Posted by: secretperson | June 13, 2008

David Davis – Politics Gets Interesting

Now while I followed the local elections, and cheered Boris Johnson’s victory in London, the resignation of David Davis is one of the most interesting andm unexpected political announcements in many a year. I believe he did it for the right reasons, that he truly believes in liberty and magna carta, and felt such a high profile move was the only way to highlight the situation we are slipping into. For an ‘inside view’, Iain Dale, Davis’s former chief of staff comments here

The BBC and others are pushing this as a Tory split. It is quite clear that David Cameron wasn’t consulted and won’t be happy, preferring a steady ship, let Labour lose the election tactic. But it also seems unlikely the resignation is a protest at Cameron, rather than an New Labour. If David felt Cameron failed to oppose 42 days well enough he would have resigned from the cabinet. The resignation of his seat, and the subsequent by-election, are clearly designed to take the issue to the country and to challenge the polls which show public support. We all know polls depend on the question asked, and it is easy to frame anti-terror questions to get the answer you want. I think Davis believes if he has the chance to make the case, he can win the public round.

His replacement as shadow home secretary, Dominic Grieve, is apparently close to Davis in his views on civil liberties.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with 42 days. With the correct safeguards, 42, 28 it’s just a matter of drawing a line somewhere. Although post-charge questioning would be less controversial and more effective. It may be more of a case of the straw that broke the camel’s back. In combination with the growth of CCTV, ID cards and DNA databases, anti-terror laws stopping peaceful protests outside parliament and being used against hecklers at the Labour conference, losing a vote Davis believed he could win on 42 days may have said to him that more than parliamentary politics was needed to draw attention to a serious issue.

The interesting thing will be Labour’s response. The Lib Dems have said they won’t stand a candidate against Davis, as an act of support for his stance. Labour of course cannot support his stance. While it has been implied by Tories that for Labour not to stand would be an act of cowardice, they may not want to ‘play games’ if they believe it to be a publicity stunt. The Independent claims Labour will announce they aren’t standing on Monday. I don’t blame them, they may look cowardly, but also have little to gain in an election they can’t win.

All in all, I hope David Davis succeeds in raising important issues and drawing attention to the creeping authoritarian nature of this government. If he doesn’t get back in the cabinet, let us hope he proves a thorn in the side of any future New Labour plans to further risk our freedom with powers that are open to misuse, abuse and incompetence. It is so refreshing to see a politician stand on his principles, I wish him the best of luck.



  1. As far as I know, the opinion polls did not ask people to consider if increased detention periods would be counter-productive in fighting terror: alienating people from informing on terrorist activity and acting as a recruitment tool for would-be terrorists.

    Grieve is close to Davis on civil liberties – I recall seeing him in a television documentary being interviewed about ID cards and other matters by some annoying bloke called Sam something-or-other.

    And if this is a straight fight between Davis and Murdoch’s puppet, we’re looking at a dirty-tricks campaign with Davis’ background being dug up in the Scum and the News of the Screws – there’s no chance that Murdoch or his puppet will fight this on the issues.

  2. Yes I don’t believe the Sun would run a fair fight, but Davis seems to have a fairly safe background. No Toff stuff, earned money to put himself through university, territorial SAS. I guess whipping through Mastricht would be his worse crime in the Sun’s eyes (and mine).

    McKenzie was responsible for the Sun at the time of the Hilsborough disaster which they lied about massively and is divorced because he committed adultery. If we start on backgrounds he should lose.

    Even if the Sun convinces some Tory voters, Davis should get enough Lib Dems to carry it. Surely they can’t back the Sun.

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