New Statesman breaks from Gordon Brown


8:56 am - June 19th 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


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This week’s New Statesman will be the clearest sign that the political magazine is now distancing itself and becoming very critical of Gordon Brown.

Soon after I published the rumour yesterday that they were actively looking for a candidate to stand agains David Davis, they sent me their lead editorial in this week’s issue.

The New Statesman has opposed the extension of detention without charge for terror suspects to 42 days from the moment it was proposed by Gordon Brown. The argument for detaining these suspects for six weeks has never been made to our satisfaction, nor, indeed, that of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

This magazine could never endorse the candidacy of David Davis in the coming by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency. Davis is a right-wing Conservative, as can be seen from his stance on a range of issues from the Human Rights Act to the death penalty. But neither do we share in the general sneering that emanated from the Westminster village following his resignation. The former shadow home secretary has succeeded in his main aim of keeping the issue of civil liberties in the public eye, and we applaud him for that.

Already, Gordon Brown has been forced to address Davis’s concerns in a point-by-point riposte. There is briefing that Labour will not put up a candidate in opposition. This would be disrespectful to the people of Haltemprice and Howden, who deserve the chance to hear Labour, on the ground, making the case for 42 days.

However, it is also a good opportunity for an independent candidate to make the genuinely liberal argument against 42 days, putting up a robust defence of the universal human rights that Davis does not support. Such a candidate would receive the full backing of the New Statesman


So acting editor Sue Matthais hasn’t found a candidate to run yet, but I’m told that they are actively looking for someone to run. Shami Chakrabarti said no. Various other names are being bandied about. Clare Short?

The magazine clearly won’t support David Davis. That would be against its DNA. But others on the left such as Anthony Barnett don’t want to split the liberty vote and support anyone against DD.

Would you support an alternative left-wing candidate to David Davis? If yes, then who would be ideal to run? Or would you prefer the civil liberties vote not be split?

I know of other organisations who actively plan to campaign in DD’s constituency but I’m waiting to hear back on whether I can mention them yet.

Regardless of what happens with David Davis, its clear that even some of Brown’s biggest backers of the past now have reservations over his position.

Martin Bright’s editorial is, I’m told, especially critical of Gordon Brown. It’s about time the Labour left got more critical of Brown over the erosion of our civil liberties.

Update 1
The campaign group NO2ID have arranged to have a presence in the constituency on Saturday 28th June and Saturday 5th July, and will have a number of people and groups who’ll be heading there at other times. As yet, there are no confirmation of any public meetings/debates from David Davis himself but they presume they will be getting notice of these shortly.

Related
Alex Hilton interviews Davis on LabourHome.

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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


>>Would you support an alternative left-wing candidate to David Davis? If yes, then who would be ideal to run? Or would you prefer the civil liberties vote not be split?

In any other context, I can’t imagine supporting or advocating a Tory but in this case, it’s clearly a single-issue election.

Splitting the vote will only dilute the anti-42 days message – if, for example, there were two anti-42 candidates, each getting 45% of the vote, NewLab would use the “well, neither of them got a majority – the public clearly want 42 days” canard.

The way forward, I think, is to support DD but with clear qualifications thrown in – on the 42 days issue only (not civil liberties in general, given his previous on capital punishment, etc) and most definitely for this election only (esp. if the Lab PPC for 2010(?) is anti-42 days)…

As you already know, I didn’t favour splitting the vote, especially as I thought MacKenzie or similar would run.

As it is, I’m now worried that lack of any valid candidates will have a turnout of zilch minus a bit and thus the by-election acheives nothing. But I don’t think a “more” liberal candidate would be a plan, partially as it splits the vote, but also because, based on previous voting numbers, they’d be fairly doomed.

Let Davis run, and hope for a decent turnout.

On a related thread yesterday afternoon I warned against “childish and ill-conceived tribalism” and then the New Statesman say this:

“This magazine could never endorse the candidacy of David Davis in the coming by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency. Davis is a right-wing Conservative, as can be seen from his stance on a range of issues from the Human Rights Act to the death penalty…[This] is also a good opportunity for an independent candidate to make the genuinely liberal argument against 42 days, putting up a robust defence of the universal human rights that Davis does not support”

So an argument about extended detention and CCTV cameras morphs into one about ‘universal human rights’? This is utter nonsense and will just dilute the public response to the issue Davis has furthered more than any other person or organisation. This factionalising is something the liberal \ left have done time and time again and has never served their interests well – among other things I thought the purpose of this website was to move past those errors of the past.

