Thursday, December 3, 2015


I have been monitoring closely the debate both in the Lords and the Commons on whether the UK should join the coalition forces (and Russia) in bombing IS targets in Syria.  The vote was taken a few minutes ago.  The result ... the Ayes 397, the Noes 223.

 67 Labour MPs, including Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Harriet Harman, former Deputy Leader,  defied their leader to vote with the Government with others, including Rosie Winterton, Labour's Chief Whip, abstaining.   The Ayes also included DUP (Unionist) and Liberal Democrat MPs.

By any measure this was an incredible personal defeat for Corbyn.   His starting position was that Labour should block vote against the motion.   He abandoned that after it became clear that a reported half of his Shadow Cabinet would resign if he forced the issue.   Then, in the last 24 hours, he was forced to disown Party 'heavies' who had been threatening MPs seen as likely to support the Government with dire retribution were they to break ranks.   It is thought that this alone was the last straw for some wavering MPs.

The last word perhaps goes to Stewart Hosie, SNP Deputy Leader who, along with all other SNP members voted 'No' ... 'Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn's speech absolutely humiliated Jeremy Corbyn'.

And now we look forward to the Oldham West and Roydon by-election with voting due to start later tonight (NZ time).   This is one of Labour's safest seats won with a majority of 14,738 last time round.    If Rupert is to be believed this will be a doddle for the Labour candidate given that it's the sort of constituency where the Corbyn message apparently resonates strongest.   That should be comforting for the Labour candidate.   The message coming from more dispassionate observers is a little more cautious.   UKIP polled second last time round and they are throwing everything at it.    Corbyn could be a liability if this vox pop from a previous Labour voter (referring to Corbyn) is to be believed ... 'I'm a socialist, not a bloody communist'.    Most agree the weather will play a big part in the final result ... watch this space.

Update #1 ... Tom Watson, current Labour Deputy Leader also defied Corbyn to vote for the motion.

Update #2 ... Aides to Corbyn said that his authority had been 'enhanced' by the vote.    One suspects that JC will not be looking forward to any more enhancements of this sort.

Update #3 ... This bordering on the absurd.  Stan Collymore, UK soccer player of some repute (Notts Forrest and Liverpool and capped three times for England) has tweeted that he tore up his Labour Party membership card in protest against the Labour MPs  who voted for the motion and has now joined the Scottish National Party.    I'm struggling with his rationale although, to be fair, in his autobiography it is recorded that he suffers from borderline personality disorder.

Update #4 ... Turnout in the by-election was 40.26% down from the close to 60% at the time of the general election.   Cold wet day.   Gonna be interesting.   One thing for sure ... no 14,738 majority.

Update #5 .. Labour wins Oldham West and Roydon with a reduced majority (10,000).   Labour's vote % increased as did that of UKIP.    Result was better than what Labour hoped for.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I thought 'enhancing' was what Viagra did for old men?

Andrei said...

This is insane - Britain is being manipulated into a war in the Middle East on false premises for the wrong reasons and against the wrong people.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I'm told consistently hitting a soccer ball with your head brings on all sorts of adverse conditions.

Anonymous said...

If not ISIS who are the right people to fight

The Veteran said...

Andrei .... you mean IS is 'good' people?

Andrei said...

Andrei .... you mean IS is 'good' people?

Hell no Veteran - they are bad, very very bad.

They subscribe nominally to the Wahhabist ideology - where is the center of Wahhbism Veteran?

Britain has been bombing them in Iraq for over a year - what progress has been made?

USA has been bombing them in Iraq and Syria (in complete violation of international law) for over a year - what progress?

How did the great NATO bombing campaign in Libya turn our Veteran? Christian being beheaded on beaches - forgotten that already?

What's the plan Veteran - reoccupy Iraq and Syria?

Anyone with half a clue can see where this is heading - the big one Iran, Syria, Russia, and quite possibly China as well versus Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and NATO.

And I have kids who I don't want to see die in a war to advance Saudi and Qatari business interests and the advance of Wahhabism across the globe

You people are fools being lead like lambs to the slaughter.

Anonymous said...

It seems Andrei has his finger on the pulse. The best speech came from the least likely source, Alex Salmond of the SNP. You are getting bogged down with trivialities and personalities Trigger. What you are seeing is democracy at work and somebody opposing the Govt. Something you wished for in a previous post.

