Tim Farron stranded in storm

 

It was reported on the BBC News at Ten on Saturday night [Ed: and also here on LDV] that Tim Farron had been stranded in his car with four children in the stormy weather conditions, in Cumbria with (presumably) a telephone interview with Tim.

I wonder if, while waiting to be picked up, he reflected on the report from Keswick – that the town had launched an appeal for one million pounds to help with the clear up operation that will now be required in the town. If he did he might have recalled that each of the bombing missions now being carried out on Syria, that he had voted for on Wednesday, had been costed by Sky at a little more than this amount.

As Tim says in the BT report “It is incredible weather. We have not seen anything like this. This is Cumbria for pity’s sake – we are used to challenging weather. This is beyond anything I can even recall”. This news item was followed by a report from India which claimed that the Madras area is experiencing the heaviest rain for a hundred years with ‘The Hindu’ not being published for the first time since 1878 – nearly 200 people have already died.

The BBC followed these two items with a report on the second set of air strikes on Syria – no doubt each at a cost in excess of another million. I presume that the particularly unusual weather reports in the UK and India will help to convince those who doubt that mankind’s activities has affected the climate and should help the negotiators, in Paris – currently trying to get a binding agreement on CO2 emissions. However, for me it seemed so ridiculous to be spending millions on weapons – money that is desperately needed to build flood defences at home.

Since it is admitted by both David Cameron and Michael Fallon that the air strikes will be needed for many years to come, I wonder if Tim, with his constituency MP’s hat on, will consider whether the Party should campaign for stopping air strikes on both Iraq and Syria. It is accepted in both cases that it will require ‘boots on the ground’ – and in the end, as in Afghanistan, it will be the group who are most determined to succeed and fight for the land that will end up controlling the areas eventually.

I would be surprised if a sizable majority will not support this view within a few short years as hundreds of millions are wasted on weapons that kill and destroy rather than build, although the manufacturers of these weapons (or more precisely the main shareholders and their executives) will be very disappointed if their ‘cash cow’ should stop lactating after more than a decade.

* John Roffey is a former member of the Party from Crowthorne who is actively considering rejoining - he is particularly concerned about global warming/climate change and other environmental issues.

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36 Comments

  • Yes, it would be cheaper to turn and look the other way. But surely, whether you oppose the bombing mission extension or not, this deserves to be argued on something more fundamental than the price tag?

  • paul barker 7th Dec '15 - 2:15pm

    This is just the argument UKIP types come up with to oppose any spending on The Arts & Foreign Aid. Its the main argument that was used against us in the Referendum on AV. Its a fundamentally illiberal argument.

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 3:35pm

    Before anyone else gets too high minded in their responses – perhaps they should go back and remind themselves of the beginnings of this conflict – this conflict was about money from the get go – or as a one wag put it – do you think Iraq would have been invaded if its main export was broccoli?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq

    It started as a money making project – for the American’s to get their hands on Iraqi oil and has developed into – not to a theatre of war – but an advertising theatre where the worlds leading arms manufacturers can demonstrate the unique capabilities of their high tech weaponry to some of the richest nations on the planet.

  • Paul very good comment on the arts and aid . It should not be either or . The snide attitude of some to Tim Farrons decision is palpable . Many who a few months ago saw Norman as a Cleggie , a word I cannot bear , its insulting to Nick Clegg , supporters and opponents ,as it reduces things to the inane , now see him , Norman , as the better leader that could have been , or more so than the Tim they were crazy about a week ago . Perhaps people could accept that Liberals and Democrats , small or large case , in our party or not , disagree sometimes . That s the whole point of it. The article here is more substantive yet has a tone perhaps not meant as bitter but seems that way .

  • John Roffey, this conflict didn’t start in 2003. It isn’t the Second Gulf War. It has some of its roots there, but it has many roots, some going back to the early 90s, others to the 60s and 70s with the politics around Israel and the assorted dictatorships surrounding it at the time, still others all the way back to the botched dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and the betrayal of the Arab people at that time.

