The House of Commons decides and hostilities commence…..

Within minutes of the affirmative decision taken by the House of Commons on Wednesday night, the fighters were in action. Three RAF Tornados took off from their base on Cyprus, loaded with high explosive while at home several crack squadrons of combat trolls were deployed from RAF Twitter and HMS Facebook. Defence cuts there may have been, but these warriors were equipped with the very latest FoulTweet-140 bile-propelled missiles and the chance to use this exciting new technology in an actual combat situation was exhilarating.

The quarry that the Tornados had in their sights we do not know, but the targets for the trolls were easy to identify. Sixty-six Labour MPs had mistakenly assumed that the free vote on Syrian airstrikes granted by Jeremy Corbyn meant that they were free to vote according to their consciences. It may then have come as a shock to discover that the rules of engagement as laid down in the Islington Nice Politics Convention demanded that their only entitlement was to death threats and taunts of deselection. In certain provinces, notably Streatham and Walthamstow, radical Momentumist forces were reported as being close to a takeover.

The attitude of the Labour leader himself towards these activities remained ambiguous. Mr Corbyn is determinedly pacifist in the path of terrorism, fascism, jihadism and, who knows, even Thatcherism. Faced, however, with people who disagree with him in the Labour Party even his conscientious objection to violent expression strains at its limits. These myrmidons of moderation have now been upgraded in the terminology of hatred from Tory Scum to Blairite Scum and although Mr Corbyn put out an email in the middle of the week urging restraint, the attacks continued largely regardless. #Notinmyname is was not.

Mr Corbyn’s own commitment to restraint was tested as his foreign affairs spokesman, Hilary Benn, spoke passionately from the dispatch box to a position 180 degrees removed from the Leader’s own. If looks could Tweet. Mr Benn’s was a good speech, evoking traditions from the history of socialism from the unimaginable time before these people were able to take to social media, but hardly the great one it was immediately written up as, especially in the right-wing press. Tories in the chamber clapped and cheered, unrestrained by either respect for tradition, or by Speaker Bercow who, since by this point, had not visited the lavatory for 10 hours, was probably crossing his legs as much as holding his tongue.

Almost immediately the shadow foreign secretary was being spoken of as Mr Corbyn’s successor, thus bringing us to that all too familiar situation in British politics when the leader of the Labour Party is being undermined by a man called Benn. Junior, however, lacks the drive that came from the insane certainties of his father and has a political personality less suited to Tony Benn than to Mr Benn, the John Majoresque cartoon character. Benn mania lasted no more than 24 hours.

It was, in part, dispelled by the result of the Oldham by-election, which Labour won with, in proportion to the turnout, an increased majority. Mr Corbyn’s supporters immediately pounced on this as a vindication, even though the Labour leader’s principal contribution to the campaign was to stay as far away from Oldham as possible. A strong local candidate is thought to have played a larger part. Hints that Nigel Farage might resign in response to the thrashing for UKIP seemed pointless as well as exaggerated, since history teaches us that when Mr Farage resigns, the effect tends to wear off after a couple of days. Mr Farage besides is an important entertainment factor in British politics, cheering us up as the bombs started to tumble onto Syria with his sore-loser moaning about the alleged rigging of postal votes.

Excitement levels rose in the earlier part of the week when it was announced tht the House of Commons had voted in favour of a sugar tax. Sadly,  it turned out that this was an impost aimed in the direction of fizzy drinks rather than the presenter of The Apprentice. Health fascists – who, Hilary Benn please note, also need to be defeated – are in favour of such a move, as they are for other so-called sin taxes. Rather more revenue though could be raised by taxing people who fail to compose their contributions to Twitter and Facebook – abusuive or otherwise – into properly constituted, complete, sentences. We could call it the Syntax Tax.

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