How many ways are there to say this? Davis isn’t asking for an endorsment of his position on the death penalty, or on gay rights, or on anything else. Only an idiot would consider any support lent to him under these circumstances as having any bearing on those issues. This sense of revulsion or distaste – ‘I couldn’t stand next to him on a platform’ – is almost pathetic and should be beneath those who claim to support grand & noble ideas like personal liberty.

I believe that as long as David Davis runs as a Tory candidate, it is NOT a single-issue vote. His victory will be hailed as a Tory victory, not a victory for civil liberties; if he really wanted to make this a single-issue election, he would stand as an independent candidate with Tory sympathies.

So I would completely support another left-wing candidate supporting all the civil liberties David Davis opposes; I’m disappointed the Lib Dems aren’t standing anyone. Not that it would make any difference to me, what with not being able to vote in this by-election or knowing anyone who could. It’s good that David Davis is keeping the issue of civil liberties in the news, but why should the parties who have historically considered them more important than the Tories have suddenly cede the duty or right of their protection to the Conservatives?

Rachel North.

I’m not sure she’d be up for it but if they were looking for someone opposed to 42 days, a staunch libertarian and someone who’s seen it all from the sharp end both before and after 7/7 she’d get my vote.

Would you support an alternative left-wing candidate to David Davis?

Of course.

If yes, then who would be ideal to run?

You. I can’t think of anybody else better placed who is actually seeing this situation for what it is.

jglitter

“I believe that as long as David Davis runs as a Tory candidate, it is NOT a single-issue vote. His victory will be hailed as a Tory victory, not a victory for civil liberties”

Precisely my point (likewise Rachel, Douglas etc.) – the task here is to make sure that can’t happen. Surround him and make it clearly a civil liberty issue, perhaps even with the regular reminders that we disagree with Davis on other topics. That way victory can’t possibly be portrayed as anything other than a victory for thecause and not the Tories.

Field another candidate on a similar (if more purist) platform and they’ll probably lose – then it’ll be a straighforward Tory victory which isn’t the outcome you’re after.

“why should the parties who have historically considered them more important than the Tories have suddenly cede the duty or right of their protection to the Conservatives?”

They shouldn’t. And they’re not. They’re just supporting the candidate best placed to advance them on this occassion. It’s pretty straighforward,

8. douglas clark

Liam,

Agreed. On this issue alone David Davies has the high ground. We’d be daft to try to undercut him. I like Rachels’ idea of completely surrounding him with liberals, which might , of itself, cause pause for thought. Not least on the part of David Davies himself.

Thanks Douglas. ‘jglitter’ is right to point out that he’s standing as a Tory but looking at his website and listening to his speeches there’s clearly a decision not to major on that and focus on the issue.

In one sense that could be construed as sinister but I think that’s taking things too far – if his campaign was swamped by people from across the political spectrum who were clearly lending support on the liberty issue then it would be impossible for Davis or anyone else to misrepresent his victory.

For all intents and purposes he’s an independent candidate and fixating on the fact that he’ll be on the Tory back benches when he wins is self-defeating….

10. douglas clark

So Sunny,

Just in case anyone has approached you as the ‘Liberty Candidate’ you have an option. Stand on the platform alongside Rachel and Shami and swamp the bugger in Liberalism!

11. Conor Foley

No wonder the New Statesman is in decline.

It is getting very boring listening to liberals trying to duck this issue so I will just repeat a couple of points that I have made elsewhere.

The Bill is now in the Lords, where it will probably get gutted, and will then come back to the Commons where Brown will use the Parliament Act to try and ram it through. He can, rightly, say that the Lords should not be allowed to “obstruct the will of the people”. Opponents of the Bill will then work on the Labour waverers to try and turn that argument around.

They will point out that Labour did not include 42 days in its manifesto and is widely believed to have introduced the measure for party political gain. They will also point out that the Bill only passed courtesy of the DUP – whose votes are believed to have been bought by a deal.

If there is also a strong vote for DD in the by-election, that can also be used to counter Brown’s “will of the people” argument. If the vote is weak then supporters of 42 days will argue the opposite. In fact they are already doing so.

