2015

          Well they are very well paid and and very well pensioned – relative to the private sector. Perhaps they should start looking at this first. Also the numbers of staff who are very poorly directed and doing the wrong things. Things like thinking up this foolish plan.

          Starting a war against the people who pay their wages is a very counter productive and foolish idea, whoever thought it up should be fired.

          1. Edward2
            November 5, 2015

            Right again Lifelogic.
            Too many chiefs, too many managers too many big salaries at the top.
            They can all retire after 30 years service with pensions those of us in the real world can only admire.
            Near me the headquarters are a Grade 2 listed mansion house in rolling acres with a fleet of luxury cars outside for the top brass.
            Cutting front line bobbies is done to deliberstrly and provocatively to push their demands for more funding.
            If a business owner from the real world was given the job of saving money 20% could be achieved easily.

          2. Iain Gill
            November 5, 2015

            The plan is from an elected police commissioner to draw attention to the raw funding deal his particular force gets. He is probably correct that his force is getting a raw deal.

            However they should not be able to tax safe driving like this.

          3. Anonymous
            November 5, 2015

            Lifelogic – What’s the equivalent job in the private sector ? I can’t think of one.

            Do you think £23-36k is too much pay in the South East then ?

          4. A different Simon
            November 6, 2015

            Anonymous ,

            The following website says that the gross pay for a constable in Berkshire ranges from £19,383 to £37,254


            Add the value of employers pension contributions on top and this goes up to about £23k – £45k .

            That is pretty good for a starting point compared to most other jobs and offers the chance to progress further . You don’t have any worry about whether you are going to get paid , get made redundant or whether your pay is going to go down .
            They are a good employer – if you become ill you will be pensioned off early .

            It compares favourably with what a branch manager of a small bank branch gets these days .

            It is quite a bit higher than the majority of software developers will ever achieve in their whole I.T. career now that they have to compete with people in India and the developing world .

            For sure it’s a difficult job and a police officer will be subjected to sights nobody would want to see and tragic situations and danger .

            At least by paying police officers well the UK has a police force which does not supplement their wages with bribes .

            How much to you think constables and sergeants should be paid ?

          5. A different Simon
            November 6, 2015

            PS ,

            The problem for the UK is not that pay is too low but that accommodation is too expensive .

            Paying people more would only make the situation worse .

            Over the next couple of decades wages of private sector worker which compete with people overseas will have to fall – probably halve .

            Maybe state sector workers will be immune to this .

            Do you think the pensions apartheid between public sector and private sector is sustainable ?

          6. Qubus
            November 6, 2015

            I have never really understood why policeman should be able to retire at such a young age. Don’t most of them then go off to get other jobs?
            I can understand that one cannot expect, for example, a 60-year copper to chase criminals, but I don’t see why, if the police are so short-staffed and overwhelmed with paper-work, they should not be expected to work in the back-office in an administrative capacity in their later years.

          7. Lifelogic
            November 6, 2015

            When pensions are included the politic are far better paid than the average worker in the private sector. If you keep taxing the private sector to pay for 50% better paid and much less productive workers in the state sector you just kill the tax base.

      4. Bob
        November 5, 2015

        @lifelogic The widespread motorway roadworks is caused by the erection of gantries to support the “Managed Motorways” or laterly “Smart Motorways” system, which is the thin end of the Road Pricing wedge.

        It doesn’t matter whether you vote red or blue, that’s what you will get.
        Just like the SSM non-issue, our govt have no choice but to implement it, in the same way that they’re told to give our children’s money away like confetti overseas. (I say our children’s money because they’re the ones who will have to pay back the debt with interest).

        1. graham1946
          November 5, 2015

          And their childrens’ children, and their childrens’ children ad infinitum.

          The debt is now unpayable. Even if George could pull off an economic miracle, if for instance we paid back just 10 billion a year, (dream on) it will take 2 centuries to clear. Yet still they pay out 13 billion a year in foreign aid to ungrateful recipients. They’re all mad. There’s some sort of idiocy ray at work in Westminster and especially Downing Street. Once they cross that threshold, they lose their reason. They will be coming to us for ever more taxes and fiddles to raise money. It could be Cyprus all over again before this gets much older. When interest rates go up – boom!.

          1. Gary
            November 6, 2015

            Which is why they only ever talk about the deficit. They know that eliminating the debt is impossible, so they deflect with “reducing the deficit”. Ie. GROWING the debt more slowly. Weasel words.

