THE BLOG

Jeremy Corbyn Vetoing UK Foreign Policy? No Thanks, I'm Out

17/11/2015 07:41 GMT | Updated 16/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Over the weekend I spent time reflecting on yet more carnage wreaked on our civilisations after Lebanon and Turkey, this time hitting that most beautiful of European capitals, Paris.

The attacks in Paris were not altogether a surprise. A threat is defined by a capability and intent: IS have long had the intent, and now we know they have the capability.

I keep getting asked "are we safe?" We are as safe as we could possibly be in this country. We have the finest security services in the world, from the Secret Service to the United Kingdom Special Forces Group. But there is an element that is letting us down.

For us to be as safe as we possibly can from these threats, there is an element of surgical foreign intervention required to defeat threats while they remain some distance from our borders in the embryonic stages of terrorist plans against our nation.

And yet in this country we remain paralysed by fear of past mistakes being repeated. We have become unsure of our place on a world stage - rejecting calls from the United States, France and Australia to join them in the fight against IS in Syria.

There is the 'custom' (for it is not law) for us to agree cross-party consensus for operations. I cannot see a better future where Jeremy Corbyn essentially has the 'veto' for UK foreign policy. This custom did not prevent a catastrophic intervention in Iraq; why are we so wedded to it now?

I was on the BBC with Tim Farron on Monday; he doesn't understand why throwing more bombs after American bombs will do anything to enhance our security in the UK. The premise of this argument is false. We are not simply 'pumping up the numbers' of 'bombs down the range'. We are being asked to provide a specific capability to the Coalition that they have asked for in Syria, as we do in Iraq.

The Coalition have in no way presented bombing as a 'golden bullet' for this crisis. It is part of a multi-faceted response that includes aid, funding, political engagement and taking some extremely vulnerable refugees.

Our willingness to misunderstand why we are being asked to get involved, and what we are being asked to do by extending this mission to Syria is embarrassing. I spent a wet Monday morning on the doors in Whitleigh, Plymouth, where I was asked on multiple occasions why we have not taken part. It fills me with a disillusionment at our political and media debate in London that we have failed to grasp the nuances of this debate - for if we cannot cross this threshold and contribute in this instance, what does the future look like for Britain on the world stage?

The outrage over Paris. The tears over Aylan Kurdi. The resolve after Ankara. It all means nothing unless we are prepared to cross the threshold and accept that military action has a part to play in creating the time and space for a political solution to peace in Syria.

Johnny Mercer is the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View