#748: 1984, Billy Bragg, Island of No Return

by George_East on August 29, 2013

I am still a little in shock about the outcome of the Government’s motion on Syria tonight.  It has to be remembered this was the weaker of two planned votes – Ed Miliband’s brave stance yesterday forcing the postponement of the actual war vote until next week, after the UN weapons inspectors’ report on Sunday.

In fact we now know there will be no second vote.  David Cameron accepted, having been asked for reassurances by Ed Miliband following the announcement of the vote, that Britain will not participate in any military action that the US leads against Syria.

I cannot think of any precedent for parliament to vote against a government on a war motion:  it didn’t happen in the Norway debate in 1940, over Suez, over the Falklands or over Iraq.   Nothing like it has ever been seen.  If Cameron had any decency (which he doesn’t) he’d resign.

Parliament and in particular Ed Miliband did themselves proud tonight.  I feel represented for the first time in a good while.

To celebrate I’ve chosen this great anti-war song (about the Falklands) from Billy Bragg’s second album: Brewing Up With Billy BraggBragg was, of course, a soldier before he made his name in music.   Although he did not serve in the Falklands, this song has the personal anger of the ordinary blokes on the ground who are sent to fight our leader’s  wars:

I hate this flat land, there’s no cover

for sons and fathers and brothers and lovers

I can take the killing, I can take the slaughter

But I don’t talk to Sun reporters

I never thought that I would be

Fighting fascists in the Southern Sea

I saw one today and in his hand

Was a weapon that was made in Birmingham’

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