          2. Denis Cooper
            November 6, 2015

            Have you factored in inflation?

            Taking it as 2% a year a £10 billion repayment now would inflate to a £525 billion repayment in 200 years’ time.

          3. Denis Cooper
            November 6, 2015

            I make it 72 years to pay off £1,600 billion if the repayments start at £10 billion a year and just increase in line with 2% a year inflation.

            I also make it 47 years to pay off £1,600 billion if the repayments start at £10 billion a year and increase by 4.5% a year in line with the trend growth rate of nominal GDP.

            But if the debt is up to £2,000 billion before repayments start at £10 billion a year and then increase by 4.5% a year it works out as a bit longer, 52 years. It would only be a few years longer because towards the end the annual repayments would have swollen so much, the last would be £98 billion.

            So if we could start at £10 billion a year it wouldn’t actually be impossible to repay the accumulated debt given average economic growth and average inflation at the target, but it would take about half a century.

          4. graham1946
            November 6, 2015


            I think you are overlooking the small matter of interest on the debt – currently about 45 billion a year and going to up 50 billion by this year end, so you see, we will lose ever after if we just pay 10 billion a year, which we won’t – George is only looking for a surplus of 3 billion in 2020, a figure which we can take with a lorry load of salt having forecast a surplus by 2015 previously, let alone increase it by inflation or GDP. That’s for the birds. It’s unpayable any way you look at it, but on the plus side, going on the old adage that if you owe the bank a grand that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank a million, that’s the bank’s problem, we won’t be troubled to repay it – just carry on for ever with the interest.

          5. Denis Cooper
            November 8, 2015

            I didn’t forget about the interest, I assumed that when you said “if for instance we paid back just 10 billion a year” you meant that we were paying down the accumulated debt by that sum each year after paying the annual interest. And it’s not actually such a large sum, it would only need government revenues to exceed its expenditure by 1.3% to provide that kind of annual surplus available to pay back the debt. In 2009 it was the other way round and to a much greater extent, with spending exceeding revenues by over 30%, and compared to eliminating that huge deficit it would be easy to go a bit further and run a surplus of 1.3%.

      5. Tad Davison
        November 5, 2015

        ‘Doubtless burglars, shop lifters, muggers, fraudsters and the likes will suffer no such zero tolerance and often not even any investigation at all. ‘

        That’s true LL, and this from the so-called party of law and order. The Tories are way out of kilter with their own supporters, and are failing in their very first duty, to protect the public. But what can we realistically expect from people who live in a detached bubble?

        I long campaigned for greater penalties for criminals as a deterrent, but to no avail, and despite even the arch leftie, Kenneth Clarke, admitting that as with all the best deterrents, you don’t have to use them, so they cost nothing.

        Deterrents CAN work, but not while there are people like the shrinking criminal-tolerant Gove in the Tory party who seek to ‘understand’ wrong-doers and put their ‘needs’ first. People who were brought up amongst criminal dross, like yours truly, know them only too well, and the thing they understand best is suffering and deprivation, not mollycoddling.

        I could sort the issue of crime to the public’s satisfaction, make no mistake about it, as I suspect, could most of the contributors to John’s blog, but it just isn’t going to happen whilst the present crop of lily-livered political nonentities are in positions of power and influence.


        1. Lifelogic
          November 6, 2015

          Indeed. But few in government or the police nowadays even dare to use the word “deterrent” in relation to crime.

      6. bigneil
        November 5, 2015

        Speed cameras will be irrelevant soon. All new cars sold in the EU after a certain date have to have the “automatic crash alert” system – -already being marketed in the Vauxhall ads I think. Basically a tracker linked to a satellite system – -sold as a “safety” system – -actually a big brother auto GPS tracking and speed detection system – -fines will be automatic – – but – -I’ll guess ALL EU bureaucrats and leaders will be tracker exempt.

        The German led EU police super state is upon us

        1. A different Simon
          November 6, 2015

          Yep ,

          There has been absolutely no public debate about the ramifications of self-driving cars .

          The powers that be seem to think that it is sufficient that they think it is a good idea and should happen and what the public thinks is irrelevant .

          Typical authoritarian lefty attitude . No doubt they will be claiming there is a “consensus” for it so a debate would just be wasting time .

