Friday, 13 June 2008

Tactical ineptitude and unprincipled alliances

. The shock waves from the David Davis resignation (nearly) shook my hotel room although it is possible that this was from passing traffic. Suddenly, after flying so high the Conservatives have a crisis on their hands. The question has to be asked why he took this step. He is a front-bench spokesperson for a party committed to opposing the government and has openly committed that party from his lofty position to a repeal of the measure. What is the need to then resign unless there is some hidden split within the Conservative hierarchy?

No possible explanation other than this and personal vanity exists; there is absolutely no logical reason to do this other than a desire to 'be' the champion and it is the first failing of our leadership that they have failed to grasp this point. They are assuming that Davis is 'making a principled stand' and that his motives are entirely genuine. If that were the case then Nick Clegg's argument that this is a tactical decision becomes more plausible but given the facts above how can our leadership assume this is the case?? A principled position would have been for Davis to remain in his post and work with all his force for the electorate to support his Party in two years time.

If, as I have stated above, this is a crusade of personal vanity, a ploy to make himself look good and cast himself as the 'champion of civil liberties' then Davis must be opposed because his position on a whole range of questions comes 'into play'. Issues, like the Human Rights Act which Davis opposes, must be raised and we must be saying to the electorate; 'Yes we agree with David on this single issue but we do not recognise this man as a 'champion' of any kind and it is our Party which champions these values'. Furthermore, our withdrawal has deprived the electorate of a genuine debate on these wider issues and as such is an affront to democracy not just the local Party.

David Davis is not a single issue candidate; he is the candidate of the Conservative Party. He is not a local resident standing on saving a hospital for example, something that is a truly independent and single-issue platform. Unfortunately, I am reminded of the far-left by this decision; the mantra that the 'enemy of my enemy must be my friend', a mantra that leads it into all sorts of unpleasant, distasteful and deeply unprincipled alliances. It shows a congential softness for the Conservative Party which will no doubt not be lost on Labour voters wavering our way.

I understand that Nick Clegg might not want the pro-42 days camp to vote for us but this is hardly likely is it?? Our platform includes stated opposition to 42 days and should go further than anything Davis would offer; to look into the serious possibility of the reduction from the current 28 day limit. Yes, civil liberties are under threat, yes, allot of what Davis said was correct on this single issue but he is not the man to reverse this tide and we should be saying so; that we are not is a tragedy for all those passionate believers in those liberties and the Liberal Democrats as being the best champions of them.

11 comments:

Alix said...

No, I think you're completely missing the point. It doesn't matter a damn whether DD is "the right sort" of liberal or not - so long as we keep it perfectly crystal clear that we are in agreement with him on this one issue and one issue only.

The miserable fact is that there isn't a whole constituency of passionately pro-civil liberties people out there who are just dying to have a chance to vote for a "real" liberal. There just isn't. Instead, what you'll get is a lot of pro-42 days people supporting DD because he is The Man Wot Resigned On Principle, and this is always, not matter what the cause, a Good Thing.

We're anti-42 days because it's right, not because it's popular. DD's stunt gives us a chance to argue our case to people softened by his "principled" stance.

Darrell G said...

Thanks for your reply Alix....the 'stunt' as you call it is already turning the whole thing into a circus...and how, please tell me how, will our supporters be making the case when they are tramping the streets trying to drum up support for David Davis??

When, as is likely, Davis loses where will 'our cause;' be then?? Back down in the gutter because it has been sacrficed to the agenda of an ego-manical Tory...

Darrell G said...

and I would even if he wins so what....he will go back to the position he was previously in before he errr resigned but he might be 'admired' enough to make it as Tory Party leader should Cameron not deliver the goods...

Alix said...

"the 'stunt' as you call it is already turning the whole thing into a circus"

I truly don't understand what you (or the papers you got it from) mean by this. Please expand. Basically, I'm agreeing with you that it wasn't entirely the principled stand DD claims. What's the problem with my terminology then?

What our individual supporters do on the ground is, basically, their business and irrelevant to the national debate this will generate, especially now that MacKenzie has stepped up. That national debate is where we further our cause. What Clegg does with this opportunity in the coming weeks is a key test. The ball is in his court now.

