Regardless of the fact that I've been called a war monger and a blood thirsty politician this week, I have never ever said that I would support the bombing of Syria. That is a nuance lost on the twitchfork army. Oh well.
I left the Labour Party at the time of Iraq and I marched on more than one occasion against the war. I don't like war, I don't like bombs, I don't like friendly fire, a thing I've heard about in the news all my life which seems sadly to be back in the last few weeks.
On the day David Cameron came to the Commons to tell us of the bombs dropped in Syria to eliminate dangerous terror cells, I was physically shaking at the magnitude of my new position. I am scared. I have sat through church services in my political and community busybody life and listened to people pray for politicians and the decisions they have to make. I always listened with some cynicism, thinking; not sure we should be wasting prayers hopes and dreams on them. But my god right now I'll take all the prayers, hopes, good wishes and sound advice I can get. Bring it on, spare a thought, say a prayer, offer counsel.
The truth is, I don't know what the hell to think. I don't want to drop bombs that kill innocent civilians. At the moment I can't see how more bombs upon bombs would help. But I also think sitting doing nothing is not an option either. I've spoken to Syrian constituents of mine who think the UK should take military action. I've also read accounts of Syrian children scared of the sky. For every action a perfect and equal opposite reaction.
What galls me about this more than anything, is that my role in this, my vote, my shuffle through the lobby is so widely discussed and dissected in the media, by my party, by their party by people in the country and it is all still speculation. No vote has been called. No discussion has been had.
I want a discussion not a vote. I want to sit down with all the parties, with experts from every side of the debate. I want to listen. I want people to make their case and for us parliamentarians to listen and critique with grace. I want answers. What about after the bombs? What's the plan for power building, power sharing, self determination? What right now would make the most people in Syria safe from death by Assad, by Isis, by international bombs? Which option is safest and has the least consequences for people here in the UK? I won't get all the answers, but I might get closer. I don't want a posturing debate where afterwards I am forced to make a decision, all the while hearing the screams, the names, the begging from the opposing sides. Why can't we, those elected to make this decision, sit down in front of the public and discuss it, cards on the table. I think the public would appreciate that.
Shouting one entrenched position and then others shouting theirs will not help. This is not about parties and who looks the most electable. Sod electability this is about saving lives and safety at home and abroad. This is not a rebellion in order to have a go at Corbyn. It is lazy, self-indulgent rhetoric to think that any MP would drop a bomb to have a pop at the leader. We might not agree on the means or the ends but I can only think of a few exceptions of people who entered politics to do anything but try to make things better. I have met some MPs I really disagree with, can't stand if I am honest, but I don't think that they would make a decision which would kill people for nothing.
The truth at the moment is, no vote has been called, no discussion has been had. Not by the parliamentary Labour Party. Not by the Commons. I want a discussion because we are all scared of getting this wrong, it's just that some of us will never ever be able to forget our part in it. I beg of those inside and outside of Westminster to offer counsel and conversation, not vitriol and attack. Let's be better than that, let's be the peace we want to see.