British Blairite ‘Labourites’ support Cameron’s war on Syria

This video from Britain says about itself:

Don’t Bomb Syria day of action 28/11/15: Lindsey German BBC interview

With a vote for bombing Syria expected in parliament within days, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, was interviewed by the BBC on 28 November 2015, a day of national action against Britain being taken into its fourth war in 14 years.

By Luke James in Britain:

75% Don’t Want War, as Labour gets a free vote on Syria, we must remind the party

Tuesday 1st December 2015

LABOUR MPs were granted a free vote yesterday over whether Britain should bomb Syria, but members overwhelmingly stand with Jeremy Corbyn in opposing air strikes.

Three-quarters of Labour members want the party’s MPs to vote against David Cameron’s bid to bomb Syria, according to a snap consultation carried out over the weekend.

More than 100,000 Labour members, party supporters and trade union members took part in an unprecedented exercise in party democracy.

Analysis of the 64,771 members who responded found 75 per cent don’t want to see British bombs dropped on Syria.

That compares with just 13 per cent who support bombing and another 11 per cent who are undecided on the emotive issue.

The results were revealed on the day Mr Corbyn met his shadow cabinet and MPs to hammer out the party’s position.

Some suggested it gave Mr Corbyn the ammunition to argue for the party to vote en-masse against strikes.

But after emerging from a two-hour meeting, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn revealed: “Today’s shadow cabinet agreed to back Jeremy Corbyn’s recommendation of a free vote on the government’s proposal to authorise UK bombing in Syria.”

“The shadow cabinet decided to support the call for David Cameron to step back from the rush to war and hold a full two-day debate in the House of Commons on such a crucial national decision.”

Mr Corbyn has written to the Prime Minister to request the two-day sitting.

“It is incumbent on us all to ensure the country feels there has been the fullest parliamentary discussion of what you have rightly described as a highly complex situation,” he wrote.

Mr Cameron set to make a statement on Syria last night and could call a vote as soon as tomorrow.

Although Labour MPs have been given a free vote, the Star understands that most shadow cabinet members believe the conditions for action in Syria agreed by party conference have not been met.

Backbench MP Emily Thornberry, a former human rights QC, also called the evidence for bombingthin, damned thin.”

And Mr Corbyn said an extended debate was necessary to “call David Cameron to account on the unanswered questions raised by his case for bombing.”

Concerns centre on what ground forces Britain would support, how supplies to Islamic State (Isis) would be cut off and dealing with any subsequent rise in the number of refugees.

Blairite MP John Woodcock, who backs bombing, welcomed the free vote and said the move would make resignations from the shadow cabinet over the issue less likely.

But Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards, who opposes air strikes, said: “By allowing a free vote on this matter, Jeremy Corbyn is paving the way for the Prime Minister to succeed in securing a Commons majority in favour of the UK launching air strikes in Syria.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas said the PM should follow Mr Corbyn’s example and give Tory MPs a free vote.

Defence select committee chairman Julian Lewis is among senior Tory backbenchers who were sceptical of Mr Cameron’s plan.

And Ms Lucas said: “The debate on such crucial issues is greatly diminished when MPs are subjected to the pressure of the whips’ offices.”

Labour whips believe as many as 100 of Labour’s 231 MPs back airstrikes, while 132 would follow Mr Corbyn into the No lobby.

A senior Labour source said both Mr Corbyn and [Blairite] shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn will speak for the party in the Commons debate, even though they would vote in opposite directions.

This video from London, England says about itself:

Tariq Ali speaks about the real issues with getting rid of ISIS at the Downing Street London Don’t Bomb Syria protest rally on 28th November 2015, put on by the Stop The War Coalition.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Scottish Labour: ‘Case for bombing hasn’t been made’, says Murray

Tuesday 1st December 2015

TWO of Labour’s most senior politicians north of the border do not believe the case for bombing Syria has been made.

Shadow secretary Ian Murray yesterday argued that advancing air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) in Syria will have no impact.

“Kez doesn’t think that the case has been made either,” he told BBC Radio Scotland speaking for Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Mr Murray warned innocent people living in the Isis’ headquarters of Raqqa do not want airstrikes and are at risk, while the Free Syrian Army would be unable to support them.

Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism (CfS) also shared the sentiment.

CfS chairman Vince Mills welcomed the pair’s stance and called on Scottish MSPs to “show their support for the position taken by the Scottish Labour Leadership.”

The group reminded Labour that the conditions on advancing airstrikes in Syria agreed at its party conference in October have still not been met.

They point out that the recent UN resolution does not provide clear and unambiguous support for the use of force.

CfS convenor Elaine Smith said: “As we’ve seen in the press at the weekend exiles from Raqqa living in Turkey escaping Isis brutality have opposed further bombing.

