We are going to send the RAF to Syria and strike ISIS territory. The House of Commons debated the issue for most of the day and voted 397 to 223 to authorize those airstrikes. The majority was bigger than many expected. The House of Lords also debated it but, as in 2013, did not divide, merely expressed its mood, which was supportive of the government.
I find myself in a quandary. As I made it clear yesterday, I do not think this is a very good idea. There is no need to go through the arguments again as they are all here. At the moment I prefer not to think about what will happen when the first pictures, helpfully produced by ISIS, of children killed by allied bombs are published.
On the other hand, there is the opposition to the air strikes: the Stop The War Coalition, the people who earnestly assure me that war has never solved anything (I usually suggest that they have a word with people who remember being liberated from the Nazis), the dopy academics one of whom shared a programme on the BBC Russian Service earlier today and whose idea was to try to get a global consensus through the UN, and the screaming, ullulating mob outside Parliament today. As I was leaving the Palace of Westminster about half an hour before the vote was due I saw resigned looks on the faces of the police officers. Whichever way the vote goes, one of them said, there will be trouble. Added to that we have the stories published in various media outlets, even left-wing ones of threats against Labour MPs who had voiced their intentions to vote with the government on the subject and abuse against their staff (a particularly despicable kind of behaviour) and one's convictions begin to waver.
For what it is worth, I still think that we are making a mistake but I can understand that we have placed ourselves in an almost impossible position - we need to solve the Syrian crisis if for no other reason than to stem the flood of migrants but we have no idea how to do it. Getting rid of ISIS, if we can do it, may be the first step towards a solution but my doubts remains.
Perversely though, I am glad that the holier-than-thou rabble did not win.