Dan, you have set out your stall to the killing of more innocent civilians and for me and my wife Janet, you will always be remembered for this and not for the many good things that you have done since you were elected as a Barnsley MP. You, as a soldier should know that despite all the fairy stories about ‘smart’ bombs, innocent people will be killed in Syria because of your decision. That is the way of bombing from aircraft as demonstrated in every war since the beginning of airstrikes. Nothing has changed. This is sad and unfortunate as far as we are concerned as we admire the progress made in Barnsley from your efforts as our MP, but we have our principles especially when it comes to war and the killing of innocent victims caught up in war. We are satisfied however, that we can hold our heads up high say to our grandchildren that the decision to go to War and join in the bombing is NOT IN OUR NAME and that you do NOT speak for us no matter what your record in other activities says about you.
Some of the fathers, mothers and children of these innocent victims that you have given the green light for British aircraft to pour bombs upon have managed to risk their lives in escaping to the UK with a few from Syria ending up in Barnsley as asylum seekers. Like you, I have had the honour and privilege of listening to their stories of the horror of terrorism, civil war and the bombing from above including the forces of the West. They, like the bombs that destroy their lives do not differentiate between friend and foe – all they see and feel is suffering and pain as well as a future of no hope. By voting for a continuation of the bombing you are making their misery continue without apparent end. I feel proud that me and my colleagues have been able to help our Red Cross migrants in their hour of need and I feel proud that Barnsley has welcomed them in the usual fine tradition of an ex-mining town with all the principles that entails. Today they told me that the bombing by the UK would not solve anything but endanger the people of Syria who have had enough of both the regime and the forces of opposition including the terrorists. They also state that more bombs would only create more migrants. I have no reason to doubt them.
I can tell you that I have apologised to them today for the actions of their own Labour Party MP’s across the UK including Barnsley and that these MP’s have sought to undermine the majority of their members and their leader. A leader elected by a huge majority on the principles he put forward. As well as this Janet and I cannot help but think that there could be an element of plotting against Jeremy Corbyn, the first genuine and principled socialist that we have had for many years and whose honest no nonsense views have resulted in a huge rebirth and restoration of the Labour Party that was withering on the vine before the leadership contest.
It is with huge sorrow and not a little anger that we followed your seemingly plausible and reasoned argument for bombing. I have to say that although you support a peaceful and negotiated settlement through the UN, the fact that you have chosen to use bombs as a supplement to this process does not excuse your decision in the slightest. Killing is killing Dan despite your ‘honourable’ and studied motives as they could be described in choosing violence as a one means to solving the violence of ISIS as if violence was normal in a package of solutions to a complicated problem. In our opinion that is the most ignorant and stupid way to solve any argument and is an admission of failure by our elected representatives in an area that we have been involved for many years usually ending in force through arms to bring ‘foreigners to heel’. History has proven, however, the massive mistake of going to war in Iraq, Afghanistan and the pouring of tons of bombs on Libya, hailed a huge success by the Tories but now seen as another failure by British politicians as that country plunges into even more violence.
You have chosen to be part of that continuing failure because you have not learned the lessons of history as if this is a ‘special case’ and history starts with bombing Syria! What arrogance this appears! Britain is no longer the power it was in the pre colonial days even although Cameron may desire to elevate Britain to a position that is of little interest to working people striving to survive in the age of austerity. I fear, with great sorrow, that once again we will have to go through the experience of taking another wrong turn before we once again realise the error of our ways. We should not have fallen into the Tory and Cameron trap of raising our profile among the great powers through the bombing of Syria.
Karl Marx said that history repeats itself – “the first as tragedy, then as farce” That quote is most appropriate in this case, in our opinion.
There is also another very practical reason why you should not have voted for war, Dan you have recently visited Scotland and you are aware of the huge gap between Labour and the SNP. Recent polls show 70% of Scots do not support the bombing of Syria. Our one Scottish MP gallantly voted in favour of the will of the Scots as did the SNP. The fact that many English Labour MP’s voted for the bombing and completely ignored the will of Scottish people is a huge body blow to the efforts of our activists in Scotland in trying to close the huge gap between us and the SNP. The SNP must be rubbing their hands in glee at another huge mistake by Labour and they could increase the gap once again because of the rank stupidity of those who voted for war.
Finally (from Richard) despite the adulation of the press, the Tories and the Blairite right wing of the Labour Party over Hilary Benn’s speech (reminding me of Tony Blair before Iraq) this decision to increase the bloodshed in Syria is an own goal of enormous proportion by the Tories ably supported by you and your colleagues and will cost us dearly in the future. I do not relish this fact and I despair at our lack of intelligence and principle in this matter.
I am afraid to say that as it stands at present, and with the enormous seriousness of the issue, I can no longer shake your hand or support you as our MP in Central ward Dan knowing that you have blood on your hands. Incidentally that goes for our other Barnsley MP’s (thank goodness for the sanity and principles of John Healey MP, a man of honour ). As a Unite activist, a long standing socialist within the Labour Party and an adviser and friend to our migrant members I would be rightly classed as a hypocrite (if I did shake your hand).
Richard, and Janet Vivian
Central Ward and Unite Community
(In a personal capacity)