Thursday, 3 December 2015
Syria airstrikes to go ahead
The government got its way in the House of Commons last night. The motion, to begin air strikes against ISIL in Syria passed with a majority of 174. 67 Labour rebels went into the Aye lobby, against Mr Corbyn's wishes, and sealed the fate of many people in a faraway place.The Ayes had it, the Ayes had it.
Last night's debate in the House of Commons was truly one of the most dramatic moments in recent political history. The population at large is roughly split down the middle, about whether we should get involved in Syria.
The Prime Minster was rebuked on multiple occasions for labelling Mr Corbyn and the anti-strike group as "terrorist sympathisers". A video has already gone viral, showing 12 MPs (Mr Corbyn included) asking Mr Cameron to apologise. Mr Cameron was resolute, despite one MP even commenting that apologising would greatly "improve his standing" in the house.
Mr Corbyn presented the case against strikes, scrutinising the claims that 70,000 moderates are willing to assist in the fight against ISIL. He noted that "it is quite clear that there are no such forces". He continued, stating that
it is quite clear that there are no such forces.
Hilary Benn, Shadow Foreign Secretary, made a memorable speech in favour of strikes. During his speech, Mr Benn dubbed ISIL "fascists", who "hold our values in contempt...our belief in tolerance and decency...our democracy...the means by which we will make our decision tonight...in contempt".
Mr Benn ended his speech, to loud cheers from both sides of the house. As Mr Benn turned to sit down on the frontbenches, Mr Corbyn had to shuffle from side to side awkwardly, stony-faced, to make room for him. It serves as a perfect metaphor for what just happened. For a moment, it was as if Mr Benn was the leader, and Mr Corbyn was just an observer, a victim to the events about to unfold.