Between a rock and a hard place

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The Prime Minister has been facing criticism for not involving Parliament in the decision for the UK to join the USA and France in air attacks on Syria, following President Assad’s alleged illegal use of chemical warfare on his own people as the vicious civil war rages on.

But she found herself caught between a rock and a hard place. On the face of it, it seems that to bypass Parliament in reaching such a momentous decision was at odds with all the tenets of democracy. But what was she to do? The operation needed to be carried out quickly, to ensure the Syrian regime had as little time as possible to prepare to combat this onslaught from the West. The delay that would have occurred if Parliamentary approval had to be sought could have endangered the whole operation, and also, if Parliament had said no, it would have given Russia an opportunity to claim a split in the West on this issue. Parliament was still in the Easter recess, so a reassembly would have delayed matters even further.

Worse still, the vote could easily have been lost. And that could have further weakened Mrs May’s dwindling authority as Tory leader.

So it seemed the right thing to go ahead as she did, to ensure President

Assad was aware of the detestation in the West about his alleged illegal activities. The Prime Minister has struck the right note by saying this is not about regime change or interfering in a foreign civil war. It was simply a warning to Assad that he had better not do it again – or else.

- The dire financial straits in which the National Health Service finds itself can only be worsened by the failure of foreigners who have received treatment to pay for it. The NHS is owed £150m by tourists, who have not paid a penny towards the service. Perhaps some arrangements could be made to stop backsliders from leaving the country until they have paid up. It is wrong that the NHS should have to act as debt collectors, so a way must be found to ensure that those selfish people should somehow be compelled to pay up for a service to which they have not contributed even a brass farthing.