Just a few shots, not entirely in the dark, to begin to look at the tendencies at work expressed in last Thursday's vote by the parliamentary tea-drinking-surrender-monkeys against a missile attack on Syria.
What it doesn't mean: it doesn't mean that Britain will be any less involved in this imperialist war than it already is. Britain has intelligence and special forces "boots on the ground" (or around it) providing military assistance, facilitating the movement of arms to the "rebels", providing logistics and intelligence and, on a wider scale, giving financial, military and diplomatic support to the anti-Assad forces. Edward Snowden's revelations included the fact that Britain taps straight into fibre-optic cables in the Med (probably around Cyprus), collates, filters and classifies communication across the Middle East and provides this to the Americans. All this will continue unabated and will be used to support any US missile strike.
But there is meaning to this vote even if it's complex. Like Bush with Blair over Iraq, Britain was told that the US would make a strike with or without it (like Libya, the US is "leading from behind" here as its "pivot" to the Pacific is its priority). The Commons vote was something of a surprise to everyone but it does represent tendencies - in no specific order - of the historical weakening of US imperialism (quite ominous for the US), centrifugal tendencies in international relations and the specific role and history of British imperialism.
World Revolution 359, has an article on British foreign policy under Cameron and it generally states the complexity of British/US relations against previous tendencies in WR to see them sometimes in black, sometimes white, but because of the particular sitation and history of British imperialism they are much more complex than Britain for or against the US. The article is also quite prescient about Cameron's position: "The British ruling class is still struggling to come to terms with these facts [the situation of Britain as a secondary power, the niche it can carve out for itself, the difficulties of the world, etc. B.], even if Cameron has so far appeared more realistic than Blair. But then Blair also seemed quite realistic until 9.11". It's not that the Tories always support the US or that Labour are against; elements within each party have different expressions of inter-imperialist relations at different times. There are plenty of historical examples of this.
Cameron and his clique were unduly negligent about the anti-war feeling and the abiding distrust of politicians that existed in this country. Only the Murdoch media out of all of them supported going along with the American missile strike and even a loaded poll in The Sun saw a 2 to 1 majority against. Their complacency and subsequent disorientation was underlined by post-vote TV interviews of Tory government ministers, including the defence minister, who independently and repeatedly referred to Assad as "Saddam Hussein"!
The Labour Party's amended motion was also defeated in the vote and there's no doubt that originally Miliband and the LP were going along with the missile strike but wanted some confetti words about the UN around it. At some stage during these proceedings it must have dawned on those who matter in the LP that here was a chance to give some substance to the pathetic Miliband and exorcise the ghost of the hated Tony Blair and his Iraqi legacy. The Labour Party, previously struggling against a fairly strong Cameron regime, has been strengthened by this - as has been British "democracy". Appearing to stand up to the US bully does the Labour Party no harm in relation to its election prospects, prospects that were previously looking somewhat grim. Miliband could have been on his way out this autumn and events have worked out somewhat fortuiously for him.
Short of war, Britain has been completely fucked over by US imperialism over many decades. All the stories and bitter memories have been revived in the British media over the last few days: the four rusting hulks exchanged for important British territories during WW II; the squeezing dry of Britain to pay back the US; Suez; the invasion of US marines of the Commonwealth country of Granada, and so on. There is a deep residual hatred within the British bourgeoisie of the American state. Elements of that were present in this vote. But Pefidious Albion is nothing if not pragmatic and will continue working with the US even if under more strained circumstances. The overall decision has already been made but certain tendencies to a more independent course for British imperialism exists too.
Another tendency expressed here is the difficulty that all the democratic political parties have in that they have to support unpopular decisions either regarding the economy or war. And regarding alliances, it makes the developing Anglo-French military alliance a bit more complex as the new-found oldest ally of the US (wine-imbibing creeping frogs).
The SWP/leftist supported "Stop the War Coalition" has called the vote "a victory" and, expressing its pacificst credentials with "a corner turned in the road to peace". The Socialist Party has called for a 24 national strike called by the TUC to "finish off the coalition" and given critical support to Miliband. The SWP, which appears to have stopped talking about the "revolution" in Syria has supported "Stop the War and the labour left and pronounced a "victory" for protests. The SPGB, in a bit on libcom, seems to suggest some weight to the parliamentary vote.