      7. stred
        November 6, 2015

        Last time I crawled down the M3, I wanted to come off for the A303. There was a short unrestricted bit and then a new limit and cones. The traffic was all going along together with lorries blocking the signing. Suddenly the lanes split and drivers had to choose which to be in.There was a list of roads which could not be read and a sign for the next town. I followed the car in front and then there was no opportunity to cross lanes or signs. There was no opportunity to turn around until Winchester, so it was not worth turning back . At least I missed the Stonehenge jams and only arrived 30 minutes late.

  2. Lifelogic
    November 5, 2015

    I see the government’s fake “green” energy system is falling to pieces, and it was not even remotely cold.

    Would you want fly on an aeroplane designed by greencrap high priests and politicians or would you prefer engineers to do it?

    1. fed up southerner
      November 5, 2015

      ha,ha,ha. Yes, what a way to run a country. Paying businesses to shut stuff down whilst paying up to £2500?MW an hour for extra power on the grid simply because wind and solar just couldn’t manage the job expected of it. Well, slap my thigh. Haven’t the governments been told this for long enough? As for Lisa Nandy going on about it is the government fault – has nobody pointed out to her that it was Millipede and Bliar that signed us up to this crap? Yet another way to make us poorer. In the garage yesterday they were saying how many high powered Range Rovers were being sold to farmers that had recently received money for turbines on their land. Funny how they say they’ve got turbines to save the planet and then go out and buy one of the most fuel guzzling/CO2 emitters going.

    2. Anonymous
      November 5, 2015

      The worst of it is this, Lifelogic. Three coal powered stations are to be closed down early (next year) owing the £50 levy added to each tonne of coal (present price £30)

      Add to this that they want to electrify a lot more railway and immigrate a LOT more people.

      How are we going to manage ? And all the time we are happy to ship in stuff manufactured using dirty electricity and exploited labour in the far east making the whole thing futile and harmful to us in that it threatens our EU compliant jobs.

      This country is going to implode within the term of this government.

      This is not a good time to be cutting the police and having poor relations with them.

  3. lifelogic
    November 5, 2015

    Alastair Heath is spot on yet again today on the “in three letters” NHS.

    1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
      November 5, 2015

      A couple of points Al has overlooked in his article. Firstly is that doctors overseas get paid more because they accrue a load more debt to get through medical school. In America the average cost to qualify is around $250k. Also one problem the NHS has suffered for years from is accurately predicting what sort of medics it will need in the years to come. In some respects it cannot be too hard. For example with the UKs booming population you would think we would need loads of midwives. However I was talking to a couple of trainees recently. Their complaint was that once they had finished training, if they wanted a job, they would have to move to London. Malcolm Turnbull must be rubbing his hands at the prospect of getting another two medics without having to pay for their training.

    2. stred
      November 6, 2015

      The pay of British consultants or partner GPs does not seem to be particularly low in cases I have heard of. The basic pay is high enough to attract many doctors from EU countries and only American and Australians are better paid. Consultants are freeto have private practice and often swap between. Their billing to sick and terminal patients is swift and demanding payment within days. They also have a scheme for ‘merit’payments within the NHS, often proposing each other for this reward.

      In contrast to their higlyh paid seniors, juniors are paid less than many unskilled jobs and a fraction of a gas engineer or train driver. Presumably, they put up with it because they can see future pay making up for it. Jeremy Hunt seems sincere in his belief that juniors will not lose pay or emigrate. He may well have been badly advised, as other ministers who cannot do the sums have found out recently.

  4. Ian wragg
    November 5, 2015

    This is a proxy war with Putin arming Assad. Both are despots but I’m pleased they’re upsetting US/EU plans for World Government American style.
    So on a mild November evening we run out of power and have to pay industry to shut down. Good for Gideons GDP no.
    Where does that leave illiterate Rudd and her declaration last month that we have sufficient power.
    What’s going to happen when we have some minus 5 degree evenings.
    I see wind was supplying 0.45%. Magic.

  5. formula57
    November 5, 2015

    After the experience of Libya, it would be a surprise if anyone sensible thought a repeat in Syria, an even more complex and hence uncontrollable case, ought to be attempted.

    Given that some Syrian adventure is ruled out, how about reviewing the engagement in Iraq now? What has that achieved exactly and what are its prospects?

