As speculation intensifies around the umpteenth arrest in the McGuigan murder case (still no charges), some people remain puzzled as to why the DUP haven’t just upped sticks and bolted.
So to radically switch focus to the world outside NI, yesterday Nigel Dodds had a short op ed in the Daily Telegraph, which he warned Cameron off taking military action in Syria:
Unionist MPs, to put it mildly, are hardly opposed to the use of British military force abroad or at home in pursuit of the national interest. Yet this brings us to the heart of where George Osborne is so mistaken. For what have the wars he has supported so much in the last decade done? Simply this: the imprudent use of British force has put the public off using it at all.
The direct result of having intervened where we shouldn’t is that there is no longer any public support for intervening when we should. There is a lesson here for Blairites in all parties. In Labour, if the mistakes involved in Afghanistan and Iraq had been faced up to, that party might not now be in the sorry state it is. In the Tory Party, MPs like John Baron and Gerald Howarth likewise are right to understand what’s in the UK’s interest, and how best we can then do good in the world.
A vague, promiscuous vote in the House of Commons next week authorising, for example, armed force in Syria would not achieve that end. And unless the government in a very short space of time provides much more detailed proposals, I would expect again to be voting alongside the likes of Mr Baron and Sir Gerald.
Hmmm. Ah, here it is…
It seems to me, as the leader of the fourth party in the Commons, to be curious tactics to potentially gift a new Labour leader a great parliamentary victory in their very first week. Perhaps ‘New Labour’ is not quite the right phrase, but Mr Osborne will know what I mean. He will after all remember that bright parliamentary wheezes can turn out to be very counter-productive indeed. Such as the risible coup attempted against John Bercow in the last week of the last parliament.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty