Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A New Year’s resolution: enforce the old year’s resolution



Since March 2011, when protests began against the dictatorship in Syria, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed. Many thousands of those killed, likely tens of thousands of them, were killed by regime air attacks using planes and helicopters dropping conventional bombs, barrel bombs, and chlorine chemical weapons. Many thousands more, adults and children, have been maimed.

As many as 95% of those killed in regime air attacks have been civilians.

In February 2014, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2139 which included the demand “that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs, and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering…”

UNSCR 2139 closed with the Security Council expressing “its intent to take further steps in the case of non-compliance,” but since then no action has been taken by the UNSC to stop the air attacks.

In the absence of further steps by the UNSC as a whole, and with UNSC permanent member Russia both arming Syria’s air force and also blocking collective UNSC action, individual states enjoying the privilege of permanent membership of the UNSC must take responsibility: specifically France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These three states have the proven ability to stop the Assad regime’s air attacks against civilians almost immediately. Their New Year’s resolution should now be to enforce the old year’s resolution.

Action is justified, in the words used by George Robertson in the 1999 Parliamentary debate on the UK’s Kosovo intervention, “as an exceptional measure in support of purposes laid down by the UN Security Council, but without the Council's express authorisation.” Whether individually or collectively, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, must act now to stop this slaughter.

Protect civilians. Enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2139. Syria needs a No-Fly Zone.

Background notes at http://www.nfzsyria.org/p/about.html

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Minimum of 24,168 civilians killed since Commons vote – true number may be over 42,000



The Violations Documentation Center in Syria has now documented 24,168 civilians killed since the 29 August 2013 UK Parliament vote rejecting military intervention in Syria.

That vote was on a Government motion which raised the possibility of military action in response to a massive chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Assad regime; however the motion was clear that military action could only take place after a UN Security Council debate, and after a further vote in the House of Commons.

224 Members of Parliament of the opposition Labour Party, under the leadership of Ed Miliband, as well as 39 backbench coalition MPs and 22 other MPs, voted against the motion.

The figure of 24,168 civilians killed since is from the Violations Documentation Center online database, and may have been updated by the time you read this. The VDC are just one of the organisations collecting and verifying reports of deaths in Syria. They are not able to document every death.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a series of reports on violent deaths in the Syria conflict by comparing information from a number of organisations on the ground, including the VDC. The most recent UN report covers the period from the start of protests in March 2011 up to the end of April 2014. It gave a minimum number of 191,369 confirmed violent deaths. According to the report, that number is “likely undercounting the true total number of conflict-related killings that have occurred during this time period.” For that same time period, the VDC was only able to document 109,531 confirmed violent deaths including regime deaths, just over half of the UN number. Therefore the VDC number is a significant undercount compared to the UN number, which itself is a minimum count and therefore an undercount by an unknown margin.

If the VDC undercount of civilian deaths for the period since the UK Parliament vote is of the same proportion as the undercount of all violent deaths for the period covered by the UN report, then the number of civilian deaths since the House of Commons vote is over 42,000.

For the entire conflict, the VDC has documented 78,819 civilians killed to date, greater than the recorded number of British civilians killed in the Second World War. By the same calculation of comparing to the UN count, the true figure of civilians violently killed in Syria since March 2011 is likely to be over 137,000. All violent deaths, civilian and military, are now well over 200,000.

None of these figures include war-related deaths caused by exposure, malnutrition, and destruction of medical services; more fallen sparrows than we can count.

Below are the 95 civilians that the Violations Documentation Center listed as killed in one day, Christmas Day, 2014.

