We need a Statement on Syria

I trust tomorrow when Parliament meets the government will update us on its thinking on Syria and give MPs every opportunity to examine the position now reached.

I assume the limited action the UK  took with allies early on Saturday morning is the end of the military intervention  planned following the use of chemical weapons in Syria. I stressed before the event that we should not fly our jets into Syrian airspace, run the risk of killing Russian personnel and damaging Russian equipment, and risking  killing civilians. It appears we have avoided all of those dangers. It is now important we show we do not intend to escalate from here. I am glad the PM did tell us she has no plan to intervene in the civil war or seek regime change as those options would require considerable and sustained force and be full of risk.

Labour will doubtless wish to explore the legal base for the action.

Many MPs will want to know how successful it was in destroying chemical weapons production facilities and chemical weapons stocks, the stated targets. We await the full Intelligence evaluation and assume Russian claims to have shot down most of the missiles are false. We will also wish to be reassured that attacking chemical weapons stocks did not lead to damaging release of any of the chemicals, or to the death or injury of people on the ground.

It will also be interesting to hear the governments evaluation of whether this will either prevent or deter future use of these munitions by the Syrian regime. Has the attack crippled their capacity to make and use these weapons? Or did it do such damage that they will conclude it is not a good idea to do it again?

There should  be no escalation of this action and a careful consideration of the results of this mission.

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110 Comments

  1. Freeborn John
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Enough of the “sideshow redwood” stuff. Anna Soubry and Chukka Umana are not getting sidetracked by Syria.

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      JR, you need a resignation statement from May. There are attrocities all over the world which May has done nothing about- not even speak about them or call a UN meeting. She has allowed the supply of arms to some of them! Our country and citizens were at risk in Salisbury, she expelled diplomats. Assad and the Russians have won the war in his country after the West interference that caused the problem and dragged this matter out much longer than necessary because the West wanted regime change, again. it has learned nothing from Iraq or Libya.

      Your useless and stupid PM will not even stick up for our country during her capitulation to the EU and accepts this foreign body to be sovereign after we leave the EU! She is a threat to our national interests. OUST her ASAP. You cannot believe a word she utters. At least Trump has red lines and sticks to them unlike Obama and May.

      I still note Germany going ahead with the gas line from Russia, some EU solidarity!

      • Hope
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        JR, openly reported in the papers today that Barnier stating the U.K. Will cave in on Spain’s demands over Gibraltar with the solidarity of the other 26. This is more of of a threat to our country and national interest!

        If the chemical weapon sites in Syria were blown up, is chemical aftermath not a risk to the public in surrounding areas? Is this likely to cause more harm than those used?

    • Adam
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      They’re stuck wading through syrup in a cul-de-sac behind Caroline Lucas.

    • Eh?
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Freeborn John
      Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      True. That new group given exposure on the BBC today are calling for a referendum on the deal and to just stay n if the deal is rejected.

      Why would the EU offer anything if that was the outcome?

      Our potential strong exit has been hijacked by these fools.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:06 am | Permalink

        Exactly. But will May deliver any real Brexit anyway.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      No, they are not, but then there is an increasing suspicion that despite appearances they are secretly working to support the policy of the government. The real policy, I mean, not the current pretend policy of leaving the EU and its Customs Union and Single Market. That is why the government never uses its ample resources to oppose them and rebut their claims and crush them, they are allowed free run to spread their lies so they can eventually succeed in neutralising the referendum result. I don’t know what else we should have expected, really; we should have foreseen that these traitorous enemies of our national sovereignty and democracy would not just give up because they had lost a referendum.

      • Mick
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/946378/Brexit-News-People-s-Vote-anti-Brexit-Remainer-Patrick-Stewart
        Do these remoaners takes us for idiots or what, the only reason they want another referendum disguised as a people vote is so that it can be rigged by the Eu and the remoaners backers, if by chance it did happen these London luvvies had better be aware of the backlash from the real people north of the Watford gap because we will not give up our country to London snowflakes and foreigners so be careful what you wish for

  2. Peter
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    “There should be no escalation of this action and a careful consideration of the results of this mission.”

    Indeed. However, once you initiate an action like this escalation is not always within your control.

    • Bob
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I suspect that any escalation will be just sufficient to distract public attention from the Brexit sellout.

  3. Nig l
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Agree totally. On the totally unscientific basis of a poll of people I have spoken to there is absolutely no appetite for action in Syria, indeed a total exasperation that we haven’t learned from the mistakes of Blair and Cameron. Maybe that was Putins miscalculation, nonetheless I fear his response.

