The Ven Martin Gorick,
Archdeacon of Oxford

THERE is much talk about emulating Sir Winston Churchill as our Parliament decides whether or not to begin an air campaign against so-called Islamic State in Syria.

There is one Churchillian quote however that is not so often heard, “To Jaw, Jaw is better than To War, War” – the belief and conviction that talking is always preferable to fighting.

Our nation’s recent record in Middle East conflicts has been one of the use of force followed by unforeseen and often disastrous consequences: the bombing in Libya and the chaos that ensued; the 13 years of conflict in Afghanistan from which we have now withdrawn, though it is still going on; and the appalling consequences that have continued to follow on from the decision to invade Iraq.

Diplomacy is infinitely preferable to lighting the unpredictable fuse of military force.

There are already four world powers flying warplanes over Syria, with questionable results.

Why add our brave RAF to an airspace crowded with military hardware from Turkey, France, Russia and the US? What good will that do?

Why not put all our considerable experience and expertise into the diplomatic effort that must work alongside all else as we seek to bring about a cessation of violent conflict in Syria, and begin to find a way to ending the spiral of chaotic destruction?

The huge outflow of migrants can only stop when Syria is stable enough to return to.

Adding British bombs to the myriad of weapons falling on that country from the skies will solve nothing.

Using our diplomatic strength and expertise with real determination and energy to build on the Vienna talks just might.

I, for one, will be encouraging my MP to vote against UK air strikes in Syria.

They will not help that country, nor make our country safer.

We need to listen again to Churchill and discover that “To Jaw, Jaw is indeed better than To War War”.