Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

In July 2007, less than a week after succeeding Tony Blair as prime

minister, Gordon Brown had announced a series of sweeping

constitutional changes that he said would make the British government

“a better servant of the people”. One measure – clearly a response to the

deeply unpopular war in Iraq and the calamitous and costly expedition

into Helmand – was to give members of parliament the final say on

declarations of war.

Six years later, in August 2013, parliament exercised its new right when

MPs rejected a government motion that would have authorised military

intervention in Syria’s bloody civil war.


Ministers of the coalition government were appalled by the vote – it was said

to be the first against a British prime minister’s foreign policy since 1782 –

and argued that it not only blocked the deployment of British troops, it also

prevented the UK from providing any military assistance whatsoever.

“It is clear to me,” Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons,

“that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does

not want to see British military action. I get that and the government will

act accordingly.”

But those words – “act accordingly” – were not quite what they seemed.

In July 2015, the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, gave MPs an update

on the renewed military operations in Iraq – the campaign that Cameron

had announced while standing before two union jack flags and declaring

the British to be “a peaceful people”. The RAF, he said, had carried out

300 air strikes in Iraq, there were 900 UK personnel engaged, and the


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