    The only good thing is the cover given by Macron. Conspiracy theorists will wonder whether there will be a Brexit payback?

    • Dame Rita webb
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      I think Easter 2018 has been a bit of an eye opener for most people as to how the state operates and in whose interests. Whether it be a homeowner trying to defend himself or a PM using the same sort of excuses to attack another that are usually used by rogue states. What a state of affairs where Jeremy Corby seems more in tune with the national mood.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Same in this vicinity.

      Tired of virtue signalling actions. In avenging the deaths of other people’s children “… because they are EVERYONE’S children” (no they are not !) Mrs May has put our own children in the firing line.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Those were not mistakes of Blair and CMD; that is your mistake: the presumption that they were acting in the national interest instead of a a ‘higher’ interest they serve to the detriment of ours.

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I can’t really comment on this John except to say that the idea of reprisals by the Russians scare me. I expect the discussions in the H of C will be the usual Punch and Judy show.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      I expect the discussions in the H of C will be the usual Punch and Judy show.

      It will. And it will give the PM the opportunity to play the Churchill role. Always a crowd pleaser there.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Hardly Churchill. No one agrees with her. What was the point of this action? What did it achieve? Why are we involved again? Why does Mrs May consider it Britain’s role to be the worlds policeman? If the latter, why not elsewhere on the planet where there are ongoing atrocities? South Africa, central Africa and the Congo, Yemen, North Korea, China etc???? Clueless.

  5. eeyore
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Yes indeed, this is how it should be. Government acts, then accounts for its actions to Parliament. Parliament should not allow itself to be made HMG’s accessary before the fact.

    As for whether this strike will be the end of military intervention, as JR wishes (no doubt we all do too), President Trump has warned that America remains “locked and loaded”. It is not Britain’s habit to abandon her allies in the face of the enemy. I hope we do not do so now.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Parliament should not allow itself to be made HMG’s accessary before the fact.

      Because those MP’s employed as part of the executive are compelled to vote with the government, the PM already have about a third of Conservative MP’s in her pocket.

      A separate executive and legislator would go some way to negate this bias and hold the government to account.

      • acorn
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        The Payroll vote is about 142 out of 316 Conservative MPs currently.

        Much agree with getting the Executive out of the Legislature. We could have a Prime Minister (PM) elected by popular vote instead of by the usual o.8% of the electorate. We could then reduce the number of MPs by half by amalgamating constituencies; or at most, one for each Local Authority District (391 and still dropping due to forced amalgamations).

        That would take the Payroll vote out of the HoC and replace it with a bit of old fashioned Pork Barrel politics; force the government to spend some money where MPs wanted it spent for a change.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          acorn

          Blimey, I actually agree with every word of that…. Good post , i’m going for a lay down until i feel better

  6. Epikouros
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Mrs May is taking a chance that air striking Syria does not do her more damage at home or relations with foreign governments or with the Muslim community than she has inflicted on Assad. Invading countries with the intention of regime change or to punish for unacceptable behaviour experience now tells us that it has far too many negative consequences. We should take a leaf out of Israel’s book and indeed give vent to extreme displeasure or to punish by using air strikes and and other such swift actions. Wholesale military action or the threat of it should only be sought in cases of a major threat to our nation. In self defence only.

    • eeyore
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Mrs May is taking many chances. It is not given to us to read the secret motives of men or governments, but the motive she has admitted to – enforcing a long-established standard of behaviour beneath which the world is rightly horrified of sinking – is worthy and proper.

      Now she must account for her actions to a suspicious and excitable Parliament with a regrettable taste for parading its tinplate conscience over the moral high ground. She has shown courage so far. I hope she does well tomorrow.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      President Assad is an Alawite (sp) and not considered a Muslim by other Muslims, much like the Amadi’s in Pakistan are. So his loss in certain, ‘communities’ will not be felt.

      • acorn
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        If you ever get a Syrian Taxi driver in Dubai, don’t tell him he is not a Shiite Muslim that Alawites identify with. Everything in the Middle East comes down to Sunni or Shiite. In Syria, Sunnis did not put there kids in the military, that was left to the poorer Alawite kids who proceeded, as the kids with the guns, to put Assad in charge.

        We have just blown up military sites in Damascus and Homs, both are traditionally where the majority and richer Sunni Arabs live; if there are any left since the 2013 “cleansing”. So it’s Saudi versus Iran; that is, Sunni versus Shiite.

