How do we respond to David Davis?


by Sunny Hundal    
8:58 am - June 17th 2008

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David Davis’ resignation has generated a huge amount of debate on how the liberal-left should respond. Conor Foley said we should support him, and was met with stiff resistance by Jennie Rigg and Unity on here. On OurKingdom, Anthony Barnett openly welcomed his move.

In our internal email list too we’ve been having a raging debate, especially since the talk has moved on to discussions of what action we can take.

The dilemma is painfully obvious.

David Davis is socially illiberal. As it is, many on the left have very deep misgivings about supporting a Tory crusade. Even more, by being portrayed as supporting David Davis by his supporters, there is a danger we may look like we’re legitimising his other stances.

The other problem is that with Kelvin MacKenzie more than likely out of the picture, the by-election is in danger of turning into a farce – contested by a model, and some other random people. If we get involved, we may also end up looking silly.

On the other hand, I absolutely don’t want Gordon Brown’s government to come out looking good over this. That would not only legitimise their increasingly authoritarian policies, which they have now decided to accelerate, but it would also ensure they push through the 42 days even if the Lords reject it.

To illustrate, I got this press release over the weekend:

With focus now shifting to the views of new Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve, Labour’s Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said today: “Dominic Grieve’s comments are shocking. Not content with his party this week opposing new powers for the police to deal with terrorism suspects, Dominic Grieve now appears to be going back on the Tories’ support for a 28 day limit on pre-charge detention, which has been central to their case during the progress of the Counter-Terrorism Bill.

“Dominic Grieve describes 28 days detention for terrorist suspects as “much longer than I would like to see” and says the Tories will consider “an opportunity to reduce it”. But the police and investigators have needed the 28 days limit to question and gather evidence against people suspected of serious terrorism offences.

So basically, the only hope of reducing this limit is through the Conservatives. Furthermore, David Davis wants to use his campaign for a major “freedom” campaign, which involves campaigning against all the authoritarian policies the left should be against.

Forget the politics for a minute. Forget that he may be positioning himself. Forget the fact that he is effectively out-maneuvering both the Liberal Democrats and even the Libertarians on civil liberties. Think about the outcomes.

If Davis fails, both Labour and Conservatives keep the status quo or push it further into authoritarian territory. As Anthony Barnett put it very succintly in his email:

Fact: we have to ensure we do win the vote in the lords and then we have to reverse the Commons vote in a year’s time to prevent the Parliament Act kicking in. Fact: we – the left – have to do this because we have to change the Labour vote. Fact: we can’t do this without public support. Fact: public support on this has to be cross-party or we can kiss democracy goodbye. Fact: we won’t win public support by crossing our arms saying ‘DD: we don’t like his smell’. That’s like saying we love liberty so much we are not going to let anyone we don’t like have anything to do with it.

And this is the dilemma we are in. How do we support David Davis on this specific issue, while ensuring we aren’t forced into legitimising the rest of his agenda?

Lee Griffin had this to say:

We know Davies is going to win, so we can use the opportunity. We don’t have to go and say “Davies is amazing as an MP, we support him because he is the champion of civil liberties” What we can say is “Davies is the only one in this contest that, on this issue, is talking any sense with regards to the erosion of civil liberties”. We can tie this in with a greater campaign of awareness, Lib Dem’s can even still use the opportunity to really push themselves.

This has been the line taken more recently by Shami Chakrabarti, Helene Kennedy and others. Here’s few other points to remember: David Davis’ stance on gay rights and 28 days is somewhat misrepresented.

So what form should action take, if any?

Actively campaigning in his constituency? A few people and organisations have seriously suggested this to me over the last few days. A carefully crafted letter of support signed by various people? Some other stunt to keep this debate alive? Ideas, thoughts welcome.

Surely the liberal-left has to come up with some sort of a response rather than remain in intellectual paralysis. This issue is too important.

Some other responses
Conspirators: Voltaire’s Priest is somewhat supportive; Septicisle thinks he deserves our support; Dave Osler thinks he’s an opportunist, Justin McKeating’s not impressed, neither is Jess McCabe and several others internally. David Semple is still supporting Labour; Paul Linford is content to sit back and analyse. Alix Mortimer’s piece is also very spot on: “If it is a Cameroon plot, it’s backfiring on them bigtime.

Elsewhere, John Miller thinks Davis wants to split Labour, and Michael Calderbank wants a boycott of the election stunt. D-Notice is actually going to vote Tory next time.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


How do ‘we’ respond to David Davis?

