I’ve always accepted Churchill’s assertion that democracy, though awful, is better than the alternatives. The events of recent days have made me desperate to find something fairer than first-past-the-post representative democracy. I am not represented, so I scream into the void: #NotInMyName
For the first time, I listened to a long debate on BBC Parliament. I recommend hearing parliament first hand, so you can compare and contrast with media reporting. It’s also instructive to hear what flimsy evidence the people representing us are willing to rely on before taking a decision that will inevitably lead to loss of life. There was so little rational questioning of the evidence for war and, as importantly, whether the proposed action would make things better or worse, that it was embarrassing.
Margaret Becket made a persuasive argument that air-only missions could work and no-one pointed out that she was describing ‘simple wars’ with 2 opposing factions, where air-cover tipped the balance. Syria is nothing like that. Daesh hold a parcel of land and their total annihilation would leave a power vacuum that would suck in a plethora of equally unpredictable religious/tribal armies. I heard no discussion of what would happen next or whether civilians would be any safer.
It felt like a court drama, played to a script and that the key-players were contractually bound not to discuss the next episode; certainly not with Jeremy Corbyn. He looked as desperately sad as I felt. Hilary Benn’s highly praised, emotive speech made sure that we all understood that they were Bad-Guys and we ‘have to do something, fast’, like he thought about Iraq. It didn’t answer any of my concerns.
Our democracy is a mockery of a travesty of a sham of an already imperfect system, reported on by biased and corrupt media companies, owned by tax-dodging millionaires who contribute to one of the political parties. They could at least do the decent thing, like Google does in the US and fund all parties equally. Or, if MPs are doing this to protect jobs in the arms industry or to cosy up to the French, Germans or Russians for an undisclosable favour, or even because they enjoy a nice arms fair junket, why don’t they say so? I don’t think I could respect them much less. They have nothing to lose; unlike the RAF air-crew and their future sleepless nights of guilt.
Right now, I think many of our MPs may be an alien reptile task force, sent to clear the planet of human empathy or decency. Remember when we fought Saddam, to stop him torturing innocent people?