Less Is More


Thursday the BBC  (on 5Live at least) actually performed its task of reporting the events and considerations leading up to the vote on any attack on Syria with a fair degree of balance…though Seamus Milne and Labour’s Madeleine Moon I thought got off lightly without challenge to their anti-war stance.

Friday it all went pear shaped and normal service was resumed with the knives out for Cameron whilst Ed Miliband was being groomed for higher office.

Certainly a great deal of hyperbole in full flow from the BBC….

Nick Robinson on the Today programme stating:

‘For Parliament to defeat a Prime Minister on matters of peace and war is without modern precedent…the question is what does it mean?

First and foremost that Britain will not take part in any military attack on Syria.

The prime Minister has lost control of his own foreign and defence policy and as a result will cut a diminished figure on the international stage and the US may now question the value and reliability of Britain as an ally.

It is however here at home that David Cameron will feel the most pain.  The ruptures with his own party are back on public display.

Ed Miliband has been given the opportunity to disprove the claim that he is weak and he will walk taller as a result.

The repercussions of this vote could be felt for a very long time to come.’



Has Cameron ‘lost control of his own foreign and defence policy’?  

No…he elected to go for a vote when constitutionally he didn’t have to….his choice.  Apart from that isn’t it the role of Parliament to vote on legislation and government policies rather than to just act as a rubber stamp?

The fact is that control over any move to war was not ‘lost’ to parliament but to the likes of the BBC which has had an enormous influence on how the Iraq war is now seen by the Public and hence by politicians….foreign policy is now, at least partly, dictated by the BBC and how politicians think the BBC will react and report and comment on their decisions.

As for a ‘ defeat without modern precedent’ well that’s just a bit of over ripe rhetoric….the British were only going to provide a modest amount of military help to the US and the importance of this initial action and its potential impact was probably quite minimal with Assad unlikely to take much notice…depending of course on the scale of the US attacks.

Will the ‘repercussions be felt for a very long time to come’?  Doubtful….should Assad continue with mass murders, despite the assertion that there will be no military action in Syria, period, it is likely that a second attempt to get a yes vote on subsequent action might be possible and more successful.


But what is most interesting about Robinson’s piece is his reaction, or lack of, to Miliband who has proved shifty, without principle and opportunistic….so much so that Labour’s Dan Hodges has finally resigned in disgust at Miliband’s lack of character and backbone:

The truth about the Syria vote: Miliband changed his mind


Miliband was governed by narrow political interests – not those of Syrian children. I have left the Labour Party


Robinson doesn’t bother us with any analysis of Miliband’s dithering and general lack of honesty, nor for the reasons he changed his mind on supporting Cameron….only 20 minutes later do we get the comment that:  ‘This was a major set back for Cameron….but Ed Miliband’s position changed because he too was facing a pretty big rebellion from his own backbenchers.’


But that was it.  Miliband has got away with murder…or allowing Assad to continue to murder unchecked and a good portion of the blame can be layed at the door of the BBC for their campaign against the Iraq War and the pressure that puts on MPs to vote in a certain way….and Miliband is unchallenged in his new found role as honourable ‘peacemaker’ when in reality his position is one of convenient, opportunistic indecision and sloping shoulders.


John Humphrys added to the overwrought commentary and undue tone of great import:

‘It has been described as the greatest foreign policy defeat since Suez in 1956….the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, was the architect of that defeat.’


Personally I don’t think it was of such huge importance…nothing at all on the scale of Suez.  And didn’t Tony Blair get shunted out of office by his defeat over Israel and Lebanon?

The expected attack by the US and UK, and maybe France, would have been a minimal strike designed to make Assad think twice about usng chemical weapons…and that’s all.  For the UK to decide not to participate is hardly earth shattering.


Humphrys goes on to tell us that this has changed Britain’s role in the world…a very significant thing for Parliament to have done he claims.


Well….it’s a one off vote about a single issue….and even that vote could be reversed at a later date.

When challenged on his assertion…pointing out Libya for instance…Humphrys claims ‘that was then, this is now’.