      • ian wragg
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        The thing is like Iraq, Syria was largely a secular country and relatively peaceful. Unlike in most Middle eastern states, Christians were protected.
        Now after Bush and Bliar, the place is a mess.
        Reap what ye shall sow.

  7. Norman
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I think we all agree with you on that, John. And the beleaguered Christian minority are praying there’ll be no escalation, which they think can only add to their sufferings.

  8. Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The only thing this action will do is to create more jihadists – we all know how any attack against any Arab state – no matter the PR and justifications, will aggravate the situation, and in the end stoke the war that is developing between islamists and the West…

    but maybe that is the real intention…

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Bryan

      The civil war there is coming to a close. President Assad is winning and the whole thing started because a certain sect in Islam does not like him and saw an opportunity to remove him. Certain sections of the civilian population were agitated by these and other external actors and some even sent people to go and fight there. Many from the UK whose reward it seems has been a free pass and a council house. It makes you wonder who is really pulling the strings, but you know it is not us. We had a go back in 2016 and they have been busy since trying wriggle out of that one. Something that is now obvious to many now but never before.

      😉

      • Posted April 16, 2018 at 6:02 am | Permalink

        Indeedy Mark … I’d very much like to know who the master puppeteer is ….

        He is surely powerful to get get UK,USA and France all lined up against Russia, with Putin now looking at ways to punish us…

        Is this the chaos that is being created to moving us on to accept OWG?

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Also another tributary to the existing river of refugees into Europe.

      In the EU we don’t get regime change – rather the opposite, POPULATION change.

      • ian wragg
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        except it’s not happening in Eastern Europe. their leaders are made of sterner stuff than our hand wringing liberals.

  9. steveL
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Where would you get the idea that we’re going to get a ‘full intelligence evaluation’- we’ll be told just what they want to tell us- nor will we get reassurance about anything either- just like the runaway train we now have a runaway government- so much about taking back control- for as we all know control lies somewhere in ‘fakeland’

  10. oldtimer
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I remain of the opinion that these strikes were (expensive) gesture politics. In this instance the gesture was to declare abhorrence of chemical weapons. It it does that it will have achieved some purpose. However in the smoke and mirrors world of the Syrian civil war and other proxy wars in the Middle East it is impossible to know what is really going on.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      But gesture politics has a cost.

      Now the whole world can watch how the West has chosen to attack a country which has no major significance geopolitically and does not threaten any other country. The West clearly knows that bombing of Syria could start a global conflict with potentially horrendous consequences and it is relying on the self-restraint of the Russians to ensure that this does not happen. It’s one thing to go around the world frivolously bombing Third World countries which can’t hit back. It’s quite another to bomb these countries when they have the backing of a major power.

      The Syria bombing will have been met with a certain grim satisfaction in the North Korean capital. Why does a country racked by civil war and a danger to no one get bombed and a country which obviously IS a danger to its neighbours escape ‘fire and fury’? ‘How wise we were to pursue our nuclear programme’ must be the first thought of the North Korean leadership at this moment.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The action was yet another mistake by T May. She should not have done so, particularly without even asking parliament. There was no appetite at all for such action from voters and nothing at all has been achieved.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      I see that Dan Hannan has some figures on the overwhelming BBC bias, in his article in the Sundray Telegraph.

      “of 4,275 guests discussing the EU on the Today programme on Radio 4 between 2005 and 2015, only 132 (3.2 per cent) were Leavers. Since the poll, News-watch shows, a similar pattern has re-emerged.”

      The bias of the BBC is huge and not just on the EU, on lefty economics, on the exaggeration of climate alarmism, on “renewable” energy, on anti-car and plane transport, on government money for “the lefty Arts”, on housing policy, on the bloated size of government, on the envy on no one NHS, on private schools, on the endless PC drivel everywhere, on a the no deterrent criminal justice system ……

      We currently have a very lefty, PC, bloated, greencrap pushing, government with the highest taxes for 40 years (strangling the real economy all over the place) and yet the BBC always choose to attack it even more from the left.

      Andrew Neil is the only person they seem to have who is sensible and fair to both sides. He is not right wing at all, just in the middle of the spectrum and capable of actually thinking.

  12. Mark B
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    By what right do we attack another country that has not even threaten us ? This sets a dangerous precedent.

    We hyperventilate when, quite legitimately, the Russians send ships along the English Channel but, do not see the wrong we have done by attacking another sovereign nation. We have no interests in Syria, none at all.