Speaking as somebody living in Wales, the whole story is of no relevance whatsoever. It’s just another twist in the power play between Labour and the Tories in England.

On a sidenote: love Tony Benn & co’s bewailing of the death of Magna Carta, considering that from a (historic) Welsh perspective it was killed by Edward I in 1282.

You don’t have to support DD or not, all you have to do is engage in the debate.

I think Chris has it right, actually. This is all about how the debate is framed, and at the moment (in fact, for the past however many days) we have succumbed to the temptation to frame this as if it is all about Davis. He must be creaming himself!

Why do we keep mentioning this man’s name like HE started this? Can we not say that we welcome the fact that he has come round to our point of view?

I do not like most of the blankety-blank’s views. However this time he is standing up for one thing that I passionately support.

Clegg’s got it right. Support him this time; chuck him out at the general election.

What does Liberal Conspiracy do collectively? How about just saying Clegg has got it right, give one good cheer (but not two nor three) when Davis wins, and getting on with what Liberal Conspiracy is about?

5. douglas clark

My tuppenceworth,

Three thoughts:

He’s camped out on our turf, hasn’t he? He’s going to get re-elected come what may. Maybe our political class could get a good laugh out of how pathetically naive the Sun has been when it tried to play politics?

There are opportunities here. The point is he has become a catalyst for changing the terms of the debate and specifically he’s struck a chord with the public. It is not too often that civil liberties are hitting the headlines. I obviously welcome that.

Perhaps what we need to do is to support his campaign and point out it’s shortcomings from our perspective. What we cannot do is let him define the agenda.

That may take no more than a letter to the Press, or even a press release. Supported by the highest profile names you can get your hands on. And a willingness to back that up with rapid response blogging.

I’d go for a press release, or open letter, or something of that sort.

“We welcome David Davis coming over to our side on this, and hope that others will follow” type thing.

I accept what Dale says about Davis’s personal attitude to his gay friends and colleagues and it would appear genuine. I suppose it is possible that his many absesnses from the Commons during various gay legislation votes, despite them being more or less on Home Office turf quite often, could be construed as being supportive, rather than voting against. But for me, it is incumbent on someone calling themselves libertarian actively to take whatever steps present themselves to remove legislation that discriminates, that creates coercion or hierarchical relationships between individuals based on something as basic and unthreatening as sexuality. Same with many other issues David has seemed to be an entrenched authoritarian about.

To me the whole stunt (as well as the walk out earlier in the year by Lib Dem MPs on the Lisbon Treaty debate) simply proves that our Westminster parliament is descending daily to the level of student union politics and that it is Westminster/Whitehall and the attitude of the people that populate it that are the problem with our country.

We will never be free whille that bloated, self-serving, hypocritical, undemocratic, centralised system exists. IMO.

I think we should be careful here – this starting to sound like stereotypical left-wing hand-wringing here. Why should LC do anything collectively on this?

Also, we need to remember that Davis is going to romp home with or without our help. Unless some of us are going to get on a train to Hull, LC’s impact on this by election is going to be minimal. It begins to look like a quest for reflected glory and bandwagon jumping.

42 days as an issue isn’t even dead inside Parliament yet. Southern bloggers hoping to chuck a stone in the hope it might land somewhere near Hull could maybe look closer to home to make a difference.

Davis has turned a serious debate into a media circus. The launch of his website DavidDavisForFreedom.com has confirmed all of my feelings about him and his motives. And as Justin says, he will win the election without us, so why hitch ourselves to his coattails?

The best response to David Davis is to laugh at him. The best response to the issue of 42 days is to campaign against it. This is being sidetracked by Davis’s PR campaign. How many days have we wasted on him so far?

I think we should be careful here – this starting to sound like stereotypical left-wing hand-wringing here. Why should LC do anything collectively on this?

Also, we need to remember that Davis is going to romp home with or without our help. Unless some of us are going to get on a train to Hull, LC’s impact on this by election is going to be minimal. It begins to look like a quest for reflected glory and bandwagon jumping.

42 days as an issue isn’t even dead inside Parliament yet. Southern bloggers hoping to chuck a stone in the hope it might land somewhere near Hull could maybe look closer to home to make a difference.

Wise words.

I don’t think any time has been wasted on him at the moment as the debate really can’t be fleshed out any more than it is. I agree with Justin though, I don’t understand the mentality that this is over and MPs are now a lost cause. Do tell me if I’m wrong but it was my understanding that if the Lords vote down the legislation it will have to pass another vote in the commons before it can be forced through?

