Fighting for our civil liberties, post Davis


11:15 am - June 27th 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Green party has put forward a candidate in the by-election against David Davis. Left of David Davis? Check. A left / progressive candidate? Check. Wants to push for even more civil liberties? Check. So the Labour and lefty bloggers must be rising up in support? Erm… well, there’s Neil Harding… and a lot of tumbleweed rolling by.

[update: non-Greens support also from: peezedtee, Dave Cole, Stuart Jefferey, Socialist Unity, Unbeliever, Pamphlet Labour]

Yes, it really does look like many lefties really will cut off their noses to spite their face on this issue. Well, I’m not sitting here praying David Davis fails miserably because the outcome would a vindicated Gordon Brown willing to push it through with the Parliament Act if the Lords reject the 42 days bill as expected.

For a start I’m supporting the Green candidate Shan Oakes. I don’t see it as splitting because any vote for the Green candidate or David Davis is a vote against 42 days.

Unlock Democracy and No2ID are both going to be campaigning in the constituency all this week, the former paying for a local newspaper wrap-around explaining the issues at stake. Good luck to both of them.

Yesterday I met with Lynne Featherstone MP, Anthony Barnett, Conor Foley, Paul Hilder and representatives from Amnesty UK, Unlock Democracy and Liberty to discuss this issue.

So here is my plan of action:

1) In the immediate term we’re dependent on events at Haltemprice. In the meantime my aim will be to challenge a whole load of assumptions and supportive statements made by bloggers and commentators. There is still too much naive rubbish out there.

2) This will form part of a wider narrative explaining why the 42 days bill (and much anti-terror legislation) is not only misguided but is being misused for other agendas. Oh and to challenge the view this has public support, based on that leading poll.

3) We will also need to think about targetting the Lords in the medium term.

4) There is still scope to influence MPs once (and if) the bill gets rejected in the Lords. So I’ll be launching a specific campaign site for this issue, to encourage as many people as possible to write to their MPs. This will be much like the CFC site.

5) I’m also speaking to other groups about more localised campaigning once we identify a good list of Labour “waverers”.

6) On LC, I’m also working on a sub-blog that will specifically focus on civil liberties and collect information about how anti-terrorism legislation is being misused. It will be used to build a repository of information and later combined with the new site.

Lee Griffin is right, its time to stop gawping around in the hope that David Davis does badly so that somehow the civil liberties mantle can be taken over by the left again.

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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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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Campaigns ,Civil liberties ,Detention (28 days) ,Labour party ,Liberal Conspiracy ,Media ,United States ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Don’t we already have a 42 Days section? That could be expanded to civil liberties in general?

And, you know, yay.

I’m glad you guys could get in to some discussion, it is a shame that Conor was arriving the day after the blog nation event, but that can’t be helped. I’m also glad to see that the plan you suggest is similar in scope to what I suggested earlier, specifically in trying to gain support in lobbying those MPs, especially (hopefully) those that have shown themselves to have doubled back on their previous anti-detention stance.

I’d like to know if you’ve had any specific thoughts on debunking the (from my opinion) myth of public support for the legislation?

3. douglas clark

Glad you’ve grabbed this by the scruff of the neck….

Absolutely, Shan gets my support. Davis is terrible in many other civil liberties areas, and the Left are exactly the people to own this. I’m mystified by the bloggers who seem to think that a vote for the Greens ISN’T a symbol of being against 42 days…

Steve: I think right now the debate about who the left vote for is irrelevant, as Sunny said in his post, it’s time to stop bitching about Davis or about who the “right” vote is. If you think Davis is doing a good enough task then vote for him, if you’d never vote a tory, vote for Shan, if you can’t vote for either of them then at least go and vote for an independant (if any are standing on civil liberties too) or spoil your ballot.

The key is getting people out to vote now, given that there is no real pro-42 day opposition it’s going to be important to ensure that the narrative doesn’t become “They all had a good protest but people didn’t care enough to vote” simply because a lack of “fight” and a lack of money (turnout is dictated by marginality and campaign funds, unfortunately). Some are already trying to say if H&H’s turnout is less than 70% then davis has failed, and therefore along with him so has the fight for the public’s minds on 42 days. This is of course ridiculous considering that in Henley, even where there was a fight and good funds spent, the turnout was down something like 18%.