Fundamentally, he tells us, British foreign policy has changed….we have  a new role in the world…of sitting back and doing nothing?

Well, yes….and this is now and tomorrow is another day and another decision which could be completely different.

Will we also have a new foreign policy then or merely something that adapts and changes with each new circumstance that arises as any sensible nation would adopt?

Humphrys goes onto say that Cameron’s ‘authority’ is diminished….again when challenged and told it was temporary Humphrys insisted that it was permanent.

Guess he has an agenda.


Nick Robinson is similarly excited:

‘This is not a one off…Parliament has used its power to rein in a Prime Minister and effect a  profound constitutional change…the genie cannot be put back in the bottle.’



As far as I can see this is a very minor political and military affair…one that should blow over in the normal course of events unless continually whipped up by Miliband with support from the likes of Robinson and Humphrys, unwitting or not.

The BBC (and the rest of course) has been giving this story a far greater significance than it merits….and has led them to draw all sorts  of conclusions that seem all too conveniently in line with their own politics….claiming this is highly damaging for Cameron whilst Miliband has risen Phoenix like from the ashes of his  more usual political roastings.


The reality is Cameron stood by his principles and allowed Parliament to take a vote on whether to go to war (of a very small kind) whilst Miliband dithered and changed his mind and took the line of least resistence rather than stand up and be counted even if he knew he would face defeat.


That is not a picture we get from the BBC at all.



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40 Responses to Less Is More

  1. nofanofpoliticians says:

    I think we are in one of those places where time will tell. I agree with much of what Alan says, but none of the leaders come out with much credit. The organisation around the Government on the night seems to have been pretty woeful, Miliband has behaved pretty dishonourably, and as far as I can tell Clegg was his normal wishy-washy self.
    But Cameron could come out of this much stronger at home at least. Many more pictures of children being napalmed and I think that tide will turn but only so long as Cameron continues with his pro-active approach in the area.
    Internationally, I think John Simpson was correct when he said on the BBC news last night that there are some americans who will not forget but that is always likely to tbe the case. He also said that in a month or two, this would all be forgotten as we will have moved along.
    For Miliband, a pattern of behaviour is developing, one of dithering and inability to make a decision, which let’s face it is not dissimilar to that of Obama.
    As for the BBC, they will just carry along their merry way of reporting one side of the news much more strongly than the other.


  2. Doublethinker says:

    As has been mentioned by the media , including the BBC, all of this will be forgotten by the public within a few weeks and cease to be of any importance. Those in the ‘Westminster Bubble’ including the BBC reporters,editors etc, may think that losing this vote does Cameron some harm, but no one else does. In fact, if it turns out that Assad now kills a lot more Syrians, it will be Ed Milliband who comes out of the whole thing much worse off. Already the BBC can’t decide how to handle what has happened, they are trying to do Cameron down for losing control and yet it is clear they really wanted the UK in on the attack, and so can’t support Milliband’s position 100% as they usually would. So what will they say if many more Syrian’s die? Surely they will have to heap opprobrium on Milliband’s head!!
    However, the BBC , politicians and the liberal left should understand that the British people have had enough of trying to police the world as though we were still a 19th century superpower. The liberal left/BBC should recognise that after decades of them saying that Britain was an oppressor who engaged in unjust wars and of Muslims killing our soldiers and threatening the UK because we did intervene, we have had enough. The rest of the world must look after itself and only if there is a clear and immediate direct threat to Britain’s interests will the British people support another intervention or war.


    • barlicker says:

      I think what the British people have had enough of is getting involved in the Islamic world’s endless supply of unresolvable conflicts. We intervene and we’re imperialists with blood on our hands inviting jihadi reprisals, we don’t intervene and we’re uninfluential, wimpish isolationists with blood on our hands inviting Jihadi reprisals. Leave them to it, nobody I’ve spoken to gives a toss. Now if the Spaniards were to invade Gibralter, that would be a different matter….


  3. will.duncan says:

    Alan’s removed a post by longtime commentator RCE pointing out the utter hypocrisy in this piece.

    Surprise. Alan has to remove any comments which disagree with his worldview!

