Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Bid Manager, London

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Marketing Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

Pen Tester / Penentration Tester

£35000 - £55000 per annum + BONUS + BENS: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Penet...

i Editor's Letter: Britain's role in Syria. Military or political?

 

So the West – the US, Britain, France and various allies – are finalising plans to bomb Damascus within weeks, they say. War with Syria.

No one at Downing Street will go on the record, but officials in  Washington and London explain that they are no longer willing to watch atrocities unfold on the web. The Assad regime’s offer to let UN weapons inspectors visit the site of the chemical attack, now that evidence will have degraded, is “too late to be credible”, a White House spokesman said yesterday.

Western bombing would be a political move as much as military – about saving face, taking a moral stand. Proof, for Assad and his Moscow ally, that while the American-led bloc failed to intervene decisively in Syria early on, and has backed an inept and divided official opposition that has been marginalised by the more potent Islamist insurgency, it can still act.

Whitehall sources spoke of the decision to offer “a clear, concrete response from the international community to deter further outrages”. David Cameron is to cut short his holiday and return to Downing Street, although it is not clear that Parliament will be recalled. Britain may offer political rather than military backing for strikes. Without the ability or willingness to put boots on the ground, and with rebel forces divided, it will prove difficult for the West to shape the outcome in Syria by military means.

****

Europe’s biggest street festival, the Notting Hill carnival, begins a minute’s walk from my front door – where west London’s townhouses peter out into the estates off the Harrow Road. We woke yesterday to calypso, finding an armada of children dressed as jellyfish assembling outside. The street was transformed into a mêlée of feather-clad dancers, families, sizzling chicken stalls and entrepreneurial neighbours selling punch from their front gardens.

Second in scale only to Rio’s carnival, Notting Hill has been marred by violence – and today will be the crazy day, the huge crowds and raging music fuelling a party into the early hours. Yes, crime rises, it makes a heck of a mess and inconveniences a lot of residents (my cycle to the office included a three-mile detour). Hopefully tonight passes without serious incident. But carnival remains a family festival on the Sunday, and a chance for the city’s cramped youth to let down their hair. It also generates £100m a year for London.

If someone proposed staging a new Caribbean-themed street party for a million people which would bring the west of the capital to a halt, they’d be told where to get off. All the more reason to try to appreciate the one we have. I hope the 7,000 police officers on duty today have ample chance to enjoy themselves.

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter.com: @olyduff

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor