13th December 2016
-By Cllr Sean Woodcock-
Dear Editor, I write to do something that too often does not come easy for politicians; offer an apology.
Back in 2013 I backed the decision of the leader of my party, Ed Miliband, not to support the bombing of President Assad in response to his use of chemical weapons on rebel held districts in Syria.
I made this decision, as a new councillor ambitious to stand for parliament, but also with memories of Iraq, which I had opposed, in mind.
I now realise that this was wrong.
While the action proposed on 2013 was flawed and perilous, it turns out that not acting is worse. By not acting, we gave a green light for all of the war crimes we have witnessed since. By doing nothing, we told Assad and his perennial backer Vladimir Putin that they could act with impunity at the cost of what we have seen since…
- The indiscriminate barrel bombing of civilians.
- Doctors and nurses executed for being indiscriminate in who they cared for.
- Firing squads for women and children seen as being on the wrong side.
- Hospitals and schools bombed.
- Murder, rape and torture.
- The deliberate starvation of civilians.
By backing the decision of my then leader, I am at least in a small way responsible for our great country shamefully standing by as these things happened.
For that, I want to say I am sorry.
Councillor Sean Woodcock The Labour Party Candidate for Banbury Constituency in the 2015 General Election