    Alan replies: As usual from our resident troll….wrong. Just proves you do not read the posts.
    You’re on the wrong thread numbnuts.


  4. George R says:

    Politically, before the Westminster vote on Syria, INBBC was somewhat rather more sympathetic to the Syria opposition than to the Assad forces.

    The vote should serve as a reminder to INBBC not to take sides on Syria.

    Any atrocities by Assad forces must be reported, but there should be no censoring of the reporting of any atrocities of the ‘opposition’ side, which is not simply made up of ‘rebels’, but of various jihadists of Al Nusrah, and Al Qaeda too, including hundreds from Europe (and not least from Britain).

    It would be relevant for INBBC to report more than it does on the situation of e.g. Christians in Syria.


  5. capriole, peter says:

    “British intelligence had put the number of people killed in the attacks at more than 350. The U.S. report quadrupled the death toll to 1,429. Kerry said that more than 400 of them were children.”

    This is repeated all over the place right now, but what does this say about British Intelligence. I mean, smoking guns are one thing, but body counts? In the empirical world of facts, this surely must be something that they can get a handle on?
    I’m waiting for a BBC journalist to pick this up. Like the infamous dodgy dossier it is symptomatic of something, or is it just the American military way of “thumbs on maps”?
    Somebody called Aaron Miller, a White House staffer, was interviewed on BBC radio Today this morning and he said “When the law is not on your side-marshall the facts”. Why the massive discrepency here, and how are we supposed to understand “high certainty” now when “facts” are quadrupled like this?

    Cameron has been out-smarted, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) report is way off, how could this be? But the BBC are letting it alone.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      A White House mouthpiece actually said, “When the law is not on your side, marshal the facts”? Christ almighty what a giveaway.


  6. AsISeeIt says:

    The British public were not keen for us to be further embrolied in Syria – that is apart from a small caucus of the Arab ex-pat community very promently reported on the BBC.

    Did you notice how Jeremy Bowen, having licked his Egyptian wounds, had snuck into Damasus? Priority : report on misdirected Allied bombs.

    US policy was in any case a muddle with Obama droning on about so called ‘red lines’ and then trapped into action of some sort however useless it may be by his own gaffe.

    The situation was also a trap for Cameron (see above).

    Miliband may have let the PM off the hook – I wonder who will really look the fool in a couple of weeks from now?


    • #88 says:

      There are bound to be misdirected bombs that the BBC will report…even if there aren’t.

      And Miliband’s behaviour will give Assad plenty of time to get his human shield’s in place.

      Miliband has proved himself to be an unprincipled opportunist. Every concession that Cameron made pushed Miliband further away from his initial position of agreeing to support Cameron. Miliband was working for his own benefit – don’t forget that he issued his amendment before the Government had actually published theirs.

      And having been presented with compelling evidence by the US, even this is not good enough, he is still shifting his ground wanting a UN resolution (which Cameron had already agreed to) but he knows that his friends in the Kremlin will not agree on, or reports from the weapons inspectors (which Cameron had already agreed to) which surprise, surprise will say that chemical weapons had been used.

      God help this country if this bastard ever becomes Prime Minister. Of course, if the pathetic interview of John Pienaar’s with Miliband last night is anything to go by, the BBC will do nothing whatsoever to hold him to account.


    • Ian Hills says:

      If the US does launch those Tomahawks let’s hope no “misdirected Allied bombs” fall on Bowen, eh?

      After all, he’d only spread a rumour around Hell that they were fired from Israel.


  7. DJ says:

    It’s certainly a defeat for Cast Iron Dave but things aren’t much better for the BBC.

    Even if we ignore the BBC’s constant depiction of the war as a battle between plucky rebel freedom fighters and Darth Assad, look at what was the main problem with the Dave position.

    His Majesty King David claimed the right to bomb some people in order to achieve something in pursuit of some unspecified ends. Never can a more slippery resolution have been placed before the house, and yet the BBC addressed none of this before the vote. In a few hours backbench MPs raised more issues with this plan that our ‘watchdog’ state broadcaster had in weeks.


