Syria: What is it that Cameron 'gets'?


"I get it" says the Prime Minister - but what exactly is it that he gets ?

First, that British public and parliamentary opinion simply does not have the stomach for another military intervention.

For months at home and abroad he has made the case that Syria risked not being another Iraq but another Bosnia - in other words a war that the West should be ashamed for not intervening in.

In theory he could have tried again even after last night's defeat but instead he's concluded that Parliament has given its final verdict on the issue.

He knows that defeat in a motion specifically authorising military action - which last night's did not - could be politically terminal, as against merely humiliating and wounding.

What Mr Cameron also gets is that there is now a significant section of his party so independent or so irreconcilable that they will vote against him whatever the consequences.

What's more, he understands - if he didn't before - that his opponent Ed Miliband can be politically ruthless.

What troubles the Prime Minister and those around him more, though, is the question of whether Britain has lost the appetite to be America's most reliable ally. The thought of America attacking Syria with French and not British support pains them.

George Osborne says it's time for some national soul searching. That's already begun inside Downing Street.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    in other words Iraq made this decision..experience of ***gw*** made this

    moot...I say wait ty

    UK public--4 taking a chance on reason

    I dislike putin but maybe hes rational

    (doubt it)

    Obama is saved

    Someone up there loves Obama

    All is bull, when one thinks of it...

    ty UK public from an American

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Children are being hit with chemical weapons and we (uk)as one of the most powerful nation in the world stand by?
    For far to long people like you who seem to care more for the plight of badgers than your fellow man or child seem to have the ear of media and weak MP's
    I and many like me who do have the time to post this kind of stuff and hound their MP's expected parliament to back our elected PM .

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    A question. Why was a vote held before intel reports were formal? It seems a bit odd. A vote is a decision that has to be executed on some hard facts. I can't believe anyone outside the cabinet could have had any hard facts. It all seems very messy and confusing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    In 2010 the LibDemswere perhaps obliged to joining the Tories in Coalition, in tne context of market hysteria, to back the Tory solution to the Tory electioneering crisis

    A delayed recovery now beginning to 'build', with exposure of a catastrophic deficit in confidence on our defence & security, the LibDems could render another service, leaving the Coalition to precipite an early General Election

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    And Nick Clegg was woeful in the wind up.

    How many voted against the Govt because of his poor performance. If anyone was on the fence before they weren't once he finished speaking.

    Cameron only has himself to blame. He might have got it through if he had waited for the UN inspectors to actually report.

    Tory whips failed too - P Bone said no one contacted him and he wasn't the only one

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    For 10 years Saddam Hussein fought Iran and we the West backed him to the hilt. He consistently used Chemical Weapons against Iran and what did we do (Nothing). Who supplied them to him? This is why Tony Blair and Bush knew he had them, so where did they go and where are they now. As Cameron has found out we have no Moral High Ground. Well done the British Public, and more than half the MP's

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Defeated! I don`t think so, after a hung parliament in 2010 Cameron knows that respecting the will of the public, or appearing to do, will be beneficial to Britain in the long run. Intelligent politics if you ask me, when considering this situation in the context.

    Cohesion is more important then this single conflict. I just hope that the UK will do all it can to respond politically.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    George Osbourne clearly doesn't know that the time for "national soul searching" occurred about five decades ago. Britain has to "get" - to use Cameron's term - that it's relevance as an empire, whether geographically or otherwise, has long gone. Too much political energy is expended on trying to maintain a position of world relevance when at home the 'broken society' of Rome continues to burn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I'm astonished to see that anyone feels that either Hague or Clegg are anything other than busted flushes. The Lib-Dems have had a taste of power and nothing is going to stop them relishing it for as long as it can be made to last - least of all any vestige of principle. Hague is yesterday's Nearly Man, a more intelligent version of IDS - if you're confusing that with IBS, you're not all wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    30 Tories voted against and 31 abstained e.g. J Redwood who spoke, didn't attend or pretended not to hear the bell - J Greening - a pathetic excuse when everyone knew there were going to be 2 votes

    But looking at the division lists there were lots who voted against who are not part of the usual suspects - Sir Peter Tapsell is no rebel !

    How long before the whispers start 'Cam has to go' ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Well said Tony Dang, and well done Britain, Great to actually see democracy working so well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    At least Cameron accepted the will of the British People and finished with some credibility still intact, more than can be said for Clegg and Hague. As for America their voters are being ignored by their leaders and strange how the amount of people killed in the so called Gas attack are rising steeply especially the number of children. Is his name Pinnochio kerry?


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