    I do not like the Government’s plan in Syria and Iraq. But the alternative of hunkering down, ignoring the outside world and building flood defences is not appealing to me either.

  • “I wonder if, while waiting to be picked up, he reflected on the report from Keswick – that the town had launched an appeal for one million pounds to help with the clear up operation that will now be required in the town. If he did he might have recalled that each of the bombing missions now being carried out on Syria, that he had voted for on Wednesday, had been costed by Sky at a little more than this amount.”

    Or that the cost of 1/25 of a mile of Motorway is £1m, or the cost of a nurse over his career is £1m, or …

    And your point is?

  • Andrew Jarvis 7th Dec '15 - 4:51pm

    I cannot agree with the linking of the flooding in Cumbria to the situation in Syria.

    I don’t like war, and had I been an MP, I would have been tempted to vote against military action. However, we should never treat the reasoned and hard thought through views of others with disdain. I hope that for the vast majority of people this is not a simple black-and-white decision. To blythely turn our backs on allies, ignore a UN resolution and close our eyes to the raping and murdering in Syria requires just as much a lack of conscience as those whose want to rush to war at the first opportunity.
    The truth is this should be a difficult decision for most, if not all of us. We should respect the views of those who, on balance, have drawn a different conclusion – and we certainly shouldn’t take cheap shots at them.
    The current situation in Cumbria is a tragedy – that in Syria is a bigger tragedy. Neither will be solved by simplistic or easy solutions.

  • @ Joe Otten “This is pretty sickening stuff. Flooding is not karmic justice for backing air strikes, and this verging-on-gleeful reaction to it is misanthropic. There are many serious arguments on both sides of the Syria question. Messages from God about the right way to spend a million pounds is not one of them”.

    I don’t see anything in John’s article about God – unless something has been deleted that did ?

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 5:01pm

    Dal 7th Dec ’15 – 1:32pm

    “Yes, it would be cheaper to turn and look the other way. But surely, whether you oppose the bombing mission extension or not, this deserves to be argued on something more fundamental than the price tag?”

    Osborne was the one to put a ‘price tag’ on the war – when he cancelled, amongst other expenditure, environmental projects to provide additional finance to pay for additional military spending after the Paris attack. This is not the case for the US and France where ‘austerity measures’ have not been the fundamental consideration for the governments program.

  • David Evershed 7th Dec '15 - 5:20pm

    I would rather be flooded out than shot or bombed by Islamic State.

    The government’s priorities are correct.

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 5:24pm

    Lorenzo 7th Dec ’15 – 3:41pm

    Let me assure you Lorenzo – I have no bitterness – and if the article implies that I have – then I have not conveyed my feelings accurately. I support Tim’s leadership – but I think he made a mistake in voting for the air strikes.

    To some extent the article was time sensitive – I wrote it and sent it to Paul at 3 am on Sunday morning after finding it difficult to sleep having watched the BBC News at 10. The sequence of events reported; the floods; Tim being stranded; floods in India – then the report on Fallon gravely explaining how the unending air strikes at more than £1 m a mission – must have left me feeling frustrated by how taxpayers money was being spent – and writing the article allowed me to express these feelings.

    Others watching the News on Saturday may have had the same reaction.

  • There is surely more to government spending decisions than value for money? Government isn’t just an accounting decision or why would any of us bother with politics for so long. I also feel that we might legitimately be motivated things that happen to people outside the UK, quite apart from the fact that if you increase your ‘decade’ by just six months you would have a tally of 52 killed by terrorists in the UK. Stuff like that can happen here. We may disagree with what to do about it but we surely don’t share a belief that the leaders of IS are no threat to anyone at all?

    If it is being high-minded to suggest that arguing the pros and cons of this issue are bigger then than the price tag on the bombs, I’ll live with that.