  6. Bert Young
    November 5, 2015

    The Middle East is in turmoil ; it will remain so until the tribal factions decide enough is enough . Why these 2 factions are always at loggerheads is beyond my knowledge of their history ; what I do know is that it has gone on for centuries and it is so deeply ingrained no outside influence is likely to change it . The message to us is , “Keep out of it”, British lives and money will not neutralise the Sunni/Shia mess .

    1. DaveM
      November 5, 2015

      I tend to agree, Bert, but in the so-called “global village”, as we have seen, the middle east isn’t that far away any more. And thanks to the madness of Merkel and the weakness of other “leaders” in Europe and the US, that centuries-old conflict is heading this way.

      Speaking as a combatant and as a father and as someone who still believes the UK can remain intact throughout this nonsense, I would rather see the war confined to the countries where it originated rather than being fought on the streets of England and western Europe. Frontex are already asking for hundreds more personnel – and who can blame them? – but I suspect it will be the Russians and the E Europeans who bear the brunt when IS plough through Turkey and onward. Let’s face it, the Turks will just usher them through.

    November 5, 2015

    So the UK Parliament has decided it is not going to kill people in Syria. As the psychiatrist says: “Good. Now lay down on the couch and tell me who else you have decided not to kill”

  8. alan jutson
    November 5, 2015

    Pleased we are not getting involved.

    I see the so called refugees on our base in Cyprus are making demands about where they want to go, and burning the tents they are presently living in.

    Apparently freedom in Cyprus is not good enough for them !

    I hope we do not give in over this, but this raises another question, how secure is our base in Cyprus, what if these people had been terrorists !

  9. Denis Cooper
    November 5, 2015

    Are you envisaging that Islamic State would participate in the peace talks?

    (words left out ed)

    Reply That will be a matter for the major participants to determine. The US ended up talking to the Taliban. The peace talks could also be between most of the others and include a military strategy towards ISIL.

    1. ian wragg
      November 5, 2015

      And a fat lot of good it did them. The Taliban now control large sections of Afghanistan and conditions are back to pre conflict times.
      etc ed

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 5, 2015

      With respect, JR, “(words left out ed)” represents part of the problem.

      It seems to me that there is no point in trying to engage Islamic State in peace talks unless you are prepared to permanently cede it a defined territory, an area on the map officially labelled as “Islamic State”, which would then serve as the base from which it could pursue its plans. Is that what we want?

      Reply I am not proposing peace talks with ISIL as a formal entity in the way you describe. I think who you talk to is best left to those closer to the action and who know the main players. There are various bands of fighters and organisations seeking control of parts of Syria. Military solutions have to give way at some point to negotiations.

    3. Stephen Berry
      November 5, 2015

      Reply: “That will be a matter for the major participants to determine. The US ended up talking to the Taliban. The peace talks could also be between most of the others and include a military strategy towards ISIL.”

      We can now see that Britain was a world power between roughly 1700 and 1950 and that Britain has definitely not been a world power since the empire was disbanded. There are a number of curses of the ‘Special Relationship’ with the US for the UK. Apart from periodically landing British troops in assorted hell-holes around the world and making sensible trade deals with China more difficult, it allows British politicians to continue with the delusion that their views matter in areas of the world where their power is close to zero.

      The UK is definitely not a ‘major participant’ in any Syrian peace talks and, in my opinion, should not be any sort of participant at all. The puzzle to me is why this UK prime minister is peering at the world map, searching for trouble spots and then trying to jump in feet first. All credit to parliament for putting a stop to this one.

  10. Alan Wheatley
    November 5, 2015

    While I can see the merit in “UK bombing in Syria would not be a good idea”, “diplomatic intervention and the start of a difficult peace process” is a recommendation totally devoid of reality. When one of the parties is fanatically committed to dominance and the use of all and every force available, the only process available to other parties seeking peace is one of total surrender and subjugation.

    Those who think the pen is mightier than the sword should put it to the test: the diplomatic meeting between the man armed with the sword and the man armed with the pen has only one outcome!

    First there has to be a rule of law, and only then can you start debating. For those who would like to explore these ideas at greater length I heartily recommend Margaret Thatcher’s book on Statecraft.

    Reply There was no agreed and accepted rule of law in Northern Ireland when the peace talks began with the armed groups who ignored the law.

    1. Bob
      November 5, 2015

      ” the peace talks began with the armed groups who ignored the law.”

      I think that 9/11 played a big part in bringing the IRA to the table, they saw their main source of funding (NORAID) drying up and decided to take the money on offer for for not turning up to Westminster.

