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Britain’s failure to intervene in Syria is ‘shameful’ says Labour MP John Woodcock

12 March 2014

2:00 PM

12 March 2014

2:00 PM

One of the more remarkable exchanges of today’s PMQs was the intervention by John Woodcock towards the end of the session. He surprised colleagues by calling the failure to intervene in Syria ‘shameful’:

‘This week marks three years since the bloodshed began in Syria. More than two and a half million people have fled the country and the dead can no longer even be counted. We must all bear responsibility for our shameful failure to intervene. But they are supposed to be the ones – they are supposed to be the ones running the country. So what renewed effort will his government make to end the slaughter before all hope fails?’

It’s worth noting that Woodcock supported Labour’s amendment but did not vote on the government motion on Syria. But afterwards, Labour sources were asked what they made of the suggestion that failure to intervene was ‘shameful’. A source replied: ‘We stopped the rush to war… it was David Cameron who took military action off the table.’


This is strange: Labour voted against the government motion, which led to David Cameron ruling out military action. Yet Miliband’s aides seemed to be suggesting that they were disappointed that he had ruled out military action in those dramatic late night scenes in the Commons. They also reminded us that the Labour leader supported action in Libya, arguing that military action should be taken when all the proper conditions have been met and with international engagement.

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  • Bonkim

    All true – the West chickened out from getting rid of Assad. We have allowed various extremist factions take over the resistance movements.

    Still time to threaten Assad and do something to get rid of him including carpet bombing his location in Damascus.

    Compared to Syria Ukraine is a non-story. I have no problem eastern Ukrainians deciding to side with Russia rather than the corrupt EU and hope they do. But Syria needs strong-arm tactics – not negotiation.

  • geronimoooo4

    WE should be ashamed??

    WE aren;t the ones running around killing, slaughtering, raping, looting, burning, maiming, beheading, burning, gassing and eating!

    WE also aren;t the ones who are sitting on gold plated toilets, while watching our own people running around killing, slaughtering, raping, looting, burning, maiming, beheading, burning, gassing and eating!

    Point that finger the other way – where it belongs.

  • Kasperlos

    Rockin Ron: No we must not. Well said, indeed. MP Woodcock might as well add Central African Republic, Ukraine, Mali, Somalia, the Sudan, the Yemen, Iraq redux et al to his list, perhaps add Londonstan given the 2011 riots. HM Forces are in no shape to be used and abused in more overseas actions which bear no interest to these islands and their people. Enough. Most of the decline in HM Forces strength is owed to the end of the Cold War. However, the cuts now go far too deep and will be at levels which may imperil the UK. And that is said with respect to the defence of British sovereign territory alone!
    The last ‘just’ conflict Britain engaged in was the Falklands Islands. It is to this day a sadly underused textbook case for why a military is necessary and when it should be employed: For defence and to expunge an invader. Not for foreign ‘adventures’ or to play the ‘Great Game’. Educated readers may wish to visit or revisit Mr. Churchill’s ‘A History of the English Speaking Peoples’ – if it can still be found in today’s England. Finally, the BBC’s WWI ‘expert’ Jeremy Paxman garnered thousands of comments, most against him, when he said that today’s narcisstic youth would not fight a World War I. I doubt it was an original thought, but perhaps taken from the BBC’s 1976 ‘Battle of the Somme’ in which the brilliant Leo McKern ends the programme by quoting a survivor: “There can never be another war like the Great War, nor the comradeship or endurance we knew then. I think perhaps men are not like that now.” One can only hope that today’s youth have a better grasp of the lies spewed, intrigues spun and duplicity acquitted by socio and psychopathic political leaders and their abettors for their own gain or at the behest of their true masters and lords: the money men and women who wish war at any cost – as long as it is not theirs. That said, one ought to be concerned that with a clarion of lies and phony wars ginned up since WWII that Britain’s youth would fall victim to ‘cry wolf’ and not be prepared to defend these islands should a real threat arise. Thus we might see such a consequence from wanton, corrupt, endless and needless military interventions.

  • Craig Yates

    Is he a paedophile? NWO must have some dirt on him to cause him to call for us assisting genocide. And given how many paedophiles get caught chances are many more exist in parliament just waiting.

  • colliemum

    So according to Mr John Woodcock if would have been “the right thing to do” to intervene, i.e. fight on the side of al qaeda? The side his former PM, a certain T.Blair, fought against in Afghanistan because it was ‘the right thing to do’?

    Is any of our MPs actually capable of logical thought? Or indeed of any kind of mental activity?

  • RavenRandom

    How much more shameful then that not one Arab or Muslim country has directly intervened to help their fellow Arabs or co-religionists?
    If you want death and mayhem there are also lots of African countries at war (usually also a civil war) that we haven’t intervened in.
    I also note our shameful lack of efforts to militarily push the Chinese out of Tibet.
    We should intervene only when British interests are threatened and (an important caveat) we have a realistic chance of changing the situation for the better.

