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Thursday, January 23, 2014 

It's all multiculturalism's fault. Again.

Horror of horrors!  Britain becoming more multicultural is leading to a "growing reluctance" to troops being deployed on the ground in areas which some of the population either called home or has connections with, says the Ministry of Defence, via the Graun.  It's yet another example of the fallout following the failure of the Commons to go along with the plan to "punish" Assad for using chemical weapons in Syria, and also yet another example of ministers and the wider government failing to point the finger of blame at themselves.

While it's no doubt true that "war weariness" played its part in MPs opting to vote against the motions of both the coalition and Labour which looked set to lead to yet another strike on a Middle Eastern country, the main reason why the vote went against the government was because it didn't even begin to make the damn case for an attack on Syria.  All that was presented was shaky intelligence which pointed towards chemical weapons having been used, along with the argument that such an act could not be allowed to go unpunished, despite the fact that previous chemical weapons attacks on a far worse scale had been.  It wasn't explained how launching a few hundred cruise missiles at Syria would prevent further such attacks, or how doing so would prevent us from getting sucked even further into a civil war we have nothing to gain and much to lose from getting involved in.  Public opinion was firmly against, and MPs for once represented their constituents in rejecting it, at that point.  Whether David Cameron was right to then rule out any action whatsoever is another question entirely.

Rather than take a look at whether the case for war was as strong as they believe it was, almost everything else has been held responsible.  Only the latest is multiculturalism, with Alistair Burt having previously said the decision had left a "constitutional mess", as it seemed MPs could now declare themselves against something that was previously the prerogative of the executive, without it being considered a vote of no confidence.  Originally it was all Ed Miliband's fault, while now there's also much wailing and gnashing of teeth over how we might not be able to be a "full spectrum" partner to the Americans unless we join them in every such conflict and ensure our army has the very latest devices of mass death at its disposal.

All this ignores that if you put a case forward that's considered convincing by a majority of the public, have the support of most of the media and also know that you have can rely on most of your party and the opposition, wars which are opposed by a large, vocal minority can still be fought, as Iraq proved and would still be the case today.  Our participation in the NATO action in Libya went ahead as well after all.  If instead you try to bounce the country into a conflict because an especially barbarous crime is carried out in a country in which 100,000 have already died without such action being considered previously, mainly due to how the American president foolishly set a "red line" which he didn't expect to breached, then you should no longer be surprised that MPs won't just march through the yes lobby no questions asked.  That still the government seems to be ignoring what ought to be staring it in the face is far more concerning than any of the calamities our supposed sudden aversion towards war has thrown up.

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All that's true, but also the no vote was widely seen as payback for Iraq. The wrong party got paid back, but the Iraq decision was their fault too. You can't prove a what would have happened if, but there can be no doubt that trust in Government to make that sort of decision was reduced by the Iraq debacle.

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