If this is the case then there is a lot of shaming to be done on types like John Cruddas that put party allegiances above principles, and all those willing to take deals than follow their instincts.

12. Joanne Robinson

This by-election is not in Hull. Hull has its own MPs. This is in Haltemprice and Howden, mainly small towns and villages. Yes DD will get in again as the LibDems are not standing. The English Democrats are standing and are prepared to put up a good fight. We have had exceptional results for a small party in the local elections, and are now ready to build on this. People are ready for a change. Why not get the LibDems voters to back the English Democrats and give DD a shock!!

13. douglas clark

Rachel North has a post up on her site called “re-re-re-re-re-re-wind…..the Sun’s gone back in again “, which makes a fairly non partisan point. Worth reading I’d have thought.

Here:

http://rachelnorthlondon.blogspot.com/

Frankly DD has had more impact on this issue in four days than LC has had since it started. It ain’t a fair world.

The best response to the issue of 42 days is to campaign against it. This is being sidetracked by Davis’s PR campaign. How many days have we wasted on him so far?

Right now, Labour shows no sign of backing down over 42 days… while the Tories are looking to repeal it.

This was in a news article today:

“It could be said that for too long we have used 19th century means to solve 21st century problems. Instead we must have 21st century methods to deal with 21st century challenges,” said Brown, who argued that new laws were required because the nature of the threat posed by terrorists and criminals was changing.

Brown said that in the last full year for which figures were available, the DNA database had been used to match suspects with over 40,000 crimes.

Davis has argued that the DNA database should not be allowed to hold samples from people who have not been found guilty of a crime.

But Brown said that, if this were the case, “8,000 suspects who have been matched with crime scenes since 2001 would in all probability have got away”. The crimes that would have been left unsolved would include 114 murders, 55 attempted murders and 116 rapes.

Brown also strongly defended the use of CCTV cameras and the government’s plans for ID cards and an identity database, which he said would help individuals protect their identities.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/jun/17/terrorism.uksecurity

I’m not sure it’ll be that easy to persuade them to change their minds.

Well unless David Davis becomes prime minister, I’m not sure how supporting him will change this government or the next government’s policy on DNA databases and CCTV cameras. The tories support both of these.

They also support reducing the time limit on abortions, creating boot camps, imprisoning greater numbers of people and various other illiberal measures. I guess you have to weigh up whether or not all of that is worth a slightly more sensible policy on detaining terrorist suspects.

Yes, it’s all in East Riding, now, but I would get a train to Hull in order to get to what must be the bulk of the population of H&H, which, whilst technically outside Hull, Anlaby, Willerby and Kirk Ella are pretty much contiguous with the city itself, even if Cottingham likes to assert its own identity more than these others.

Living in Maplewood Avenue, we called that Hull, even if the city limits ran across the Willerby Road by the Springhead Park municipal golf course and we had red phone boxes!

It’s a non-sequitur to say that “8,000 would have got away”. They have no way of knowing that. And even if they did, since they love to tell us that DNA evidence is only used to corroborate other evidence, presumably that other evidence would have been enough at least to arrest a suspect, and *then* take their DNA to ensure the match. If confirmed, it would stay until the conviction was spent, and if acquitted, destroyed.

It’s the idea that police and others could go on fishing expeditions with database stored DNA records that is the scary thing. There are far too many factors in DNA transmission that would make such a practice highly dubious.

Personally, I maintain that holding DNA is itself a breach of Habeas Corpus.

“They also support reducing the time limit on abortions, creating boot camps, imprisoning greater numbers of people and various other illiberal measures. I guess you have to weigh up whether or not all of that is worth a slightly more sensible policy on detaining terrorist suspects.”

But why does endorsing/supporting (whatever you want to call it) David Davis actually have anything to do with this statement you’ve written above? We’re talking about retaining the issue as one in the media, about continuing the narative aren’t we? No-one at any point is saying that this is support for anything more than a cause. I guess if it’s too hard for people on our side to understand, though, it’s going to be pretty hard for the less knowledgable public to understand either… so perhaps you have a point.

Jock: This is the way Brown likes to speak. In the commons Smith argued that we needed 42 days lest a terrorist was let free after 28 and went on to commit an act of terror…now Brown is trying to say that the 42 day legislation isn’t a preventative measure!

