An appeal to my elected representative in Parliament
I emailed my local MP this evening. I urged him to oppose the bombing of Syria. I was in a rush, eager to make sure I did my bit, in between getting the kids tea ready and doing their homework. As a result the email I sent probably didn’t do my case justice. After I clicked send, I was beset with ‘should have said’ and ‘could have argued’ syndrome.
I have therefore decided to write the email again and share it here. The spirit of my original email remains. However, I hope I’ve made my case more forcefully in this version. Maybe it will inspire others to petition their elected representatives. It’s not too late.
Tonight I am writing to you as a constituent and a member of the Labour Party. Steve, I am deeply concerned that parliament may be about to make a terrible mistake. I also worry that some members of our party will be complicit in that same dreadful error; should they vote to support David Cameron’s proposal to bomb Syria.
Of course we have been here before. Many of us feel that the intervention in Iraq, in 2003, was a disastrous decision. One for which we continue to pay for in the blood of the innocent. Even Tony Blair was recently moved to apologise for the ‘mistakes’ of the Iraq war. The Chilcot report may force him to go further.
Back then the evidence used to convince us to go to war was deeply flawed. There was no clear strategy aimed at winning the peace. We destroyed a country, killed hundreds of thousands of people and destabilised an entire region; then we just walked away. I believe this played a significant part in the rise of terrorist groups, such as Al Quaeda and ISIS.
It seems that history is about to repeat its self. The Prime Minister has not made a case for war in my view. There is no clear strategy and the claim that there is a cohesive force of 70,000 fighters ready to take on ISIS is dubious to say the least. I might go as far as to say that it is equivalent to the claim that Saddam had WMD and could launch them in 45 minutes.
Bombing Syria will not defeat ISIS,. Instead it will actually strengthen their claim that the west hates Muslims. It will drive recruitment and increase the threat to us all. Most of all, and this is what concerns me as a human being, a socialist and a father; it will kill innocent men, women and children. This is absolutely guaranteed to happen, regardless of claims of our precision bombing capability.
Jeremy Corbyn has granted Labour MP’s a free vote. This means you are able to vote with your conscience. I know you are an honourable man Steve. I have admired your commitment and hard work on behalf of the Hillsborough families. You are also an excellent constituency MP.
However, I feel I need to respectfully point out that yours is not the only conscience you will be representing tomorrow. The decision you make in those lobbies will echo through the generations. It will affect us all. In exactly the same way as our invasion of Iraq and other calamitous interventions in Afghanistan and Libya have led to the chaos we see today; future generations, including my own children will suffer if we don’t get this right.
To put it simply this is one of the biggest decisions you will make as an MP.
Steve, the proposal by the PM does not get it right at all. This is my sincere belief and I believe it is shared by many inside and outside our movement. Therefore, as a constituent and a party member, I implore you to abide by current party policy and vote NO tomorrow.
I sincerely hope you have made up your mind to oppose this obscene rush to war, but in case you haven’t, I hope my words have convinced you. For the future of our families, in the name of peace and in solidarity with the innocent people of Syria please say no to war.