Some of you may have noticed that yesterday (Tuesday) was December 1, the first day of Advent and therefore the start of the Season of Goodwill, here in the UK.
It has been marked by a series of increasingly bitter exchanges between those of us who are pro- or anti- the plan to launch air strikes to bomb people in Syria, and topped off by a staggeringly offensive comment by the UK’s own prime minister.
So it’s all going swimmingly. Joy to the World, eh?
Cameron’s foot-in-mouth moment was made in an attempt to persuade fellow Conservative MPs to vote for his war in Syria. The BBC‘s version of the story states:
David Cameron has urged Tory MPs to take a stand on fighting terror on the eve of a vote in Parliament on authorising UK airstrikes in Syria.
The prime minister called on them not to “sit on their hands” and side with Jeremy Corbyn and others he labelled “a bunch of terrorist sympathisers”.
This is, of course, an act of defamation.
Claiming that his political opponents, including not only Jeremy Corbyn (who is named) but also any other MPs who agree with the Labour leader, agree with the unlawful use or threat of violence to intimidate or coerce, usually for political or ideological reasons, certainly seems to be defamation as This Writer learned it!
Does the comment seem intended to expose Mr Corbyn and the others to hatred, ridicule or contempt? Yes.
May it cause them to be shunned and avoided? Yes.
Does it seem intended to lower them in the estimation of right-thinking people generally? Yes.
And does it disparage him in his office, trade, calling or profession? Certainly.
(Note that This Blog’s reporting of it is not an act of defamation as it expressly states that there is no reason to believe Mr Corbyn and the others who have been tarnished by Cameron’s words should be described in that manner.)
Anybody who opposes Cameron’s will at the vote – and it seems likely that many more will do so than had intended it, prior to his outburst – will be able to sue him for trying to bring them into disrepute. Some may consider it reason enough to vote ‘No’.
Needless to say, the social media has been having huge sport with this.
For example, Jill Segger tweeted: “Are British Quakers “terrorist sympathisers”, David Cameron? If not, why are MPs with a conscientious objection to airstrikes so called?”
Nick Pettigrew added: “‘Terrorist sympathisers’. Ballsy talk from a bloke recently seen bowing to the Saudi royal family.”
Several people have contacted the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, demanding that Cameron be made to retract his comment and apologise.
Why did Cameron do it?
Long-term readers will be aware that This Blog often compares the behaviour of the current Conservative Party with that of the Nazis who governed Germany between 1933 and 1945. With that in mind, take a look at this:
Does that clarify matters?
He’s on a hiding to nothing though – according to a new poll he has just insulted more than half the population of the UK:
In related news, the Commons Foreign Affairs select committee has decided that Cameron has failed to address its concerns over air strikes. Those who voted for the motion include Tory John Baron, who intends to vote against air strikes, and his colleague Andrew Rosindell – also a Conservative.
Mr Baron has tabled a cross-party amendment to the motion ratifying air-strikes, with co-signatories including the SNP’s Angus Robertson, Labour’s Graham Allen, Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams, the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell, Green MP Caroline Lucas – and 104 others, according to Labour MP John Mann.
The wording states that the House of Commons, “while welcoming the renewed impetus towards peace and reconstruction in Syria, and the government’s recognition that a comprehensive strategy against Daesh is required, does not believe that the case for the UK’s participation in the ongoing air campaign in Syria by 10 countries has been established under current circumstances, and consequently declines to authorise military action in Syria”.
Eoin Clarke tweeted: “Since we started bombing ISIS 481 days ago, recruitment to ISIS’s terrorist army has grown by 1400%. I [am] less than convinced bombing’s working.”
Dr Clarke also tweeted an image showing 10 reasons he believes bombing is not reasonable:
MPs will debate Cameron’s plan – to bomb Syria – for 10 and a half hours, starting at 11.30am today (Wednesday, December 2), with a vote immediately afterwards.
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