Matthew Pennycook is another new Labour Party MP – elected to the Greenwich and Woolwich seat in May this year – who has decided to oppose David Cameron’s plan for air strikes in Syria.
His reasons, posted on the Internet yesterday (November 30) should be familiar by now: Air strikes will do no good alone, and the ground forces that are supposed to exist are David Cameron’s fantasy. He concludes:
The Prime Minister has gone to great efforts to convince Parliament that an extension of British airstrikes against Daesh in Syria is necessary and will achieve its stated objectives. His measured tone and the manner in which he has sought to build consensus around military action are appreciated.
However, on balance I believe that his case remains a weak one which, stripped of its wishful thinking, amounts to little more than a belief that military action is the litmus test of solidarity with our allies and our security.
As I write this, no formal proposal has been put to MPs following the Prime Minister’s statement last week. If new information comes to light or more compelling arguments are put before me I may be persuaded to think again but as things stand I intend to vote against the extension of airstrikes against Daesh in Syria.
Hoban lies: And this is just a taste of the many ways the Conservative-led government has been trying to hoodwink you and me since 2010.
It seems the Conservative Party is doing exactly as many of us feared, and using the attack in Woolwich on Wednesday to revive its proposals for laws to snoop on the emails and social media communications of law-abiding citizens.
Make no mistake – these powers would not be used for the good of the country, but for repression. And bear in mind that, for a Tory, the law is something that they set, and the poor obey. They think it doesn’t apply to them.
Let’s all remember that these new calls have been prompted by the actions of two men who were already known to – and monitored by – the security services. Monitoring your internet communications would not have made any difference to what happened in such a situation.
You cannot trust the Tories with the facts – all we have to do to prove that is look at Iain Duncan Smith.
Here is a man who will say anything to get his own way – which is to impoverish people who are already poor, pushing them beyond breaking-point with ridiculous ‘directions’ and unreasonable decisions in the hope, one presumes, that they will sign off benefits. The reality is that many of them go on to die from aggravation of their illnesses (if they are sick or disabled) or commit suicide.
Come to think of it, if you can remember far enough into this Parliament’s useless history, you might recall that the Department of Health, under Andrew Lansley, started implementing changes to the structure of the National Health Service – illegally – before his Health and Social Care Act was passed by a misguided and misled government.
The Information Commissioner had repeatedly ordered Lansley to publish a risk assessment which had been compiled by civil servants, and which is believed to have explicitly warned that the financial viability of the Tory NHS Bill was seriously questionable, predicting “deteriorations in the financial positions of one or more NHS organisations”. Practices could go bust or require central intervention to prop up their financial position. The Risk Report also warned of economic ‘slippage’ and ‘cost pressures’ arising. The London NHS risk report – which was made public – categorically stated that commissioning groups run by GPs may “not be able to secure [services] […] within the running cost range”.
I wasn’t going to mention this, but some commenters on this blog have already done so, and in that case I would rather have my opinion registered than leave people guessing.
It is too early to tell why two men drove a car into a third – who is believed to have been a serving soldier – then got out and attacked him with machetes – or at the very least, large bladed objects – dragged him into the road, and then danced around shouting admittedly Muslim-style slogans or got passers-by to film speeches they made about why they did it.
However, a friend of mine – who has been a member of the armed forces in the past – was so affected by what happened that he posted a message on Facebook to the effect that he wanted all Muslims killed.
This is what such attacks achieve. They don’t solve anything; they just perpetuate the misery.
I do not sympathise with my friend’s point of view. Even if this was the work of Muslims, those two people do not speak for all of Islam. I have encountered many Muslims during what is still a relatively brief life; some I have been privileged to have been able to call friends. I’ve also known several Jewish people whose company was also a delight. And earlier this week I attended a Catholic religious ceremony (a funeral) and felt very welcome.
My point? All these faiths are about peace.
A man standing on the street with bloodstained hands, telling us that women in his country have had to witness worse than what he has just done, has nothing to do with peace – and therefore nothing to do with religion.
It’s a trick, you see – pointing you in one direction so you don’t see what’s been happening in the other. Politicians do it all the time – and if you don’t think so, consider the UK Statistics Authority and its assertions about the number of times Iain Duncan Smith has parted company with the facts.
What happened in Woolwich was not rooted in religion; it was about violent crime, which is something that all religions abhor.
But it seems to me that, until we can eliminate the religious rhetoric, from all versions of what is going on, we are all – Christian, Muslim, whatever denomination we may be – going to have the hardest time bringing the murderers, and the murderers who demand the murders, to justice.
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