When pressed with hard questions about hardship and hunger in Britain, Mr Cameron is often keen to shift the debate away from such so-called “symptoms” and towards nebulous “underlying causes”. The billing of Monday’s statement as being about “Refugees and Counter Terrorism” betrayed a parallel effort to make a similar shift from discussing hard numbers of refugees, and towards the shapeless horrors of the Syrian war that caused their displacement. The PM revealed that UK forces had carried out a targeted assassination of a young British man, Reyaad Khan, who had been fighting with Isis in Syria. Not least because the Commons had expressly rejected military involvement in the Syrian theatre in 2013, this was dramatic and disturbing news. It was bound to divert attention from the row about refugee numbers. True, this was Mr Cameron’s first meeting with the House since the recess, but if he had wanted to keep the two issues separate he could have asked his home secretary to set out the asylum plans. He chose, however, not merely to take the two issues together but to suggest that he had thoughts on the military front that might somehow enable more Syrians to stay home.
Wonder what tools the military has for that?