A Tale of Two Benns

Look Left

Tony Benn used to carry a small tape recorder to record every exchange he had with the media, no matter how trivial, so exasperated had he become with being deliberately misquoted and misrepresented. I have often wondered whether Jeremy Corbyn should do the same. After the ‘grand finale’ of the Syria debate, however, it occurred to me that Hillary Benn could safely leave any such gadget at home.

The debate showcased some of the best and worst of the Parliamentary process. The central hours included the best. Contributions from all sides were listened to with consideration and respect – with some of the most impressive arguments coming from dissenting voices on the Conservative benches.

The tone changed dramatically however when the vote drew near and the chamber re-filled with those previously absent – arriving with all the decorum of friends late to a party because they’d spent too long in…

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You want a seven point plan to destroy ISIS? Here it is.

Some interesting points:

Marc Itzler - Freelance Writer

Ive been just a little frustrated by the somewhat passive approach of the anti-bombing Syria movement at the moment.

It’s as though we are all responding to David Cameron’s seven-point plan with either acceptance or rejection, without much detail of what we should be doing instead.

There are a few vague references to the Vienna negotiations around Syria’s future and some doubt about ground forces that will confront Isis.

I do not understand why the main opposition has not formulated and laid out a very clear alternative to air strikes both in Syria and Iraq for that matter.

What I am interested in is a new plan, a new narrative, clearly laid out by the those that seek an alternative to fighting fire with fire.

Cameron’s plan is at best incoherent and at worst, a blatant admission that he is not a leader but instead, is bound by those who put him in power to…

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Readers’ Letters: Goodbye, Guardian



In the first post of a new section, we publish the letter of an (ex-)Guardian reader, detailing the reasons he bid goodbye to his former paper of choice. As yet the Guardian has not printed this letter, nor replied to the writer. If you have had similar experiences, or have written any letters that you have sent, or wish to send, to the Guardian – feel free to submit them to us at submissions@offguardian.org.

Dear Guardian

First off, I want to thank you for being the main source of my news for the past 20 plus years. Now 31, I have been an avid reader of the newspaper since I was a wee boy. Admittedly I no longer buy a copy everyday (along with the observer) as I rarely have the time to sit down and read the entire thing, but I still do on average three times a…

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Six points to remember about the true origins of the Syria crisis as Europe obediently lines up for war with Russia.

A very interesting article:



As France, the UK and now Germany obediently line up for war with Russia, feel free to send these to anyone who asks you “but do you think we should just let ISIS keep beheading people?”

1. Bashar al Assad’s secular government in Syria is a major obstacle to US/NATO ambitions to fragment the Middle East, exploit its resources and further encircle Russia, as delineated in several policy documents.

2. US/NATO planned to invade Syria and remove Assad in 2013, and used his alleged use of chemical weapons in Ghouta as an excuse. But the plan was thwarted when a) the chemical weapon attacks were found to have likely been done by western-backed “rebels.” and b) Russia intervened diplomatically to negotiated the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks, thus making any military action unnecessary.

3.US/NATO response to this was to develop ISIS (one of their several proxy jihadist…

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No More ‘Shock and Awe’

Well said:


Dr Guy Baily, NHA nominating officer and executive committee member, gives a personal view on Syria.

NHA policies, when not directly about the provision of health care, are almost always rooted in the wider social determinants of health. There is no doubt that all types of warfare have catastrophic effects on public health. The bar, for military interventions to be acceptable, must always be a very high one. In my view it has not been reached for the Syrian bombing campaign. The recent history of Western military interventions is of a series of calamities.  The reasons why they are so liable to go wrong have been well rehearsed and it should be possible to learn from them.  I suggest that before becoming violently embroiled in other people’s countries, a few conditions have to be met:

1) There must be a humanitarian crisis which cannot be resolved by other means

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