George Osborne: 'Britain has got its mojo back'

By Bernadette Meaden
December 8, 2015

Some MPs who voted to bomb Syria may have done so with reluctance or misgivings. Remarks made by George Osborne in the USA, and evidence which has emerged since the vote, may already be causing them to regret their decision just one week later.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Osborne said, "Britain has got its mojo back and we are going to be with you as we reassert Western values, confident that our best days lie ahead." One can imagine Donald Trump expressing similar sentiments, albeit in a less articulate manner.

This statement, that Britain has its 'mojo' back seems to confirm fears that the Cabinet's eagerness to bomb Syria was  less about any positive results that could be achieved, and more about not wanting to be left out of a 'game' that all the big boys were playing. And if we are going to reassert Western values, how are we doing that? By bombing the Middle East? Surely this plays straight into the polarising Da'esh narrative of conflict between the Muslim world and colonising crusaders.

The case for bombing, insufficiently scrutinised by the media before the vote, has been shown to be even flimsier since. The 'bogus battalions' of seventy thousand 'moderate' fighters who will do the dirty work on the ground, has been exposed as an exaggeration at best. Almost immediately after the vote we learned that senior defence staff  had warned against using it because it was 'misleading'.

The argument that bombing Raqqa would help to prevent terrorist attacks in the UK, was based on an impression Mr. Cameron was keen to create, that seven UK plots that had been foiled had been directed from or assisted by Daesh in Syria. Yet we now know that is not true either. As the SNP's Alex Salmond has said,  “Every one of the seven foiled plots – and let’s compliment our security services in keeping us safe – not one of them was directed from Raqqa.

“And you will find that admission, although not fronted up, in the Prime Minister’s own statements. They’ve either been inspired by – that is lone wolf stabbers or shootists who are caught up in the worldwide rhetoric of Daesh and decide to do something on their own – or ‘connected to’."

"And ‘connected to’ is like the shooting in California, where the perpetrator says I’m a supporter of Daesh and Daesh of course immediately claims responsibility because they will claim responsibility for everything.”

In the UK, the danger we face probably comes more from an ideology than a specific geographical location like Syria – and bombing may only serve to strengthen and spread that ideology.

So the case for  bombing now looks even less convincing than when MPs voted for it. But at least George Osborne thinks we've got our mojo back.



 © Bernadette Meaden has written about political, religious and social issues for some years, and is strongly influenced by Christian Socialism, liberation theology and the Catholic Worker movement. She is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor. You can follow her on Twitter: @BernaMeaden

Keywords:War | Syria | Peace | Osborne | Daesh | bombing
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