“They know it will cost more innocent lives in a city where the civilian population is now held by Isis to serve as a human shield.”

This video from London, England says about itself:

28 November 2015

My coverage of the London event, protesting Cameron’s march to war.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Intervention has become an obsession

Tuesday 1st December 2015

THE Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) has four clear responsibilities.

First, it must hold the government to account, which can only be done fully and consistently by taking a view on the major issues of the day.

Second, it must represent the interests of the people of Britain — especially, in Labour’s case, the interests of workers and their families who comprise the vast majority of the population.

Third, the PLP must express the views of the party’s members and supporters, which should reflect those same interests. In a genuinely democratic Labour Party, these views and interests would be articulated by the policies adopted in its representative decision-making bodies and, above all, at the annual autumn conference.

Fourth, the PLP should strive to present itself as a government in waiting, preparing to implement the policies agreed upon and presented to the electorate in its manifesto.

In order to fulfil the first of these responsibilities, Labour is right to confirm its conference policy against British military involvement in Syria.

To fulfil the other three, Labour MPs should oppose the nefarious plans laid by Prime Minister David Cameron and his co-conspirators.

Doing otherwise would be to swallow Tory government claims that its primary aim in Syria is now to speed the defeat of Isis by sending in British war planes to assist 70,000 pairs of Free Syrian Army (FSA) boots on the ground, thereby making the people of Britain safer from terrorism.

These claims are fantasy at best — or cynical deception at worst. That some originate with the Joint Intelligence Committee suggest they may be a combination of both.

Do Labour MPs believe that the Tory leadership has abandoned its sole objective of two years ago — namely to strengthen the FSA and other “moderate” forces dedicated to overthrowing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad?

Will RAF involvement really make a difference to “Operation Inherent Resolve?” The 2,857 strikes on Isis targets in Syria so far have accomplished little except where co-ordinated with Kurdish ground forces. FSA members have either retreated or defected, putting their Western-supplied armaments in Isis hands.

As refugees from Raqqa confirm, uncoordinated US bombing terrorises only the civilians trapped in occupied Syrian towns and cities, as the Isis invaders hide in cellars and tunnels.

Labour’s policy, reaffirmed at the shadow cabinet yesterday, represents the views of a clear majority of the party’s members and registered supporters. It also reflects the interests of the people of Britain.

The threat of terrorism here and in the Middle East will only be defeated when the major Western powers stop their obsession with military intervention and genuinely support the resolution of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere on the basis of negotiation, human rights and international law.

Stop British government bombing Syria

This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn Fiery Syrian Refugee Rally. FULL SPEECH at Parliament Square After Elected

12 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn addresses Parliament Square refugee rally

Jeremy Corbyn said he was “shocked beyond appalled” over some media coverage about refugees.

In his one of his first speeches since being elected Labour leader on Saturday, he addressed a rally about rights for refugees held in Parliament Square, Westminster.

He claimed “a lot of politicians had rediscovered their principles, their principles of humanity” over the refugees arriving in Europe in recent weeks.

Mr Corbyn called on people to open their hearts, minds and attitudes “towards people who are desperate“.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised to lead a Labour “fight back” after being elected the party’s new leader by a landslide.

The veteran left winger got almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing his rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

He immediately faced an exodus of shadow cabinet members – but senior figures including Ed Miliband urged the party’s MPs to get behind him.

Mr Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider when the three month contest began.

But he was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm for his anti-austerity message and promise to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons and renationalise the railways and major utilities.

He told BBC News he had been a “bit surprised” by the scale of his victory but his campaign had showed “politics can change and we have changed it”.

He will now select his shadow cabinet – but without a string of existing members including Ms Cooper, Tristram Hunt and Rachel Reeves – who have all ruled themselves out.

He has also hinted that he wants to change the format of Prime Minister’s Questions – he faces David Cameron across the despatch box for the first time on Wednesday – suggesting other Labour MPs might get a turn.

The Islington North MP won on the first round of voting in the leadership contest, taking 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – against 19% for Mr Burnham, 17% for Ms Cooper and 4.5% for Ms Kendall. Former minister and Gordon Brown ally Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.

Corbyn supporters chanted “Jez we did” as he took to the stage, putting on his glasses to deliver his acceptance speech.

The leftwinger, who has spent his entire 32 year career in the Commons on the backbenches, promised to fight for a more tolerant and inclusive Britain – and to tackle “grotesque levels of inequality in our society“.

He said the leadership campaign “showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all”.

“They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in, in a spirit of hope and optimism.”

He said his campaign had given the lie to claims that young Britons were apathetic about politics, showing instead that they were “a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted – we have to, and must, change that”.

Mr Corbyn added: “The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace.”

His first act as leader was to attend a “Refugees Welcome Here” rally, joining tens of thousands of people marching through central London in support of the rights of refugees.