Lee, no matter how it is framed, it will be seen and portrayed as a personal endorsement for Davis and for the Tories. The original post on here: ‘why we should support David Davis’ was immediately leapt on and linked to by Guido as was Sunny’s ‘why brown people should vote Tory’ article.

No matter how nuanced we make these kinds of endorsements, they will always be misrepresented by the Right as a boon to their own agenda. That is why I believe that we should campaign on the issues alone, as LIbcon had been until Davis launched this sideshow.

Sunny, do you have an opinion on it yet?

The local NUM are allegedly considering sponsoring a candidate to highlight the inconsistencies of Davis’s civil “libertarianism” …

In terms of the by-election, the thing which will make a difference is turnout.

At the moment, there is essentially no chance that Davis will lose, the question is whether the election gets seen as an irrelevant stunt or as a sign that this is an issue that lots of people care about. In fact, it doesn’t really matter whether people go along to campaign for Davis or against him, if in doing so they help to increase the number of people who go and vote.

If Davis wins with 95% of the vote on a turnout of less than the last set of local elections, say 25%, then the Lesson will be ‘this is not an issue which many people care about’.

In contrast if he wins with 60% of the vote, but on a turnout similar to the last general election or even higher, then that really will shake things up and reinforce the idea that the people think this is a big deal, and that journalists and politicans who thought it was a stunt are the ones who are out of touch.

Really good point donpaskini

“No matter how nuanced we make these kinds of endorsements, they will always be misrepresented by the Right”

No matter what we do, the Right (at least the Right that we really shouldn’t be caring about) will misrepresent us and undermine us. That’s their job. Those on the right that are a little bit more objective and willing to respect other’s view points will see it for what it truly is. Eve if we never commented on David Davis there would be people criticising our stance, that’s life.

BTW.

Shami Chakrabarti was awesome on Guardian’s Politics Weekly podcast. Mind you Tony McNulty made it easy for her, he was a complete dick-wad. He basically called Liberty a partisan organisation (a Tory one, presumably), and said that the vote represented democracy at work (as opposed the whips, threats and bribes).

This government has utterly lost any connection it had with Liberal reason.

I do hope the Lords ram this law up his and Brown’s arse. The problem is, thanks to legislation many of us supported, the Lords are not the check they once were…

I might as well throw my two-penneth in, since I have over my party’s descision not to stand which I am opposed too….Davis says he wants to start a debate (which I dont believe he does, he wants to continue a debate he’s been having internally through different means) so let’s give him one instead of rather slavishly letting him lead and dictate it….

There is a good progressive defence of civil liberties which is totally different from the Conservative defence of what is which is the core of their defence of civil liberties….one of the reasons I am so opposed to the descision not to stand is that I believe there is a fundemental difference between our perspectives on this and his; evidenced by the fact that he sees no contradiction between being against 42 days but pro-capital punishment….yes we episodically agree with his stance on this question but does that mean total agreement and rather slavish support?

It really should not…..

28. Rofl Mao Zedong

“we may also end up looking silly”: don’t worry, you already do.
Tip (to each and every one of you): think twice before using “we” when all you really mean is “I”.
Oh, and a suggestion: why not change the name of the site to Conspiracy to Help the Tories? It would be more honest.

zohra: Sunny, do you have an opinion on it yet?

I’m for the cause over the party. So instinctively I veer towards finding some way of supporting the cause while not backing David Davis entirely.

Though, I think I may have found a way through this dilemma. Am going to talk to a few people over the coming ways to see if it’ll work.

30. Andrew Adams

I would tend to agree with Adam and Darrell above. Rather than attach ourselves to Davis’s campaign let’s take advantage of the fact that his actions have raised the profile of civil liberties as an issue and campaign for a “a good progressive defence of civil liberties” as Darrell puts it.
We can show gratitude to Davis for raising the issue and support his position on those areas where we agree whilst demonstrating a progressive alternative both to his overall stance and that of New Labour, and that of others supposedly on the left whose only reaction to the whole thing is to sit on the sidelines and sneer.
Of course the question of how we can make our voices heard when there are so many others competing for attention is a difficult one. All I can say is if Sunny has, as he suggests above, got a cunning plan then I am happy to offer any assistance I can.

“evidenced by the fact that he sees no contradiction between being against 42 days but pro-capital punishment….”

What contradiction is there? It is a comparison of apples with oranges.

What about reducing 42 days to 8 hours?

