Coventry Labour MPs vote for war
Colleen Fletcher and Geoffrey Robinson
When MPs voted last week on Syria, many New Labour politicians opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war stance and voted for airstrikes. These airstrikes are said to be aimed at ISIS, but inevitably there have already been innocent civilians killed.
The Labour MPs who disgracefully voted for the bombing include Coventry MPs Colleen Fletcher and Geoffrey Robinson. Colleen’s predecessor Bob Ainsworth was even worse, serving as Defence Secretary during the War in Afghanistan. Jim Cunningham was the only Coventry Labour MP to vote against airstrikes – perhaps learning from his disastrous mistake of voting for the Iraq war.
One MP and Shadow Cabinet member, Hilary Benn, drew plaudits from Tories and New Labour MPs for its “articulate, passionate, elegant” call for airstrikes on Daesh. The sound of MPs cheering and shouting “splendid” in response was nauseating, as was Benn’s hypocrisy. Tory former Army Colonel Tim Collins described it as “a tour de force of Labour party and socialist thinking” – it was a Tory idea of how a Labour speech should be.
Just a few weeks ago on Remembrance Day, Benn spoke at a “Rising 15” peace event in Coventry alongside Blair’s henchman Gordon Brown, and a political advisor to the US Commanding General in the Iraq War.
He closed his speech at that event by stating “Human beings everywhere yearn for peace and if together we can make our politics work in the service of humankind then we will bring nearer the day on which that hope is realised.” His yearning for peace was not particularly evident when he pleaded with MPs to vote for airstrikes.
The air strikes will not solve the problems faced by the Syrian people. They are also unlikely to make working class people in the UK safer. People in the UK are understandably concerned about the risk of terrorism. However our lives will not be safer with another military adventure in the Middle East launched by the UK establishment. You only have to look at what has taken place in Iraq to see that war doesn’t make us any more secure.
New Labour MPs like Benn, Fletcher and Robinson oppose the anti-austerity, anti-war policies of Jeremy Corbyn. Fletcher and Robinson were both elected by working-class people in Coventry, many of whom want MPs who oppose cuts. Labour members overwhelmingly opposed airstrikes, and voted for an anti-war, anti-austerity leader with a massive mandate to carry out those policies.
MPs who supported the war have rightly been threatened with deselection. Coventry Socialist Party supports moves to deselect these MPs – we want to see Labour MPs who oppose austerity and war in actions, not just words. If, however, right-wing MPs like Colleen Fletcher stand as Labour candidates, we will continue to oppose them.