It's hard for me to write about this with my normal chippy manner. I float from chippy to combative with relative ease normally. This is not so easy. It is not light, it is not funny. In fact it is dark, twisty and serious.
No matter what the decision each MP made on this week's historic vote on Syria I am proud to be their colleague. I have watched MPs weep in the Commons, fret, argue and recoil. I had to shout "pack it in" to squabbles and negotiate different views over dinner. It hasn't been easy.
I voted against, let's just get that out of the way. So much clouded my judgement, so many factors at play switched my thinking. Some were very pleasant, some were complicated, some were utterly insulting. I'm not revelling in my decision, I'm living with it. I'm not pleased to see the hyperbolic back-slapping righteous tweets of some at the top of my party speaking of death tolls, and civilian losses. I don't like any language about this being blood on our hands or any such platitude. People will die no matter what decision was made. Feeling right won't stop the death toll. People will die at the hands of Daesh in the east and west regardless of our vote. I won't sleep sounder tonight feeling righteous any more than I did last night feeling worried.
Each and every MP made an impossible decision. It's not bravery, it's not noble, it is our job. We were elected to do it so other people didn't have to. Don't let's gloat about our decisions from any side please.
I received hundred of emails. Many from thoughtful constituents with well thought out kind intelligent words. I thank each and everyone. To those who lectured me by email about "our party" and the values it holds, just FYI I have the membership lists and most of you aren't on it. I suggest you might not want to directly copy and paste in future. Also another tip from some of the pressure group emails: I have the electoral register, if you can't be bothered to register to take part in our democracy I suggest leaning on me with your wise words about my hard-earned democratic position looks a bit silly. Half of one of the batches of framed emails I received speaking of "our party" are not just not members of our party, but they are not members of the electorate either. Own goal.
I will never forget this vote or this debate for the rest of my life. Many of those who campaigned on either side, shouted at their TVs, rang in to speak on local radio will move on. As events unfold opinions will change, people will shift and everyone will be satisfied at their new position. But my card is marked.
My husband was once asked which super power he would have if he could pick. He gave the utterly unbombastic answer "the power of hindsight". While I'm spying on you with the invisibility power that I picked, he will be resting on the laurels of never making a mistake. Mine is more fun in the short term but his eliminates a life of pain and hand-wringing. What a clever man he is.
Without this power I remain uncertain. What I am certain of is that those who are so certain that they are right are certainly not as clever or good as they think they are.
Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley
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