    We live in a country where politicians tell us that we cannot punish our children by force of law but, they seem to be able to think it OK to punish countries and with far worse outcomes.

    Here we see, once again, a government out of control and a parliament unable to hold it in check.

  13. Richard1
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I think it’s perfectly right to launch the strikes if they can achieve the objective of destroying or at least damaging chemical weapons stocks. Of course talk of ‘principle’ is selective – we don’t after all think of attacking Russian chemical weapons stocks, though they have used them. So we’ll just have to do what’s practical – bomb users of chemical weapons or those who commit other atrocities if it’s a small dictatorship & just apply economic sanctions if it’s a large one like Russia. Not very satis really but probably better than just doing nothing and allowing these appalling regimes free rein to massacre as they wish. Probably should have intervened in 2013 in retrospect. Pity there wasn’t a better explained plan at the time.

  14. zorro
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    You mention about the ‘assumption’ that the Russian MOD are telling very precise, recorded, and accurate lies in their official communique. Interestingly, the MOD and the US equivalent have not stated how many missiles were fired in the attack. Clear, verifiable statements will always be welcome rather than the unspecified denials of any missiles being shot down uttered so far…..

    zorro

  15. zorro
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Major General Jonathan Shaw and Admiral Lord West think that the idea that Assad would launch a chemical attack in Ghouta when he had won militarily is a crock of ***…..

    zorro

  16. Andy
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I fear many Tory backbenchers of a certain persuasion will cynically use it to try to remove Mrs May. Not because they are interested in Syria – but because they want their own driver behind the wheel of the Brexit bus.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk

      I think Peter Hitchens is the most informed on this subject.

      If Mrs May can ignore Parliament whilst declaring war on a nation that is not a direct threat to the Realm then she can jolly well ignore Remainers and get us out of the EU sharpish.

      • Andy
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Alas – Mrs May went to the country in June 2017 demanding an overwhelming mandate for a hard Brexit. The vast majority of voters said no.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          Yet the Lib Dems and Greens who offered a remain in policy failed to gain ground as over 80% voted for parties that promised to respect the result of the referendum.

        • APL
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Andy: “The vast majority of voters said no.”

          Well, that’s not what happened.

          May started threatening the Tory voter base with threats unrelated to Brexit, she lost seats, but gained votes.

          If she’d campaigned on a platform related to BREXIt, she’d probably have gained seats.

          Such is her ineptitude.

    • DaveM
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope so.

    • Politics Inhaler
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      All parties will be using middle of the road language conscious of the looming local elections. However, the SNP are not having any, so perhaps some uncharacteristic good points from that area .

  17. APL
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    JR: “We need a statement on Syria.. ”

    Yes, but we also need a statement about the revelation that the agent used in the attempted murder of the Skripal’s, was not ‘Novachok’ but BZ, which oddly was produced in the West and supplied to NATO.

    Reply This is a Russian allegation not corroborated by the independent testing of the substance.

    • Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      The Swiss laboratory quoted by FM Lavrov has every opportunity to rebut the evidence from their independent position.

      • getahead
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        According to the Spiez laboratory in Switzerland they were not attacked by novichok, a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia but with a substance called BZ, or to give it its full name-Quinuclidinyl benzilate.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Not so, the Swiss lab was very specific in the attribution of the source. Specific traces of A234 and BZ which is interesting in itself for a supposed hit job. Initially, it was thought that they exhibited symptoms of exposure to fentanyl. The symptoms included hallucinations apparently and are time limited/incapacitatory in nature. We know that her VK account was accessed 3/4 days after the attack when we are told that she was in a coma. But she was also still allegedly seriously ill when she managed to phone her cousin saying that she was fine now. Since then no contact except an interestingly phrased statement from the Met Police…. Why has she not made her statement to the press accusing the Russians? I think that we all know why….

      zorro

    • Butties
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The independent testing confimed a very pure toxic substance. Please explain by reference to military grade assertions and sampling two weeks after the event with no apparent degredations or contamination.

    • Politics Inhaler
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      and a Swiss one

      • Butties
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes and UK Gov requested confirmation of A234 (?) only but the Independant Swiss Lab also reported the presence of BZ!. JR if I know this why don’t you?