How about making sure Davis wins with the biggest majority possible, and give Rupert Murdoch, Gordon Brown, Hazel Blears, Tony McNulty, Des Browne et al the biggest shock of their lives?

The message is much broader than 42 days – however its come about, the by-election is in effect a referendum. Treat it as that.

It will be a message to the Tories too, especially to the likes of Michael Gove.

Consider this, Labour will lose because they have screwed us all – they continually relied on us not to desert them because of the fear of letting the Tories in again. And in the process what have we achieved? Far worse than if it had been the Tories marching to war.

So if Davis gets a boost in his internal wrangling. he presumably gets to trounce the really sick wing of his party – and locks them into their policy statements beyond electoral advantage.

As for New Labour, it needs to be bludgeoned out of our misery.

So come the general election, we need a No-Vote campaign. Voter turn-out is probably the only thing left career-politicians might acknowledge.

Scotland and Wales excepted for obvious reasons.

As someone else has said, the majority doesn’t matter…only a non-marginal win and a very strong turn out.

I agree on the strong turn-out. But a handsome majority is also important. Closer the battle the harder it will be to carry the argument in the country. An early decisive win is needed, as some generals prefer.

Shock and Awe, so to speak.

I’m genuinely struggling to understand the angst this seems to be causing. Davis has been in Parliament for 21 years and so, like most MPs with sort of vintage his voting record shows some anomalies and inconsistencies etc. On occasion (and perhaps still) he advocates things people here would disagree with – that applies to me to. There will be many opportunities in the months and years ahead to tackle those issues and given where DD was at the weekend there’s good reason to believe he’s moved on many of them.

Regardless of any of this he’s made it perfectly clear what issues he’s basing his candidacy on – and it’s a platform most people here support. When he wins he’ll return to the Tory backbenches anyway so the victory won’t impact government policy directly – there will still be a Labour government for the next couple of years at least. Nobody, not least David himself, is pretending his victory (which is inevitable) is an endorsement of every position he’s ever held or even holds now, not least because of those inconsistencies which I’m sure he accepts.

The man’s made a fairly straightforward statement about something that concerns him and taken a stand on it. In political terms it’s rash and a little egotistical but those must be second order issue for supporters and opponents alike. He’s campaigning for something this website and most people on the liberal / left passionately believes in and so there’s simply no good excuse not to lend him your support on this occasion. Looking at the reaction over the last week or so it’s hard to conclude it’s borne of anything other than a very childish and ill-conceived tribalism.

Liam,

Tribalism is at the heart of this subject because every party is catering to what they consider their own best interests.

David Davis may be concerned about the principles of his party policy and the ability to influence legislation from opposition, but Cameron is primarily interested in his party unity and prospects for getting into government.
Murdoch & Co are interested in the long-term health of his companies and wants to position them close to the people and to government while the New Statesman wants to position itself as influential with the ‘intellectual’ elite.
KMK wants to inflate his sense of self-worth, while Brown is just happy to try to outlast his opponents and the LibDems seem to have something more important to be getting on with where they have some power (getting press coverage for replacing the bollards in my local park…rollseyes…).

I’d hestitate before calling such tribalism ill-concieved or childish, as it depends entirely on the combination effect, which can only be judged in hindsight.

Thanks Thomas but I didn’t level the charge lightly – I did hesitate and watched all the hand-wringing over the last few days.

Your response illustrates precisely why people should get behind Davis and ignore the fact that others have proxy agendas or different priorities. Success for Davis can’t have any material effect on any of those others issues so they shouldn’t register in any mature decision about whether or not to support him.

For a bunch of people who claim to value their liberties, there is a conspicuous absence of gratitude on display here.

Like him or loathe him David Davis has put this issue up for debate. It is all very well to say that he will no doubt be returned to Westminster but he has given up the chance of being Home Secretary for a cause you believe in. When he made that sacrifice everyone in Westminster thought that the general public backed the 42 day detention period, the ID card databases, CCTV cameras wherever you could put them and all the rest of it. Inasmuch as he made his stand in the teeth of perceived public opinion, that makes his resignation at least as brave as Robin Cook’s.

And already, the public reaction to Davis’ resignation has already given the lie to the idea that a bunch of stupid opinion polls reflect the population’s genuine thoughts on these matters.