Simply put, it’s time for the left to stop bitching already. If you don’t like Davis then cool, you no longer have to vote for him…but sticking the boot in on him is counter-productive to. We can surely all just have a bit of a truce on the man until this by-election is over to ensure that the message is focused on being anti-Labour policies, not falling in to old and irrelevant fights?

Unlock Democracy are appealing for cash to fund those local leaflets and stands. They won’t be supporting any particular candidate but will be setting out the issues in detail.

I think it’s a great idea and that those of us who care (or say we care) should get over there and put our money where our mouth is/mouths are.

http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?p=1380

I’ll say more strength to their elbow – as long as they are campaigning more “fpr Shan Oakes” than “against David Davis”.

I’m mystified by the bloggers who seem to think that a vote for the Greens ISN’T a symbol of being against 42 days…

I agree.

Don’t we already have a 42 Days section? That could be expanded to civil liberties in general?

The section on 42 days here is more a tag to keep all those posts in one place. But I want to have a seperate blog about civil liberties that will increase its scope but allow for content to be arranged more suited to this campaign. Later on people can post directly to that blog about more detailed issues.

I’d like to know if you’ve had any specific thoughts on debunking the (from my opinion) myth of public support for the legislation?

Good point. We’ll have to spend some time debunking and challenging that poll too.

I’ll be donating money to Unlock Democracy. I urge others to do so as well!

Shan gets my support too and if i havent made that clear enough then I do apologise…obviously Liberal Democrat minds have been concentrated on post-Henley since about last night …I like this plan of action…I spoke to Lee at blog nation and expressed praise for his post too…one thing i did suggest is that the Labour wavers (ie, the people who fell into line this time) be targeted with a letter writing campaign to their local media….good idea or not??

Not sure that supporting Greens in H&H is helpful in preventing civil liberties issues from becoming a partisan issue – why not one of the more respectable independents?

Otherwise, to quote Jennie “yay”.

We have a list of the most vulnerable MPs from a principle perspective, and I’ve suggested before (as Darrell does above) that we need to get people on to them. We could add to that list other MPs that are simply in marginal seats. Would writing to the local papers help set things going, in those constituencies? Otherwise I can’t think about how we can get the message out at least in part to those people in those constituencies without the resources Unlock Democracy are trying to raise.

Lee I would suggest it would be a good opening salvo as it were, flag the issue up make people aware and see if we can provoke a response…my its cheap and cheerful and free publicity…i think we could make a standard letter and get it sent dont you think???

Sunny, I’d be wary of a separate blog; the point of LC is to be a hub, surely?

I’d like to know if you’ve had any specific thoughts on debunking the (from my opinion) myth of public support for the legislation?

I’ve got an idea. Find a poll which shows circa 65% of the population opposing 42-day detention rather than supporting it.

Good luck with that.

The key is getting people out to vote now, given that there is no real pro-42 day opposition it’s going to be important to ensure that the narrative doesn’t become “They all had a good protest but people didn’t care enough to vote” simply because a lack of “fight” and a lack of money

If this is the issue for the man and woman in the street that you think it is, why do you need a campaign to motivate people to vote? If the result is a 70% turnout, won’t opponents be able to claim that this was only because there was a campaign group dedicated to ensuring a high turnout come what may, regardless of party supported or ballot paper spoils?

I think they will…..

“I’ve got an idea. Find a poll which shows circa 65% of the population opposing 42-day detention rather than supporting it.

Good luck with that.”

Find a poll without a leading question that shows people support 42 days detention, good luck with that.

” If the result is a 70% turnout, won’t opponents be able to claim that this was only because there was a campaign group dedicated to ensuring a high turnout come what may, regardless of party supported or ballot paper spoils?

I think they will…..”

Yeah, I’d love to see that argument. “So many people were passionate about the issue of 42 days that they campaigned to see it stopped, and successfully managed to convince the same number of people that voted in a general election to go and vote again despite their being no real fight”. I would adore one single foolish person to even try to present that as not being a strong showing of defiance against the legislation.

16. douglas clark

I agree with Lee. The opinion polls on this subject have had biased questions.. Questions that only allowed one answer. Hopefully, H & H will open up this debate….

Might it not be similar to ID cards, where the polls have shifted as the problems fave been pointed out?

Matt

Jennie
>Sunny, I’d be wary of a separate blog; the point of LC is to be a hub, surely?

I’m with Jennie on that in so far as to say think carefully, and LC is the obvious place.