Unidentified 3 Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Maskaneh 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 2 Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Maskaneh 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 1 Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Maskaneh 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Hasan Ali al-Tahhan al-Noaemi Non-Civilian Adult - Male Quneitra 2014-12-25 Shooting
Abdul Salam al-Jahush Non-Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Kanaker 2014-12-25 Shooting
Alaa al-Rafea Non-Civilian Adult - Male Quneitra Rafeed 2014-12-25 Shooting
Rifaa al-Hadhud Civilian Adult - Female Homs Der Baalba 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ameera Mohammad al-Khateeb Civilian Adult - Female Idlib Taftanaz 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ahmad Adnan Musa al-Khateeb Non-Civilian Adult - Male Quneitra Mashareh 2014-12-25 Shooting
Hasan Ahmad al-Naqo Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abdul Kader Faraj Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Ali al-Hameed Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ibrahem Meho Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Majed Merash Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Khaleel Ali al-Ali Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Musa al-Hamood Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Hasan Abbas Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Muhammad Shukri Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Qasem Hesso Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Kheder Hesso Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mustafa Hmado al-Shehabi Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ahmad Hmado al-Shehabi Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Satouf al-Naqo Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ibrahem al-Mustafa Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bazzaa 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Omar Mahmoud al-Jabali Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Shasho Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Kabbasin 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Abdul Baset Aboud Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ismael Khamees Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mustafa Kassar Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Husain al-Nayef Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Waseem al-Ghawi Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abdul Hameed al-Ghawi Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified Civilian Child - Male Hama Abo Fashafeesh village 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Khawla Mustafa al-Hallak Civilian Child - Female Idlib Habeet 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Hassan Adnan al-Rahmoon Non-Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Jarjanaz 2014-12-25 Shooting
Akram Abdulla Haj Qasem Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Saraqib 2014-12-25 Detention - Torture
Mohammad Musa al-Khaled Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa 2014-12-25 Shooting
Yusri Ali Mahmoud al-Barm Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Giza 2014-12-25 Shooting
Unidentified Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Sheikh Miskeen 2014-12-25 Shooting
Mohammad Qatleesh Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Dael 2014-12-25 Shelling
Mohammad Yosef Abo Zaid Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Dael 2014-12-25 Shelling
Alaa Abo al-Nadr Non-Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Daraya 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ammar Musa al-Hariri Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Dael 2014-12-25 Shelling
Mamoun Khaleel al-Tamr al-Jbawi Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Jassim 2014-12-25 Shooting
Unidentified Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Manbej 2014-12-25 Kidnapping - Execution
Usama Hawa Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Anadan 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Yousef Ibraheem al-Asad "al-Shaikh Deeb" Civilian Adult - Male Hama Karnaz 2014-12-25 Detention - Torture
Omar Ahmad Thalji Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Zakwan Mohammad al-Abes Non-Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Jarjanaz 2014-12-25 Shooting
Mohammad Abdul Moniem Deebo Non-Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Jarjanaz 2014-12-25 Shooting
Mohammad Khaled al-Heer Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Maarat Numan: Deir Sharqee 2014-12-25 Detention - Torture
Hasan Aboud Non-Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Bsagla 2014-12-25 Shooting
Mohammad Zaatout Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Yarmuk Camp 2014-12-25 Detention - Torture
Abo Rabea al-Bukaie Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Yalda 2014-12-25 Shooting
Bilal Tareefe Civilian Child - Male Damascus Suburbs Douma 2014-12-25 Other
Ghaith Muhi Eddin al-Shazeli Civilian Child - Male Damascus Suburbs Douma 2014-12-25 Shelling
Ahmed Darwish Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Harasta 2014-12-25 Chemical and toxic gases
Abo Malek al-Masri Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Harasta 2014-12-25 Chemical and toxic gases
Ihsan Mahmoud al-Shaeir Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Kafrshams 2014-12-25 Detention - Torture
Sobh Mohammad Metiemb al-Aloush Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Harra 2014-12-25 Shooting
Ali Abdul Ghani Anees Civilian Adult - Male Damascus Suburbs Douma 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Maan Sahl al-Radi Non-Civilian Adult - Male Daraa Naseeb 2014-12-25 Shooting
Abo Obaida al-Ansari Non-Civilian Adult - Male Homs Waar 2014-12-25 Shooting
Majdi Azzam Farhat Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Binnish 2014-12-25 Shelling
Unidentified Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Batbo 2014-12-25 Shooting
Hosain Sayel al-Mostafa Civilian Adult - Male Hama Kaferzita 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ahmad Khaled Obaid Civilian Adult - Male Hama Kaferzita 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mahmoud Abd al-Moetei al-Elaiwi Civilian Adult - Male Hama Shehrnaz 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Hasan Mohammad al-Salloum Civilian Child - Male Hama Shehrnaz 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mahmoud Mohammad al-Saloum Civilian Child - Male Hama Shehrnaz 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abo Sardah Non-Civilian Adult - Male Damascus 2014-12-25 Shooting
Mohammad Taher Wais Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Maher Taleb Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad al-Hasan Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abo Taha al-Turkmani Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abo Ibrahem al-Ghawi Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Ahmad Swaid Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Joud al-Ghawi Civilian Child - Female Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Futoon Abo Zahed Civilian Child - Female Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Hasna Mahmoud al-Sawas Civilian Adult - Female Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Fatema al-Sawas Civilian Adult - Female Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Shaker Mehho Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Abdul Ghani Sheikh Ahmad Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Jomaa Qadour Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 1 Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 2 Civilian Child - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 3 Non-Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Unidentified 4 Non-Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Bab 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Shamoun Ali al-Jamous Civilian Adult - Male Homs Waar 2014-12-25 Shooting
Abdul Ilah Ramadan al-Alewi Non-Civilian Adult - Male Homs Khalidiya 2014-12-25 Shooting
Unidentified Non-Civilian Adult - Male Quneitra 2014-12-25 Shooting
Wesam Ebraheem al-Eibrahim Non-Civilian Adult - Male Homs Hula 2014-12-25 Shelling
Ibraheem Ahmad al-Aytam Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Ketyan 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Mohammad Hasoun Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Ketyan 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling
Basem Nadim Civilian Adult - Male Idlib Ketyan 2014-12-25 Warplane shelling