You can wring their hands on this, but that is the reality. A vote for DD on this occasion is a vote against 42 days. Beyond that I don’t see the by-election has any significance and I would wish the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates well when they do decide to stand against him in the general election.

Ha ha, no guys I’m not planning to run. And this is not one of those denials that then turns out to be true sort of thing. I genuinely don’ want to run even if the New Statesman backed me fully.

I think there is merit in what Liam, douglas et al are saying.

Rachel is putting her whole support behind David Davis, so I doubt she will look to run.

13. Mike Killingworth

I think there should be an “independent Left” candidate, who is able to draw on the local activists in the Labour and Lib Dem parties . Such a candidate would not split the “anti-42-days” vote, which would clearly consist of such votes as both they and Davis polled.

The great advantage of such a candidacy would be that it could test the support for left-of-centre politics as opposed to support for the Labour government, which no longer is left-of-centre in any meaningful sense.

The candidate themself should however have strong Yorkshire roots – ideally with a pre-existing non-political profile (e.g. in the arts or sport). Is there no one in the county who fits that person specificiation? If not, we’re in deeper doo-doo than even I think.

Moreover, such a candidacy may represent a template for the future. If Labour are reduced to 150 or fewer MPs next time (and who would bet against it?) their claim to the hegemony of “progressive” forces will be threadbare. By all means let them stand forever in the Hulls and Hackneys of this green and pleasant land, but let them give the Lib Dems a clear run in those areas which they have clearly marked off as their own – and let the two parties fight it out in those few seats where the Tories are history. This leaves a large number of seats, including most of those currently represented by Labour MPs with small majorities, where independent progressives may well be a better bet than wannabes with Party labels.

“A vote for DD on this occasion is a vote against 42 days.”

And a bigger turn out, regardless of majority assuming DD wins, is a statement of ire. These two facts are all that really matter regarding the by-election, and in all honesty the by-election is the only real hope (assuming no-one comes out with a decent and properly worded poll in the mean time) of MPs finding their principles the second time around.

15. douglas clark

Mike Killingworth,

I appreciate the point you are making ré this Labour Government. Perhaps wrongly, I actually see this by election as being important, in the sense that we seem to be moving away from a Right / Left split and onto Authoritarian / Libertarian territory. Whether that would be reflected in the bigger picture of a General Election is, obviously, moot, when both major parties use fear as a major selling point.

I dunno whether the electorate at large is capable of rejecting that trope. Hopefully, David Davies, (whom everyone now knows as DD, which is a major achievement in itself) has moved the debate forward.

Mike – “[An independent left] candidate would not split the “anti-42-days” vote, which would clearly consist of such votes as both they and Davis polled”

That’s technically true Mike but politically a bit naive. There will only be one winner in the election and while political geeks like us might pour over polling numbers etc. for the vast majority of people this is a simple 30-sec soundbite issue.

If the left stand someone against DD it will fracture the anti-42 days vote and dilute the issue in the eyes of most ordinary people. It will let Labour play fast & loose with the results and muddy the waters in terms of what they mean – making it easier to use the Paliament act to pass this. Your wider points about how things might pan out in a subsequent general election have much to commend them but dry-running that scenario in this instance would be madness and to the detriment of the libertarian cause.

Pro-civil liberties candidate to the left of Davis = a good idea, because the issue does not “transcend political parties”. Labours problem is that they have been too much like the authoritarian tory predecessors, not that they are not as good as the tories.. Davis might “mean it”, but he is not breaking with his party (Altho I accept he is putting some pressure with it). Remember, the thatcher government claimed they had a “libertarian” wing, and they began the authoritarian ratchet.

As to who, if the Statesman are involved, I fear it will be Peter Tatchell – better than no one I suppose, but not my fave. How about Bob Marshall Andrews – would be interesting to see if he was disciplined by Labour for standing against a tory instead of with one. Raphael Rowe still seems active – Davis would have had him hanged, so he would be a good candidate

Or what about Walter Wolfgang ? Saw him at the demo against Bush on Sunday standing up for civil rights

I’m not planning to run. And this is not one of those denials that then turns out to be true sort of thing. I genuinely don’ want to run even if the New Statesman backed me fully.

I think there is merit in what Liam, douglas et al are saying.

