Thursday, 19 June 2008

Davis crusade descends into farce

. So, it has been a week since David Davis shocked Westminster and resigned to fight a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden seat. The publication of the political weeklies raises some interesting questions and provides some interesting insights. Fraser Nelson's politics column in The Spectator is worth quoting at length because it backs up the theory that this is not an issue of principle for Davis but a way of resigning to campaign against David Cameron's leadership;

"At a dinner party in central London a few months ago, David Davis made an extraordinary confession. He had become disenchanted with David Cameron, he said, and was considering quitting politics. ‘I believe in certain things,’ he said, ‘and I do not believe the next Conservative government will implement them.’ "

Nelson does not believe that Davis was feeling "regicidal" at the time but who knows how he feels now having such a gold-plated opportunity to prove himself popular. His commitment to civil liberties is not questioned by MP's but why he felt the need to resign is, Nelson observes. He says differences between Cameron and Davis;

"over issues such as tax, grammar schools and defence spending are hardly a secret, having been extensively aired during the leadership contest,"

and quotes an unnamed Davis friend;

"‘It wasn’t 42 days that did for David, but 42 Old Etonians.’"

All pretty damming stuff really isn't it; meanwhile over on Liberal England Jonathon reports on the potential list of candidates. Not exactly political heavyweights any of them and none are either to adequately represent the two platforms of opposition to Davis that really should be represented; namely a progressive opposition to 42 days and defence of civil liberties and support for 42 days. Not only has our decision not to stand raised serious issues of principle but it has totally disenfranchised the electorate and prevented a serious debate, something Davis claims to want, taking place. If Davis was serious about this though why did he even bother to seek our assurances that we wouldn't stand??

The New Statesman is right to say that "Labour voters deserve a choice" but it is being typically narrow. All the voters of Haltemprice and Howden deserve a choice and a serious political debate. Not standing has deprived them of that and is therefore to be regretted; unless there is a serious candidate to reprsent the opposing views to Davis then the exercise is one in futility.

Digg!

9 comments:

Alix said...

Look, I'm sorry to bang on about this, but you're now just twisting the facts to fit your theory.

The quotes from the Spectator are not "damning", they demonstrate that an ideological rift has opened up between Davis and the Cameroons, just as we suspected. I don't know how much more principled you can get than saying "I believe in certain things and I do not believe the next Conservative government will implement them" and then resigning from your front bench in protest.

The irony is I wasn't originally all that sold on the idea of DD being out for principle and nothing else; this edges me slightly more in that direction.

And, you may have missed this, but in the last week he ruled himself out of standing for the Conservative leadership at any point in the future. That's a totally unnecessary noose he has created for himself if, as you imply, he really is a devious plotter out to replace Cameron.

I would suggest that our blogging time as liberals may now be better spent engaging on the 42 days issue in online forums, rather than continuously laying into Davis. It's surprising how few people know about the post-charge questioning aspect...

Darrell G said...

But that is not what he has said publically is it; in public he insists there is no rift; and actually as well as opposing 42 days the Davis wing has a whole raft of proposals that are anti-liberal. For example, we are looking at an attack on Labour's public investment, something that Cameron has been forced to stick by in public. So, Davis is actually leading the reactionary, backward wing of the Party with us cheering him on; the wing of the party that wants rid of the Cameron clique, the people who as I have blogged elsewhere voted for things like Lords reform etc.

So what, you actually trust what this man says?? I dont for a single second and would expect him to reverse that position totally if the leadership became avalible; the only reason he is saying that is because the position is not currently open. David Davis reminds me an awful lot of the fictional Francis Urqhart...

I notice how you dont respond to my point that the current list of candidates is hardly likely to encourage a serious debate...and a final point; go to his egomanical website and tell me this man is the one to focus minds....

Darrell G said...