Thursday, 18 December 2014

This Saturday: Syria vigils in London, Manchester, and online



In the past year, press attention on Syria largely shifted from Assad’s campaign of terror to the terror of ISIS as they first expanded their reach from eastern Syria into northern Iraq, and then went on to lay siege to the largely Kurdish town of Kobane in north Syria, a battle that ranged within sight of Western media across the border in Turkey.

The TV crews have mostly moved on, but the battle for Kobane continues, with Kurdish and Free Syrian Army forces still fighting together to beat back ISIS. And Kobane is not alone: Across Syria towns and villages are fighting for their lives – against ISIS, against the Assad regime, and in some cases against both at the same time.

And while ISIS adopts the Assad regime’s methods of torture and oppression*, the regime goes on killing Syrians on a scale that ISIS still only dreams of**.

In the past few weeks, the Syria’s Forgotten Cities campaign has aimed to raise awareness of the many other Kobanes: focusing on Aleppo, Homs, Raqqa, and remembering the many more, Daraa, Daraya, Deir Ez-Zour, Douma, Hama, Jobar, Idlib, Yarmouk, Zamalka – places battered but not beaten, cities and towns where the fight for freedom and dignity goes on.

As Syrians face another winter of bombing, siege, starvation, and terror, we must resist the temptation to turn away in despair, so we are holding vigils in London and Manchester this Saturday, and we invite you to join us.

LONDON
Saturday 20th December, 6 to 8:00 pm in Trafalgar Square.
Facebook event page.

MANCHESTER
Saturday 20th December, 5 to 6:00 pm in Piccadilly Gardens.
Facebook event page.

Press release PDF.

For anyone unable to be present in either of these two cities, we are also holding an online vigil. Please help show solidarity with Syrians in this fourth winter of war by lighting a candle wherever you are and posting a picture of it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, with the hashtag #SyriasForgottenCities. More details here.


* See: Islamic State adopts Assad’s methods of torture, Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, 13 December 2014.
** See: Syrian Network for Human Rights on civilian deaths since the start of the US-led intervention against ISIS in Syria.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Humanitarian aid is important but won’t stop the war

This is a guest post by Daniel Wickham, and first appeared as a series of tweets.

