Iain Dale is a respected commentator from within the mainstream of the Conservative Party and was a member of the panel on Fridays Radio 4 Any Questions. In responding to a question on Aleppo, he argued that there were two possible approaches that could be taken over Syria. The first was to say silent and do nothing. The second was to intervene militarily and in doing so to ensure, not only that bombs were dropped on the nation as the UK has done on at least 53 occasions since 2nd December, but also to ensure that boots on the ground addressed the conflict in a way that brought it to a speedy end. In saying this he used this two option approach to argue that the British Government is sitting on the fence, somewhere between these two positions. I believe that Iain Dale is fundamentally wrong to believe that simply by putting British troops onto Syrian soil that somehow this will ensure a speedy end to this war, but perhaps that is a minor matter, after all neither Dale nor myself have any experience of war and neither of us are military strategists. Indeed the closest Dale has come to warfare was in his desire to allow Damian McBride to have a successful book launch, when he was cautioned for attacking a pensioner on Brighton seafront in front of TV cameras, so arguably his concept of strategy even in PR terms is pretty dubious.
However there is a third and in my view much more honourable line to take with Syria, and that is to use the full panapoly of British Diplomatic and economic power to force the sides that are likely to be influenced by such tactics to end this dispute and do it quickly. The idea that Daesh will respond to our influence is naive, but the concept that we cannot operate more effectively in diplomatic terms is equally foolish. If Dale is reflecting the views from within his party, then we clearly need a new political arrangement in setting our foreign policy and military strategy.