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 5:30pm

    TCO 7th Dec ’15 – 4:15pm

    “Or that the cost of 1/25 of a mile of Motorway is £1m, or the cost of a nurse over his career is £1m, or …

    And your point is?”

    Building motorways and training nurses is constructive – with benefits yielded in the future, whereas dropping bombs and firing missiles is destructive and, judging by its failures to date – will yield no future benefits apart from adding to the weapons manufacturers already overflowing bank accounts.

  • Julie Maxon 7th Dec '15 - 6:09pm

    Please don’t link the decision on airstrikes with the Cumbrian floods. The fact that Tim is the MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale and got stuck in the floods because he was out in his constituency should not be used to link the two issues.

    I live in Cumbria so am speaking with knowledge of affected communities. I was also against the decision to join the airstrikes. Whichever side of the argument we fall on in terms of airstrikes, surely our personal decisions were based on all the evidence we looked at for what difference we thought the airstrikes would make to the overall situation, the likelihood of a real impact on defeating Daesh, the impact on the people of Syria (who also face threats from Assad), etc etc. Was it ever only about the cost of the weapons? Really?

    @ Steph – you comment that more people have died in the Cumbria floods than through terrorist attacks here in the last decade. What? Which floods? I suppose your timescale has just missed the July 2005 bombings, but again, an argument about “value for money” as opposed to what is right for the people of Syria, I find very disturbing.

    As a Cumbrian (even as one who is opposed to the bombing) I would urge you, please don’t use the floods to try to justify the argument on airstrikes. Please, from Cumbria, just don’t do it.

  • Thank you for the explanation, John ,appreciated, re my reaction to your article. Such issues can and do lead to frustration or despair. Costs of essentials are like beauty , in the eye of the beholder, and war or whatever anyone calls the present situation, is or has at its fore , ugliness, not beauty. As a decent society we can and should afford what is vital and more . What that is of course ,we shall continue to debate .

  • John, do if you can avoid the phrase , the Americans, three hundred million people are not one thing , least of all , weapons profiteers . I disagree with you any way on that as the conflict is not , in my view, as you describe . I particularly do not like tarring a people with a brush . Anti Americanism is illiberalism .

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 7:36pm

    Julie Maxon 7th Dec ’15 – 6:09pm

    “As a Cumbrian (even as one who is opposed to the bombing) I would urge you, please don’t use the floods to try to justify the argument on airstrikes. Please, from Cumbria, just don’t do it.”

    I have explained that the link came to me from the sequence of news events on BBC News at 10 on Saturday night. However, being someone who has taken a great deal of interest in the works of Carl Jung including his concept of Synchronicity [Meaningful Coincidences] rather than divine intervention as was suggest earlier – it did strike me that the coincidences might impact on Tim as meaningful and result in him reconsidering his views on the airstrikes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 7:46pm

    Lorenzo 7th Dec ’15 – 6:42pm

    “I particularly do not like tarring a people with a brush . Anti Americanism is illiberalism .”

    Yes – I used the term for the sake of brevity which could be deemed as offensive. It is however a pity that the US do not operate an effective system of democracy – one of the declared objectives for invading Iraq – but one that only the extremely rich can engage in.

  • John Roffey 7th Dec '15 - 8:06pm

    Dal 7th Dec ’15 – 5:28pm

    “If it is being high-minded to suggest that arguing the pros and cons of this issue are bigger then than the price tag on the bombs, I’ll live with that.”

    Although I too would choose principled debates ‘arguing the pros and cons of this issue’ and decisions formed on that basis – I am simply pointing out that whereas this might be engaging – Osborne has ruled this out as being a practical option in this case.

    I also believe that, if you do read the Wikipedia account of the lead up to the Iraqi war that I posted – you can be left with little doubt that its origins lacked any ‘high-mindedness’ – it was just about the US oil industry getting its hands on Iraqi oil. Why anyone should believe that the ‘leopard has changed its spots’ – with the US government not wanting to prolong the war through ineffective action for the benefit of its arms industry – seems a little naive.