That’s a real shame.

20. Mike Killingworth

[16] No, I don’t think I’m being politically naive: if the aim is to send a message to Downing Street then anything which maximises turn-out matters. If there are only “joke” candidates against Davis and a turn-out below 40% Brown has the best result he can get in the circumstances.

Davis got 50% of the vote in 2005: a strong independent centre-left libertarian should be able to give him a good run for his folly.

As to the suggested names, oh dear. The candidate has to be a Tyke: anyone from south of the Trent would be a disaster.

With no Labour or Lib Dem candidate, it wouldn’t matter if the vote was split. Lib Dem and Labour voters who do not support 42 days will not feel comfortable about being obliged to vote for Davis. It’s far more likely that they won’t vote at all.

An independent candidate would salute Davis for his stance but give the people of Haltemprice and Howden a representative in Westminster who would vote in an enlightened manner on other issues.

The important thing is to use the by-election to genuine debate about civilrights/human rights. Without a candidate to debate the issues with Davis, it risks descending into farce.

I agree with Leon that Sunny would be a good candidate and so would Rachel North. I don’t see why she can’t be prised away from the David camp. Clare Short would also be good but the practicalities of standing down from her seat probably don’t work.

I agree Mike that maximising turn-out is important but it’s secondary to the result (the news the morning after an election doesn’t lead with the turnout).

Regardless there’s a strong argument that feilding another ‘anti-42′ candidate makes the event more not less of a farce. Us politicos understand the distinction (the doubts about Davis’ libertarian credential etc.) but the man in the street doesn’t. A pro-42 candidate might drive up turnout – another anti who also through in the odd comment about the death penalty certainly won’t.

It seems to me that had New Labour put up a candidate then we would not be having a debate, but quietly wishing for a Davis’ win.

I find the New Statesman stance quite hypocritical, as I do not believe they would have even considered a candidate of their own if New Labour was standing.

A New Labour candidate is the only one worth having.

As for NS approaching Shami, very amateurish. Shami I understand had been working with Davis on the anti-42 day campaign.

I doubt Clare Short would want to be anywhere near Martin Bright.

I still don’t get why people feel there is something for the left or liberals to gain by fielding a candidate? I can understand why people don’t want to support Davis specifically, but it is ludicrous to think that anything can be won by putting someone up against the man.

You have to explain why it is “ludicrous”.

Without a Lib Dem or Labour candidate the field is clear for an alternative. This has nothing to do with splitting the vote. At the moment the likelihood is that it will be a meaningless walkover.

The point is to elect a genuine liberal to parliament from the Haltemprice and Howden constituency.

But why real point was a rhetorical one. It says a lot about the state of liberal-left thought that there will be no Labour candidate to take the argument to Davis and no independent to flush out hisanti-liberal tendencies.

George V has posted this elsewere on LC:

“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.”

Absolutely spot on….

27. Diversity

Look a little bit ahead. The ideal set of by election results (if there is one) is that the LibDems take Henley, then Davis gets home on a solid vote in Haltemprice & Howden. That leaves Brown and Cameron deep in the brown stuff, each trying desperately to save themselves by pushing the other further in. In that context, we should be able to conspire for liberty to some purpose.

So is not that the result to work for in the coming three weeks?

No Diversity, we need to find holy pinnacles of liberty to stand in both, because without the perfect person standing there is no-one worth supporting and no result worth obtaining 😉

Sorry that this is a bit of a drive-by comment, but is it really the case that there aren’t 12 or so Labour MPs who can’t be lobbied to change their minds on this issue when the bill goes back to the commons?

30. Ian Hirst

Hello everyone.

Firstly let me declare I have always voted Liberal or labour and would never vote Conservative in a General Election, and other than being energised into action by David Davis’s actions, I have absolutely no connection with him or any political organisation

My points, if I may:

Why are people asking for a left-ish person who also disagrees with 42 days to stand against DD ??

Surely the best situation is someone, right or left, who explicitly puts forward their case FOR 42 days and then we can see this more of a litmus test of public opinion. I am so frustrated that some people want to keep broadening this by-election out to a general range of issues. Save it for the General Election, it’s only 2 years away at most.

To those who say Oooh, *shudder* I could never vote for a Tory. On this occasion a man who happens to be a conservative has taken a stand about something we all feel strongly is slipping away from us. If I were drowning, should I would refuse to share the lifeboat with a Tory?