  11. NickW
    November 5, 2015

    Political leaders need to be a bit more intelligent about Syria, rather than discussing a simple binary option; do we or don’t we drop bombs on another Sovereign Country?

    Where is the legality?

    Where is the morality?

    Where is the strategy?

    if somebody came and dropped bombs on us because they did not like Cameron as a leader, it would not make the British people well disposed to the perpetrator, and it would serve to cement Cameron in place as a leader because the use of force ALWAYS results in the formation of an opposing force.

    Given that the problems in the Middle East stem from conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslim, (among others), Western Countries dropping bombs will serve no useful purpose whatever other than to demonstrate our stupidity and barbarity, drastically increasing the tide of refugees fleeing our bombs.

    1. Gary
      November 6, 2015

      “Given that the problems in the Middle East stem from conflict instigated by the foreign plunderers of oil ,using the sunni shia split as a natural divide and rule fissure.”

      There, I fixed it for you.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 6, 2015

        Pity you didn’t get round to fixing it earlier, as Muslims have been killing each other over the succession to Mohammed for nearly 1400 years.

  12. Iain Gill
    November 5, 2015

    Yes but we need to commit special forces and air power to stopping any further executions of Westerners particularly British hostages. That is a nice simple mission statement. Don’t let the mission creep. But put significant resources into stopping people executing Brits. And frankly other than defence of the homeland I can see no more noble use of our defence budget.

  13. Iain Gill
    November 5, 2015

    The number of IT professionals coming to the UK from outside the EU has increased by 13% in the last year, added to the numbers granted visas in previous years and still here, and the numbers granted indefinite leave to remain and British passports having been here so long. Added to their family members. Also the number of people starting ICT apprenticeships in the UK has dropped to its lowest level in three years, similar to Brits on computer science degree courses no doubt.
    Despite its rhetoric to reduce immigration it seems the government is hell bent on destroying the British workers in the IT business and replace them all. Rtc ed
    Where exactly are the MP’s speaking out against this?

    1. A different Simon
      November 6, 2015

      Back when I started 26 years ago the U.K. software industry was something to behold .

      Unfortunately the UK I.T. industry had to be sacrificed in order to obtain access for our Banks to the Indian domestic market .

      I’m pleased that young Briton’s have recognised the futility of wasting their time and money on computer science degrees .

      Any suggestions what they should do instead John ?

      1. Iain Gill
        November 7, 2015

        If John is not prepared to speak out nobody in parliament will. This whole situation is a national disgrace.

  14. Mitchel
    November 5, 2015

    It’s curious that the Turks,Saudis and French are saying that President Assad cannot be permitted to stand for election in a future political settlement(I’m not sure where we stand-probably waiting for instructions from the US),whilst Russia is saying it is for the Syrian people to decide;are they afraid he might be returned to power?

    1. stred
      November 6, 2015

      The Syrian Christians I talked to told me that Assad is only a figurehead for his clan. He can’t control the thuggery and if he were replaced they may get a lot worse.The clan itself offered a sort of protection racket, which was infinitely better than what they have now.

      The stuff about Sunnis and Shias is also exaggerated. Assad is married to a Sunni and his army is also largely Sunni. There are extremists in every religion. Rtc ed
      To ban Assad from any election when he has much support would be insane. But then Eural and randy Franci probably fit Einstein’s definition.

  15. Vanessa
    November 5, 2015

    Then why is the PM so keen on bombing Syria? He is just showing what an immature silly little boy he is. He is dying to get his little toys out and go “bang your dead” to anyone he meets. This really shows him in such an appalling light, it beggars belief that he represents the British public. He has obviously learnt nothing from the dreadful outcome of Iraq etc.

    1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
      November 5, 2015

      He might be silly but I think instead he is too easily influenced and surrounds himself with a strange cast of charecters e.g. Andy Coulson, Camila Batmanghelidjh etc. With regard to our relations with Russia it seems that the late Kenny Everett seems to be guiding his actions here. Remember Kenny’s recommendation to Mrs Thatcher “Lets bomb Russia”? Whether it be in Syria or the Ukraine he always seems to want to provoke them.

