Union FlagI’m embarrassed to admit that the Syria war almost passed me by this week. Not the actual war of course. I know about that. It’s been going for two years after all. I’m talking about the war to start a war, or as it was known here, the vote in the House of Commons.

Luckily my wife reunited me with my iPad yesterday, hooking me up properly with the world outside for the first time in a week, and plunging me into a deep sense of dread of what might happen in parliament. Alas, my fears were for nothing as the anti-action side won the war by 285 votes to 272.

So it’s a no on Syria. Basically the same stance that we’ve had for two years, but this time there was a vote to make absolutely sure. If you’re opposed to the coalition government it can be described as a defeat for David Cameron. The prime minister reacted with poise afterwards, declaring his respect for the decision of the elected chamber. If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Give him a few weeks and MPs will be back in the Commons voting again, but this time Cameron will come with “˜proper evidence’, just like Tony Blair did. After all, he only has to persuade seven MPs to change their minds, then bombs away.

Reaction to the vote has been predictably political, with some questioning Cameron’s ability as a strong leader. More worrying were the scaremongering noises being made by the likes of Chancellor George Osborne, who questioned whether this vote showed Britain no longer had the will to stand up to wrongdoing in the world. Interestingly the list of wrongdoing that Britain has turned a blind eye to over recent years suggests this process started a long time ago. But this is the Middle East, where meddling is expected. If a British government can’t be allowed to meddle in the region then what is the world coming to?

I find it more than slightly amusing that the British, as the original Middle East meddlers, all but get away with our torrid past in the region. You’d think a history spanning the Empire’s problems in the area would warn us to leave well alone in case people have long memories. Fortunately most are too busy burning the Stars and Stripes to care. That’s just another thing for me to be slightly embarrassed about.