The Secret MP #5: The Winds of War

by The Secret MP on August 29, 2013

The Secret MPYou can call me Keith.

I am a Lib-Dem MP.

And I’m hiding in a toilet.

Yes, that’s right, I write this from the toilets nearest my office in Norman Shaw North, Westminster. I suppose I’m doing that thing which many parents of young children do – I know I did when Lloyd and George were toddlers – hiding in the khazi, locking the door and doubling the length of time it takes for your afternoon constitutional in a desperate attempt to gain some respite from the kids.

I haven’t done it for a while, well, the kids are teenagers now, and spend most of their time avoiding me, not the other way around. No, I’m not avoiding my kids, I’m avoiding the whips office and, even scarier I’m avoiding Paddy Ashdown – the Captain himself, the stuff of nightmares. I know, It’s pointless, I know that, they’ll get me eventually, in fact, the very fact that I’m sitting here, with my I-Pad means I’m not even safe behind the locked door of the smallest room from cyber-whipping. But somehow it feels better, safer – well at least Paddy can’t get me.

And the reason they’re after me – Syria. And David Cameron’s bloody decision to recall Parliament and force a vote on military intervention in Syria. And why am I hiding in the toilet? Well, I don’t know how to vote.

There I’ve said it.

I wish it was clear. It was bloody clear in 2003 when Blair was lying through his back teeth to take us into Iraq – oh yes, I was a mere PPC then, and opposition to the war in Iraq seemed natural and unarguable – yes, Saddam was a bad man, but, in the absence of any compelling proof of WMD, and here I mean a picture of a clever German or Korean bloke preferably wearing glasses standing astride a bloody great missile, then there was no need to bomb the Iraqis. I campaigned against it, I would have voted against it, and, well, history has proved me to be right.

Syria, isn’t that clear cut.

In Iraq there was no actual civil war, true the people were oppressed, but they weren’t being gassed. Assad appears to be gassing his own.

But, as Shirley, my octogenarian constituency organiser said, ‘what’s the difference between gassing and bombing?’ And she’s right, I can’t get away from that, death is death, genocide is genocide – but, somehow, and I don’t know if this is the result of the fact that my Great Uncle Arthur was gassed at the Somme, something that, I was always told led to his hair loss and alcoholism, but the use of chemical gas seems somehow worse, if you are prepared to gas your own, then it suggests you are a person who is likely to do anything, and for that Assad needs to be stopped.

Then, there’s the lack of evidence. I spent the other day, with an old Scottish Lib-Dem Lord and former MP – ‘don’t get take in by the fucking spooks’, he told me, ‘they’re all lying bastards.’ And, he’s got a point as well – I mean, how do we know that by bombing Syria, we are not just playing into the hands of a load of other crackpots who may have been prepared to fake a chemical weapons attack to further their own ends. I mean, ten years ago, we were all taken into war that is still rumbling on by lying spies and lying politicians and lying Americans. But, saying that, regardless of who is deploying the chemical weapons, MSF have clearly said that sarin is being used, and this is bad, bad enough to justify intervention. Isn’t it?

But what about international law? We have to have comply with international law, that’s clear – if we don’t what is the point of anything? What hope has the UN…..

Oh hold on, my mobile… fuck…. it’s Paddy.

‘Hi Paddy…. how are you?’
‘Keith, Paddy here. Just a quick call, to make sure you’re in the House later, Nick’s asked me to give a few people a ring.’
‘…er… yes. I should be there, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather that’s all.’
(do you know, and this is a fact, that Paddy can actually kill with his bare eyes.)
‘Under the weather? Bollocks, when I was in Sarajevo at the height of the blockade, we ate dandelions and had to shit in tin hats, didn’t do me any harm.’
(I think Paddy may actually be mad)
‘No Paddy, I’ll be there.’
‘And, listen Keith, there’s a few who are planning to abstain on this issue, look, we can’t be seen to duck the big issues Keith, we have to support the Prime Minister’s motion.’
‘Yes, Paddy.’
‘It’s like Kossovo Keith. We intervened there and stopped a massacre. No need for a UN Resolution there.’
‘Well, Paddy, perhaps, or it could be’ I proffered carefully,’like Iraq. And look what happened there?’
‘No, no, no, Keith, It’s not like Iraq at all.’
‘Oh, ok.’
I’m too scared to argue with Paddy, especially when I’ve got my own pants down and I’m sitting on a toilet.

The division bell sounds.

I don’t make a move.

I just don’t know what to do. I hope you’ll understand. I don’t want to do nothing, but, I don’t trust those who will be doing the something not to make things a whole lot worse.

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