  • lgrundy

    If John Woodcock wants to “intervene” in Syria then I suggest he gets himself into uniform and goes over there himself.
    What is truly “shameful” is for a grown man like Woodcock to have the gall to stand up in public and suggest that other men should go out and die for his beliefs.

  • Tom Tom

    Private Eye ran the story decades ago (as it also revealed Norris was a
    Freemason linked to a corrupt brother mason in the Met long before
    Macpherson)…….it is much more plausible than Libya. I think it is
    time to drop it because the US will never release the Intelligence files
    and Al-Megrahi was set up as a patsy

    • Darnell Jackson

      Tin foil hat alert!

  • Tom Tom

    It is a pity Britain is not permanently at war. Tienanmen Square in 1989 was a perfect opportunity for Britain to sail up the Yangtse again and refuse to return Hong Kong. It would have been a glorious return to global dominance and John Woodcock would not now suffer from depressive illness

    • colliemum

      Indeed he would not, because he’d be too busy making impassioned speeches about how we are a bunch of militarist imperialists, sucking the blood from the poor …

  • gerontius

    I am more than happy for an armed contingent of MPs to be shipped off to Syria on one way tickets, in a sort of grotesque parody of the WWI Pals Battalions.
    it would salve their consciences (in so far as they have any) an massively improve the administration of our benighted nation. A win-win result.

  • WatTylersGhost

    John Woodcock knows the way to Syria if he wishes to fight. Or does he prefer to send the sons of others?

  • Grey Wolf

    This guy Woodcock, it was revealed in December 2013, is suffering from Depression. I hope he is under medical treatment. I hope his judgment is not impaired. What could be more vile than intervening in the Syrian conflict on the same side as the assorted Salafists, Al-Q, Sunni a$$holes from Saudi etc. Shut the fukk up Woodcock, and yes, retire from politics!! Get that.

  • swatnan

    I think it shows a bit of common sense. Instead of 2m dead and refugees we’ll only get 1m.

  • ess

    It was confirmed yesterday that 50% of children in the Central Ward of his constituency – Barrow in Furness – are in poverty. This is roughly similar to the figure for 2005. Perhaps a question about Marsh Street and the Vulcan would be more appropriate than downtown Damascus. Idiot.

  • TRAV1S

    There are already enough “Britons” intervening in Syria, thank you very much.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …and they’ll be back home soon, once they’ve perfected their craft in Syria.

  • Cyril Sneer

    John Woodcock…. I’ll tell you what is more shameful, engineering and supporting a violent coup that has resulted in a prolonged civil war and you now regard our lack of intervention as shameful? This country is the 2nd biggest provider of aid to Syria at a time when we simply cannot afford it and to provide aid in a conflict that we essentially started and help prolong along with our Sunni Muslim ‘allies’.

    Perhaps John, you should spend more time looking at the relationship between this country and the oil rich Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE etc and precisely how much influence these states have on our foreign policy and our affairs at home.

  • Bert3000

    Odious little warmonger

  • telemachus

    Woodcock is off message

    • Makroon

      John Woodcock is the last Blairite interventionist left standing on the Labour benches. You would have thought that he could have arranged a nice QUANGO sinecure, like all the others, by now.

      • Paul J

        Some people posses the ability to change their minds, to learn from mistakes. (Says this former Blairite).
        Woodcock doesn’t.

  • Terry Song

    Intervention could take different forms. Military action is simply one of the forms that are more costly and surprisingly inefficacious. The ConLib coalition did it properly by leaving the bombing and shooting to the Americans.

    • HookesLaw

      There was no bombing and shooting by anybody. Except from Assad who added in a bit of gassing. The vote labour turned their coat against was not in fact for war or intervention. It was for wait and see.

      • Rockin Ron

        ‘A bit of gassing’. Assad’s chemical attack in August 2013 left 218 people dead and over 1345 injured. You have to be pretty hard headed to dismiss that as ‘a bit of gassing’. I suppose you would call the Battle of The Somme, a ‘bit of an engagement’.

        • Tom M

          It’s a typical Labour comment. The Lisbon treaty was “just a tidying up excercise” I remember Peter Hain saying.

        • HookesLaw

          I suppose I should have flagged a sarcasm alert. The point is there was no bombing by the Americans and all the killing was by Assad.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            There was plenty of killing by your islamofascist buddies, lad.

          • Paul J

            “All the killing was by Assad”

        • Craig Yates

          My God some people are ignorant. False flags have been used for many years and this was a very sloppy one. Carla Del Ponte of the UN investigative team researching previous sarin attacks in Syria concluded in her report that rebels had been consistently using sarin upon civilian targets.