The Labour party made it a vote of conscience ie. a free vote. The Tories were under the hammer, they could abstain but not given the choice of saying no. This in spite of their own constituents who they are supposed to represent saying no. This turned out to be more about domestic politics than a declaration of war and our good friends the media hyping it up like a sports match.

In your world Trigger there is only black and white with the best team winning, this is not the reality.

Leaving aside the rhetoric ie. "We need to fight the terrorists on their own ground rather than here" Hang on, haven't we heard that before in 1965. "We need to fight the Commies on their etc etc." it is a result for the democratic process and not a reason to gloat.

On the strategic side over 7.000 air strikes have been made by the coalition (excluding the Russians) for very little result. There is no exit strategy, there is no plan B for when Camerons "Moderate' troops are bombed by the Russians. The US cannot supply Stinger shoulder launched AA missiles to the "good" guys for defence against Russki planes because they know some of the the weapons will be sold/given to Daesh. There is no dialogue with Turkey on the fate of the Kurds who are the only troops fighting and winning BUT the have stopped now because they have the territory they want. It was a defeat for Corbyns personal views and and a rout for common sense. We have gone from Iraq's Dodgey dossiers to Syria's Bogus battalions.

"Too many aircraft chasing too few targets".....Alex Salmond

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that Britain is bringing the Brimstone missile to the party in order to keep civilian casualties to a "minimum".(Wiki it) At NZ$350,000 a pop it's going to be an expensive exercise. Two points to ponder, the shares in the Manufacturing company went up this morning and the only country that has bought it is......drumroll.......SAUDI ARABIA.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Anonymous said...

Hey Eggy! why is veteran a trigger is that an army nikname.

The Veteran said...

Rupert ... wrong, wrong again. Take off your apologist specs. The Tories were NOT forced to do anything. It was always a free vote for them. In point of fact 7 Tories voted against the Government. Not so Labour. Corbyn wanted to enforce a three line whip but was rolled by his Shadow Cabinet with 11 of them voting with the Government.

I refuse to be positioned by you in the debate. It certainly isn't (and never is) black vs white. For the record (and you know it) I have said that air-power alone can never be the answer. It is one of a combination of tools that need to be employed to defeat IS. Those tools include the complete isolation of IS enclaves and the severing of the money supply (read oil).

You quote Salmond and I'll quote Benn.

Anon ... Trigger was ascribed to me by the 'Lord' in retaliation for my pointing out to him that his self chosen appellation 'Rupert' was a derogatory term in the British Military bused to describe upper class twit officers who know nothing and contribute even less.

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... then you must have an alternative plan ... please enlighten us.

Andrei said...

I don't have an alternative plan Veteran - hell who would listen to me anyway

But Vladimir Putin does and he articulated it at the UN and expanded upon it at the G20 - did you hear either of these speeches Veteran?

This plan is to support the SAA (the Syrian Arab Army - i.e. the fighting forces of the Damascus Government) retake the areas of Syria lost to terrorist control and re establish Government control over them

It also involves interdicting the flow of oil and antiquities stolen from Syria to Turkey which help fund the terrorist activities in Syria and to name and shame those dealing in these stolen commodities - as well as stopping the flow of fighters and weapons in the opposite direction

Been watching the News recently Veteran?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


I think you'll find John Howard would support Mr Putin's plan which actually is a plan, rather than Obamaesque inane platitudes.

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... read my 9.08 comment (second para). I agree with Putin re the money bit.

Andrei said...


Yesterdays Military Briefing of the Russian Federation - far more significant than the inane posturing in the British House's of Parliament and unfiltered by the Western Media

Interested in your thoughts

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... we are going off on a tangent here given that my post was all about the shambles that is the British Labour Party under the 'inspired' leadership of Corbyn but, for what it's worth, I think should you put up a range of Generals from the many countries involved in the conflict they would say much the same thing (certainly in private) ... politicians, another story. As I have said many times, it's not black and white, never has and never will be.

Not all countries have the same strategic interests. For Russia and as well as recognizing the threat of IS it's about maintaining their presence in the Med per courtesy of Assad. If Assad was to go then it might be 'outski' from their naval and airbases in Syria. For Turkey it's the Kurds who are seen as an equal problem to IS ... the contradictions are huge and I attempted to point them out in my slightly whimsical piece

It's not the case of Russia/US/Britain/France/Saudi/Iran/Syria/Iraq etc good/bad or indifferent. Recognise the competing interests and follow the money ... and never forget the shadow that is Israel.

