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We face fascists (Hilary Benn)

(B2) The speech by Hilary Benn, Labour's shadow foreign minister, did not go unnoticed last night (December 2) in the House of Commons. For almost 15 minutes, the man who was Gordon Brown's Minister of Development and then the Environment surprised more than one columnist with his verve, the strength of his arguments in defending the British commitment to intervention in Syria . It's worth listening to.

Beings who believe themselves superior

« We are confronted here with fascists. Not only by their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to each of us in this chamber tonight and all the people we represent. They despise us. They view our values ​​with contempt. They view our belief in tolerance and decency with contempt. They view our democracy with contempt (…). What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated » he asserted, referring in particular to the Spanish War in 1936 with the commitment to the international brigades or the commitment against Hitler.
« We must now confront this evil. Now is the time for us to do our part in Syria. This is why I am asking my colleagues to vote for the motion this evening,” he concluded, before sitting down again, to loud applause from the Tories but also from Labour. We cannot say that Jeremy Corbin, the leader of Labor, was very delighted with this very warlike speech.

Hilary Benn is one of those – with Margaret Beckett – who symbolized the shift of a good quarter of Labor in favor of the military engagement in Syria proposed by David Cameron. We must also not deny that the commitment of François Hollande and the French socialist government has finally convinced a number of undecided members of Labor, who were rather reluctant a few days ago to get involved.

Remember Iraq

In the other camp, the speech of Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, the Scottish autonomists, was also robust, full of arguments which clearly illustrate the difficulty of this commitment for the British, but also for all Europeans. “ Who will believe that focusing on the city of Raqqa will not cause civilian casualties? This is nonsense” “Remember the war in Iraq” he warned.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).