If we all agree that letting Syria descend into a civil war fought primarily between equally bad actors – the Assad regime on one hand, and extremist groups like ISIS and al-Nusra on the other – is not what we want, doesn’t that make the only logical solution to strengthen those caught in between?

As long as Assad has the upper hand against the mainstream rebels, and the world is distracted by ISIS, the chance of an agreement with a long-term ceasefire seems almost non-existent. That can surely only happen if the Syrian regime faces serious, violent internal pressure to make a deal, or is overthrown either in part or entirely, neither of which is likely to happen unless the mainstream rebels are supported.

That doesn’t mean *any* mainstream rebels, but specifically those who do not target and murder civilians, and can be made to abide by IHL.

Humanitarian aid is important but won’t stop the war, and the current air campaign against ISIS seems to be only strengthening the regime. To stop ISIS, there has to either be a deal followed by concessions or an overthrow of the regime, which is its most effective recruiter. What other way can that happen except through a strengthening of (certain) mainstream rebels and perhaps even an air campaign vs. Assad?

On a personal note, it really pains me to advocate policies like bombing, but I just don’t see how else the slaughter can be stopped/slowed. When it comes to tragedies like Syria, you have to look beyond your own ideological biases and ask what is the best of the bad options? I’ve said this before and been accused of supporting imperialism. But remember, the policy I’m advocating is aggressively opposed by the US.

To be honest though, I couldn’t care less what the US establishment or its opponents think about Syria. The uprising is not about them. It’s about people who are being starved, murdered and besieged simply for wanting to be free from a cowardly and murderous tyrant. And at the end of the day, I’d rather show solidarity with them than fake ‘anti-imperialists’ sitting in the West. A million times over.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Deter and Retaliate


BUFFER ZONES, SAFE ZONES, AIR-EXCLUSION ZONES

The week from Sunday 30th November to Sunday 7th December started with a lot of words published on the possibility of a no-fly zone in Syria, and ended with a practical demonstration of the feasibility of imposing one. It began with three news stories, all based on leaks or off-record conversations by US officials about ongoing negotiations between retired Marine Gen. John Allen, US special presidential envoy, and Turkish officials on the possibility of establishing a ‘safe zone’ in Northern Syria where civilians and rebels would have a degree of protection from both Assad forces and ISIS.
All three stories noted that a proposal had been brought to President Obama, but that no decision had yet been made. That these leaks may have been made by officials hoping to pressure the administration’s leadership into moving forward on the plan seemed confirmed by the push-back response to the stories:
  • Colonel Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesperson, 1st December:
    “Right now, we don’t believe a buffer zone is the best way to relieve the humanitarian crisis there in northern Syria.”

  • Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, 1st December:
    “… At this point, we don’t believe that a no-fly zone fits the bill here.”

  • Susan Rice, National Security Advisor to President Obama, 2nd December:
    “We are not moving in the direction of a no-fly zone or a safe haven at this point,” and “We think the establishment of a no-fly zone or a safe zone, at this point, is at best premature, and would be a major investment of resources that would be something, frankly, of a diversion from the primary task at hand.”

In contrast, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State under Obama and likely Presidential candidate for 2016, seemed to be in support of the proposal, and The Washington Post published an editorial arguing in its favour. At a Brussels conference on fighting ISIS, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu continued to maintain that the proposal was gaining understanding in the US.

And then on Sunday the 7th of December Israel again demonstrated how vulnerable the Assad regime is to air attack by carrying out daylight strikes on the outskirts of Damascus.


DETER AND RETALIATE

Worth noting in the three initial news reports about safe zone negotiations is that the plan they describe envisages a no-fly zone maintained by deterrence and retaliation rather than by either air patrol and interception as seen in Bosnia and Iraq in the 1990s, or eradication of regime air assets as seen in Libya in 2011. From the Wall Street Journal version:
In contrast to a formal no-fly zone, the narrower safe zone along the border under discussion wouldn’t require any strikes to take out Syrian air defenses. Instead, the U.S. and its coalition partners could send a quiet warning to the Assad regime to stay away from the zone or risk retaliation.