Some things the better “hub” may be work underway already at Our Kingdom. Not sure whether 42 days is in that category. Tempted to say that they are more of the hub on Free Expression and general Civil Liberties, rather than 42 days.

I’d say avoid a separate blog unless you have one pre-warmed and ready to go – since it will take 2-3 months to get traction at least.

What ever you do, as long as it is a category I can run excerpts it through my front page “Campaigns” tab – which I’d be pleased to do.

Matt

Not sure that supporting Greens in H&H is helpful in preventing civil liberties issues from becoming a partisan issue – why not one of the more respectable independents?

I had some misgivings along those lines but then realised this really is the best we can hope for. She’s a candidate from a party with a recognisable name but also one that isn’t seen as too mainstream and is more independent. This is a stronger candidate to back than some no name with no real infrastructure behind them.

I’m definitely supporting the Greens.

Not sure you can prevent civil liberties from being a partisan issue.

Davis supports defends some civil liberties and ignores the loss of others due to his right-wing ideology.

That doesn’t mean he’s not right on some things but it does mean that there’s lots of room for better alternatives.

I’m wondering about the best approah to argue against Jill Sayward; she had a piece in support of DNA Databases and lots of CCTV in the Indy yesterday that I happened to see.

It probably needs to be heavily data driven – in that both seem to have proved pretty ineffective.

Who are the other candidates broadly in support of some aspects of “big brother” government?

I’m supporting Shan Oakes too – she’s the only progressive candidate with a reasonable chance of getting a notable number of votes – and she’s a genuine progressive.

Great, people are supporting Shan, thumbs up. Have your cookie, now can you (assuming you’re in the constituency) go and convert that in to turn out, or (if you’re not) donate money to Unlock Democracy to get the information campaign up and on it’s feet? That’s going to count much more than coming on here to extol the values of one candidate over another. The time for this stupid tick box exercise is over already, let’s get on with what matters.

The time for this stupid tick box exercise is over already, let’s get on with what matters.

Well quite, but remember not all over us sat around for a week and a half anxiously trying to figure out how to support DD without the rest slating them! 😉

Find a poll without a leading question that shows people support 42 days detention, good luck with that.

This is what is known as ‘self-delusion’. Make the case that after a few months of further debate and more information the majorty view will change…that’s one thing. But arguing the 60-70% who support 42 days are somehow naive or stupid – which is implicitly what you are saying….unlike your good self of course, who has all the issues down pat and can make a fully-informed, rational decision and owuld never be distracted by a “leading question”….is just a little bit arrogant.

Polls are certainly not the be all and end all, but if your campaign refuses to acknowledge that, right now, you are in the minority, then you’re making a pretty serious tactical blunder.

I would adore one single foolish person to even try to present that as not being a strong showing of defiance against the legislation.

Good grief, it seems you’re serious. You are part of a campaign that is devoting itself to ramping up turnout irrespective of the party(ies) that benefit. Are you aware of anything similar being done anywhere else in the past? I’m not.

Tell me now, before the results, what constitutes success? How much distance does Davis have to put between himself and Mad Cow Girl to have LC supporters dancing in the streets?

“but remember not all over us sat around for a week and a half anxiously trying to figure out how to support DD without the rest slating them!”

No, exactly, not all of us did. Not all of us got caught up in the partisan politics of worrying about what names we get called in the playground while the head master closes the playing fields.

“But arguing the 60-70% who support 42 days are somehow naive or stupid – which is implicitly what you are saying….unlike your good self of course, who has all the issues down pat and can make a fully-informed, rational decision and owuld never be distracted by a “leading question”….is just a little bit arrogant.”

So I’m arrogant then, but polls are made for a purpose…and as you say the polls so far have all been leading. I don’t think the public are stupd but I also don’t think the public in general has all the facts. How many people know that if a terrorist suspect is released without charge the police can put control orders and overt surveillance on them if they still suspect them? How many people know that even under 42 day legislation terrorist suspects will still be able to get bail and (as happens now) disappear? How many people know that there is a specific charge you can be arrested with for not providing the means to decrypt data on your computer, phone or data discs? These are all things that need laying out for people, whether they know it or not, before they start answering subjective and leading questions. That’s not even going in to the facts of just how many terrorists have needed to be held for 28 days before being charged rather than let go as innocent.

