Has another historically wrong decision been reached concerning the approval to extend airstrikes into Syria? Regardless, this generation is letting it be known that Parliament is alone on this one

 

On the 24th of October, 1945 the United Nations Charter was passed and the words of the charter stated: ‘We the people of the United Nations determine to save future generations … from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has caused untold suffering to mankind’. Is history repeating itself?

Never has politics been so volatile. The night of the 2nd of December, 2015 will forever be remembered as the night that the British Government fell on its promises for a second time in recent history.

Less than 24 hours after the vote students from Exeter and Falmouth University marched through the centre of Falmouth protesting against the decision to extend British airstrikes into Syria, a move much bemoaned by voters young and old. Numbering around 250 the march wove its way through the centre of Falmouth, around the outskirts and back through the centre again growing as it paced along to the cheers of those involved

‘Not in our name!’ was the message shouted, the statement directed not only to the general public but to Westminster as well.  There was a sense of anger in the air. These students wanted to make clear that they do not condone the use of airstrikes in Syria.

Falmouth may be a small town three hundred miles from Parliament but what this protest symbolizes matters more than its humble size. This generation has a voice, a voice that it wants to be heard wherever it decides to perch and wherever it decides to call home as it is forced out of the cities. Cornwall has always been a rebellious county and so it is fitting that one of the first protests post-vote should happen in a town where so many rebels made their countenance known.

Looking at this pivotal vote, it asks more questions than it answers. The government may have given a decision over its foreign policy but this vote raises deeper questions about its national policy. Why was the country not consulted? Why was there not a referendum? After all it is the civilians of this country and not just the civilians of Iraq and Syria who will be affected by these airstrikes. In a poll, over 50 per cent of the people asked said they disagreed with the policy of extending RAF airstrikes into Syria.

There are ramifications for both sides. This was put in no better a way than in a speech by Tony Benn, a man who has experienced the Blitz of 1940. In an address to Parliament twelve years ago when involvement in Iraq was being discussed he put simply: ‘Aren’t Arabs terrified? Aren’t Iraqis terrified? … Doesn’t bombing strengthen their determination? What fools we are …’.

What fools indeed. History does, it seems, like to run us in circles.