Adam Price’s Blog

The Blog of Adam Price AS/MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Adam Price MP / AS - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

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Archive for August 11th, 2009

11th August 2009

Time To Go

In November 2001 those of us who opposed the impending invasion of Afghanistan staged a symbolic vote against what was to be the first war in what came to be known – somewhat euphemistically as things turned out – as the war on terror.  Including the tellers there were just fifteen of us: 

Abbott, Ms Diane
Corbyn, Jeremy
Dalyell, Tam
Galloway, George
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Price, Adam
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Weir, Michael
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Wood, Mike


Tellers for the Ayes:
Mr. Paul Marsden and
Mr. Kerry Pollard.

The Sun then printed our phone numbers and invited its readers to ‘call a wobbler’, a term it coined for opponents to military action complete with heads like jellies on a plate.  The only person who rang me was a woman from northern Ireland who told me in her experience war seldom solved anything.  How right she was.  Almost a decade later we’re still in Afghanistan fighting the same enemy.

At the moment only two political parties represented in the House of Commons, Plaid and Respect, are in favour of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.  In the two latest polls 56%  (BBC and Guardian) and 59% (ITV) wanted the troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas.  As with Iraq, the views of the majority are hardly represented in Parliament.  To remedy that situation I have drafted an early day motion calling for the publication of a fixed timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.  The most recent suggestion that British troops could be in Afghanistan for forty years is grotesque and obscene.  Only eight MPs so far have supported  my call but I will be writing to many more over the remainder of the recess asking for their support.  I am aiming for the support of a 100 MPs as a firm basis to demand a proper debate on withdrawal when Parliament returns.  I need your help so please contact your MP and ask them to sign up to this important motion:

EDM 1946  
Price, Adam    8 signatures
  Cohen, Harry    Corbyn, Jeremy    Drew, David
  Flynn, Paul    Gerrard, Neil   Hopkins, Kelvin
  McDonnell, John
That this House notes that the war in Afghanistan is the longest continuing international deployment of UK forces in a conflict zone since the 19th century; further notes that the number of UK service casualties is now higher than the number sustained in the war in Iraq; further notes that the Government’s efforts should concentrate on reconstruction and local capacity building, including the training of the Afghan army; further notes that only the Afghan people will liberate Afghanistan from the scourges of corruption, lawlessness and religious extremism over the longer term; and calls on the Government to publish and commit to a fixed timetable for withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan

Post-script: It has been pointed out to me that the bombing of Afghanistan and incursion by Special Forces had already begun some weeks earlier than November 1 2001 with the beginning of the bombing on October 7 2001.  The vote was, however, the first and indeed only opportunity to register opposition to military action in Afghanistan – ands it came befoire the first ground engagement, the Battle of Mazar-i-Sharif.  I should also point out, as John McDonnell did on the night , that the the total number of opponents of NATO’s campaign was seventeen, including the two tellers for the Noes (McDonnell himself and Simon Thomas) who were also opposed to the war.