Addressing cheering crowds in Parliament Square, he delivered an impassioned plea to the government to recognise its legal obligations to refugees from Syria and elsewhere and to find “peaceful solutions to the world’s problems”.

“Open your your hearts. Open your minds, open your attitude to suffering people, who are desperate and who are in need of somewhere safe to live,” added the new Labour leader.

Singer Billy Bragg then led the crowd in a rendition of socialist anthem The Red Flag.

Mr Corbyn earlier told supporters his first day at the helm of his party in Parliament would be spent opposing government plans to “shackle” trade unions by imposing higher thresholds for strike ballots.

By Luke James in Britain:

Corbyn Blows Apart PM Bid to Bomb Syria

Friday 27th October 2015

DAVID CAMERON’S bid to bomb Syria was frustrated yesterday as MPs pulled apart the Prime Minister’s claims that air strikes would be legal, effective or make Britain safer.

Mr Cameron hoped to secure a parliamentary majority in favour of bombing by personally making the case in a Commons statement.

But Mr Cameron held back from calling a snap vote after facing tough questions from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as senior Tories.

Wide-ranging concerns raised by MPs from all parties could see the PM face a repeat of 2013, when Labour and progressive MPs united with Tory rebels to block bombing in Syria.

The PM had suggested a vote could be called as soon as Monday when he said earlier this week that MPs should “consider it (bombing) over the weekend.”

Downing Street sources were cautious after yesterday’s debate, insisting: “We’re not putting a timetable on a vote.”

And Mr Cameron told MPs: “Let me be clear — there will not be a vote in this House unless there is a clear majority for action, because we will not hand a publicity coup to Isis (Islamic State).”

With Parliament sitting for just 16 more days before the Christmas break, he is running out of time to call a vote.

Mr Cameron argued Britain’s intervention was legal on the grounds of self-defence and claimed the RAF’s capabilities could reduce civilian casualties.

The PM insisted he had “learned the lessons of previous conflicts,” but added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose army is the main ground force engaged in fighting Isis, would not be part of the solution.

But Mr Corbyn raised fears that bombing could trigger “unintended consequences” that would put Britain at more risk of attacks and further destabilise Syria.

He said: “The question must now be whether extending the UK bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely to reduce or increase that threat and whether it will counter or spread the terror campaign Isis is waging in the Middle East.”

Labour veteran Paul Flynn went further, warning bombing would boost Isis and “escalate a regional war into a world war between Christians and Muslims.”

Dennis Skinner also ordered Mr Cameron to “keep out” of the “crazy war,” while only a handful of Blairites suggested they would break the Labour whip to back bombing.

Labour’s shadow cabinet met to consider the party’s position yesterday afternoon and will meet again on Monday.

Within the Tory ranks, Mr Cameron was boosted by the support of Crispin Blunt, the foreign affairs select committee chairman who voted against bombing in 2013.

But defence select committee chairman Julian Lewis was among senior Tory backbenchers who were sceptical of Mr Cameron’s plan.

Mr Lewis expressed disbelief at Mr Cameron’s claim that there were 70,000 Free Syrian Army soldiers which Britain could support with air strikes. US general Lloyd Austin estimated the number of “moderate” rebels in Syria as “four or five.”

European governments plan intensified military intervention in Syria: here.

‘Terrorism no pretext to kill innocent people’

This video says about itself:

JEAN CHARLES (Henrique Goldman, 2009) – Full Movie

18 May 2013

The tragic true story of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian shot dead by British police in 2005 at the height of the London terrorist alerts.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Corbyn reiterates dangers of shoot to kill

Wednesday 18th November 2015

JEREMY CORBYN said yesterday that he supports the police using any “strictly necessary force” needed to prevent terror attacks, writes Luke James.

The Labour leader reiterated his concerns over the “clear dangers” of the so-called shoot-to-kill policy.

He alluded to the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot dead at a London Tube station in 2005 by officers who mistakenly believed he was a terrorist.

Mr Corbyn said the Paris terror attacks must not be “used to undermine the very freedoms and legal protections we are determined to defend.”

But he added: “Of course I support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we saw in Paris.”

Mr Corbyn clarified his position after comments he made on Monday sparked a row within the party over shoot-to-kill.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe defended the use of lethal force to stop terrorists but insisted no such policy existed.

When terror struck New York in 2001, what should have been a police operation to arrest Bin Laden instead became a new Thirty Years’ War. None of us are any more secure for it, argues NICK MATTHEWS: here.

Jeremy Corbyn recites pro-peace poem to remember World War I

This music video from London, England says about itself:

Remembering World War One in Music and Words. St James’s Church London, 25 October 2013. Filmed by Fourman Films.