And while we are at it can we nail this thing about DD being anti-gay. His best political mate Iain Dale seems to address DD’s current thinking:

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/06/david-davis-and-gay-rights.html

@ Mike Killingworth, with respect I also feel you are wrong to think the media (definitely will not) and the public (probably will not) will aggregate the votes cast for two anti-42 days candidates.

@ redpesto, I would have said it is not an either-or situation.

Conor is correct to point out the need to maximise the actual number of votes cast, be they for or against DD. The commentariat and politicians will use any excuse to dismiss the validity of the result and a poor turnout will help them The polticos have lost face on this one, their thoughtful, considered and cerebral pronouncements have been shot down in flames by the subsequent deluge of comments left online so rather than admit maybe they haven’t a clue about the real zeitgeist they wait to say We Told You So if DD’s numbers are less than stellar.

With “friends” like The Independent’s Steve Richards:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-dont-be-fooled-ndash-these-heroic-campaigns-only-make-our-democracy-even-more-fragile-848514.html

we plebs are on our own on this one so we ALL must play our part.

Please, please, everyone who believes that DD is right to take this action but who cannot physically be at the contest, contribute to what will be a very expensive campaign to get the message across to all the electorate of Haltemprice & Howden and to get them to vote in numbers.

Please dip into your pockets:

http://www.daviddavisforfreedom.com/index.cfm?fa=contentGeneric.hgyetdllezszmndu

31. Ian Hirst

Just another thought, and this is probably quite unfair of me and I do not mean to nasty to anyone BUT

most of us are probably appalled at Tabo Mbeki’s unwillingness to be seen to be criticising a fellow “freedom fighter” such as Mugabe but surely there comes a time when the right thing to do transcends political affiliation.

Considering that Walter Wolfgang was involved in those terrible far left groups that Martin Bright tried to smear Ken Livingstone with in his Channel 4 documentary I doubt the NS is going to put him up as a candidate.

“This factionalising is something the liberal \ left have done time and time again”

It’s not creating factions when you’re putting someone with left wing politics up against a right wing candidate in a by-election. David Davis does not represent liberal views and he will be voting on all issues in parliament, not just this one. Having said that this is also a conservative safe seat which has been forced into a mid-term by-election when there is a Labour government in power. There is absolutely no hope that a liberal candidate is going to win and it would be potential political suicide to stand if you had any hope to be taken seriously in politics in the future. Just because the media want it to be David Davis’ single issue campaign doesn’t mean it will be that campaign in the constituency. We are not actually talking about a referendum.

“It’s not creating factions when you’re putting someone with left wing politics up against a right wing candidate in a by-election.”

It is when the by-election is being fought solely on a liberal issue, left and right don’t come in to it.

34. Mike Killingworth

It isn’t that safe a Conservative seat: in 2005 the votes (thousands) were

Con 23, LD 17, Lab 6, Other (right-wing) 2.

If there is no Labour candidate there can’t be an anti-government swing.

“Sorry that this is a bit of a drive-by comment, but is it really the case that there aren’t 12 or so Labour MPs who can’t be lobbied to change their minds on this issue when the bill goes back to the commons?”

I got my only happiness from the subject to know that my usually loyal MP, Doug Naysmith, stood with his principles after being unswayed by the arguments and voted against his own party. Now if people like him were able to find their principles (and by people like him, I mean those that aren’t generally critical of the government, like some are in the party that DID vote for 42 days), I can’t believe that there aren’t minds to be swayed. It will only take the Tories to reign in Widdecombe (if that’s even possible) and for 4 Labour MPs to change their minds in a liberal direction. Each vote swap counts for two remember, that’s how small a margin we’re talking about.

I honestly believe that if this campaign is as strong as we believe it is, the task of swinging 5 Labour MPs back on to the side of reason and reality shouldn’t be beyond its scope. The positives we have are we should now have a really good idea who the “weakest” 5-10 MPs on the Labour side are on this front, who literally only did it to save the government. They agree with us, they just need persuading that the public is not going to reward the Labour party for their loyalty in this instance.