The complexity behind these “public opinions” is far too great and not detailed enough in an objective manner to actually sit here and say with any weight that the public do or do not support 42 days. I don’t believe that if people actually had to do more than tick a box after a leading question they would support 42 days compared to other options or in fact other practical realities and procedures that currently exist, but I doubt we’ll ever truly know for sure will we?

“Polls are certainly not the be all and end all, but if your campaign refuses to acknowledge that, right now, you are in the minority, then you’re making a pretty serious tactical blunder.”

As detailed above, there is no proof that we are in the minority whatsoever. Show me the proof and I’ll gladly accept we’re in the minority.

“You are part of a campaign that is devoting itself to ramping up turnout irrespective of the party(ies) that benefit. Are you aware of anything similar being done anywhere else in the past? I’m not.”

What relevance does that have exactly? BNP never won a seat in the London assembly before, you saying that was an impossibility too? If we want to go out and just educate people and boost turn out then we’re perfectly entitled to do so.

I like how you’ve side stepped your previous statement on it though, top form.

“Tell me now, before the results, what constitutes success? How much distance does Davis have to put between himself and Mad Cow Girl to have LC supporters dancing in the streets?”

Success will be seen post result, in how the media deals with the result and how politicians react to it. I’m not putting an arbitrary figure on what constitutes succesful turn out or majority, unlike the Labour government that’s not how I role when trying to work out what is “best”. If the story stays in the papers, and continues to fire up discussion and people writing to their MPs then it will be a success of kinds, but the only success that matters is helping to create a situation where the bill is defeated if and when it comes back to the commons.

Lee, every argument you proffer that hints at the public not being properly informed can be countered. How many people know all the detail as regards the judicial oversight 42 day detention will have? Does the public appreciate the tiny numbers of people we are talking about (vide 28 days)? Are they aware that ‘standard’ detention is not even limited at 28 days (it’s 14)? For every claim you can make why more information might shift the polls your way, I can make counter-claims that hint at even more support for 42 day detention if all the facts were absorbed. I take it you accept the press is, on balance, hostile to 42 days? Surely they must have played a role in helping to establish the roughly 35% minority who oppose 42 days? What if the pro-42 day detention argument were given equal space in printed press? Would support hit 75%? 42-days is being championed by a govt. on the ropes and covered by a mostly hostile press, yet polls read 65% supporting!

I have no problem with you conclusion that we’ll “never know for sure”, but pretending that we can’t even make a stab at an educated guess when polls show support running at more than 2-1 (notwithstanding your alleged “leading questions”), is wishful thinking writ large.

What relevance does that have exactly? BNP never won a seat in the London assembly before, you saying that was an impossibility too? If we want to go out and just educate people and boost turn out then we’re perfectly entitled to do so.

I’m questioning neither the possiblity nor your right to conduct such a campaign. I don’t know where that came from? I do think that, given how you and others have said a big turnout should be interpreted (i.e. vindication for the anti-42 days), your campaign to ensure a high turnout is sorta relevant. It’s one thing to campaign for a particular candidate, but quite another to urge anyone and everyone to turn up on polling day whomsoever they might support, even if spoiling their ballot papers. As before, if this were the issue you think it is, people will turn up to vote, won’t they? Why would they need the weight of a LC campaign to get them out of their armchairs on polling day? It’s not ensure the foregone conclusion of a David victory, is it?

Success will be seen post result, in how the media deals with the result and how politicians react to it

Well as before, the press is mostly hostile so my guess is they will continue ot talk about it, especially when the bill comes back from the Lords (I’ll delay pointing out the irnoy of civil libertarians cheering on an upper-house of unelected power elites forestalling parliamentary democracy).

I’m not putting an arbitrary figure on what constitutes succesful turn out or majority

Translation: if turnout is 40-70%, it’s a “success”.

Well, Lee, let me be the first to congratulate you on your “success”.

“I take it you accept the press is, on balance, hostile to 42 days?”

I would argue that this is irrelevant, as measured debate of the proposals will not have counteracted the years that the Press has spent fostering irrational public fear regarding terrorism*. This* – the Mirror’s response to the apparent ‘ricin plot’ – is a particularly egregious example of the simulacrum of sensationalism, and Obsolete neatly dissected* a recent example just last friday.

* I will point out (having already been accused of moral equivalence today) that I don’t think fear of terrorism is irrational, but that some people have irrational fears regarding terrorism. The two reactions are separate.
* http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/94/Ricin_plot_Daily_Mirror.jpg
* http://septicisle.info/archive/2008_06_22_septicisle_archive.html

Bloody Hell!
Excellent stuff Sunny!

I would argue that this is irrelevant, as measured debate of the proposals will not have counteracted the years that the Press has spent fostering irrational public fear regarding terrorism*. This* – the Mirror’s response to the apparent ‘ricin plot’ – is a particularly egregious example of the simulacrum of sensationalism, and Obsolete neatly dissected* a recent example just last friday.

We must be reading a different press. I wouldn’t dispute that some journals are guilty of what you allege, but they are easily matched by a veritable tidal wave of other publications and broadcasts – including litterally dozens of books, documentaries, films and magazine articles – that position things differently.

The fact remains that on the specific issue of 42 days, it’s simply unarguable that oponents have had considerably more column inches.

Brownie, you’re absolutely right, people are in general uninformed about 42 days and other counter-terrorism measures. You seem to be in agreement with Lee on this particular point.

Should the argument be about whether 42 day detention is right in itself rather than an appeal to numbers? Obviously the Labour party will do the latter because it is expedient to do so, but surely we are better than that.

Brownie, the fact remains that on the more broad issue of terrorism, stokers of irrational public fear have had more column inches.

Should the argument be about whether 42 day detention is right in itself rather than an appeal to numbers? Obviously the Labour party will do the latter because it is expedient to do so, but surely we are better than that.

Actually, I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. The numbers do, however, become significant when people responsible for a campaign to win the argument on 42 days start from a premise that the existing poll data is somehow irrelevant or wrong, and that more information necessarily adds numbers to the anti camp exclusively. I’ve heard as much ill-informed argument from opponents of 42 days as I’ve heard coming from supporters.

Will we get any “appeals to numbers” from LC if the turnout in H&H is slightly higher than you can expect for your average by-election? I think we will.

Brownie, the fact remains that on the more broad issue of terrorism, stokers of irrational public fear have had more column inches.

Like I say, we must be reading a different press.

Brownie, I’m certain you read a quality newspaper, but the rest of the population may be rather different. The average circulation of the broadsheets together doesn’t come close to the circulation of the Sun alone.

“I take it you accept the press is, on balance, hostile to 42 days?”

Actually I don’t. I accept the press is, on balance, hostile to Labour. The red tops didn’t say a thing bad about 42 days until David Davis resigned and even then it took 24 hours for them to back him and support 42 days. The only paper I saw actually actively making any kind of reports against 42 days was the Guardian (predictably) others didn’t care enough to even make it an issue until it became about Brown’s leadership.

“it’s simply unarguable that oponents have had considerably more column inches.”

In a country with broadsheets that love to bash immigrants and Muslims I’d say that’s a pretty telling figure of just how bad this legislation is, heh! 😉

“I can make counter-claims that hint at even more support for 42 day detention if all the facts were absorbed.”

None of what you just said proves anything except that you agree the public isn’t informed enough on this issue, which goes against the credibility of any polling data. You sit here and now claim that perhaps the opinion polls are skewed, although in a different way than I believe them…so how can you also say that they’re a trustworthy source of data to base a decision on. Make your mind up already.

I love how you think illiberal legislation is fine as long as only a minority of people are negatively affected by it though, by the way.

“Why would they need the weight of a LC campaign to get them out of their armchairs on polling day? ”

Why do parties go out and campaign? Seriously, are you just running out of ideas here, because these questions you’re asking are pretty stupid.

“Translation: if turnout is 40-70%, it’s a “success”.”

I said I’m not putting an arbitrary figure on it, so please don’t put words in my mouth. I will say that if turnout is between 60-70% then it is a good by-election turn out, as it would be at any other by-election. Success is dependent on all the other factors I listed, as much as you wish to simplify and subjectivise this issue.

“I’ll delay pointing out the irnoy of civil libertarians cheering on an upper-house of unelected power elites forestalling parliamentary democracy”

Civil liberties is irrelevant to the nature of membership of the house of Lords, the two are not mututally exclusive. Labour try to hype up how perhaps they are tied together as it means they don’t have to commit to an 11 year old promise on electoral reform of the house of Commons.

hmm, I meant to say Tabloids, not broadsheets…obviously. 🙂

Brownie, Parliamentary democracy is neither equivalent to, nor a prerequisite for, freedom. Indeed, precedent suggests it can be quite dangerous to freedom.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, elected representatives owe their jobs to their voters.

That is why there is no irony in libertarians cheering on “civil libertarians cheering on an upper-house of unelected power elites forestalling parliamentary democracy” when the latter proposes to infringe on more of our liberty. As the “unelected power elites” don’t owe their jobs to popular opinion, they feel more free to go against it.

The average circulation of the broadsheets together doesn’t come close to the circulation of the Sun alone.

We’re now in “do people buy the Sun for it’s two pages of political commentary” territory and how influential or otherwise this is. During its staunchly pro-Thatcher years, there was a considerable delta between the political sympathies of the Sun-buying public and what appeared in its editorials. I’d seriously doubt that the same delta exists as regards the Independent, Guardian and Telegraph, for example, as the purchasing motivation is entirely different. In other words, and regardless of what the Sun itself would claim, I would argue that it hardly matters what the Sun thinks about 42 day detention as its readership is too busy reading the sport or looking at a pair of tits.

The only paper I saw actually actively making any kind of reports against 42 days was the Guardian (predictably) others didn’t care enough to even make it an issue until it became about Brown’s leadership.

It “became about Brown’s leadership” weeks before the vote itself. Off the top of my head, you can add the Indy, Mail and Express to that list.

In a country with broadsheets that love to bash immigrants and Muslims

Which are the boradsheets that do this?

None of what you just said proves anything except that you agree the public isn’t informed enough on this issue, which goes against the credibility of any polling data. You sit here and now claim that perhaps the opinion polls are skewed, although in a different way than I believe them…so how can you also say that they’re a trustworthy source of data to base a decision on. Make your mind up already.

With respect, you simply haven’t understood the point. The credibility of the polling data is not undermined by a lack of informed argument around 42 days. Unless you think YouGov and Mori don’t know what they’re doing? The polling data all points to around two-thirds supporting 42 days. You may believe you can alter this once the public is better informed (and you may be right), but this is different to suggestions the polls do not, whatever your misgivings about information and the lack thereof, accurately reflect the public mood. The consistency of the data is strong evidence they do. Up thread, people were talking about the “myth of public support for 42 days”. My point is that it’s not a myth, and it’s a tactical blunder by your campaign group to think it is. You can’t believe you can convicne a majority of people that 42 days is unjust once they are better informed, and simultaneously reject the notion that a majority currently support 42 days.

Take the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty. I think I could pretty much guarantee that your average Irishman and woman is not in the full possession of all the facts as regards Lisbon. I doubt 1 in 10 has read the treaty or could relay its more significant proposals. None of tihs alters the fact that, whatever the misinformation, the treaty was in fact rejected.

Likewise with 42 days, you and I can agree that there is probably a lack of informed opinion (albeit we might disagree what more information might do to the division of opinion), but you can’t pretend that the polls currnetly don’t say what they say or dismiss 2/3rds support a “a myth”. That’s self-delusion.

And I certainly did not claim that an opinion reading is a basis for settling an argument about anything.

I love how you think illiberal legislation is fine as long as only a minority of people are negatively affected by it though, by the way.

Was this intended for someone else? Read my comments again and point out where I said such a thing.

Why do parties go out and campaign? Seriously, are you just running out of ideas here, because these questions you’re asking are pretty stupid.

Um, I contrasted the perfectly normal practice of parties campaigning for their candidates with this campaign to ramp up support for all and any candidate with the sole intention of icnreasing turnout. I said this was unprecedented and it is, isn’t it? Of course you’re free to do whatever you want, but any LC claim of victory that is attached to high turnout when the same turnout has been artificially inflated by your campaign dedicated to ensuring turnout was indeed high, will look slightly odd to most people. Leaving aside any analysis of the myriad number of reasons different voters will have had for turning out that are unconnected to 42 days specifically.

I said I’m not putting an arbitrary figure on it, so please don’t put words in my mouth.

My writing makes it clear this was my “translation”. Don’t be so precious.

Success is dependent on all the other factors I listed, as much as you wish to simplify and subjectivise this issue.

The only other “factors” you listed were how the press and politicians respond to the by-election result. Here’s my guess: those newspapers and politicians who were opposed to 42 days will claim the vote in H&H is an endorsement of their position. They will do this if the turnout is 40% (“it was to all intents and purposes an uncontested election”) or 70% or somewhere in between.

The campaign to try to ensure the bill is defeated in the second commons reading is entirely honourable and I’m completely indifferent to your efforts in this regard, but please save me the nonsense that the H&H farce contributes anything meaningful to this debate. Ego trips never do.

As the “unelected power elites” don’t owe their jobs to popular opinion, they feel more free to go against it.

Let’s have an unelected lower-house as well then. We’ll all be better off.

I would argue that it hardly matters what the Sun thinks about 42 day detention as its readership is too busy reading the sport or looking at a pair of tits.

I think that regardless of whether a newspaper shapes the prejudices of its readers or vice versa, a circulation of 2.5m should be kept in mind.

Let’s have an unelected lower-house as well then. We’ll all be better off.

What we should have is a fairly representative democracy and a check against the powers of those elected representatives. This check may well involve an unelected house, or a house where the members are elected for life, not once every four or five years.

The checks and balances we have at present seem wholly insufficient – a Government elected via such a low turnout, introducing the vast majority of legislation to Parliament, with such a degree of control over Parliamentary time and its MPs, has far too much power for what little mandate it has.

Particularly annoying, frustrating and depressing is when MPs vote for legislation they know is wrong because they want to “save Gordon Brown”. Such occasions are when the “unelected elite” prove invaluable.

“I would argue that it hardly matters what the Sun thinks about 42 day detention as its readership is too busy reading the sport or looking at a pair of tits.”

What were you saying earlier about arrogance?

“It “became about Brown’s leadership” weeks before the vote itself. Off the top of my head, you can add the Indy, Mail and Express to that list.”

But they were reporting specifically on what happens to Brown if they lose the vote, no interest was paid by many of the papers to anything but the political fall out of the result, not the impact it would have on civil liberties and the innocent people caught up in it. You’re talking about “column inches” against the legislation that simply didn’t and don’t exist.

“With respect, you simply haven’t understood the point. ”

With respect, you keep changing the point to suit your argument.

“Unless you think YouGov and Mori don’t know what they’re doing? The polling data all points to around two-thirds supporting 42 days.”

They know how to conduct a poll, and they do so on the basis of what is provided, leading questions and all. Two thirds of people support 42 days in one poll, two thirds support some other measure in another. There is a lack of information about the realities of the legislation as you’ve admitted and the best that can be taken from the polls is that the public don’t oppose the idea of stronger actions against terrorists regardless of what that action is and dependent on the people involved definitely being terrorists.

“The consistency of the data is strong evidence they do.”

Three polls, all leading, two saying there is support for 42 days, one saying there isn’t…that’s consistency to you?

“My point is that it’s not a myth, and it’s a tactical blunder by your campaign group to think it is. You can’t believe you can convicne a majority of people that 42 days is unjust once they are better informed, and simultaneously reject the notion that a majority currently support 42 days.”

You have real trouble separating mutually exclusive events don’t you? I said personally that I believe the support is a myth, that is my opinion (as I stated) based on no more fact than your opinion that there is a majority supporting 42 days. It is also my belief that those people that say they support it would be less inclined to do so when they realise just how bureaucratic, harmful to the process of conviction, pointless in regards to existing legislation, and pointless in regards to gifting suspects bail after charge and losing track of them.

“None of tihs alters the fact that, whatever the misinformation, the treaty was in fact rejected. ”

Exactly, so rather than sitting on our hands saying “let’s let the public think what they want without the right information” we’re choosing to try to educate and to get the right decision. Thanks for another example which shows exactly why our approach is needed!

“but you can’t pretend that the polls currnetly don’t say what they say or dismiss 2/3rds support a “a myth”. That’s self-delusion.”

You’re woefully contradictory on this stance. You’ve said it yourself that polls can be made to create the right answers, you’ve accepted this, yet you still cling to some holy legitimacy of these clearly leading polls? You’re just finding facts wherever you can for your argument, which I understand given how infrequently they come along.

“Leaving aside any analysis of the myriad number of reasons different voters will have had for turning out that are unconnected to 42 days specifically.”

I can’t believe you’re so hung up on this point really, what does it matter for what reasons people go out and vote if we have (while promoting the 42 day issue) managed to help turnout?

“please save me the nonsense that the H&H farce contributes anything meaningful to this debate.”

It means something in the wider stage in the steps of making progress, which is enough to warrant bothering.