On a completely different tack but not really ... fascinating that China has a Battalion of UN peacekeepers/medics/engineers in the Sudan fighting the rebels ... armed by ... China.

Another contradiction.

But doing nothing is not an option and Corbyn's not too secret weapon where he wants to sit down with IS and sort it all out over a cuppa is laughable if he weren't so serious.

Andrei said...

So be it Veteran - if you want to fill your head with the soap opera that is British Politics be my guest.

Its unimportant though - just a lot of pompous fools pretending to be Winston Churchill as the lead their nation into a global catastrophe

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... the dynamic that surrounds democratic (western) politics fascinates me. There is no dynamic surrounding Russian politics ... nothing to get fascinated about. What Putin wants, he gets. The main task of the Russian Federation State Duma is to ask 'how high' when Putin sez jump.

Andrei said...

There is no dynamic surrounding Russian politics ... nothing to get fascinated about. What Putin wants, he gets. The main task of the Russian Federation State Duma is to ask 'how high' when Putin sez jump.

Do you really believe that Veteran?

The problem is that your knowledge of Russian politics probably comes entirely from the BBC.

Can you even name the political party Vladimir Putin leads? Or any of the other parties in the Duma and who their leaders are? can you name any of them them?

The thing about cultural chauvinism is it blinds people to their own flaws

In the last election in my electorate there were five names on the ballot from which one could select our "representative" - but in reality three of the five were going to go to Wellington as MPs regardless of the vote, it was a done deal months before the campaigning started. And that does not seem all that democratic to me

The Veteran said...

Nah Andrei ... actually I can. Been to your neck of the woods a number of times and enjoyed it. The people I met were the salt of the earth but none suggested they enjoyed anywhere near the democratic freedoms we take for granted in the West. Having said that I acknowledge horses for courses. Finally, MMP is a bastard system that we are stuck with and we all know that ...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5.55. He is named after a character played my one of my favourite actors, Roger Lloyd-Pack whom I had the great pleasure in meeting several years ago, an utterly charming man with no side.

He played Trigger in Only fools and Horses. The unkindly might say he is so named because he is always one conversation behind and unintentionally grasps the stick by the wrong end in almost every circumstance. But no, it is purely because of his inability to remember Rodney's name....for 15 years....oright DAVE.

We have come a long way in a short period from Veterans post about Corbyn lacking credibility. Labours share of the vote went from 36% to 39%. This after he was "humiliated" "scorned" etc etc. A word of warning for the Blog, if Trigger starts tipping horses...RUN.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

The Veteran said...

Rupert ... enjoy your moment of triumph and you deserve it after the humiliations of recent days. Rather than a vote of confidence in Corbyn might it just be that the Labour candidate was a self declared 'centrist' in an electorate that is rock solid Labour and always has been?

Meanwhile we'll let the thugs in Momentum (Corbyn's SS) go about their work of targeting those MPs seen as disloyal to the 'Great Helmsman'. I guess one of those to incur their wrath would have to be Tom Watson, Corbyn's Deputy, with two strikes against his name; voted Aye and described them 'as a bit of a rabble'.

p.s. don't do horses. Enjoyed Lloyd-Pack as an actor especially for his role in the Vicar of Dibley. Understand too how you would like him. He was hard left in politics and an avowed supporter of Ken Livingston (of Momentum fame). I think he is now deceased.

Anonymous said...

Veteran - do you think there's a chance the UK Labour party may split?

The SDP formed in 1981 when Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Bill Rogers left Labour because they felt that party was going too far left. Ironically, Hilary Benn's father Tony Benn was one of those leading Labour further left.

The SDP eventually merged with the Liberals but IIRC there weren't many more prominent Labour members who joined the SDP. So, it did not turn out to be a major split.

The rebellion(s) happening now involve a much larger number of prominent party members. Perhaps it is too early in Corbyn's reign for there to be an impetus for a split away from the party. However, do you think it possible the current election process for Labour leader may mean there is less chance the rebels can effect change from within the party, thereby making a split more likely?