The recent MORI poll (I’ve not checked how leading it is) says 51% of Labour voters from 2005 are less likely to vote labour…this is AFTER they passed 42 days. The DD campaign can highlight how much of a controversial issue this is to people, especially if media coverage is retained. I absolutely fail to agree with those that have said the chance has gone and that Labour MPs will be even more entrenched come the second vote. Labour already look split, they only won a vote thanks to the DUP, there is no reason for those that wanted to rebel but didn’t to sit behind their government on this issue any more because their party *lost* in the commons. Sticking to their guns isn’t going to change anything for the better, they’ll only be abandoning their principles AND sitting with a dying government.

Mike: It’s safe in this by-election, their only opponents are the Lib Dems, and they’re not standing. Labour have lost something like 10% of their vote over three elections in the area.

Nobody with a “left” label is going to make any headway in Haltemprice. East Yorkshire is a very backward and conservative place (I grew up there). I think it is the greatest pity that the Lib Dems are not standing. I think Nick Clegg has made a mistake here. They could put the real case for liberty across the board, rather than the very selective version of freedom espoused by David Davis.

“They could put the real case for liberty across the board, rather than the very selective version of freedom espoused by David Davis.”

And in the process become the party that tried to capitalise against a man with principles on a single issue, branching out into subjects that were never intended to be the issue being debated, and worst of all diverting the debate AWAY from 42 days and towards what it means to be liberal in the politisphere. It would be absolutely moronic, I’m still amazed people can’t see that.

I agree with Peezedtee that the big mistake is the Liberal Democrats, who indeed had a great opportunity here and who have turned a semi-safe Tory sate into a safe-Tory seat forever (or at least as long as DD stands). .

I disagree with Lee that suggesting Davis is not the man to support is diverting the debate against 42 days for the reason raised above – it’s Davis who is preventing it being a single-issue campaign by standing as the Conservative candidate and by promising to remain a Conservative MP taking the party whip.

On the other hand I also think it doesn’t really make any difference what the liberal-left do so perhaps we are wasting our time.

Btw is it true that the deposit is stil only £500? It’d be really easy to fund that – are there ohter stipulations.

Matthew: What does him standing as a Tory have to do with what issue is being stood on? Or are you only able to see in terms of party manifestos (which, consequently, can be voted on in two years time)?

Martin Bright,

Why doesn’t or won’t the NS campaign for Labour to put up a candidate?

Martin Bright’s comments were posted earlier but the software thought it was spam – sorry. They appear above now….

43. Conor Foley

Martin Bright “I agree with Leon that Sunny would be a good candidate and so would Rachel North. I don’t see why she can’t be prised away from the David camp. Clare Short would also be good but the practicalities of standing down from her seat probably don’t work.”

Or, indeed, you could stand yourself Martin!

Alternatively, we can discuss the actual realities of what is going to happen this by-election and what its likely consequences will be.

If there is one thing that I miss less about Britain than its New Labour government it is the utter hopelessness of the liberal-left when they are being pushed into having to make a hard decision. No wonder you were such a collective disaster before the invasion of Iraq.

44. douglas clark

Martin,

The arguement against standing another anti 42 day candidate ought to be obvious. The bigger the vote that DD gets on this issue, the better the headlines the following day. It is in our interests for the profile to be raised as high as it possibly can be, and that will come through publicity. Splitting the anti 42 day vote between two candidates is not a clever strategy if you want to maximise the effect that this can have on the publics’ understanding of the importance of civil liberties. Which, I would suggest is what our objective should be.

Although, to be honest, I think a ‘New Statesman’ candidate would get derisory figures as I suspect they would be seen, by the electorate, as a carpetbagger.

And so the argument went on, deep into the night and the next, and so on, and so on. Then one morning, as Liberus and his faithful followers rubbed their bleary eyes, one among them peered over the parapet and exclaimed “Gosh, they have only gone ahead and had the contest!”

Another cried “but we haven’t finished discussing the merits of dual-candidature and strategies for overcoming the inherent ignorance of the general populace!”

At that moment the man known as DD strode over and said with a weary sigh, “we did our best, the Shire is quiet today but I do not know whether we have done enough to defeat Gordon Sauron. We really could have done with you guys by our side.”

High overhead, like a harpy’s cry, could be heard a Crested Commentariat, chirruping “I Told You So”

Sweet, I heard some John Williams music in my head while I was reading that Ian.

47. douglas clark

Very good indeed, Ian..


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