  • @ Joe Otten

    “Messages from God about the right way to spend a million pounds is not one of them”.

    Frankly Councillor Otten, I find that comment pretty cheap and offensive. I’m surprised it has been allowed on LDV.

    John Roffey was neither gleeful or misanthropic and raised a perfectly valid point given that Britain’s military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). (Guardian , July, 2014).

    Of course there is the moral argument – there is also the material and human cost.

    I hope you withdraw those comments – which I judge to be as bad or worse than Cameron’s personal comments about Corbyn.

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 12:29am

    David Evershed 7th Dec ’15 – 5:20pm

    “I would rather be flooded out than shot or bombed by Islamic State.”

    Wouldn’t you prefer neither?

    Why has this accusation by Putin not been widely reported and examined in the UK.

    Putin says that ISIS are receiving between $40 and $97 million each month from illegal sales of oil to Turkey and it is this cash that enables them to continue with the war – buying weapons and sending militants abroad to carry out attacks on the west – without this cash ISIS would collapse in months.

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 12:36am

    Here John Pilger, the much admired and respected reporter, supports the above – providing separate evidence.

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 12:06pm

    Simon Shaw 8th Dec ’15 – 11:20am

    “Here John Pilger, the much admired and respected reporter, …”

    I take that to mean that you admire and respect him.”

    Yes – it is true that I hold that opinion – but I have never seen/heard any serious commentator offering any other judgement.

    If you have watched the Pilger interview – you will know that he is contending that, certainly the UK MSM, is providing western propaganda – in the same way that you, I think, believe that RT is providing Russian propaganda.

    The question to be decided is which is closest to the truth. Obviously the vast majority will want to believe the version provided by their own government – and this is of course everyones right to decide. However, I have sought to show that the UK since the beginning of the Iraq adventure has been one of the ‘bad guys’ – this may be taken into account when making the choice.

  • @Simon Shaw

    >I take that to mean that you admire and respect him.

    I admire and respect John Pilger too, he has won Journalist of the Year twice in the UK so I suspect John and I aren’t his only fans! He’s helped displaced indigenous people all over the world his entire career, a global Liberal hero to most.

  • John Roffey, the truth is not always to be found at the median point between two lies. And one does not expose propaganda on one side by absorbing the propaganda from another.

    The oil hegemony plan is not something unique to ‘the West’ in its dealings with the Middle East, and Russia’s agenda most likely includes something along those lines as well. The allegations against Turkey are not new, and have long been suspected. I wonder what else is going on between our two nearest neighbour autocrats that drives this breakdown in relations?

    And you lose a lot of credibility as far as I am concerned using terms like ‘the bad guys’. There aren’t any ‘good guys’, this isn’t some morality play staged to reaffirm anyone’s sense of righteousness. It is a nightmare in which all ran out of good options a long time ago.

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 4:50pm

    Simon Shaw 8th Dec ’15 – 12:49pm

    “Are you saying that the Guardian is wrong when it refers to RT as “Russia’s state funded news channel”?”

    No – as long as it is recognised that ‘The BBC has become the UK’s state funded news channel’.

    The Ukraine issue is complex – however, Putin can be deemed as correct in his view that the US and EU have funded the overthrow of its elected leader through the Orange Revolution. As we know Putin had begun to work more closely with the West until this took place. Although the West did not bomb the existing regime [as it did in Iraq & Libya] – it did provoke its overthrow by aiding the opposition group. This change might have taken place over time through the democratic process had the majority wanted to establish closer ties with the EU rather than the Russian Federation.

    Chaste is clearly presenting US propaganda – and if Pilger viewed the actions of the US & EU [as in Iraq & Libya] as another example of an overthrow of an existing regime – without concern for the consequences – clearly Chaste will denounce Pilger.

    As to your reference to the $40m – $97m oil revenue and what happens next – I must ask if you have watched the two videos Simon.

