The most effective way to defeat Isis is to lock them up in a cell and deny them martrydom and glory. No paradise, no virgins just a guard wishing them a bland good morning, and a regular change of towels
So we decided to stop children drowning on the beaches by killing them in their beds. Its hard to think of a more poetic metaphor for our utter lack of ideas than spending several years dropping high explosives on to a desert. Dropping something from a great height can never be precise this is why Santa still parks up the sleigh. I have to admit that I was sort of disturbed by the palpable excitement in parliament, and couldnt escape the feeling that our politicians like wars because they make them feel important.
The motion they voted on was a vague list of necessary measures and requests for assistance, with specifically airstrikes at the very bottom as if someone had shouted it out of the front door as they were starting the car: Oooh! Dont forget eggs, milk and airstrikes!! One MP argued that IS need a lot of space to move and that airstrikes would limit their territory. The Paris shooters lived in one room with a mattress; we could bomb Syria to the average size of a London flat and theyd still find room to manoeuvre. Bombing Syria will achieve nothing. Lets at least take a swing at China and have these dull winter skies replaced with a curtain of incendiary light.
What is Camerons problem with IS? Ordinary people who in their spare time have formed a huge multinational oil trade and a workforce of thousands willing to be paid in rice and fear thats the Big Society right there. Cameron called them Women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters he carefully avoided saying child molesters in case one of the backbench shouted: Present! This is before we get to the fact that he used the word medieval to justify a military expedition into the Middle East. Of course bombing will cause delight in Islamic State, where it will form the only entertainment. Theres no music, no dancing, and were spending a couple of million quid a night providing the mise en scne for these sadists fantasy life.
Hilary Benn, the product of his fathers tempestuous affair with Lembit Opik, showed a fighting spirit that was direct proof of Johnny Cashs A Boy Named Sue. I think its worth remembering that if you say something and Tories start cheering, then you have said something awful. Yes, Hilary, we bombed Hitler, but we were being attacked here by German planes that were leaving from Germany not by a teenager in west London who had been assembling a Doodlebug in the garage. Benns whole speech was played in celebratory fashion the next night on Radio 4, feeding into my theory that George Orwell was so prescient about our society that he moved to Jura to deliberately encourage his TB.
We learned little from the debate, except for the fact that the word caliphate sounds hilarious in a Northern Irish accent, and so do a bunch of other words. Perhaps well soon be so used to the Middle East being in permanent conflict that retaking a Syrian Village from IS will become one of the tasks on The Apprentice. Perhaps destruction is simply easier than kindness. We find it easier to tell a stranger on WhatsApp we want to have sex with their face than hold hands with someone we might be falling in love with. Its ridiculous really. Charles Manson or Anders Breivik murder people to try to start a race war and its laughably insane, but when IS do it we decide to give them one.
Islamic State practise a brand of Islamic law so strict that apparently Raqqa only has two Irish Pubs. For some reason the BBC website keeps reporting opposing moderate rebel groups, but never names them. I know the names of all the cat-hybrid-vegetable-marine-biologist Octonauts, but the differences between the groups fighting Assad are deemed too complex for me. Moderate seems to be a very fluid term when it comes to offshoots of al-Qaida and whatnot, and moderate groups vary from outfits such as Nuclear Allahcaust, who despise the west, and more reasonable elements such as the Al-Jihadi Infidel Soul Harvest, who despise the east, because if you travel east for long enough, you reach the west.
I wonder if the Commons really understands or cares that they are making Britain a target. How affected will MPs be by terrorism? In their high-security lives, the only fear they have of an attack on a bus is that the waiters will be late for a drinks reception. I think we live in a country that sometimes forgets how effective the rule of law is, perhaps because our governments have often found it inconvenient. We invest a vast amount of money in intelligence and terrorists have to, by their nature, take risks: cross borders, move weapons. I think the most effective place for those guys to end up is not in a martyr video, but in a small but comfortable jail cell. Somewhere in Kent, perhaps. No paradise, no virgins, no meaning leant by us to their stupidity, no glory, no attention. Just a guard wishing them a bland good morning, and a regular change of towels. And if you think thats insufficient punishment, give them a television that only gets terrestrial, and all our newspapers everyday.