Is there anything scarier right now than the apparent death of rational argument in British politics?
A point appears to have been reached where critical thinking has given way to the grim defence of entrenched positions. Minds closed, locked down, hard and fast lines.
All this and more on display in the Mother of Parliaments last week, as MPs debated whether or not to join the bomb party over Syria.
Well, I say ‘debated’. In reality nothing of the sort took place, and you’d be surprised to hear that many, if any, members voted other than they’d intended upon first entering the chamber 10 hours previously.
The sheer vacuity of the day’s events was summed up for me by the speech of Hilary Benn, having the Opposition’s last word on the subject.
Seldom has absolutely nothing at all been said with such utter conviction, such consummate showmanship.
Beautifully phrased nothingness, a BAFTA-worthy performance which brought Tories, both blue and red, to their feet, largely because both sets knew this would damage The Great Satan Corbyn.
To summarise the Mr Benn Show, ISIS are really BAD. Here are some of the reasons ISIS are bad (at this point the Shadow Foreign Secretary reeled off a list of abominations, which merely required one to say ‘just like in Saudi Arabia’ to demolish each as an argument for joining in the war).
WE defeated the Nazis (thanks in large part to the colossal sacrifice – somewhere between 26m-40m deaths – made by Russia, one of the truths which must no longer be acknowledged because they’re enemies again). ISIS are the Nazis. We must defeat ISIS.
Sit down. High fives all round. And off to back an ill-conceived Tory plan which might easily exacerbate the situation, heads held high, creep 66 of the usual New Labour suspects.
ISIS are bad! Who knew? How could we do other than back a flawed plan marked by the bizarre omission of specific measures to tackle those allies of ours whose financial and military support has enabled ISIS to set the region ablaze!
Rationality lies bleeding.