Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I very recently joined the Labour Party because I believed that you would be driven by your conscience and convictions, rather than merely seek sympathetic headlines in far-right newspapers.

I think that war is always a very great evil. I think that civilized countries should only resort to war when there is literally no alternative. There are obviously alternatives to bombing Syria.

No-one has made it clear what such a war would be likely to achieve. And if the country is as bankrupt as we keep being told, we can't afford it anyway.

Ten years ago, those of us who opposed the war in Iraq were called cowards and traitors by the same right-wingers who want to have another war next week. Today absolutely everyone (even Mr Blair, I think) agrees that the Iraq war was a terrible mistake. Ten years from now any bombing of Syria will be regarded as a similarly catastrophic error. Whatever happens next week, you can be sure that people will be saying "Jeremy was right" for years to come.

I don't want to live in a one party state, where only one voice (the voice of the Daily Mail) is permitted, and where anyone who speaks out against a war or an economic policy is branded a traitor or a communist by both parties. The job of the opposition is to oppose -- that is, to constructively critique the government. So it is important that the Labour Party oppose this crazy war even -- especially -- if the crazy war goes ahead. If both sides of the House of Commons support the crazy war, then the millions of us who oppose it are simply denied a voice, a say, a stake in the decision.

I think that Cameron's war, like Blair's war, will turn out to be a reckless waste of money and lives that will only make matters much worse. I think that you and the other moderates who think that war is only ever a last resort should stick to your consciences. Do not let the extremists in your own party and the far-right press who think that bombs are the solution to everything derail you.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write to me; stay in touch.


Read: "Je Suis Andrew"

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