You might prefer it if Bob Marshall Andrews had been the one to resign and seek re-election. I might too. But it was David that did it, not Bob and, until someone you like the look of a whole lot more actually puts up a deposit, I strongly suggest that, while you can continue to pressure him on the areas where you think him insufficiently liberal, you do absolutely all you can to make sure that he comes home on a landslide and with the largest turnout possible. I think that we all owe him that and it would certainly appear that Bob Marshall Andrews thinks something similar.

Make a noise where you live by all means – do whatever you can but surely, the most important thing is to get the civil liberties vote out in H&H. Anything else is self-destructive tribalism of the worst kind.

No?

A couple of points need making here further to this debate;

- If Davis wins then it will *not* necessarily be because they support him on 42 days. It will be because people think ‘wow here is a politician that seems principled and appears to be an all-round good egg’. To back that up I refer people to the recent poll polls which have shown very contradictory data – most agree that a majority view his resignation as ‘principled’ but some show, like the one for the Sunday Times, a clear majority still in favour of 42 days by a considerable margin.

-Nobody has mentioned the Labour PPC in the area who according to some reports is against 42 days and would be a far more potent symbol of rebellion since he would be actively rebelling against his own parties line, something that is not true of Davis well not on the stated facts at least.

We really need to be asking ourselves is this man a suitable leader for the ‘fight for freedom’ and my answer has to be no I am afraid….

George V;

But why did Davis do it since he is not against the stated position of his own party? And if things were changing and Cameron wanted to change the line why wont this ‘great man of principle’ say so publically, resign from his party and stand on a genuinely single-issue platform?? If it had been a Labour MP that had done it for example then that would be clearly different from Davis doing so because they would have been publically opposing the stated position of their own Party….as far as we can tell Davis is campaigning on what is Conservative Party policy so there was no need for this hoopla…unless of course like me you suspect that this is a crusade of vanity, a crusade for power within his own Party…how else can you explain the public mouthing of support but lack of financial support from the Tories??

People dont like it because they smell a rat…and backing him will blow up in our faces….and all this is to leave aside totally what I have said before and hold to be true that there are too many differences in principle between our perspective and Davis’s …..

And already, the public reaction to Davis’ resignation has already given the lie to the idea that a bunch of stupid opinion polls reflect the population’s genuine thoughts on these matters.

I suspect the polls were accurate enough – but most people do not have good reason to support any policy in particular.

So if it turns out that the Shadow Home Secretary cares so much about the issue, many might well feel more confidence in his judgement than in their own.

After all, the media has done a good job of demonstrating that this act is unlikely to advance his own career.

ad,

I take your point. People who jump up and down, campaign, send cheques to campaigns, respond to blogs etc seem to have come out in favour of civil liberties but whether they or the opinion polls the more accurate barometer of public opinion remains to be seen. Right now, the most important test of this principle is the turnout and result at H&H.

My own view is that the polls do not capture how people think (nor do focus groups). If you ask someone what they think about ID cards they may be in favour. If you ask how they feel about the implications of ID cards (which they may never have found the time to figure out for themselves), they may be less so.

I have sufficient faith in the public that once this matter is properly on the agenda and people are thinking about these issues for themselves a bit they will get genuinely angry and want a lot of this shitty legislation repealed.

Thus far the Government has egregiously misrepresented a good deal of the legislation it has passed – ID cards being a prime example as well as overlooking the scope for mis-use provided by other legislation (remember the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill?) The fact that the Prime Minister continues to stick to his “mother knows best” rhetoric about taking the right decisions for the country is, in the circumstances, nothing short of insulting.

If the cost of getting our Government to respect our civil liberties again is cosying up to one Tory on one time-limited occasion then we will be buying those freedoms a damn sight more cheaply than most political movements have been able to obtain them. It seems to me that anyone who can’t bring themselves to pay that price really doesn’t care all that much about freedom.

Darrell: It is your view that “is this man a suitable leader for the ‘fight for freedom’” that is the problem. As I’ve said elsewhere, if you’re sitting around waiting for the perfect candidate to come along who is the ideal freedom fighter then you, and all the other partisan and uptight liberals, will be waiting for a long long time.

Take blessings where they come, Davis making this issue one that lasted past the vote is a great thing, and he deserves support on this issue. He is not making it any other kind of issue, no matter how anyone wants to interpret his strategies in the by-election. No-one’s forcing you to sign a contract to forever more vote Tories and lend them your support, so why are you and so many others being so anal?

If you don’t want to support a Tory just say that, no-one will feel ill about that, but don’t talk about this bollocks of “right man for the job”, you either agree with his cause or not, and the cause is what you support not the man highlighting it.


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