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 5:15pm

    T-J 8th Dec ’15 – 1:30pm

    “John Roffey, the truth is not always to be found at the median point between two lies. And one does not expose propaganda on one side by absorbing the propaganda from another.”

    I don’t think I have suggested that the truth is to be found at the median point between the propaganda of the two sides.
    What I wrote was:

    “The question to be decided is which is closest to the truth. Obviously the vast majority will want to believe the version provided by their own government – and this is of course everyones right to decide. However, I have sought to show that the UK since the beginning of the Iraq adventure has been one of the ‘bad guys’ – this may be taken into account when making the choice.”

    As to the use of the term ‘bad guys’ – certainly Putin did not contribute in any significant way to the chaos in Iraq and Libya as a result of the overthrow of existing regimes with out concern for the consequences – so I think that you will need to demonstrate very clearly how he can be characterised as a ‘bad guy’ in this regard.

    You may have noticed that since Putin entered the battle to restore order in Syria – he seems to have achieved much more in a few months than US/UK/France has achieved in Iraq in the years since Iraq was invaded. It seems if he actually wants order restored!

  • Is this the same John Roffey who wrote on these boards saying the Liberal Democrats were weak and he couldn’t support such a party? And if I’m not mistaken these comments were about two-three years ago? Is this the same John Roffey I’m expected to listen to now? Really? Seriously?

  • John Roffey 8th Dec '15 - 6:34pm

    mpg 8th Dec ’15 – 5:32pm

    I have posted two videos which allege very disturbing motives by the US/France/UK. I can do nothing about these allegations – whether I believe them or not. As far as we in the UK are concerned only members of the HofC can challenge Cameron directly on the issues raised – if they are considered to have any validity.

    I have done what I can – it is for others to act – if they believe these allegations to have genuine substance.

    I am now withdrawing from any further debate.

  • Well, withdrawing from debate is fair enough. But I would still like to further address the ‘bad guys’ stuff. Russia did not contribute to the Iraq and Libya mess, this is true. But Russia absolutely cannot be held innocent in the wider rise of radical Islamism. Many roots of the present conflict, at least the radicalised Westerners aspects of it, can be traced to the events that unfolded as Yugoslavia fell apart, during which time a Russian-sponsored Serb polity made a rather enthusiastic attempt to destroy the Bosnian Muslim community entirely. The slow, slow response of the West in dealing with that planted the seed of the idea that we don’t care about Muslims in many minds.

    Then there are Russia’s own domestic issues with Islamism, for example in Chechnya. The killing there, combined with everyone else’s seeming tacit approval of it add to the narrative of the global war between Islam and everything else. Remember that George W Bush originally embraced Vladimir Putin as a partner and ally in the War on Terror on the back of that Chechen war of his.

    Cutting a long story short, if Libya five years ago and Iraq ten years ago are driving factors in Syria today, so are Chechnya fifteen years ago and Bosnia twenty years ago. This is a very complex conflict with roots all over the place. Solving it possibly calls for statesmen of a stature I’m not certain we currently have, but in my view it most certainly does not call for simplistic goodies versus baddies narratives.

  • Martin Gentles 13th Dec '15 - 6:37pm

    John Roffey: “I have posted two videos which allege very disturbing motives by the US/France/UK. I can do nothing about these allegations – whether I believe them or not. As far as we in the UK are concerned only members of the HofC can challenge Cameron directly on the issues raised – if they are considered to have any validity.

    I have done what I can – it is for others to act – if they believe these allegations to have genuine substance.

    I am now withdrawing from any further debate…”

    This is textbook John Roffey. Start a controversial debate. When challenged on the flimsiness of his premises and arguments, skulks away offering while stubbornly stating that his hyperbole and conjecture are arguments that need addressing. I think that controversial ideas, even offensive ones, should have space on LDV. But bad arguments from disingenuous, shouldn’t pass LDV’s quality control.

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