I get the routine. Everyone out there who is any way moderate should back Owen Smith over Corbyn. Just look the other way when Smith says something silly; when he comes across as “Corbyn if Corbyn had any respect for parliamentary democracy whatsoever” and nothing more; but there is a line in the sand and Owen Smith crossed it yesterday for me.
Here’s the relevant quote:
“My view is that, ultimately, all solutions to these international crises do come about through dialogue, so eventually if we are to try to solve this all of the actors do need to be involved. But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating. At some point for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table.”
Okay, look, here’s the deal – ISIS cannot be negotiated with. I’m all for dialogue and particularly dialogue before shooting, but there are limits to this. Beyond the fact that ISIS is a murderous death cult bent on creating a warped version of the ancient caliphates, let’s look at Smith’s proposition from a purely logistical angle. In international diplomacy terms, if you invite certain actors to a round of peace talks you have then legitimised that group. You have also set out a situation in which there will be some form of compromise with that group – and more importantly, that said group will get something out of the negotiation. That’s the whole point of negotiating – that all sides will hopefully come to a peaceful and lasting arrangement based on mutual obtainment of certain goals. Therefore, Owen Smith is basically saying that there is a set of circumstances in which we’d all be fine with ISIS governing some part of the Middle East, however small, so long as they stayed on their own, now internationally recognised patch.
Is this really what the Left has come to? When we think such a thing as allowing a medieval horror show that throws people off of buildings to have an international recognised right to govern a country – any country? More importantly, that sanctioning the creation of a country just for them to rule on the basis of some sort of least bad case scenario is throwing in the towel on a better world for the foreseeable future?
I would still urge you to vote for Owen Smith over Jeremy Corbyn if you have a right to vote in the up coming Labour leadership contest. This is the one time when saying that I would vote for a rubbish bin over a particular candidate can be taken completely literally (at least you could get the rubbish bin to step down when it wasn’t an effective leader of the opposition). But man, Owen Smith makes himself hard to like sometimes.
I was stunned. And for once, when faced with an open goal, Corbyn converted and looked statesmanlike. I say again, such a complete fiasco that *even Corbyn* hit the target.
Yes, Owen, you should win if Labour members fancy being in goverment anytime soon. But walking this one back is hard.
But surely he can’t possibly have meant that, can he? Surely this must just have been his mouth running ahead of his brain?
Matt (Bristol) says
I can see that you can (arguably) say something like –
‘ISIL are a murderous death cult, and we support the legitimate governments of the Middle East in their campaign to regain government of their own territory from ISIL.
However, it is worth considering whether those governments could in the future achieve that aim via negotiation, as at times in the past in Afghanistan, rather than via all out war. We all of us in this country should share a vision of the Middle East based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law and encourage Middle East nations to that end. Permanent war in the Middle East does not serve that end.
But that is based on ISIL recognising the legitimacy of the governments of the territories they have despoiled, and consenting to work with a common framework with those governments, as a movement within society and not an alternative theocratic state dedicated to terrorism, appropriation and social disruption. We are very far away from that at this time and they should not expect to deal legitimately with legitimate nations without that recognition.’
That would be, well, naieve, but not outrageous or causing any international incidents.
That is clearly not what he said. If Corbyn had said what Smith said, it would be on every tabloid front page for weeks.
I don’t think it makes much difference who wins the Labour leadership. The party’s membership is clearly more interested in maintaining their ideological purity than appealing to voters or addressing their concerns.
Owen Smith’s pitch – as ideological as Corbyn, but competent – does nothing to address this. He may slow their decline a bit, but I have seen nothing to suggest that he is either willing or able to turn around hos party’s fortunes.
We should be hammering home the fact that Smith gets the headlines, but if not for Ed Miliband of all people, we’d have attacked the Assad regime in 2013, which would have placed us on the same side as the Islamic State. Then, this government can’t do enough to appease the Islamic State of Saudi Arabia, and how are they any different to the Islamic State of the Levant?
The proposals Shameron brought forward in 2015 weren’t any better because they ignored reality, the reality that the 70000 moderate rebels are mostly jihadists or unfit for the tasks we were told they would perform. Unpleasant as they are, Assad and Iran are on the right side of this issue and it becomes clearer by the day that we should have worked with moderate Iranians after 9/11 to defeat international Sunni terrorists of the kind that the Islamic State of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State of Turkey support. We need to ally with our 21st century Stalins to defeat our 21st century Hitlers.
Citizen Smith is a bellend and Comrade Corbyn is possibly even worse, but we must demand that the Tories not be viewed as statesmen by anyone.