While there’s an implication in the article that a Deter and Retaliate approach can only work for a limited scale no-fly zone, recent events in Syria suggest that it would work for a no-fly zone over the entire country. Three experiences point to Assad being susceptible to deterrence: his agreement to allow the removal of chemical weapons following the threat of military action; the lack of any military response by Assad to US-led forces carrying out strikes in Syrian territory; and the lack of any direct military response by Assad to Israel’s repeated strikes against his military. Assad clearly knows he is unlikely to survive a direct military conflict with the US or its allies, and will go as far as possible to avoid one. As to retaliation, yesterday’s daylight strikes by Israel against Assad’s military in the Damascus area once again make clear that it is well within the means of the US and its allies to retaliate should Assad defy a no-fly zone.

Finally, how would a Deter and Retaliate no-fly zone work, and why might it be preferable to a patrolled no-fly zone, or to eradicating Assad’s air force?

The US and its allies already have the means to monitor Syrian territory to detect air attacks, and have the means available to retaliate in the event of any attacks taking place, so the next step would be to demand an immediate end to air attacks by Assad’s air force, and declare that any further attacks will be met with a punitive military response. There is a good chance the Assad regime would comply fully with this demand in order not to risk being hit by US strikes. If however the Assad regime decided to test US resolve by carrying out one or more air attacks, the US and its allies would not seek to intercept the particular aircraft violating the no-fly zone; instead they would first verify that an attack had taken place, and then respond with an attack against a target of their choice, for example Assad aircraft on the ground or other similar military targets.

There are major advantages in this Deter and Retaliate approach compared to patrols or eradication. Not engaging in patrolling or interception is safer for air crews. Avoiding the wide-scale strikes needed to eradicate Assad’s air force lowers the risk of unintended civilian casualties as well as lowering risk to air crews. And of course avoiding patrols and wide-scale strikes also makes Deter and Retaliate cheaper. It could cost as little as a phone call.

There would be three justifications for declaring such a no-fly zone. One, as with earlier chemical attacks by Assad forces, the regime’s deliberate targeting of civilian areas blatantly contravenes established international humanitarian law. Two, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, passed in February, demanded an end to such attacks. Three, such attacks hamper efforts by the US and its allies to combat ISIS.

RELATED POSTS

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Over 23,000 civilians killed since the UK Parliament’s Syria vote



In August 2013, Labour’s Ed Miliband led his party in voting along with Conservative backbenchers to block any military option in the UK’s response to Assad’s chemical weapons massacre.

Since then the Violations Documentation Center in Syria has listed 23,255 civilians killed. (A minimum count of confirmed violent deaths; the true total is certain to be significantly higher.)

Since then, untold numbers have lost limbs in bombing and artillery attacks.

Since then, Assad’s forces have carried on using chemical weapons attacks, repeatedly bombing civilians with chlorine gas weapons.

Since then, aerial attacks by Assad’s air force have surged, killing at least 8,663 civilians by a minimum count.

Since then, Ed Miliband and his Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander have said as little as possible on Syria. What they have said has seemed wholly disconnected from reality: promoting the doomed Geneva II talks as “Syria’s best chance for securing peace,” calling on the Government to admit “just a few hundred refugees” out of the over 3 million that have fled Syria, and, after the US attacked ISIS in Syria, calling for a UN Security Council resolution that they knew would be doomed and that they themselves seemed to think legally unnecessary.

I’ve heard it suggested that the Labour leadership never expected to win the August 2013 vote, but if they have since regretted the consequences they have never said so publicly, nor done anything to turn things around by building cross-party unity behind a more effective policy.

And so the killing goes on. What can we expect the tallies to be on 7 May 2015? And how will the British electorate weigh this disastrous foreign policy performance in opposition when judging Labour’s competency for power?

• Related post: A letter to Ed Miliband