Thursday, 12 June 2008

The real reason for David Davis' resignation

No, I have absolutely no idea what he's playing at.

I can however report that the universal reaction at Westminster when the news broke was that it must be David "TC" Davies, the newish MP for Monmouth, who is widely regarded as being more than a little loopy. (The one with the Land of Hope and Glory ringtone). In fact I was at a reception at No. 10 last night, talking to Hamish Sandison, who is standing against TC in Monmouth at the next election. Hamish manages to pull off the admirable feat of being a very English-sounding barrister with a very Scottish name who lives in Wales: in Monmouth, in fact. He was telling me it was pure joy standing against TC because he does and says so many mad things.

Anyway, it turns out not to be TC but his rather more famous namesake. "Without an e" as he's known. (Speaking of which, who can forget his leadership campaign, with the two young women in extra tight "It's DD for me" T-shirts?). My suspicions and opinions at this stage are as follows:

- Either David Cameron is in on the whole thing, but the plan is to distance himself from it, just in case it backfires; or DD has forced David Cameron into it, which is a totally bizarre state of affairs. Nick Robinson has just said on BBC News that Cameron's description of it as "a courageous personal decision" is code for "bonkers".

- I don't think the fact that the Lib Dems have been squared off, and agreed not to stand in a by-election they could potentially win, is a good move on their part - I thought their line was that they were the true defenders of civil liberties, and the Tories were only playing party politics on these issues? Seems weird to cede the ground of defender of civil liberties to David Davis of all people. If they'd refused to take part because it's all an ego-driven stunt, then I'd entirely endorse that - I'm leaning towards the view that Labour should do that too. Why play his games?

- The result of any by-election will be completely irrelevant to the 42 days question. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public are in favour of 42 days, with appropriate safeguards. I would imagine that in a safe(ish) Tory seat, there would be an even bigger majority in favour. DD faces a real danger that Tory voters in his seat won't see the point of turning out - or could even vote UKIP or BNP in protest. If he gets re-elected it will probably be with a greater percentage majority, as the Lib Dems aren't standing, but with a greatly reduced turnout. What does that prove?

- And on a cautionary note, I would just say one word - Winchester.


Nick said...


I understand that you voted with the Government on 42 day detention. Why do you believe Britain is a special case?

I read the equivalent detention time is rather less elsewhere:
Australia 21 days
Turkey 7 days
Ireland 7 days
France 6 days
Spain 5 days
New Zealand 2 days
Canada 1 day

Kerry said...

I don't think international comparisons work - they have very different judicial systems. David Aaronovitch wrote a very good article on this quite a while ago, which I posted on this blog. Here it is again:

Nick said...

The UK and Spain have some similiar history of fighting terrorism in both its domestic and international forms.

I find it hard to believe that the variations of the judicial system account for a 37 day difference.

Nick said...

Just to correct my own earlier comment, Australia should read 12 and not 21.

Elby the Beserk said...

Ah. Opinion polls. So - Kerry - given that opinion polls show a HUGE majority in favour of the promised referendum on the EU, when will that be scheduled.

New Labour New Stasi. Laws that cater for things that "might happen". A dream for a totalitarian state, as is endless war (Iraq, Afghanistan).

I vote Labour from my first vote in 1970 until St. Bliar of the Bloody Hands took us into Iraq. I am now actively involved in making sure you are never elected again, as you have betrayed the nation and the party.

The assault on our civil liberties, occasioned by 9/11 and 7/7 is treachery incarnate.

Here's hoping you do go bankrupt, for you are truly morally bankrupt as a party.

Elby the Beserk said...

Aaronovitch. Hardly a good reference for your views. I quote him on Iraq, WMD & the government.

"If nothing is eventually found, I - as a supporter of the war - will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere. They probably are"

The man's a zealot, with a tendency to froth at the mouth.

Must try harder.

I see that the Mail, Gordon's favourite paper - you know, the one that persuaded him against all advice to re-classify cannabis - says he's done for.