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June 15, 2008

Comments

Tom Griffin

On the subject of gratuitous Powell references, his former election agent Jeffrey Donaldson is of course now a DUP MP.

Alex

And one who was surprisingly popular with Tories in the early noughties.

Igor Belanov

It is ludicrous that people on the left should be backing Davis and taking sites in a right-right contest such as this. Supporting Davis is not supporting 'civil liberties', since on most social issues the bloke is firmly right-wing. Out of interest, how did he vote on abortion? He's certainly in favour of the death penalty and against gay rights. Just because he happens to be 'more correct' than New Labour on this one issue does not make him a crusader for freedom.

Rachel

Using rules of evidence to find who the actual terrorists are represents security. Jailing people for 42 days precisely because there is insufficient evidence against them represents control: 42 days is to counter-terrorism work what ice cream scoops are to brain surgery. The kind of state that would introduce the former is exactly the kind of state that would lose confidential intelligence documents on a train.

Heh, excellent.

I'm still agonising about what to do about supporting him. I am deeply uncomfortable with the death penalty thing, Iain covered the gay thing, http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/06/david-davis-and-gay-rights.html

but if civil liberties is made an issue of and then becomes a damp squib, that's dangerous because it will only encourage the Tories AND Labour to carry on shredding rights and ramping up surveillance right, left and centre.

Hmmm.........

dsquared

I am taking the view that I don't understand what Davis is up to, and that when I don't understand what someone's up to, I keep my wallet in my pocket. There's a really grave danger of someone getting played for a sucker here, and although it's possible that idealistic bloggers will end up successfully subverting an experienced politician like Davis and using him to further their ends, the opposite possibility also can't be ruled out. I certainly wouldn't support New Labour against him - that's crazy given the issue - but I find an almost irresistible compulsion to sit this dance out.

Phil

Well, it's possible that he's only apparently going through with a career-threatening resignation on a point of principle, and that in reality it's a cunning stratagem to further plans laid deeper than the Central Line*, at whose precise lineaments we can only guess. It's also possible that he's going through with a career-threatening resignation on a point of principle. I think it's worth entertaining the more parsimonious possibility, not least because it becomes more likely the more people believe in it.

*I have no idea if the Central Line is particularly deep - it just wanted to go there.

Alex

Refusing to believe someone is fighting a point of principle because they might win is profoundly stupid.

Refusing to oppose Kelvin McFuck is...

dsquared

I think the Northern Line is the deepest one - the Central is actually overground for most of its length, isn't it? In general, I think unmodified Occam's Razor isn't a much better decision tool that unmodified cui bono; principles like parsimony work well in natural sciences but not so well in politics, where it's much more common to have plans and strategies. I'll entertain all sorts of possibilities (I even, at one point, entertained the possibility that George Galloway wouldn't be an entirely harmful influence on British leftwing politics), but as with the election in Bethnal Green & Bow, I think I'm not going to make an official endorsement this time. One of the good things about not being in a political party is that you don't have to bet on every race.

Phil

I even, at one point, entertained the possibility that George Galloway wouldn't be an entirely harmful influence on British leftwing politics

He's certainly having some fun at the moment, and I mean that in a good way.

Igor Belanov

The problem with this issue is that it isn't a national referendum on 42 days, or civil liberties. Whatever the final result is, it will be practically impossible to read anything from it. For one thing, only the electorate of Haltemprice and Howden can vote. Secondly, the nearest challengers from the last election aren't standing. Thirdly, how many people are going to stick behind Davis because of party and personal allegiance rather than on the issue? The sad thing about the whole situation is that Davis is basically a Thatcherite but will be preferable to almost anyone that's likely to oppose him.

ejh

I very much doubt that Gorgeous is an entirely harmful influence on leftwing politics. Besides (an Oxford supporter writes) if you can't get better players then you have to go with the players you've got....

ejh

On Davis - as with Gorgeous, there's this strong temptation to support him because he's being attacked by so many loathsome people on manifestly specious grounds. (This doesn't mean that there aren't good grounds to attack him or that everybody attacking him is loathsome, any more than it means Gorgeous is innocent of everything just because he's not guilty of most of what he's charged with. We will take the Israel joke as read here.) I love the way he's been attacked for careerism by people who have successful careers and who are quite happy with the career ambitions of politicians they approve of (it reminds me a bit of the way Tony Benn used to get atacked for "ambition").

It does strike me that there's not likely to be a better opportunity for a public discussion of the various nefarious security schemes that New Labour's come up with and this is a good thing regardless of what Davis is up to. Of course it's true at the same time that to vote Conservative (or to advocate a Conservative vote) is to risk the damnation of your eternal soul.

Chris Williams

Justin hits it on the head. Make this the 'Down with the surveillance state' campaign, and we get a chance to bump all those issues up the public attention ladder. Remember that the Oz experience suggests that the more people find out about ID cards, the more they don't like them.

It's the leaky database, stupid.

dsquared

[as with Gorgeous, there's this strong temptation to support him because he's being attacked by so many loathsome people on manifestly specious grounds]

I have a post to this effect up on AW right now, though I unaccountably forgot to do the Israel joke.

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