    • Dave s says:

      A hopeful sign that the nation is moving towards implementing the doctrine of seperationism with respect to the Islamic world and in particular the ME.
      About time. It can only benefit both parties. The West and the Islamic world. The latter can pursue whatever course it likes provied it does not threaten the West and the West can put it’s survival and self interest first.
      The only way a clash of civilisations can be avoided is to create a world in which it is unlikely to occur. Seperation is the best answer.
      Some might say this is a doctrine of despair but it could be a doctrine rooted in a realistic perception of human nature and reality.


  8. George R says:

    In contrast to BBC-NUJ, Quentin Letts, re-Ed Miliband-

    “A slippery hypocrite no one can trust again”




  9. Alistair Watson says:

    While the Conservatives need to review what happened to their vote, and indeed seem to be, there is a noticeable lack of interest in the Labour vote. Needless to say the BBC is the least interested. A cynic could easily imagine a chain of events that shone a light on just who controls the Labour Party and in whose interest.
    Miliband’s conversations with Cameron prior to the vote were either dishonest or he was not in control of his party, dishonesty would be easier for him to live with.
    Its widely accepted that UNITE and their fellow travelers control the purse strings, Labour MP’s offices and the selection process, name A Labour MP who will stand against that even if they wanted to. The question then is who benefited from the Labour position, we only need to look at the international press reports to note who is laughing up their sleeves.
    Why is Miliband being allowed to escape close examination?


  10. Rtd Colonel says:

    What is also missing is the fact that Milliband’s amendment was also voted down – so both leaders failed to deliver – increasingly it looks like on the coalition side down to the incompetence of the whips and downright treachery and futureproofing of reputations – Greening et al wanting to have their cake and eat it: on the labour side Big Ed would have had half a dozen resignations from the shadow cabinet and lost anyway so a no brainer if he wanted to keep his job, couldn’t keep his promise of support – so if anything cameron probably in stronger position. All that being said – correct outcome arrived at – not our fight; special relationship biggest crock of sh@@ that any PR man came up with – Lend lease – we paid through the nose, Suez – shafted, Starfighter sales – corrupt shafting of UK aerospace industry, Ira funding/non extradition, Grenada, and under the almighty one we have the persecution of “British Petroleum”, “Malvinas”, Churchill bustgate, “must stay in EU”. Why are we always so delusional about our special friends. Grow a pair vote UKIP to place the british interest first


    • Maturecheese says:

      Couldn’t agree more.


    • Ian Hills says:

      How I’d love to see Prime Minister Nigel Farage lead the repeal of the European Communities Act, and then hiccup “bollocks” to an irate BBC interviewer, before collapsing in the studio, drunk as usual and fag in hand.

      Perhaps Foreign Secretary Godfrey Bloom would remind Merkel to clean behind the fridge after we leave – and tell Obama that we should have strung up his Mau-Mau terrorist grandfather (the one from Bongo-Bongo Land).


  11. F*** The Beeb says:

    Vote UKIP in 2015.


    • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

      Dont let 2014 go past you.

      The Euros are in 2014, and our best chance to make an impact .


    • #88 says:

      ‘Vote UKIP in 2015.’

      What has that got to do with BBC bias?


      • Stewart says:

        I’ll vote UKIP because of it
        Does that help?


      • Mat says:

        No idea! Ukip has a chance to help so they should be kicking the hell out of Labour and trying winning over Conservatives but they seem to be doing it the other way round ??


      • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

        Fuck! I usually put a disclaimer into the things i post, saying, a troll will be along soon to say, ” wheres the bbc bias?”
        Now some troll appears, and i didnt get the disclaimer in.
        Am I bothered? Nahhhh…….


  12. dave1east says:

    talk about normal service – have a look at his
    it draws you in expecting criticism of millibabanas to balance that of dave, and then turns into a hat tip for the labour leader, his guardian article, and diane abbott ffs

    `Doctor criticises Miliband over MPs’ vote` – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23909554


    • Guest Who says:

      I’m still getting my head around the headline.
      Who next in the BBC ‘Big Book of Gobs For Hire with Impressing Sounding Qualifications’ are they going to wheel out next to pretend have a go at some story or other?
      They did seem to like the sound of Ms. Rola’s title, given the way they shoe-horned it in every sentence.
      Still getting Doctor/Abbott action later on was a mental picture too far.