Incidentally, as an addendum; I have always only questioned whether Davis's defence of civil liberties is the same as ours which it isnt. However, if there are divisions then why has he not resgined from the Conservative Party? Why has he not been open about these divisions? Why has he resigned from the position best avalible to influence policy and lead the debate to start a debate with Miss Great Britain, a pub landlord and a marketeer?

The only conclusion can be that he has decided his ambition would be best served by being outside the shadow cabinet if Cameron hits choppy waters and thus not be tainted by association. I dont need to twist the facts...they are there in his actions which simply do not add-up.

Alix said...

"and actually as well as opposing 42 days the Davis wing has a whole raft of proposals that are anti-liberal. For example, we are looking at an attack on Labour's public investment, something that Cameron has been forced to stick by in public."

I'm well aware of what Davis' historical stance is. What is your source for this in the specific context of the H&H by-election?

I'm confused about which bits of what Davis says you think I ought to believe. On the one hand, you castigate me for believing that DD will never again stand for the leadership, but on the other hand, you would rather I believed his public line of there being no rift in the Tory party. That is absurdly selective.

"I notice how you dont respond to my point that the current list of candidates is hardly likely to encourage a serious debate..."

It was repetitious material, and only served - along with the recycled media headline - to heighten my impression that you are on an increasingly undiscriminating crusade of your own. We have had this argument before, and I still think you misunderstand the *national* format this debate will take. The actual on-the-ground hustings are irrelevant. Certainly, it would have been fantastic if MacKenzie had stood, but the universe isn't that kind, alas...

It is the gesture, rather than the contest, that will generate the headlines and keep the issue in the air - as is already happening. Seriously, spend some time on the issue on the talkboards rather than continuing to bang this extremely tired drum. You might find it encouraging.

"Why has he resigned from the position best avalible to influence policy and lead the debate"

I asked that question on day one, and speculated on the answer, which the Spectator snippets appear to confirm. He would *not* be in a position to decide on this once in government. He would be kept to the Cameroon line, which de-emphasises liberty where it might mean being "soft on terror". He has decided this is the best way to attack that and get the Tories to nail their trousers to the mast.

"The only conclusion can be that he has decided his ambition would be best served by being outside the shadow cabinet if Cameron hits choppy waters and thus not be tainted by association. I dont need to twist the facts...they are there in his actions which simply do not add-up."

*One* explanation, perhaps, but if you seriously believe it is the only possible explanation, you are a conspiracy theorist.

Darrell G said...

My source is David 'Im a Conservative,standing on a Conservative program' Davis. As Laurence Boyce ably asks on LDv why should we accept its a single issue because he says it is? Im not being selective, you are missing the point. .the point is Davis is not being honest about why he made his descision. .something you agree with by the looks of it.
I will blog as i please. .how arrogant to come on my blog and presume to tell me what to write. Maybe i am on a crusade. .but im far from alone on this blogsphere

Darrell G said...

In being disgusted by Davis and everything he is. Liberal England suggested Davis should pay for the election as it was clearly to promote his memoirs, for example.
But then again maybe you only have time for principle in politics when it wears a blue rosette . . .

Darrell G said...

In being disgusted by Davis and everything he is. Liberal England suggested Davis should pay for the election as it was clearly to promote his memoirs, for example.
But then again maybe you only have time for principle in politics when it wears a blue rosette . . .
As to conspiricy theories. .Davis is a noted intriguer. .his egoism is noted even by commentators friendly to him. .wait till the backlash comes. .the honeymoon will end and the whole sordid thing will be blown apart.

Darrell G said...

In being disgusted by Davis and everything he is. Liberal England suggested Davis should pay for the election as it was clearly to promote his memoirs, for example.
But then again maybe you only have time for principle in politics when it wears a blue rosette . . .
As to conspiricy theories. .Davis is a noted intriguer. .his egoism is noted even by commentators friendly to him. .wait till the backlash comes. .the honeymoon will end and the whole sordid thing will be blown apart.

Darrell G said...

Sorry about the double-posting, must have been something to do with me posting using my mobile....principle should also be in ' '