  18. Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Imagine the scene in the ‘’rebel’’ camp, a few days ago:
    ‘’Hey, chaps, we’re surrounded by Government troops. We’re nearly beaten. Bring round the mobile phone and a hose pipe, we’ll get a few civvies and knock ‘em about a bit, and say there’s been an chemical attack by Assad. Then they’ll think it’s ‘IM wot done it.’’

    Or is that much too cynical?
    But what makes anyone think that a different regime foisted upon the poor people of Syria will be any less ”brutal” than Assad’s? Perhaps it’s time it was admitted that this is not about alleviating the suffering of the people – they’re going to suffer anyway, and if you’re dying it’s no consolation to know it wasn’t your Government that killed you with a conventional weapon. Or about defeating ”ISIS” – Assad could have done that himself.

    We’ll simply have to face the inevitable and brace ourselves for yet more waves of refugees and home-coming jihadists. As usual, the people in high places won’t suffer in the end – they’ll make sure of that.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I did think when I saw the video footage that it was staged for the cameras. Hopefully the OPCW can confirm whether there was indeed a chemical attack, and that it was an action of the Syrian state.
      However, any doubts are dispelled by hearing the Russian denials, as recent events have demonstrated they are incapable of telling the truth.

  19. Adam
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a time for assessment, reflection, opinion ventilation & balanced debate, prior to confirming or modifying existing policy.

    Our defence capability remains ever-poised with its own analysis of ‘what if’ situations, in intended readiness to deal with whatever might emerge suddenly.

    The supreme objective is long-term peace. MPs will now shed varying shades of light on whether or not Saturday’s tripartite intervention, in its pursuit, achieved.

  20. duncan
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    May’s little more than a US puppet. France is an EU conduit as Germany is hobbled by its WW2 past so it can’t act in any meaningful sense, militarily. Moreover Germany is a hugely dependent on Russian gas which does afford Putin huge leverage over the German government and how they choose to act.

    Oh Merkel, what you have done by climbing into bed with Putin?

    I suspect if the Saudis, UAE and the Bahrain states could funnel gas to Europe then Putin’s grip over European gas supplies would be undermined

    Control over energy supplies affords supreme political control to the entity that controls this. Putin has Germany by the short and curlies.

    May playing the war leader doesn’t wash. She’s left leaning and deeply non-conservative. Politics not morality is what floats her boat. I don’t want a political leader as PM. I want a moral person as my PM. Someone who appreciates the difference between right and wrong, not someone who takes a decision based on the political consequences of such actions.

    This PM is responsible for turning the UK into a place that is as politicised as it’s ever been. It’s becoming a liberal left paradise.

    I have always voted Tory because I believe in a moral world. I believe in personal responsibility and the reduction of the state’s involvement in our lives. May believes the opposite

    I abstained at the last election and will do so again if May is still leader

  21. William Long
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I am glad that the main reaction to our participation in the reprisal for Syria’s use of chemical weapons seems to be to question it. As you say, there is no appetite at all for major action against the Assad regime, and in its absence will any action deter the use of chemical weapons? It is this point that gives the most worry about escalation and Mrs may should think about it very carefully.
    Indeed I have seen little sign of serious consideration in any part of the political spectrum, certainly in this country, of what anyone thinks it might be desirable to put in Assad’s place. Like it or not, Assad and his henchmen are the nearest thing that Syria has to a legitimate government and the opposition are rebels who in my view forfeited most rights to sympathy when they forsook the ballot box for the gun. What the country needs most is an end to the civil war and a period of stability provided by it does not much matter whom.
    At least the Russians have a clear policy that Assad is the most likely person to be able, with their help, to win decisively and govern the whole country and unless we have a clear and considered alternative the best thing it seems to me, is to let them get on with it.

  22. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The two certainties about any debate/discussion of this topic in the House of Commons is that members of Parliament will have absolutely nothing useful to contribute and that Mr Corbyn will continue to argue the case on behalf of Russia.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    We’ve put the ball in Putin’s court as regards ‘escalation’.

    It’s no longer our choice whether or not WW3 commences.

    I have no faith whatsoever in our political class.

  24. anon
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile at home distasteful expressions of free speech can get you locked up or visited by our very own thought police. Meanwhile the bodycount on London streets rise.

    However ordering our armed forces to initiate hostile actions in a sovereign country which has not threatened the UK directly or indirectly is not subject to an automatic full public enquiry and open public investigation of all facts is shameful.

