What was once a trickle of interest was turning into a stream but has become a torrent thanks to a suddenly wide recognition in Britain and the West that the Kurds are central to defeating the self-styled Islamic State, Daish.

In recent weeks there have been two high-level official visits to Erbil by the British Defence Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, Michael Fallon and Philip Hammond. British aid and arms have flowed to Erbil although not as much as they could.

There are two high-profile inquiries exclusively or partly concerning the Kurds by the Foreign and Defence select committees, bipartisan parliamentary bodies that independently scrutinise the work of government and help form policy.

Every parliamentary debate on the Middle East includes contributions by MPs who have visited Kurdistan over the years and who broadly support Kurdish demands for heavy weapons, aid and help in solving disputes with Baghdad.

Outside parliament, those who feel the Kurds need more support from the West are becoming more organised. A grassroots initiative by Labour Party members, which I co-authored, is urging the party to endorse British military action in Syria as well as Iraq and to support the despatch of heavy weapons to Erbil to help the Kurds confront what it calls the vilest fascism of the age.

This could have implications for official British foreign policy because the opposition, and some Conservative MPs, effectively exercise a veto on the extent of British intervention. After the Commons failed to support punitive action last year against Syrian President Assad's use of chemical weapons, the government was fearful of another major defeat on international security policy, and decided that it could only agree to the use of British war planes against Daish in Iraq and not in Syria.

Furthermore, the fierce resistance to Daish in Kobani is inspiring people to support the Syrian Kurds whose female fighters are a powerful symbol of tolerance in the fight against an organisation which trades sex slaves in obscene markets in Mosul.

The select committee inquiries may have a profound impact on the development of British policy. MPs from the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region called for a Foreign Affairs inquiry after its visit a year ago when they heard of the emergence of Daish in Mosul. It was still a distant speck on the horizon, however. The inquiry was established at the beginning of this year and looked set to have a business-like focus on how the UK could make the most of its political, cultural and commercial links with Kurdistan. But the spectacular rise of Daish and the growing crisis in relations between Baghdad and Erbil altered that.

The report of the committee, members of which visited Erbil, Slemani and Baghdad last month, also cannot ignore considering the big strategic questions about either refounding federalism in a broken Iraq or some new form of confederation or even Kurdish independence.

Individual committee members have voiced support in the Commons for key Kurdish demands for heavy weapons, pressure on Baghdad to end its blockade of Erbil and increased aid to tackle the huge humanitarian crisis sparked by the influx of over a million refugees and internally displaced people into Kurdish sanctuary.

The Defence Committee inquiry is more broadly examining British security policy in Iraq and Syria but cannot avoid considering how Baghdad's former PM Maliki helped create the firestorm in Iraq by marginalising Sunnis and punishing Kurds. Such concerns underpinned moves by Western countries and Iran to force the removal of Maliki as PM and the hope that his successor Haider al-Abadi can reset relations within Iraq.

None of this increased attention comes without a critical focus on Kurdish shortcomings. Since they adopted parliamentary democracy in 1992, the Kurds have put themselves on a pedestal which has encouraged many to compare their aspirations with practice.

It is easier, for instance, for human rights organisations to move around Kurdistan and this has enabled reports that focus, for instance, on women's rights. Likewise, the need for reforming Peshmerga on a professional and meritocratic basis is now a major issue for Western friends.

Kurdish leaders should not fear such attention. They always tell visiting MPs that they expect their friends to be candid about the pros and cons of contemporary Kurdistan. The blossoming of parliamentary and popular solidarity is, however, a major bonus for the Kurds and can reinforce what many more people now see as their exciting example of tolerance, pluralism and democracy in a country that is at the heart of a deeply troubled Middle East.