It's a wonder that Hague can keep a straight face when talking about "democratic nations", given that the coalition government wasn't elected, that Cameron is Prime Minster but only received support from less than half of his own constituents - no-one else voted for him - and that he is using the Royal prerogative to go to war. A mechanism which allows a Prime Minister to act like an unaccountable monarch.
Unsurprising then that Cameron has the freedom to display such arrogance and contempt to the lessons of history, to evidence (or lack of), to his party, to Parliament and to the British people; a level of contempt which really does beggar belief. It’s obvious that Cameron had privately promised Barack Obama that Britain would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States - to intervene in a hugely complex conflict with unknowable, but undoubtedly grave consquences, to stand firm with a President who clearly doesn’t like us nor respects our military interventions. And he did so without first bothering to consult the British people.
So how refreshing is it to see a rare outbreak of democracy (sort of)? Despite assurances to the Americans, Cameron was then to be told "no you can't" by Parliament and the British people, the latter's views laced with outright hostility to the idea. A situation that has left the embarrassed Cameron, and British officials, having to inform…
…their counterparts in the US last night to explain that President Obama would have to go it alone or wait to see if Mr Cameron can persuade MPs to back him in the coming days. It could leave President Obama to go it alone and order an attack as early as this weekend.It’s rather uplifting to see that the only mess Cameron has embroiled himself in is a political one entirely of his own making. One that has led to "government insiders" using less than Parliamentary language to describe the situation.
Yet despite this rare outbreak of democracy (let's hope it's contagious) fundamental problems remain and are exposed. It is possible that the UK will still become involved; Cameron is not bound by Parliament, he can still invoke the Royal prerogative. MPs also can ignore their constutients as wonderfully illustrated by Tom Harris in the Telegraph:
Strike on Syria: the enviable, alarming certainty of the MPs whose minds are made up. I'm not yet sure how I will vote tomorrow. That is allowed, isn't it?Well actually no it shouldn't be. As an MP you should be guided by your constituents wishes not by how many books you've read. What's obviously most important to Tom is that his personal conscience is clear, not that the rest of us end up with the bill and any potential fallout as a result.