Two years ago, just a few days after the Commons opposed airstrikes on Syria, I read another memorable phrase to David Cameron. It was what President Putin’s spokesman had been saying about Britain in private — ‘a small island no one pays attention to’. I have had the sense ever since that the Prime Minister has been haunted by the remark. I expect MPs will change that next week when they back RAF attacks on IS targets in Syria.
However, so much else in this debate already feels wearily familiar. Backers of airstrikes will call opponents of them ‘appeasers’. They will respond by labelling their opponents ‘warmongers’, while armchair generals will head to the studios to pontificate about the need for a strategy, a plan and an endgame. What few will say is that the murderers in Paris came not from Syria, but Europe, and that defeating IS militarily will not end the threat from within our own societies. That will require a battle of ideas that few seem to have the appetite to wage.
This is an extract from Nick Robinson's Diary. The full article can be found here.