How to vote on the matter of killing people

Below is the content of a letter I have just sent to my local MP, Tessa Jowell, ahead of tomorrow’s debate and vote in the House of Commons on whether to launch air strikes against Islamic State.

“I am writing to you with respect to the recall of Parliament to vote on whether the UK should join a campaign of air strikes against Islamic State (also known as ISIL) in Iraq.

My representation to you is that when it comes to a vote, that you should vote ‘no’.

No one would deny that IS are a threat and that they have committed acts of evil. Yet to sanction air strikes sends out the message “one kind of killing is barbaric, but another is acceptable”.

When one human kills, they not only terminate the humanity of another, but they erode their own. Nomatter how barbaric the methodology and ideology is that lies behind Islamic State, they remain human beings. They had childhoods, they had mothers who loved them. They may have committed acts which lessen their humanity, but we should not deny them of their lives. To do so lessens our humanity.

The methodology and ideology may be different, but we should not be fooled into thinking that air strikes are any less barbaric than beheading. It is simply a method that allows for a distance which reduces the visceral feeling of killing a fellow human being.

It is my understanding that the party leaders of the three main parties have already promised the support of their parties, in advance of the Commons debate. My wish is that you would heed not only my representation but also those of other constituents and that the voice of those of us opposed to government-endorsed killing are fairly represented in the debate.

If you have received other representation then I would be interested in knowing how many are for and how many are against the proposed air strikes.”

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