    2. Chris
      November 5, 2015

      Worth reading/listening to the former ambassador to Syria’s analysis of Cameron’s approach. It is not flattering but it seems to be well justified in its criticism:
      Peter Ford, former ambassador to Syria, describes Cameron’s policy of wanting to remove Assad immediately as “dangerous” and says there has been no planning for what happens after he has gone, with a vacuum left (memories of Iraq and Libya). He states that the situation in Syria is extremely complex with a lot of different groups about which Cameron appears to have little or no knowledge. Recent interview on RT can be found on youtube. I apparently was not allowed to post the link. Also article in Guardian last April about how Cameron’s policy has apparently fuelled the rise of jihadism. All very informative and contrasts refreshingly with some of the “information” that our Press feeds us with about Syria and the Russians.

  16. oldtimer
    November 5, 2015

    So the stalemate in Syria is matched by stalemate in the HoC. The preferred course for the UK is to continue to seek a diplomatic solution. The opportunity to do so has, probably, been improved following the destruction of the Russian airliner over Sinai, because that surely will have changed the Russian perspective and Russian priorities. The transition to seeking common ground will, no doubt, be variously difficult, awkward, embarrassing and for some participants, even impossible. That will apply as much to the UK as to others. Nevertheless that is what the UK should attempt to do with such influence as it may have. A good start would be to focus on wearing down ISIL.

  17. William Long
    November 5, 2015

    The reason that Mr Cameron is so keen to get a concensus for militaary action is clearly that dropping bombs is a very easy way to show he cares and is doing something, even at the cost of yet more human lives. For once the House of Commons has done something useful and constructive in denying him that concensus.
    Let us now hope that HM Government will seek to play a full part in the search for a lasting solution in Syria, which as you rightly say will be very difficult to achieve. Even Mr Assad would be better than the present mess.
    As required reading for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of the political background in the Middle East, I would strongly recommend Ali A. Allawi’s excellent biography of King Faisal of Iraq. Even though King Faisal died as long ago as 1933 the myriad factions which faced him in his struggle to bring together his kingdom are the direct precursors of the competing strands in the Middle East today. However an understanding of the problem is only a first step in finding a solution which is of course way beyond the scope or timeframe of the book. It does though point to the need for either a supreme diplomatist, or a strongman at the head of any of the countries concerned, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the rest. I am not sure that democracy is of more than cosmetic importance in providing stability in this region.

  18. Tad Davison
    November 5, 2015

    I was watching a few YouTube documentaries last night of that great man, Professor Noam Chomsky, and listening intently to what he says about the United States and the way empires abuse their position yet demand others comply with international law, whilst not doing so themselves. He’s well worth listening to, and he is indeed an education. In my view, his works should be a compulsory part of the UK’s state education curriculum. That way, the dangers of (authoritarianism)could be fully appreciated and understood, particularly the way it strangles a free press and promotes its own agenda (BBC take note, as they are one of the worst offenders).

    Professor Chomsky often refers to the way the United States acts illegally in promoting regime change in sovereign countries. They have deplorable double-standards. One day, with any luck, these chickens will come home to roost and their power will be diminished to the point of insignificance. This is the reason why Vladimir Putin said he regretted the dissolution of the former USSR. Not that he agreed with it, but that it provided a foil to one of the most (questionable ed)regimes he world has ever seen, but hides behind a cloak of false altruism.

    I note some of the CIA weaponry and the very dubious people they supplied them to in order to topple Gaddafi, are now turning up in Syria. These are the so-called ‘moderates’ the United States has been supporting. Interesting that the United States is now saying some of these people are being absorbed by the Islamic caliphate as if that was some kind of fantastic and wholly unexpected revelation. It happened before with the people the CIA sponsored in Afghanistan at the time of the Russian occupation. They eventually turned on the US.

    The west says it wants to promote democracy. Personally, I doubt if that is their true motive. It’s just a smokescreen for wanting to impose puppet regimes all over the place who are subservient to the US in order (as Professor Chomsky rightly says) to promote US hegemony. The UK should have no part of it, but interestingly, Julian Assange quotes one former UK Foreign Secretary as saying as soon as he took office, he was told in no uncertain terms what he could and could not do with regard to international relations. Anything that went against the United States’ interests was out of bounds.

    Who the hell are they to tell us or anyone else what we can and cannot do!

    I have an affinity with the American people, but their system of government stinks to high heaven and the sooner it’s gone, the better and safer the world will be.