    We need constitutional changes to ensure that offensive military offensives are not used by weak politicians ,to shore up their weakness and divert attention.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  25. Caterpillar
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Misinformation solves everything, fear solves everything, violence solves everything. To navigate through this reality without succumbing to them will require on going rationality by parliament and not playing politics. In this country some have suggested that fear and misinformation have been used by remain supporters in the continued Brexit debate, this is absolutely nothing compared with the misinformation, fear and weapons used by others. Those who use these techniques know they can because those who don’t will always want to check the misinformation just in case, will always be fearful of the escalating path/mission creep, and will always claim violence solves nothing – ignoring the reality of the opposite.

  26. formula57
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “I am glad the PM did tell us she has no plan to intervene in the civil war or seek regime change…”

    Indeed, for seeking regime change is illegal under international law.

  27. agricola
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    You will get one on Monday.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    ‘400,000 dead in Syria at the moment” said Mr Corbyn and he wants a UN solution but the only Country blocking a UN investigation are the Russians aren’t they? and shouldn’t he be asking why they would block a United Nations team and not instead say, ‘we’ll protect you whilst you carry out your independent investigation’, if they know for sure there is nothing to hide why not help the rest of the World to prove this, isn’t it in Russian interests for the UN team to prove this? It’s very bizarre, either Putin is a member of the UN or doesn’t want to be, is he just using it to hide behind, if they’re so innocent bring them in. I like the Russians I’ve met, I actually quite like Putins strengths as a leader but here I feel he is wrong – join with a UN team and let the rest of the world investigate such horrible claims of poisoned children, surely Putin has red lines when there are reports of massacred innocents.

  29. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Once again, I disagree. If you are going to fight, fight – don’t waste time arguing with the pacifist Corbyn about it in the House first.

    Trump’s “missiles on on their way” tweet cost us the element of surprise, gave them time to move materiel and production facilities and probably resulted in us bombing empty buildings.

    Apparently, since Obama arranged for the destruction of Assad’s poison gas stores five years back, there have been ~50 gas attacks on civilians. We should stop pussy-footing about and destroy the Syrian means of delivering gas – their air force.

    A side effect of this half hearted approach is that the Russians are now going to try and bully us again. They are already repeatedly challenging British control of the Channel, our airspace over nuclear bases in Scotland, our control of the entrance to the Mediteranean at Gibraltar etc. The Turks shot down a Russian fighter over N Syria a couple of years back – the Russians did nothing except whige about it. We need to show strength. Lock on and shoot down the next Blackjack bomber that crosses over our airspace, salvage the wreckage and give it to BAE Systems to analyse.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      sakara gold

      “Trump’s “missiles on on their way” tweet cost us the element of surprise, gave them time to move materiel and production facilities and probably resulted in us bombing empty buildings.”

      Er which is exactly what it was intended to do !! Do you not understand the game?

  30. Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I’m still far from convinced that Assad used chemical weapons.
    I still feel that it could be fake news (ie faked photographs) or even the possibility that the rebels used gas on themselves in a last ditch attempt to encourage the West to attack Assad, after all they have no hesitation in using children to attack Israel from Gaza. There are far too many unanswered questions and, whilst I appreciate the government may have information that it can’t reveal, I have to agree with what Lord West said.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      It may alarm some, but it is a generally accepted view in Romania that a certain ethnic grouping they deliberately amputate limbs of some of their own children so they can be beggars more effectively. I have heard it is true in other places too.
      However the footage of the gas attacks show well-cared for children, surprisingly well-fed, wincing at cold water being doused over them, not more. Enough is enough. Anyone who has looked after a child in their lives can read the body language. Others talking of enough of enough have never,obviously ever changed a a nappy in their lives nor acquired the ability to read a child through personal love and caring. One feels pain for some of our politicians. They have never lived.

  31. Brigham
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have just been listening to Corbyn on Andrew Marr. The man is a complete pratt. Neville Chamberlain is a warmonger compared to him. How can the Labour party exist with fools like him and Abbott and Lammy actually being anywhere near parliament? There is something wrong somewhere.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Brigham
      Steady on! I do not support Mr Corbyn’s economic ideas, certainly not his campaigns against free-speech and the marginalisation and demonisation of people who wish to express themselves “each according to his ability “…Each According To His Ability”. Very important!

      However, given British history…millions of us have perished, we would be fools allowing an executive to get us into a war. Even the Pharaohs had the courage to ride their chariots at the front in an attack on the enemy. Our government leaders are of lesser salt than an ancient Egyptian dictator.

  32. Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, as a long term reader of your blog, but late during the day, and only an occasional contributor, I believe you have acquired several new contributors who can only be described as peddling “fake news”. This does not mean obvious inventions but repeated misinterpretations or suggestions which slant discussions away from a line of argument they do not like.

    Maybe they are just uninformed or ignorant rather than clever. On the other hand perhaps not. While I much appreciate your comments, and admire the fact that you usually read all the comments, I can no longer read any comments.

    • zorro
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      If you think that they are peddling ‘fake news’, you should call them out, or, of course if you can’t do that, just don’t read them and be satisfied in your own thoughts in an ever so trendy ‘snowflake’ compatible ‘safe space’ 🙂

      zorro

    • Prigger
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      No you can’t, as before.

  33. nigel seymour
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, the PM has the mandate of the WHOLE COUNTRY! She was voted in and has the right to make crucial decisions on our behalf. Every opposition party will make as much political gain as is possible to discredit her on account they have nothing else to do!! . Parliament will have copious amounts of time to debate Syria when they once again use chemical weapons.

    Very sad to see Soubry doing her best to stop brexit with her little band of attention seekers.

  34. John P McDonald
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    ” end of the military intervention planned following the use of chemical weapons in Syria”
    There has been no evidence presented to the public from the US,UK, and France that Assad used chemical weapons. If we bombed Assad because the Rebels used chemical weapons that’s an even worse situation.
    Those sources, even within our own military and ex-military give logical and reasoned arguments why it is most unlikely Assad at this stage of the war would use such weapons. Those sources that say chemical weapons were used just quote Facebook etc., and some secret information that can’t be released to the public.
    Even the photographs/video, on which this attack on Syria was based, have been discredited by actual people shown in the video. There was a fire and those being treated are for smoke inhalation. Even then those shown throwing water around and stuffing breathers into frightened children’s mouths were not medical staff. I agree that someone could have panicked everyone by shouting it was a chemical attack and hence the actions taken by friends and family to try and help the injured.
    People have to make up there own minds, But what is clear, the Prime minister took us to war without the approval of Parliament. Wonder Why?

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t agree she needed the approval of Parliament: there are several reasons why that is a bad idea. By the same token she should be able to get us out of the EU without being hamstrung by Parliament.

      But she should have had a proper casus belli, as Mrs T did with the Falklands and Kuwait, and I agree with you about the doubtful nature of the jihadi videos.

      Macron said “We have proof – of chlorine at the least.” What does that tell us? Anyone can get hold of chlorine and there are reports of it having already been used by the jihadis against the YPG.

  35. Helen Smith
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Reading between the lines you are as unhappy with this as the rest of the country is.

    Blair’s intervention in Iraq in particular and Cameron’s in Libya have created two unstable countries and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. We the Bristish people are subsequently more at risk of terrorism even though we, the people, protested against both actions.

    These countries are not ready for democracy and functions better under dictators, and however evil they were ISIS is a thousand times worse. Women in particular are much worse off now.

    I don’t even think Assad did it, this time or last time.

    • Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      As you say, Helen, we ‘ordinary’ folk are put at risk by what seem to be reckless actions by those in high places, with the power to change our lives. Why should THEY care? They are well aware that they’re not the ones who have to suffer from what could be disastrously wrong decisions.

      I don’t like to think of other peoples suffering – but I care far more about my own people and THEIR well-being. I wish our politicians felt the same.

  36. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. I love my Discovery Sport so I looked up Land Rover hybrids. They start at £70,000. How many of us can afford to switch from diesel to hybrid at those kind of prices? The government has lost its marbles.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      The greenest thing to do is to run your old car to death!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        The cheapest too.

        • Stred
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          The new MOT is designed to put older diesels off the road and the industry is producing adblue diesel and petrol hybrids, all of which will cost much more. Its all in the smart energy plan written by DECC in order to store the fluctuating electricity from windmills and solar. Mad but true. Google smart grid UK.

  37. Mr Fraser
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    After watching Boris this morning I have concluded the British government are going to start a war with Russia to thwart Brexit. Expect more comedy staged events via the MSM.

  38. Dennis
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    A few observation:-

    The Russian statement that the UK was, without evidence, responsible for the Douma gassing was a JOKE! Many and especially the BBC don’t understand this. It’s a dig at us for saying the same thing about the Russians, without evidence, accusing them after a few hours of the Salisbury incident.

    VIdeo evidence of the Douma gas attack. I’ve only seen the repeated BBC/TV videos and they show nothing – only water poured over heads and children’s eyes being dabbed.

