This letter was published by the Scottish Daily Express on Wednesday. I was told about it but haven't actually seen an issue so there may have been a little editing but I am assured this is substantially how it appeared.
It is hard hitting, I am proud of it, and I didn't expect it to be accepted:
The spectacular defeat of the government on the issue of making war is not just an almost unique instance in British history of lack of trust in the government.
It is a popular repudiation of 2 decades of what Robin Cook once called "humanitarian bombing". Popular because this move was driven not just by opinion polls but by the fact that, during their holidays, MPs have been outside the Westminster village and exposed to what real constituents tell them.
For 2 decades we have been picking fights with smaller countries (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Mali and now Syria). In each case it has been justified by a scare story (that Milosevic was engaged in genocide, that Saddam had wmds, that there was the risk of genocide in democratically minded Benghazi, that if the Mali rebels took Timbuktoo they would next march through European cities and now Syria's alleged use of wmds). All of which turned out to be contrary to evidence.
Perhaps equally bad is that those we were told were "moderate democrats" when the bombing started, turned out repeatedly to be worse than their alleged oppressors and the countries we broke, were left far more dangerous and often not even nominally more democratic. The most extreme example being Milosevic against whom, despite 4 1/2 years of "trial", no actual evidence could be produced and he died after being poisoned by a chemical that induces heart attacks. In the other hand the gangsters, drug lords, sex slavers, organleggers and WW2 Nazis, NATO recruited and armed as the KLA, proceeded, when appointed as our police, to carry out massacres, racial genocide, ethnic cleansing of 350,000, the sexual enslavement of local schoolchildren and the dissection of 1,800 people, while still alive, to steal their body organs.
If the Syrian rebels had not obviously been cut from similar, often al Quaeda, cloth but had been seen to be genuinely decent and democratic the doubt that the Syrian government did the gassing would clearly not have existed.
There is also the history of our government lying. In Yugoslavia they formally promised that they respected that, under international law, Kosovo was (& therefore still is) part of the country. In Iraq there was the wmd lie. In Libya "regime change" was claimed not to be the purpose, we just wanted to stop Libya bombing Benghazi. In Syria we are told, again, that regime change is not the purpose and it would be purely a coincidence if we helped the al Quaeda forces we have been supplying. The British people simply no longer trust the government's word, for obvious reasons.
The same effect, even more dangerously, affects the rest of the world's valuation of our word. In Libya the Russians accepted a Security Council authorisation that purely authorised the prevention of bombing of Benghazi only to see it "interpreted" to allow bombing of Gaddafi's home town.
In the 1970s Yugoslavia deliberately decided not to develop its own Bomb, because this would destabilise Europe. Gaddafi gave up his attempts on a specific promise that the NATO powers would live in peace with him.
Who is going to trust any promise from a western government again?
Yet, so long as we bring Milosevic to "trial" without evidence while our own politicians, who have certainly engaged in criminal wars and worse, are untouched, how can we ever expect our country, let alone political classes, to be trusted.