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Democracy ignored

Comments Off on Democracy ignored 14 April 2018

As soon as I woke to the news that the Danny Baker show on 5 Live had been delayed by 30 minutes, I realised the UK had been involved in military action against Syria. Right up until yesterday, I was in the “don’t know” camp. Now, I do know and I have nothing but contempt for Theresa May and her dreadful government.

After reading a prepared statement about British involvement in which May, unusually, sounded statesmanlike and coherent, she took questions from journalists and immediately became entirely robotic and unconvincing. She made the speech she should have made to the House of Commons last week, putting a case to MPs, sending our brave armed services personnel into danger.

It has recently been a convention that the government consults parliament before taking military action. In 2013, the House of Commons voted to prevent David Cameron, and ultimately our other allies, from taking action against Syria. May learned the lesson.

May could easily have recalled parliament to debate the issue. This cynical prime minister didn’t even try to recall our MPs. There are three reasons why.

First, I suspect May genuinely felt action was necessary. Whilst we know she is a lame duck PM and hopelessly out of her depth, she genuinely believed that Assad’s stocks of chemical weapons should be degraded.

Second, she probably knew that she might be defeated in a Commons vote and action would then not be possible.

Third, and most contemptibly, May is absolutely desperate to do a trade deal with Trump post Brexit, if he hasn’t been impeached by then, given the chaos that is beginning to unravel as we prepare to leap off an economic cliff. Being at Trump’s beck and call for military action, believes May, will give us a better chance of a trade deal. Politics at its most cynical. Do not be surprised.

May is forever prattling on about the need to regain our sovereignty and for our parliament to be sacrosanct in decision making, yet given the chance to do just that, she proceeds down the road of ignoring parliament. It will not be enough for her to justify her actions: it is for our elected representatives to make the decision on the basis of the facts and evidence.

I am not interested in being on the same side of the argument as Labour’s pacifist leader Jeremy Corbyn. The only thing he is correct about is that the Commons should have been consulted. My view has been shaped by May’s actions and inactions: this military action should not have happened without first allowing MPs to debate.

May’s post action explanation of events won’t wash with me. She is a disgrace to her office, she has behaved in an undemocratic way and our armed forces personnel may pay a heavy long term price if we get sucked in to a long term conflict. And you just know that if Trump tells her to involve British troops, then she will.

Not for the first time in recent years, I am ashamed of my country today.

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