Hugh Bayley, Member of Parliament for York, was recently asked to support an Early Day Motion on missile defence.  This motion, proposed by Peter Kilfoyle and signed by 90 MPs, noted the widespread concern at the US’s plans to increase its missile defence bases on the continent.  It called on the Government “to scrutinise US missile defence deployment plans in the UK and their implications for UK and European security as a whole.”  A rather timid demand given the destabilising threat from Bush’s legacy in foreign policy (A.K.A. “let’s escalate the nuclear threat”).

Hugh, however, found even the prospect of talking about it too much to cope with.  He has told us that missile defence is “something which the Government will be discussing with the new US Administration”, and that he thinks “it would be wise to wait until President Obama makes his view clear.”  And so, as he does not “think it is sensible to speculate about [Obama’s] views,” he cannot bring himself to support it.

Hugh appears to have adopted Tony Blair’s view of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America.  This can be encapsulated as: When the US President says “jump” the correct response is “how high?”

I might have to classify Hugh as part of the ‘invertebrate’ group of Labour backbenchers (a sizeable grouping).  These are MPs who lack the courage to act on even long-standing principles if they feel it will bring down even the mildest displeasure from Party leaders.  However I would first have to be convinced that my MP had any permanent principles, or even the willingness to think for himself.