11:58 am - June 25th 2008
It’s time to stop the bullshit, we’ve now been sitting around for about a week and a half doing little more than bicker about the integrity of a single person while standing around gawking.
The question now should be: what can we do, and can we do it, in a way that can unite those that support and loathe David Davis’ stance?
I’ll be heading on the journey over to London today for the Liberal Conspiracy gathering and hope that this subject can be explored in more depth by those that attend.
The way I see it is that this Haltemprice and Howden by-election has the potential to be a feather in the cap for a liberal campaign. It has been scheduled perfectly to coincide with the house of Lords debate on this subject, and while we could just hold our hands up and say that this process will be all for nothing it seems to abandon all common sense to not at least try, no? So the first thing is to start here.
Canvassing for support of the issues can be done with or without a “champion” present to put your name to. By doing no more than going around trying to gain support for the anti-42 day movement surely we can start to make some headway with public perception in the area as well as opening up an opportunity with the media. Encouraging people to vote doesn’t even need to be specifically for David Davis, it could be as simple to say that if people agree with our views then they should show the government they care by going to the ballot boxes, even if it means spoiling their paper because they couldn’t vote for Davis.
Beyond this it is important to take the H&H by-election and try to make it more national. There are two aspects of this that need to be tackled, the first is to debunk the idea of public support for 42 days as a solution to our terror problem, and the second is to put pressure on vulnerable MPs to have this legislation quashed. On this second point there is perhaps the most scope for initiative.
Could we get ourselves in to a situation where we have protests in other constituencies around the country, preferably in those held by a Labour MP that voted against 90 days but for 42 days, to highlight that just because we’re not in Haltemprice and Howden it doesn’t mean our voices don’t matter? I’m not going to lie, a lot of the “support” that could be gained on this could easily just be gained from an anti-Labour feeling of the moment.
I’ve already stated elsewhere that there is a need for a more practical and objective poll that questions the public on their desire specifically for 42 days detention without charge, as opposed to a desire for simply more terror legislation. I don’t think there’s enough information around about what specifically the public support, but also why they support it. Is it because they are actually afraid of terrorism happening, or is it born of a darker reasoning? But what do we, or can we, do to get such a thing in to existence without having it tainted by poor or leading questioning?
Changing the MPs’ minds
I’ve already mentioned that there are MPs that have taken a very hypocritical stance on the whole issue, and no doubt there are many more such as John Cruddas who have voted based on a party confidence issue rather than on the principles they supposedly have held. It is highly likely the legislation will come back around to the commons and assuming the Tories and Lib Dems can hold their votes it would only take a shift of 4 or 5 MPs to turn this Bill out. Some have said that coming around a second time Labour MPs will be more likely to vote for the government. In that case we have several things we need to do, such as needing to push those hypocrite MPs and persuade them to change their vote and remind Labour MPs that loyalty doesn’t pay and hasn’t gained them any popularity with the public as a party.
Keep it in the media
The final, and obvious, thing is of course to keep on blogging. It’s not going to affect views on the ground but it does have the potential to keep the narrative alive amongst the media as well as helping to keep MPs aware of the amount of opposition that won’t dissipate any time soon. We may need to find new ways of framing the argument and getting key MPs on board with a wider reboot of our blogging campaign, preferably cross party, could give the debate some impetus if and when it comes back around to the commons
I’ll reiterate what I said at the top of this post…I’m not here claiming I know the solution, the magic bullet, the above are just suggestions gathered from the more productive periods of discussion in the last week or so. I think together we can come up with something that has a strong chance of being positive to the campaign.
How can the above be improved upon, how can they be put in to practice? I hope to see some of you later today, and hope the whole event will provide the right atmosphere to advance at least so that our hands are no longer keeping our buttocks company.
Lee is a 20 something web developer from Cornwall now residing in Bristol since completing his degree at the lesser university. He has strange dreams, a big appetite, a small flat, and when not forcing his views on the world he is probably eating a cookie. Lee blogs independently from party colours at Program your own mind.
· Other posts by Lee Griffin
Story Filed Under: Blog ,Campaigns ,Civil liberties ,Detention (28 days) ,Media ,Realpolitik
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