    The blood and saliva tests – I haven’t heard who conducted these tests.

    The West doesn’t care about people being gassed – the recent bombing of the facilities, stocks etc. shows we knew their locations so why not bomb them BEFORE they are used.

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      “open source reports ” used as evidence according to the PM-you’d have to laugh if it wasn’t so serious.

    • sm
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, I have read several serious comments that there footage exists of the devastating effects of these chemical attacks which is too dreadful to be publicised.

      I was not in favour of more Western intervention in the Middle East, given the spectacular record of failure there for decades, but will postpone further thoughts until we see what international reactions develop over the next few days.

  39. adams
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Just get rid of treson May .John . She is an incoherent incompetent failure . She does the Tory Party a great and damaging disservice .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Is she even worse than John Major perhaps?

  40. Realpolitik
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    “It will also be interesting to hear the governments evaluation…”
    No it won’t. It will not be interesting at all for the majority of people. Though very interested on politics, I will not be interested one iota in listening to MPs debate anything about the matter. I shall not be listening and watching the drivel. This is not a matter for a sixth form debating club.
    Someone authorised an attack on a country that did to attack us., Bring us news only of that person’s capture and imprisonment

  41. AndersK
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Am afraid your diary has lost it’s way..

    There’s little we can do now to change the course of events in Syria..bombing a handful of syrian buildings hardly counts…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Exactly!

  42. Teller
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    “The world has said enough is enough”…Boris Johnson
    He must never get a job where numeracy is required

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Nor Hammond or May! I suspect Boris is rather better at numbers than these too!

  43. getahead
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I despair. Get rid of her John.

  44. LondonBob
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    The consensus amongst more knowledgeable folk is that Russian claims to have shot down so many cruise missiles is correct. This was largely a Syrian effort, with some help from Russian electronic counter measures, but not the main Russian air defence systems, which the attack avoided. The interventionist don’t seem to have learnt from their disastrous failures in Iraq, Libya and Syria, I am not sure that the threat of large losses will be enough to deter them again, even if it should.

  45. No more bullshit
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    According to the BBC only 3 countries did not support the airstrike, Russia, China and Bolivia. Presumably, Iran then was in full support BBC?

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Iran is not a member of the Security Council.

  46. The Knight
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    So we have absolute trust Russia will NOT continue to give tit-for-tat ratcheting up the process to warfare between East and West……because we know them to be compassionate, rational,nice, pleasant, peace-loving and cuddly. Oh but no, we feel the exact opposite!!! So, what is the End Game to this thing with Russia?

    • Nod
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Get rid of her John, we are on a road to war with Russia to stop Brexit.

  47. Lionel
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    We must be the only democracy in the world who has a PM who was not elected by a public majority, but who seems to have assumed total power enough to take us on a path to war without any consultation of parliament, that’s what we used to call a dictator but now its apparently someone acting in our best interests.

  48. Lionel
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Ok, it was Trump who told the press “zero” missiles were shot down, I believe the Russian side who are saying 71 from 103. This is deeply concerning as Trump has started to believe his own bullshit and is being fed false intelligence by his own deep state about invincible missiles and “perfect” airstrikes. Remember, this is a man who has been a parody of American ego out of control for decades who has now discovered he has God-like powers.

    “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men”.

    Reply Why do you believe the Russians instead?

  49. Lionel
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    One last thing, the Swiss lab “cannot confirm or deny” the use of BZ in Salisbury (as they are contractually sworn to secrecy by the OPCW) so we need clarification from the OPCW. And we also need to ask WHY the OPCW would be insisting on public labs keeping such findings secret? Why would they insist the labs do that?
    Personally, I believe the OPCW has been “got to” by Western influence makers.

  50. Mr Cousins
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    John, in light of the latest reports from Douma that no chemical attack took place I trust Mrs May will be resigning?

    Reply The Western allies are sure there was such an attack

    • Brigham
      Posted April 20, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      They have had time to clear it up.

  51. Lionel
    Posted April 18, 2018 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Reply Why do you believe the Russians instead?

    >
    In 1999 the Serbs with the help of the Russians brought down a Stealth Fighter by using an electronic trap. Nearly 20 years later the Russians can easily bring down old slow non stealth Tomahawk missiles via their proxies. Tomahawk missiles were developed in 1983 and travel at 550 mph. That is very slow. So Trump claiming “Zero” were shot down I believe to be a lie and a dangerous one.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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