UK air strikes in Syria – the vote

Relief at the vote in parliament. 297 to 223 in favour. Mightily impressed by Hilary Benn, making a powerful moral case for intervention. A reminder of Labour’s tradition of internationalism, opposition to fascism, support for human rights.

But…. I’m aware of how hugely divisive this is, and how family, friends and commentators who normally agree are polarised on this issue.

Cameron’s disgraceful comment that his opponents are ‘terrorist sympathisers’ requires an apology that hasn’t been forthcoming.

Likewise the following statement in the literature of the Stop the War Coalition, also totally untrue: ‘In reality, it is not conscience at all that animates pro-war Labour MPs. It is either inveterate support for all British war-mongering, or a desire to destroy the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, or both…’

Leaving aside comments on Corbyn’s leadership, as someone who has thought long and hard on the issues involved, and come down on the side of engagement, it’s in effect an attack on me as well.

Trading insults is massively counter-productive.  It’s a debate where there’s been too much heat. It’s wound me up, as it has many others. We have to be much cooler in our arguments, and listen better to the other side.

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