This week the RAF launched drones that killed UK citizens in Syria. They were apparently jihadists who were planning a series of attacks in the UK. However, this has opened lots of issues that are relevant to students studying UK politics. Firstly, Brown ‘gave’ to Parliament the right to declare war, rather than the PM. However, does a drone strike need to be ratified by Parliament…?…is it a war? This grey area has been created by this recent event and could perhaps give the Prime Minister considerable leeway in such events in the future.
It also raises interesting questions about citizens and what governments can and can’t do to keep them in line, especially on foreign soil. On UK soil, they would perhaps have been arrested and detained under the various terrorism laws that the UK government has passed but once they pass beyond our borders the control a government has diminishes somewhat. This may prove to be an interesting unfolding question for student studying the judiciary as they may get involved to decide whether the actions of the government were lawful (judicial review) but also for those studying the role and power of the PM, especially if you are comparing to the power of Parliament, who appear to have only been informed after the event.
I would urge students to be looking to Syria and Libya for their foreign policy examples in UK politics – Iraq and Afghanistan are increasingly out of date!!