PMQs Verdict: Syria, Redux

September 4, 2013 1:46 pm

The two leaders may have been sat opposite each other today for the first PMQs of the year, but they couldn’t bear to look at each other.

That’s half right anyway – specifically Cameron couldn’t bear to look at Miliband. Hatred is perhaps an overused word in politics, but it’s probably not an over exaggeration to say that Cameron hates Miliband, and for what it’s worth, I don’t suspect Miliband is especially keen on Cameron either.

A “F**king c**t’? A “copper bottomed s**t”? Those words may not have come from the Prime Minister’s mouth but I’m sure they have rattled around his head in recent days, and such sentiments shone through in today’s almost hypnotically passive aggressive display.

But despite all that, and despite the events of the past week, the two leaders managed – just about – to have a mature conversation about Syria and the potential options for a non-military way forward for Britain in the conflict.

If only such basic decorum could have prevailed last week.

There is a clear majority in the house for – at the very least – keeping intervention against Assad on the table if the evidence is clear and the action is limited. We know that from the voting records of Labour and government MPs last week. And we know that if Cameron and Miliband had been able to put aside their differences (my preference, unsurprisingly, would have been for the government accepting Labour’s amendment) either before, during or immediately after the Syria debate last week, then the sensible position of maintaining the choice – however unlikely – of exercising military action at a later date, could have been kept on the table.

Instead, Miliband and Cameron were passive aggressive but borderline civil to each other. But a week too late.

  • Steve Stubbs

    Sure, never rule out any option. But remember, this is a civil war between two factions of Islam, both of which have a significant presence in THIS country. Do we really want to take sides?

  • Matthew Blott

    Mark, I admire your loyalty (and I’m not being disparaging when I say that) but over this episode it seems pretty tired. I suspect (and dearly hope) it was more cock up than conspiracy on Miliband’s part but the spectacle of Labour MPs seeming just a bit too pleased with themselves while the carnage continues left a very bitter taste. The events last week are turning out to be a lot bigger than we first realised and I actually think it’s proving to be quite a pivotal moment in Ed Miliband’s leadership. There’s some interesting thoughts on the fallout here

  • Matthew Blott


  • rekrab

    What else is driving the Syrian crisis? where is the West weakest at this present time? “economics” the American dollar and the Euro, inclusive of the sterling pound are in a dire state, Russia, China, Iran all know this and Asia is more than aware of this to.

    China can buy all the oil and Gas Russia can produce in ruples, and Iran is selling it’s oil for Gold? think about it? Russia is the second biggest exporter of oil and gas in the world, the Asian market now has the power to push the dollar and Euro into the abyss.

    Is it all about WMD’s? I’m not convinced? with the flick of a switch the EASTERN SIDE OF THE WORLD can reverse the power of wealth from East to West and that’s just about effective as an economic nuclear attack.

    I can hope and pray, this isn’t the case but all the facts and pointers are out there, it’s unstoppable and the build up in the med is most probably the start of a far wider war.

  • markfergusonuk

    You think I’m being loyal by saying that Miliband should – and could – go back and try again for military action in future? Even though he’s ruled that out?


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