It was reminiscent of the eve of the Iraq War vote in 2003, when Tony Blair managed to scare enough Labour members into backing an illegal war in the Middle East. A near replay of that scenario happened tonight in the UK Parliament.
Before the ink was even dry on the vote, the bait-and-switch tactics were already underway, with Tory Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond telling the public that Britain’s ‘Anti-ISIL’ bombing operation ‘could take years.’ During a segment from BBC Newsnight Hammond was asked if the bombing would last as long as four years, to which he replied, “I hope it won’t be four years, but I caution that it isn’t going to be months.”
Despite having no legal basis under international law, and no real case being made by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the vote passed 397 to 223 in favour of bombing Syria, effective at midnight.
Today’s decision gives warfare a green light, at least in terms of the UK’s new pro-war political coalition of convenience. It will almost certainly lead to additional calls for additional US and UK “boots on the ground” in both Syria and Iraq.
Leading the Labour Party rebellion was pro-war Labour MP, Hilary Benn (image, above), who appears to have seized on an opportunity to undermine Labour’s populist leader Jeremy Corbyn – perhaps in order for Benn to then challenge the leadership position himself in the near future? Time will tell, however it’s now common knowledge that Benn’s betrayal was done with Tories in Downing Street quietly cheering him on behind the scenes – in the hopes that the new split might rid Cameron of one of the last remaining prominent anti-war , pro-civil liberty and anti-austerity voices left in government.
If Benn used something as important as a war vote in order to grab power within his party, then the backlash will not be kind at all, especially if the Syria Project rapidly goes south, as many in the know predict it will.
The 66 Labour MPs who voted for airstrikes – Full list
According to the Press Assocation 66 Labour MPs voted for the government motion approving airstrikes.
Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Ian Austin (Dudley North), Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West), Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree), Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth), Jenny Chapman (Darlington), Vernon Coaker (Gedling), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey & Old Southwark), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Wayne David (Caerphilly), Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South & Penarth), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West & Penge), Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston & Halewood), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar & Limehouse), Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham), Margaret Hodge (Barking), George Howarth (Knowsley), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Alan Johnson (Hull West & Hessle), Graham Jones (Hyndburn), Helen Jones (Warrington North), Kevan Jones (Durham North), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Liz Kendall (Leicester West), Dr Peter Kyle (Hove), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Holly Lynch (Halifax), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham & Morden), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Conor McGinn (St Helens North), Alison McGovern (Wirral South), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton & Sunderland South), Jamie Reed (Copeland), Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East), Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), Joan Ryan (Enfield North), Lucy Powell (Manchester Central), Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North), Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge), John Spellar (Warley), Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Anna Turley (Redcar), Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) and John Woodcock (Barrow & Furness).
Ironically, Hilary Benn MP is the son of Labour’s legendary anti-war activist and leader, Tony Benn, who recently passed away at the age of 89. Undoubtedly, Hilary Benn’s shrewd move to undercut his own party could leave a long sour taste in the mouths of his father’s faithful following. He will be regarded by many as a son who completely betrayed his father’s legacy as a brave voice for justice and nonintervention.
Indeed, Benn’s famous 23-year-old speech about Britain’s wars in the Middle East is still relevant today. Watch:
Let the bombing begin, but Westminster’s hawks should be warned that today’s Parliamentary decision could come back to haunt them – should they end up on the wrong side of history regarding Syria.
There’s a bigger agenda at play. Readers should know that this is all part of a step by step process in establishing a new EU Army.