    Tad Davison


  19. Julian
    November 5, 2015

    Unless the west takes a hard line with terrorists such as isil we will have more problems. The sad thing is that the “international community” always takes a soft line against evil organisations that seek political gain through violence. The UN peace keepers utterly failed in Sierra Leone against the West Side boys who wreaked murder and anarchy on the country. A combined force of UK special forces, paratroopers and some African based mercenaries eliminated that evil very rapidly. Zero tolerance to terrorists and no negotiation is the only way to stop decades of attrition by these gangsters.

  20. lojolondon
    November 5, 2015

    All I can say is I can’t imagine the person unhinged enough to even consider sending their own airforce into a war zone that is being strafed by the Russian airforce, while steadfastly refusing to talk to Russia!! We all know that the result would definitely be planes downed, possibly on both sides, and who knows where that will end! The mind boggles at it, and to say that one was considering it but unwilling to go against ‘the consensus’ shows serious lack of judgement in my humble opinion!

    1. Gary
      November 6, 2015

      Well, they’ve tried to defeat Russia using sanctions, colour revolutions, Bolsheviks, oligarchs, and that all failed, so why not try by starting wwiii ?

  21. margaret
    November 5, 2015

    Syrian children face a cold winter without food and proper shelter . What do we do? UNICEF are begging for money to buy blankets whilst Assad stands back watching them suffer . The whole regime is cruel. These are not humans they are the worst type of carnivores around. They should be bombed out of existence , but who else will the attacks kill.
    Perhaps the government should put a display on of doing something other than sending money. How about decent shelter ,coats, duvets , fuel, blankets , jumpers, matches, hot food.

    1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
      November 5, 2015

      Margaret its not as simple as that, following on from a comment above the news flow about Syria is not all that trustworthy. Go to Youtube and find a program called “Inside Assad’s Syria”. Its made by PBS (the American version of the BBC) and is an episode of “Frontline” (their answer to “Panorama”). This program lets the ordinary Syrian people speak for themselves.

      1. margaret
        November 7, 2015

        Nothing is simple but the desire to bring into fruition a result does not need negativity. Even Putin would not cross any country willing to help the children; diplomacy would go riot.

  22. Original Richard
    November 5, 2015

    Has Mr. Cameron’s obsession with making a few bombing runs over Syria been devised so that we do not realise that he and his European colleagues are doing absolutely nothing to stop the ME invading Europe ?

  23. MikeP
    November 5, 2015

    As a constituent and voter who cares for his kids’ and grandchildren’s futures, I’ve no stomach for another bombing campaign given what we’ve seen in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. But (and defaulting to Godwin’s Law), in the end we had to invade the Continent to finally get rid of the Nazi occupation; sometimes we have to “sort” other countries’ problems when diplomacy fails. But Blair has spent years as Middle East Peace Envoy but achieved diddly-squat other than taking a very large income for his trouble. These Middle Eastern and African countries are a bit different, they’re rife with inter-tribal land grabs and a total departure from cultural norms we’d accept, we don’t decapitate, stone or lash wrong-doers, we don’t want polygamy, we generally believe in earning an honest crust.
    But as we continue to see – even in today’s news – we have “welcomed” into our country groups of (people ed)who have defrauded pensioners of their entire savings, are behind many of these fraudulent nuisance calls, and they’ve set up up drug and child abuse rings in our cities. This John is what’s behind the nervousness over our open borders and the ability of migrants to move across the Continent to the one country that speaks their second language – UK (not Germany that they’re all primed to say).
    I’m sure the majority of refugees from these war-torn regions are kind, respectful and law-abiding people but our continued military involvement in their homelands is stoking a fire that is giving us unprecedented levels of nasty crime here from a very dangerous and unwelcome minority. We should stay out of Syria !!

  24. Margaret
    November 5, 2015

    Where is the protection of rights of the child which the mconsolidation treaties aspire to

  25. NickW
    November 5, 2015

    Unwanted armed intervention to depose Assad cannot be followed by any pretence at free elections.

    Following the gross and repeated violations of Sovereignty, the electorate will vote for the factions which opposed the foreign interference, and we know very well who they will be.

    The problem with Syria is that the civil war is a proxy war fought between powerful Arab Nations who are arming and supporting both sides of the conflict.

    The West should stay out of it.

    The USA is violently stirring the pot by flooding the area with arms and supporting Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Nations in the hope that the Saudi stance on the oil price will bring Putin to his knees.

    The USA is not the solution; it is now the problem, and American politicians are beginning to realise it. We can only hope that the enlightenment continues.

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