DUP and UUP back Parliamentary Motion on Syria as SDLP oppose it.

Both the DUP and UUP have now confirmed that they will be backing the Prime Minister’s motion on bombing Syria.

First up, Tom Elliott;

We have now seen the motion and believe that it is a framework in line with the United Nations Charter and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249.

We have also set out clearly our criteria to the Prime Minister, that would ensure there are overall short-term and long-term workable strategies in relation to a positive resolution to the Syrian problem and no introduction of wide-scale ground troops.

While we will monitor today’s debate and assess what is said by the Prime Minister and other Government representatives, it is the intention that the Ulster Unionist Party Members of Parliament will be voting in favour of the motion. The Party believes it meets the criteria we had outlined as necessary to support military action.

We think from the wording of the motion it is clear that the UK Government has learned the lessons of past wars, particularly the legacy that will be left for the people of Syria.

Then Nigel Dodds;

Our test throughout has been one of realism. Our experience in Northern Ireland has taught us that no other approach can be brought to terrorism.

We needed to know that the vile terrorists of ISIL/Daesh would be the target. We had to be sure that they are a clear and present danger to the UK. We needed to be convinced that British action would make a real and practical difference. And we required a definite strategic framework being in place, including a clear exit strategy for British personnel.

After repeated briefings from the National Security Council on Privy Council Terms, and much discussion with the Prime Minister and others in government, we have concluded that the time is right for us to act, and to act decisively.

Terrorism requires an answer from all civilised countries. We in Northern Ireland know what it’s like for terrorism to be ignored or appeased.

Unlike the failed strategy advocated in 2013, which we opposed, there is now a realistic chance that overwhelming pressure can be brought to bear against Daesh.

The Vienna agreement, the range of countries, now including Germany, ready to act militarily, and the unanimous support in the UN Security Council all point to the differences with 2013.

Paris, like the downing of the Russian Metrojet in Sinai and the recent bomb attacks in Beirut, were assaults upon civilised values which must be met with resolve and quiet certainty. No other British City should have to suffer the way Belfast and other towns and places in Northern Ireland did for so many years. If we can realistically do something to destroy this evil, to prevent it spreading still further, we should act now.

I applaud the specific commitments the Prime Minister has made in response to the points I have put to him, not least about the use of British ground forces. Western arms can do their bit to help address Middle Eastern problems, but ultimately they must solve their problems themselves.

But the moment has come where we can no longer stand by on the other side. Civilians are dying, being raped or enslaved at the hands of ISIL/Daesh every day. These are the civilian casualties already happening and we must not through inaction prolong their suffering.

Now that British armed forces are to be employed in the common good, it is the duty of every credible political figure to offer them his or her support. The Leader of the Opposition has a reprehensible track record of defending the claims of terrorists against our brave servicemen and women. He will not easily be forgiven if he does so again. We wish HM Armed Forces success as they do their hard and necessary work, and pray for a safe return for them all.

Of the parties at Westminster, only the SDLP will be voting against as the party leader Colum Eastwood outlined yesterday;

SDLP MPs will proudly walk through the voting lobbies with our colleagues in Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and other parties to oppose military action tomorrow. We will not legitimise the trigger finger of a Prime Minister more concerned with the theatrics of winning a political victory over the Labour Party than the devastation that will rain down on innocents in Raqqa as they are used as human shields by vicious cowards in IS.

There are all sorts of claims that airstrikes are a precise form of attack. Yet we know from experience in places like Gaza that they’re not. I’ve been at the scene of an airstrike the day after someone pressed the button. I know the devastation they can have. This is not the right way to deal with the threat from IS

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  • John Collins

    If this island was treated the same as its larger neighbouring counterpart during the lifetime of the Act of Union GB would still have full control of the so called ‘British Isles”. In short being part of what was then among the top two or three economies made little difference to most of Ireland. I suppose it is no coincidence either that NI is still the poorest region in the UK even after almost twenty peaceful years.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    There has to be some sort of military action. What is the alternative? Hitting them with a leaflet campaign? ? Bombing can achieve some things, disrupt their oil business, destroy their equipment and camps. It’s the only option western countries have. Seizing their financial assets is also required.
    What do the wishy washy lefty types think can be done, other than military force?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No fan of Bernays myself, but I suppose I don’t like being told what to do. The most interesting person I met in Advertising was John Hegerty who did the most interesting things with layer and layer of irony in his work. Against him Bernays was a klutz.

    Having survived the attentions of Paisley and his attack dog Ronald Bunting Senior in the late 1960s, I’m very wary of mobs of all sorts. I have little faith that the mobs in Syria will bow to the wisdom of those nice well educated democratic Islamic exiles that the US and their “federates” always seem to think will form friendly governments once the blood stayed tyrants are hanged or assassinated. Life is seldom so simple.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Actually by military force, as most leftists (including Caroline Lucas!) are actually saying if you listen to them on the news.

