27 August 2013

Hague and the gunboats

I was listening to Jeremy Vine on the BBC and he was asking his listeners what they thought of the idea that Britain might take 'action' in response to the alleged Syrian use of chemical weapons. Vine's listeners clearly didn't share William Hague's enthusiasm for yet another foreign adventure and three themes were evident, a) the callers weren't confident that Hague's 'evidence' was credible, b) the callers didn't see what business it was of ours (Britain's) to intervene and, c) the callers didn't see that our previous involvement in 'foreign adventures' had done any good.

Speaking personally, this is an encouraging response from 'Joe Public' and it may be an indication that the 'Blair Legacy', the impact of serial lying to the public by the government, is expressing itself in the public's unwillingness to go along with their government's desire to involve us in yet another dubious 'police action'.

But its also interesting to consider why the alleged us of chemical weapons is seen as such an important milestone on the way to armed intervention. Vine asked why it was more significant for civilians to be killed with chemical weapons rather than killing them with bullets or rockets and there was no clear answer. The implied justification is that chemical weapons kill indiscriminately but, as Vine pointed out, drone strikes kill indiscriminately as well. The reality is that neither action is justified but our government has characterised chemical weapons as being so appalling that their use requires our intervention.

But the reality is that, after the 'police actions' of the last decade, the public might just be beginning to see that in armed intervention, particularly with regard to cultures which are quite different to our own, there is no guaranteed 'good ending'. In fact, based upon history since 2001, the outcome is likely to be entirely negative.

So why is William Hague so keen to commit the UK to yet another foreign adventure which the public may not support and which the country certainly cannot afford? Why would Hague be so enthusiastic about bringing regime change to Syria? Maybe the fact is that Hague, like many other politicians, hasn't caught up with reality. Hague hasn't figured out that Britain is no longer 'great'. Hague hasn't figured out that Britain is living way, way beyond its means with regard to global status. Hague hasn't figured out that the sun set on Britain's 'great' status better than a century ago and that Britain has been a nation in decline for the intervening century.

Britain needs politicians who can face that reality and focus their efforts on reversing Britain's economic  decline. Spend whatever it takes on that objective and I might just sign up.