Parliamentary Sketch

Parliamentary Sketch 18th Nov – A declaration of war…and should we attack IS

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

Cameron is itching to get involved in the Syrian conflict, and he reiterated this point again during today’s PMQS. But all-out war has already broken out in the Labour ranks.

Only hours before PMQs Ken Livingstone, recently installed to evaluate defence policy, said Kevan Jones, Lab, the Shadow Defence Minister, who has suffered with depression, might need some psychiatric help. Ken then refused to apologise for his comments afterwards until Mr Jones did first, he eventually backtracked after mounting pressure.

Nothing like grown-up politics at a time when we are on the verge on World War 3. If that wasn’t enough Maria Eagle, Lab, who is leading the review, was fuming because she found out about Ken’s appointment on Twitter.

The number of defectors from Corbyn is rising every day, John Mann, Lab, who told the house his niece nearly died in the Paris attacks, refused to back Corbyn in an interview straight after PMQS.

It seems as if Jeremy is standing virtually alone in the chamber. There were boos when he stepped up to ask his first question today, you wonder if some of them came from the Labour benches.

The one thing his party could agree on today was the danger of cutting police numbers. However, the PM said neighbourhood police numbers have actually increased. A quick Google search would probably tell you otherwise.

Corbyn then said we should place sanctions against banks and countries (let’s be honest he was talking about Saudi Arabia) who turn a blind eye to financial dealings with ISIL. It was a great question and was duly ignored by the PM, as he quite likes selling them arms.

Cameron finished the leaders’ exchanges saying Corbyn doesn’t know what the police should do when a terrorist is waving an AK47 at them, which you assume will make the news headlines this evening.

Interestingly, Jeremy didn’t even ask Cameron about military intervention in Syria, he must know large sections of his party aren’t with him; it was left to Angus Robertson, SNP, to raise the thorny issue.

The problem for Cameron is getting a vote on intervention in Syria past Parliament. If he can do that all he has is a UN veto in his way, and we know how much that means. Additionally, the Russian’s continued blanket use of its veto on the UN Security Council, could be lifted. Looking at the pictures from the recent G20 summit Putin has been brought in from the cold; I wonder what the Ukrainians think of all this?

Cameron said with a clear strategy in Syria we should intervene. How clear can a strategy involving: Turkey and the Kurds (who have been involved in a civil war for decades); Iran and Saudi Arabia who hate each other; and USA and Russia (who until Obama and Putin hugged it out last week) were hardly allies. It seems murky at best.

If the PM ignores the UN, this could be his Tony Blair moment. Perhaps the Chilcot report would be published by the time a new inquiry into the fall-out of the Syrian conflict begins, although I wouldn’t hold my breath.

If the attacks in Syria solves the problem of ISIS and we will live in a much safer world then ok; but instead will we find an elderly pacifist, standing alone, wearing a white poppy, saying “I told you so”?

Sycophantic question of the day

Jonathon Reynolds, Lab, who claimed Cameron was an “anti-austerity” leader after he tried to save his local police station from Tory cuts. Everyone laughed, even the PM. A much-needed light heated interlude in an otherwise bleak affair.



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