I also don't understand what you're basing your assumption that Davis will lose the seat on. He has a fair majority, is a longstanding and well-loved local MP, there's probably no other major party opponent, and now he has public notoriety for being "principled" as well. With any luck, the fact that he'll be facing MacKenzie will even get the left-wing press to back him. The prognosis is decent, to say the least.

I said this was a stunt and it partially is (though I also happen to believe his passion for the cause itself is probably sincere - you may take this or leave it, it doesn't make any difference). It may even a testing of the water for a leadership challenge, as some people are suggesting. And I think that is what is upsetting you? You'd rather we had nothing to do with an "egomaniacal Tory", even if we, er, happen to agree with him on the grounds on which he is standing and are also keen to exploit the opportunity for debate he has presented to us.

Personal distaste is not a good grounds for throwing away a political opportunity *and* publicly disagreeing with someone who is standing on a platform we wholeheartedly endorse.

Incidentally, I'm afraid I think the "debate" currently unravelling on LDV proves nothing other than that Laurence can't ever bear to publicly change his mind even when his position has become ridiculous, and that Sesenco is a conspiracy theorist.

Jock Coats said...

Personally I am with Darrell I think - I would put up the most outspoken liberal libertarian I could find and be making the case that there's liberalism, or there's liberalism lite from David Davis.

The rights enshrined in various documents, some of which David approaves and others he does not, are indivisible.

You cannot argue for the right to life, liberty, privacy and free association for people the state thinks might be terrorists and not for gay people for example. Well you can, as Davis does, but his entire stance on "rights" is hypocritical and unprincipled. And whilst people living along the A63 may be the most unlikely ones to champion such (though I was, ahem, born, in the constituency!) if Nick really believes that Britons are inherently liberal and tired of the two party consensus, we should be going out there to take the seat off him.

Darrell G said...

Alix,

This is rapidly turning into a political opportunity to prove how blind we are to the real world and how soft we can be on the Conservative Party as a whole. Labour voters already think we are light blue...what is worse we are lining up with the most backward, reactionary wing of the Conservative Party as it pursues its own civil war against a leader it has never liked nor wanted...

We wont even be heard in the national debate because we will be too busy expressing our support for David Davis...we arent even running candidate Alix so who on earth will want to talk to us...it is that descision that has deprived us of a voice and made us non-existent in this debate so your logic is totally self-defeating; it simply doesnt add-up...

Alix said...

But we're not "lining up" with the reactionary wing, are we? We're saying we support Davis on the single issue of 42 days. This is the sole thing the vast majority of the population will take from this. They're just not going to see it in these over-complex terms, they're not going to know which wing of the Tories Davis belongs to, or care. Already the media circus has moved on, and by the time they start asking probing questions about Davis' other beliefs the electorate will have absorbed the "freedom fighter" narrative and that will be that.

Re: the national debate, you miss my point slightly - what I'm saying is I want to see Clegg on every news segment there is about Davis, discussing civil liberties. It doesn't matter that we don't have a local candidate. We don't need a local candidate to take part in the national debate.

Alix said...

Incidentally, the 3 Line Whip blog is saying that the party has stopped short of offering any actual campaign support. Quite right. I think your complaints would be justified had we officially done that.

Darrell G said...

Alix;

I am afraid that is exaclty what we are doing...if you will pardon my french this has frack all to do with 42 days and everything to do with Tory Wars; with David Davis's insipied desire to lead the Party...after all he is a member of a Party that opposes 42 days...he was in the best position to change it...and now he is not...why? Why has he been thrown out of the Shadow Cabinet?? Why did Nick Clegg and his team not ponder these questions...to assume this is a great moral stand by Davis is to put it bluntly very very naive...you are simply not doing the math...frankly i find the praise he has received on liberal blogs disgusting and fawning....

Second; not going to happen I am afraid and you know it...so thats another justification for this Faustian pact out the window...

Third; Not standing a candidate, not making any attempt to distance ourselves from Davis, that's a tacit endorsement, maybe, hopefully the leadership is thinking again...

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