    If bombing is the “only option” available, perhaps we need to start converting to Islam now, as only tactical bombing in support of ground efforts actually does more than get the bad guys angry.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But I suspect his da would have given him a good slapping if he were still about.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Damn, the software appears to be jammed, over shoot and take another approach while I re-boot……………”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “The Tornados are frankly clapped out in modern terms….”

    Let us hope it does not come to a serious confrontation with the Russians over Assad. Or, as Edward Woodward says at the close of “Breaker Morant”, “This is what comes of Empire-building……”

  • Gopher

    I dont think it is unique, Winston Chuchill and his father had quite different views on Home Rule

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, Gopher! I know you are a little allergic to personal stories, but my grandmother was amongst the activist group of Protestant “ladies” who attempted, in 1912, to turn Winston’s car over en route to the Ulster Hall (Sacred from his father’s noted 1886 “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” speech) during his visit in support of the Home Rule Bill. Yes, my family seem to have got in everywhere!

    But how sad for her to have ended up with even one notorious “Lundy” as a grandson!

    Mind you, Winnie’s involvement in the Black and Tan fiasco “entirely restored his reputation” as Oscar Wilde said of his visit to a “normal” brothel after his release from prison.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Actually, I have quite an extended exchange on the illegality of area bombing on this thread, Robin:


    I note that I have not spoken of either Bernard Shaw or Vera Brittain’s contemporary opposition to an immoral, illegal and (to cap it all) militarily useless area bombing campaign which unquestionably under the current Geneva Conventions would have put British and American war leaders in the dock alongside the Nazis for half a million non-combatant deaths. But I’ve covered most of the legal aspects.

  • Gopher

    Personal stories mean nothing especially those over a century old when they try too hard to put a frame around a picture that rational arguement cant. My Grandfather actually helped save Churchill from the mob that came looking him at his hotel but I’m not going to be a schill and blame my Grandfather for the loss of the Prince of Wales and Repulse because he did. Nor will I credit my dear grandfather for defeating Nazi Germany because he had iniative at the right time and place. Randolph Churchill was his own man, Winston Churchill was his own man and Hillary Benn appears to be defining himself as his own man. I know idealogues have trouble with that concept but i kinda like the diversity.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    So, Gopher, you are blind to utter importance of “tradition”. Of course there is an “ideology” of absolute individulaiism, an Anarchist one at that. Max Sterner’s “The Ego and its Own ” would be its “bible”:


    The problem is that who we are has been constricted from a language we have inherited and numerious other impressions we have accepetd and rejected, rooted in our family and the concentric circles that stretch out from it into the wider culture of the world. We are, through both nature and nurture, given terribly strong shoves in the direction of the inherited, although as a creative artist, I’d always claim we re-craft this. But left to itself, a human being not engaged in interaction with this massive inheritance and with others would be entirely his own person, but also profoundly odd! I’d be for diversity myself, but a diversity that recognises just where it is rooted, and does not preen itself on absolute self-creation.

    These stories are always profoundly self reveiling, and we always take risks when we tell them. But I usually think they are worth the risk if it will elucidate something that shifts ground on the general amnesia our society employes to distance itself from genuine human cause and effect, which is the spirit in which I’d usually bring such things up. History actually is nothing but human agency and human intention, although we all quite automatically reify and speak of generalisations and abstractions as if they could have some volation of their own, rather than being driven by those people who use their capitol letter “umberella terms” (“Britain, Ireland, Parliament, the Conservative party, Labour, etc…) as flags of convenience for their own needs and aspirations.

    So your grandfather was, in part, responsible for area bombing of Germany! This explains a lot, if only why, on another thread, you should be so strongly committed in defense of the indefensible. But this is the kind of conversation we should have over some single malts, rather than carrying it on, off topic, here. Pity that won’t be happening.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Yes bombing in support of ground troops is what is needed. But I was wondering what the people who were against bombing altogether had as an alternative. Anyone can say no to killing, but do what then?

  • Gopher

    Tradition is just were you set the bar. Nope an uncle would have a better claim to be responsible for area bombing, he would also have prevented Russia declaring war on Britain after the fall of France, He diverted Hitler into Greece and forced him to assault Crete though winning a pyrrhic victory upset his strategic planning and saved Malta. He prevented Army Group Centre marching on Moscow saving the city because the Soviets had an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, called the Crimea in range of Polesti. He can claim these achievements because he helped build bomber aircraft. He could have died in a trench somewhere but he was a craftsman so unlike the Luftwaffes aircraft that butchered their aircrew through crashes due to quality control issues because of dispersal through bombing, he saved many lives. You might not take his efforts seriously but Hitler who incidently required 20,000 tons of concrete construction monthly to protect his person from air attack and Molotov who decided to spurn Ribbentrops offer to carve up the Empire during a bomber command raid “If Britain is beaten why are we conducting these negotiations in your shelter” did.

    A working class hero my Uncle