It’s probably fair to say that David Davis’s announcement was the most surprising story of the day. I think his speech is bang on the money.
I had never thought of David Davis as the sort of person I would agree with. But he is absolutely right. This government is funnelling our civil liberties one-by-one into a level 6 shredder. And it’s all under a false pretence. More people are killed by ladders than are killed by terrorists. It’s right that the government should be made to account for this properly.
It’s funny because I never thought of David Davis as a liberal before now. As Bernard Salmon has pointed out, David Davis’s record on gay rights and the death penalty leaves a lot to be desired.
It just goes to show that even those who might be considered to be among the ‘nastiest’ in the ‘nasty party’ are not as authoritarian as the Labour Government. In the Conservative Party there is a strong liberal streak that simply does not exist in the Labour Party.
Were I to have a vote in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, I probably wouldn’t have any difficulty in voting for David Davis. I think the Liberal Democrats have done the right thing by choosing not to oppose David Davis in the by-election. Given that he has put the focus of the by-election squarely on the civil liberties issue, it is effectively a single-issue election in the same vein as Martin Bell’s anti-sleaze campaign. It would be odd for the Lib Dems to campaign against David Davis when they wholeheartedly agree with him on the issue.
But of course if Labour has any sense they won’t run either. Maybe they have to be seen to be defending their assault on civil liberties by running against David Davis. But pragmatically, they would be loonies to run in an election called under these circumstances. It’s already a safe Conservative seat. Which is the thing. If he wins the by-election, the wider reaction might be, “So what? Run in a tight seat and then tell us about it.” Imagine if he was the only serious candidate running. You couldn’t get a more pyrrhic victory.
On the other hand, Labour might be forced to put up a candidate in order to defend the 42 days policy. If they don’t, it might look like a sign of weakness — that Labour can’t defend their record.
Anyway, even though it is a little bit silly, you have to admire David Davis for taking this stance and putting his neck on the line for it. It’s rare for a politician to have such integrity. Just compare him with the MPs whose votes were bought in the 42 days debate. Those people are a stain on representative democracy.
I’ve just seen This Week (watched it for the first time in ages and forgot how bad it was). Kelvin MacKenzie just dropped a hint that he might be standing against David Davis. If that happens, I sincerely hope Davis is able to wipe the smirk off that poisonous man’s face.
And I dearly hope Labour get a really, really hard kicking in the next general election.