  13. chrisH says:

    Heard Any Questions this lunchtime.
    The usual disgrace-witness the baying crowds, what gets applauded, what gets heckled, who gets the interruptions and who gets the cloaks thrown down at their feet as they sweep by with platitudes, cliches and a complete beak from all they`ve ever said and done previously.
    There was a Tory, Shirley Williams, Dianne Abbott and Nigel Farage-two of these got heckled, got other panellists queasy words thrown at them by way of accusation…and got interrupted by Mick Robinson and ball bearings lobbed at their feet continually.
    Two others got that BBC applause, cheers, whoops and hollers-respectful silences from Robinson as they spoke in “stateswomanlike ways”…and were allowed to talk crap as they liked.
    Oh heck-I`ve given the game away haven`t I “stateswoman” indeed.
    Still-you might not have guessed who the BBC, Robinson and his hand reared audience stoolies chose to cheer-and who to sneer.
    They`ve got to go-but when?
    Need Craigs formula for confirming the lazy residual bias of ALL that the BBC choose to feed us, like it or not…the Robinson Interruption Index or something.


  14. Adi says:

    Has Cameron ‘lost control of his own foreign and defence policy’?

    Allow me to rephrase: Has Obama ‘lost control of his own foreign and defence policy’?

    Truth is: nobody trusts or supports King Obamessiah international adventures anymore. Not even the British lefties. This is not a defeat for Cameron, not by far.


  15. Mike says:

    Newsnight on Friday evening was relatively even handed, but Diane Abbot was allowed to claim (unchallenged of course) that strikes were planned for this weekend and those who voted against the motion were worried about a rush to war. Either she is divulging classified information or just talking rubbish. Gavin Esler didn’t seem to care either way. I actually think in the long run this harms Labour far more than Cameron. No-one will remember this defeat in 2015, but asking the electorate who would better protect British interests will unlikely favour Milliband.


  16. stuart says:

    it makes me sick,and i mean sick when these commies and lefties like ed the red milliband and the stop the war coalition bozos try try claim they stopped the bombing of of the only decent muslim leader in the middle east president assad who is beating the crap out of these al qaeda sickos as there victory against the west.you commies are sick bastards and you know it,you was all for bombing the crap out of serbia and kosovo when them countrys was fighting a against islamic extremists and al qeada,i for one supports president assads war against the terrorist scum al qaeda and in fact i would urge barack obama bomb and destroy the al qaeda lines in syria who are turning that country into a islamic bloodbath of hatred and sharia law.


  17. frk says:

    no1.80,000 orthodox russian christians live in syria.no2. the city of aleppo in syria has russias biggest military base the middle east.i need say no more


  18. The PrangWizard of England says:

    Obama said he’d bomb the place, – but not just yet, he’d like to get Congress to back him, because he believes in democracy and the will of the people. Funny that, is he taking the lead from us! BBC view on that? Can he get it quickly?
    And then he’d decide when, next week, next month, sometime – never?
    Sounded tough and moral etc. etc.. but didn’t strike me as anything more than rhetoric, yet the BBC is going overboard, not just them though.
    I wish we could get some sensible analysis. He will surely need to wait for some other event before lobbing some bombs in if there’s a delay, he surely can’t choose some quiet Sunday morning when he’s bored, would he go for a Friday, when they all be down the mosque, but then if nothing much happens after a couple of quiet weeks, will he choose a media moment? But he needs to act soon, if it all goes quiet he does nothing for while on this one it will appear vindictive rather than noble.
    Don’t like the sound of it.
    I’m glad we’ve broken with America, we’ve sucked up to them for donkey’s years. We’ll have to watch our backs more than usual, on the Falklands for example, as they’ll attempt to get revenge, sucking up for years will have given us nothing in the bank of goodwill.