          The military grade sarin Assad is in possession of would have seen doctors, soldiers and nurses civilians and others who came into contact with the victims become seriously affected too, many fatally so such is the potency of military grade sarin.

          Eye witness reports tell of Saudi insurgents mishandling a chemical weapon which caused the deaths.

          Go on youtube and liveleak and see the rebels demonstrating their chemical weapons, bragging about their chemical weapons and finally firing them upon civilian populations.

          If the west was so serious about chemical weapons why no action on the double digit times rebels have used them? Why no action when Israels uses white phosphorous on civilian populations? it was all propaganda.

          It is never a shame to be ignorant, we all are propagandised our entire lives to readily dismiss anything outside the mainstream where we foolishly place so much trust. But there is infinite shame in how so many have their eyes drawn to truth and willfully look away because to look means they can never look away again.

        • Cyril Sneer

          There is no real solid evidence pointing to Assad, you do realise this? But there is some interesting evidence out there that points to a false flag attack. I think you should be careful when interpreting media reports, especially the western media. I’ve lost all faith in our media, investigative impartial journalism is now a rare thing, much to our detriment.

          To summarise Ron, we’re being lied to regularly by our media, by our government and it doesn’t take much to do some investigating to expose these lies.

  • Rockin Ron

    “We must all bear responsibility for our shameful failure to intervene.”

    No we must not. It is shameful to bluster into another country at the
    risk of increasing civilian and military casualties, without an exit
    strategy or a mandate from the UN. Mr Woodcock, please note – we are
    not the world’s police force and we are not obliged to interfere in the
    plight of other nations.

    • CharlietheChump

      We no longer have an army, navy or air force.

      • telemachus

        So on what are we spending 40 Billion pounds?

        • Tom Tom

          Overpriced equipment such as Blair Barges without aircraft, or employing Scotsmen at Rosyth and building redundant aircraft like Eurofighter to please BAe unions

  • arnoldo87

    It’s way too late to consider any sort of meaningful intervention, which should have happened three years ago before the Jihadists got involved.

    And now, when the death count is soaring way beyond the Iraq numbers, when the refugee crisis continues unabated, when Putin is running rings around the West on foreign policy, when WMD material is reportedly passing into the hands of Al Qaeda, nobody is apparently organising a march to protest about the results of the negligence of the British Political Establishment.

    What we do have is a deputy Prime Minister who is evidently content that Britain is leading the humanitarian effort in a situation that he and his like have actually helped to create. And a population that is embracing 1930’s style appeasement.

    Shameful is indeed the word.

    • Makroon

      The insurrection was made by the Gulf Salafists from day one.

      • Cyril Sneer


    • Paul J

      “And a population that is embracing 1930’s style appeasement.”

      The only appeasement that’s going on is our establishment’s appeasement of hardcore Islamism, thanks to arab oil money and misplaced PC do-goodery. There isn’t some peacenik wave going around, Libya is be proof of that, no-one objected at the time. Rather it’s the people we’re being asked to help. Jihadis in Syria (and Libya, not so smart in retrospect), neo-nazi types in Ukraine.

      If only we had genuinely failed to intervene. We provide all sorts of covert help to the Syrian jihadis, but what is far worse, is the media’s lies on their behalf. (Probably, again, covertly managed by the “intelligence” services.)
      The 3 year blizzard of propaganda in favour of the rebels has been astonishing, and has naturally encouraged jihadis from all over the place to go and learn those vital, terrorist skills, which they’ll bring back home with them. The Guardian and the BBC are the worst, but none of the MSM is anything approaching objective.

      • arnoldo87

        So what SHOULD we be doing to combat hard-core Islamism?

        • Paul J

          Do a 180 degree turn in Syria for starters.

          As for rest, your guess is as good as mine. Purge the intel services of pro-jihadi types might be the thing, get rid of the Londonistan policy.
          It’s a fuc*-up alright.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    MP for Barrow. Is he suggesting we go nuclear?

  • HookesLaw

    Preposterous intervention from Labour. What a load of hypocrites.
    To say that labour were actually supporting military interventiomn and the fact tsat there has been none is standing the truth on its head and taking us all for idiots.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you were an idiot long before this, laddie.

      • HookesLaw

        Your first comment shows how idiotic you are Mr racist nutjob.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Tell your LibLabCon bubblemate that he and the other clones did intervene in Syria, lass. They intervened to help the islamofascist headchoppers slaughter Christians.

    • Chris Bond

      They claimed Iran/ Syria was responsible for Lockerbie yesterday. It’s a softening up operation for another run at Syria as punishment for Ukraine.
      The idea I geuss is to move the direction of force to Syria in the hope Putin decides his hands are too full with the Ukraine to get involved in shoring up Syria as a means to oppose the west R2P doctrine.

      That’s what it’s all about with Putin. He’s opposing R2P in the full knowledge that to not do so would be to invite USA interference in Russia.