For more info on the No Glory in War campaign see here.


1 Introduction by Lindsey German, convener of Stop the War Coalition

2 The Lark Ascending, played by i Maestri conducted by John Landor. Solo violin George Hlawiczka

3 Kika Markham reads Last Post by Carol Ann Duffy and A War Film by Teresa Hooley

4 Elvis McGonigle reads Strange Meeting By Wilfred Owen and Matey by Patrick MacGill

5 Music by Sally Davies, Matthew Crampton, Abbie Coppard and Tim Coppard

6 Jeremy Corbyn MP

7 Elvis McGonaggall

8 Kate Hudson, chair of CND

9 Music by Sally Davies, Matthew Crampton, Abbie Coppard and Tim Coppard

10 Matthew Crampton reads My Dad and My Uncle were in World War One by Heathcote Williams

11 Kika and Jehane Markham

12 Billy Bragg sings: Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, My Youngest Son Came Home Today, Like Soldiers Do, The Man He Killed, Between the Wars, Where Have All the Flowers Gone

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Jeremy Corbyn to recite Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Futility’ in Remembrance Sunday memorial service

Jeremy Corbyn will be laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and will then attend the ceremony in his constituency of Islington North

Shehab Khan

Jeremy Corbyn will recite a poem about the futility of war at a memorial service on Remembrance Sunday in his constituency.

Mr Corbyn will join the other party leaders to lay a wreath bearing his own message at the Cenotaph and will then attend the ceremony in Islington North.

There, he will recite “Futility” by the First World War solider poet Wilfred Owen at memorial service in his constituency.

The poem tells of a fallen soldier and concentrates on the meaning of existence, the pointlessness of war and inevitability of death.

This is what the poem says:

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

Jeremy Corbyn accuses UK military chief of ‘breaching’ constitutional principle with Trident comments: here.

SKY NEWS bosses refused to apologise last night for referring to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “Jihadi Jez” despite thousands of complaints: here.

Cameron, don’t invite Egyptian dictator Sisi, British Labourites say

This video says about itself:

Egyptian Female Activist Shaima al-Sabbagh Killed By Police In Tahrir Square Protest

24 January 2015

Shocking Moment: female socialist activist is gunned down by police during demonstrations on 4th anniversary of Arab Spring [against] Hosni Mubarak

A woman was killed on Saturday in Cairo after the police fired shotgun pellets at a handful of socialist activists marching to Tahrir Square with flowers to commemorate the hundreds of demonstrators killed there during the revolution that began on Jan 25 2011, witnesses said.

A health ministry spokesman said Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds, which fellow protesters said were fired by police to disperse the march. Al Sabbagh who was said to be 34 years old with a five year old son, was shot while she peacefully marched towards the Tahrir Square to lay a commemorative wreath of roses.

Egyptian activists shared graphic images of Ms. Sabbagh’s last moments on social networks. Photographs and video recorded before the police moved in seemed to show the protesters, including Ms. Sabbagh, standing peacefully outside the Air France KLM office in Talaat Harb Square near Tahrir. As officers charged at the protesters, guns drawn, shots rang out and Ms. Sabbagh fell to the pavement. Al-Sabbagh was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour wants the government to cancel its invitation to Egypt’s Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi

by Evan Bartlett

Two senior figures in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour shadow cabinet have added their names to a letter calling on the government to withdraw its invitation to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and Diane Abbott, the shadow secretary of state for international development, are among 55 signatories to an open letter in Tuesday’s Guardian newspaper.

The letter states that the signatories – which include politicians, journalists, activists and academics – are “concerned to hear that the government has invited the Egyptian dictator, Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, to visit the UK” which could happen as early as next week.

“We believe it violates the British values which the government claims to champion to welcome a ruler who has overthrown an elected government and instituted a regime of terror which has thrown back the cause of democracy in Egypt and the wider Middle East many years.”

Corbyn is also believed to be opposed to the invitation of Sisi. Speaking to Middle East Eye in August, the Labour leader said:

I would not have invited [Sisi] to the UK because of my concerns over the use of the death penalty in Egypt and the treatment of people who were part of the former government of Morsi, which was elected, and the continued imprisonment of President Morsi.

Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader was criticised by the Saudi ambassador to London on Monday, in an article for the Telegraph that human rights campaigners called “disingenuous, evasive and intimidatory”, for apparently “breaching respect” after calling on the Conservative government to cancel a prison training contract with the Saudi regime – which it did last week.

The invitation to Sisi was extended in July, the day after the Egyptian regime upheld a death sentence on former democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Fire Brigades Union throws weight behind Corbyn with historic vote to reaffiliate to Labour. JEREMY CORBYN welcomed firefighters back to Labour last night, saying their vote to reaffiliate marked a “milestone in the building of our new politics and our labour movement”: here.