It is the lack of political leadership that bothers me most. Granted that not all strong leadership is good leadership. In Britain today we have absolutely none.
Theresa May holds an emergency cabinet meeting and comes to the conclusion that the there is a “need to take action to deter the further use of chemical weapons”. Unequivocal “strong and stable leadership” there, then? Er, no. Boris Johnson’s more intelligent brother Jo goes onto Question Time and gets a mid show briefing after which he says: “There has been no decision to take military action at this point.” Would it be wrong to question a meeting of the Cabinet which concludes that “something must be done” but they have no idea what that something might be? “Does everyone agree that something must be done? Right, that’s unanimous. I’ll make some vague statement to the media and we’ll wait for Donald Trump to tell me what to do next.”
Is Labour any better? Of course not. Its current ‘leader’ – I used the word inadvisedly – is a pacifist. His shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, was asked today whether she could come up with an example of a just war in which we were right to involve ourselves. “World War Two,” was the only one she could come up with. The genocide in Srebrenica and Žepa in the Bosnian War of 1992-95 was not a just cause for a military response, then, or the retaking of the Falkland Islands in 1982 after Margaret Thatcher’s disastrous blunder in allowing the Argentines to invade in the first place. It was just dandy to let all manner of genocidal maniacs all over the world just do what the hell they like. This is the madness of Corbyn’s Labour. I wonder whether how a Labour government under Corbyn would have dealt with the holocaust. Would he have called for a full investigation and urge all sides to sit down at the negotiating table and sort out their differences?
The public is not convinced of Theresa May’s march to war. The polls suggest we are convinced that Assad employed chemical weapons against his own people and they also suggest that we don’t want to bomb the shit out of Syria. Why the contradiction? Poor leadership.
May is a poor communicator, in the same way that she is poor at everything else. If you are asking our armed service personnel to go to war, you need to take the electorate with you. You need to make a case, you need to explain what you intend to do and what you aim to achieve. You cannot go around saying how “strong and stable” you are and hoping the public will buy into armed conflict. If Jo Johnson is correct, May has not even been able to persuade her own Cabinet. How on earth does she expect the public to persuaded?
I am open to persuasion. I opposed action against Syria in 2013 because David Cameron failed to convince parliament and the wider electorate. At least he tried. He asked parliament, as you do in a parliamentary democracy. They didn’t buy it.
May has not convinced me, but Corbyn has not dissuaded me from the need to take action. I don’t bloody know. If May fails to consult parliament and allow our representatives to debate the issue in public, I will have to oppose any military involvement. The lack of political leadership is a national disgrace. Politicians are elected to represent us. This lot are not doing a very good job.