by John Ward
Both the BBC and the Government are lying when they say there’s no constitutional need to consult Parliament over military action. Russia claims to have irrefutable evidence of British involvement in a staged Syrian gas attack. And a former senior military officer dismisses the entire operation as bunk. The British drift into dictatorship continues. At 3 am CET today, the air-strikes began.
Yesterday, Lord Alan West – a retired senior British Royal Navy officer – said he has strong reservations about taking allegations against Assad at face value, “because they don’t make much military sense”. He added:
“It seems to be utterly ludicrous for the military that is in the process of taking over an area to go and do something with chemical weapons, which will draw the wrath of the larger enemy down upon them…..If I was advising the opponents of Assad, I would be delighted to kill a few people there. Let’s face it, [the insurgents] don’t care if they kill women and children….We need to see incontrovertible truth about what has happened there and make a decision on that basis.”
But we don’t want to take any notice of that, for he is but one silly old scrounger from the House of Lords. I mean good God, we’ve already rebuffed the UN, the British people, the House of Commons and the facts. Pff….who cares about one Peer?
So at 2 am this morning BST, a joint strike was mounted against Damascus, and lots of people died because a formative British dictatorship told a pack of lies. There is no other way to put it, because (a) the Executive has bulldozed this through without any reference to the legislators (b) not a single one of the accusations made against Russia and Syria would stand up in a Court of Law and (c) it is rapidly becoming clear that – while the inspiration may have come from the US Alt State – Boris Johnson and his MI5 mates have been running this Black Op from Day One.
The claim coming from the Kremlin yesterday was that the UK pumped up the White Helmets to ‘get on with it’ over the last week. Russian defence minister Konashenkov told the media:
“The Russian Defense Ministry also has evidence that Britain had a direct involvement in arranging this provocation in Eastern Ghouta. We know for certain that between April 3 and April 6 the so-called White Helmets were seriously pressured from London to speed up the provocation that they were preparing.”
Katy Budge, the former Head of Constitutional Policy at the Cabinet Office, writes that she was:
‘….shocked to hear the audience of BBC Radio’s The World Tonight [last Wednesday] informed that ‘there is no constitutional requirement for the Government to seek parliamentary approval [for UK military action in Syria]. ….perhaps, in that initial hysteria, without time to explore the constitutional complexities of the issue, the BBC could have been forgiven for presenting an ill-informed and superficial overview. But a few days later it is alarming that such a position continues to be repeated across news outlets, when it is categorically untrue….constitutional conventions are often slippery, perhaps slightly old-fashioned, but nevertheless vital political customs that have evolved over time to provide a framework for the actions and operations of government. While many have been codified by Acts of Parliament, some remain ‘off the record’, such as the existence of the office of Prime Minister, and the customs that the Queen acts on the advice of her ministers and doesn’t overturn laws passed by Parliament. Such conventions often represent some of the most subtle, yet central, elements of the constitution…..Importantly, the The Cabinet Manual – described by gov.uk as ‘the ultimate user’s guide to government’ – recognises that such a constitutional convention exists in relation to consulting parliament on military action. It states that: ‘In 2011, the Government acknowledged that a convention had developed in Parliament that before troops were committed the House of Commons should have an opportunity to debate the matter.’ Since this statement, many a government minister and senior official have repeated a commitment to the convention (including the then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood). And it was widely thought to have beenconsolidated in 2013 by David Cameron’s decision to respect the House of Commons vote against military action in response to a previous chemical attack in Syria. Indeed – in 2014 the current Business Secretary Greg Clark, and then Constitution Minister, told Parliament that the Cabinet Manual ‘should be updated to reinforce the importance and value of that convention by reference to the events of 29 August …’
Harrumph harrummpfff….some silly old tart now retired off to a University hotbed of Putin-huggers. Constitution? What Constitution?
Some of you may recall that, when it came to power full of hope, the Cameron Coalition pledged to give “urgent attention to the question of a written Constitution for the United Kingdom”. But – like so much of what Bumface said – it disappeared up itself. In 1931, some 65% of German voters thought the Nazis had ‘lost their chance’ to take over the country. By 1935, their leader was the undisputed dictator of Germany. He got there without having to interfere with the Weimar Constitution in any way because – like ours – there were gaping holes in its provisions. Constitutional Gobbets were a dissertation subject of mine at University. Our constitution consists largely of usages and conventions. Usages are relatively arriviste and often overturned; conventions are not….our Constitution is largely a collection of key conventions.
Thus, in going to War without Parliamentary approval, the May Government has shown itself to be less mindful of legality than Adolf Hitler.
The Government is not in the least naive: it knows perfectly well that Middle Eastern “atrocities” are faked by both sides on a regular basis….this has become part of Jihadist standard practice. One among hundreds of examples is reissued below. We see the same actor variously cast as a medical worker in April 2016, a grieving parent in September, and the victim of a chemical attack the following April:
Meanwhile, in the background to even this flagrant disregard for democracy and the Rule of Law, there is growing evidence on both sides of the Atlantic that neither the US nor British élites are “united” on the decision that has been taken.
Nobody seems to have taken cognisance of the fact that the UK Cabinet session to discuss just the one Syria issue lasted nearly seven hours. At one point, a somewhat tired David Davis emerged briefly to say that “the debate is continuing and there is no decision as yet”. But three hours later, May announced “unanimous support”. There are already murmurs in Whitehall, however, that the debate on consulting Parliament “was especially robust”. The MSM worldwide have, of course, stuck to the unanimity line: opposition to Government foreign policy is now deemed unpatriotic, it seems.
In turn, as I mentioned earlier in the week, the US national security council meetings are rumoured to have been ones of general agreement to attack, but violent disagreement on how to do it. I am still being given the line that Trump will never agree to GI feet on the ground of Syria, and that he wanted a targeted personnel-style superdrone attack to take out the Assad leadership. If so, judging from this morning’s strike, it looks like he lost that argument; but it’s too early to say definitively.
Six ‘what next’ issues strike me as very important from here on:
- Short term, how will Russia retaliate, if at all?
- How will MPs and the electorate react to being ignored?
- What are the ramifications for Syrians?
- Medium term, what will change geopolitically – especially vis a vis China?
- Will a national movement to oppose the strikes grow in the UK?
- What bit of the Constitution will the Government try and dump next?
I don’t think now is the the time to examine these equally crucial points. But I will make one further observation.
The very existence of a person called The Prime Minister is a convention with the same constitutional validity as the legislature’s right to hold the Executive accountable for military actions. We have the easiest Constitution in the Western world to pervert and destroy. The UK is now a de facto dictatorship. To disagree with that assertion, you have to discount all the points I’ve made both this morning and previously.