Lee,

I’m starting to believe your ignorance is wilful. You say:

I said personally that I believe the support is a myth, that is my opinion (as I stated) based on no more fact than your opinion that there is a majority supporting 42 days.

My opinion is based on the fact that the polls show 2/3rds of people support 42-day detention. This 2/3rds may all have IQs in the low 20s and be woefully informed on 42 days, but this is what the polls show. Your opinion, on the other hand, is based on nothing more than your gut feel, wich contradicts the available polling data. I’m not making this up; it happens to be the painful reality. You say that more data will move those polls the other way. I’ve conceded you might be right. I also happen to think that the pro-42 day case has been somewhat misrepresented by opponents so of course I’m inclined to think that more data will add people to the 2/3rds already supportive. The truth is that neither of us knows for sure what the effect will be on opinion if the issue was de-politicised and the infromation flowed. But we do know what the current polls show, and they provide unequivocal evidence that, right now, you guys are in the minority. As before, this only matters to the extent that you insist the contrary is true.

What were you saying earlier about arrogance?

Oh give me a break. Are you claiming on a public blog that the 2 pages of politcal content the Sun carries every day are key to the purchasing motivation of the majority of the 2.5 million people who buy that paper? I doubt even Trevor Kavanagh believes this.

You’re talking about “column inches” against the legislation that simply didn’t and don’t exist.

One of us is living in a parallel universe, and my Tardis is in the garage.

You’ve said it yourself that polls can be made to create the right answers, you’ve accepted this, yet you still cling to some holy legitimacy of these clearly leading polls? You’re just finding facts wherever you can for your argument, which I understand given how infrequently they come along.

Lee, as before, you can claim what you like about why people currently think the way they do. Your preprogative. What’s not your prerogative is to claim without eveidence that people don’t in fact currently think the way they do at all.

I can’t believe you’re so hung up on this point really, what does it matter for what reasons people go out and vote if we have (while promoting the 42 day issue) managed to help turnout?

It will matter to the extent that your campaign and other anti-42 day campaigners will cite high turnout at H&H as evidence of public opposition to 42 days specfiically. At least, that’s what I’ve always suspected you would do. Are you telling me you won’t?

Dear Sunny,

Thank you very much for your support for Shan Oakes (Green) in the by-election

Your help is warmly requested!

Rebecca

FINAL PUSH: 10 WAYS TO HELP SHAN OAKES TO BECOME ELECTED AS BRITAIN’S FIRST GREEN MP, HALTEMPRICE AND HOWDEN BY-ELECTION, 10TH JULY 2008

See:
http://shanoakes.typepad.com
http://shanoakes.blogspot.com

Contact:
Tel. 01482 862085 OR 01482 471467
email. shan@voice-international.net

Join:
Shan Oakes Facebook group –
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33635377720

44. douglas clark

Brownie @ 42, of Harry’s Place I suspect.

Surely, the whole point of David Davies by-election is to attempt to turn that public opinion around. Which has much merit, I think. Else, why do it?

You say:

It will matter to the extent that your campaign and other anti-42 day campaigners will cite high turnout at H&H as evidence of public opposition to 42 days specfiically. At least, that’s what I’ve always suspected you would do. Are you telling me you won’t?

Is that not also stating the obvious?

Having already lost the arguement re Iraq, it would perhaps be sensible for you to stand back from H & H where, presumeably, folk will make their own minds up.

Though that would be contrary to a factionalised Harry’s Place mentality. You know best, don’t ya?

Hmm, must have missed this…

“My opinion is based on the fact that the polls show 2/3rds of people support 42-day detention. ”

Then your opinion is based on no more grounding in fact or reality than mine really is it? We’ve already ascertained that the polls are spurious at best, yet you still choose to rely on them. How very politician like of you.

“Oh give me a break.”

I just think the irony is rife throughout your statements. It’s a shame you can’t see that so much of what you’ve said has been contradictory or undermined your own argument.

“It will matter to the extent that your campaign and other anti-42 day campaigners will cite high turnout at H&H as evidence of public opposition to 42 days specfiically. At least, that’s what I’ve always suspected you would do. Are you telling me you won’t?”

Yes, of course we will, because why would we be so stupid as to leave an opportunity to pull exactly the same kind of stunt you’re trying to pull with “public opinion”, based on the biased and leading polls so far published?


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