Thursday, June 12, 2008

David Davis resigns…

…and deflects all primary media attention away from the Irish referendum and rather more important matters relating to the EU.

It is, apparently, in protest at the Government’s plans to detain potentially innocent people for up to 42 days. Cranmer also opposes this, but the House of Commons voted on the matter, and the Conservative Party lost. In a representative democracy, that is how things go. You win some, and you lose some.

But Cranmer is truly baffled.

While His Grace has a certain penchant for martyrs and martyrdom, and rejoices with any politician who makes a moral stand based on conviction, it is not entirely clear what Mr Davis will achieve by this. He is highly likely to be re-elected, and so there will neither loss nor gain on the Opposition benches. He is unlikely to be re-appointed as Shadow Home Secretary, so he has sacrificed his position in the Shadow Cabinet in order to protest against Labour's authoritarian legislation which the Conservatives are, in any case, pledged to repeal if they win the next General Election. Certainly, the issue will be kept to the media fore a little more, but nothing can change until the Prime Minister goes to the country.

In his statement, David Davis invoked Magna Carta and protested at the erosion of the ancient rights and liberties of the British people. And he questioned the legality of the vote in the House to curtail those liberties.

Cranmer does not mean to be dense, but if 42-day detention without charge is worth resigning over, why was not 28? And, more importantly, why was the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty a fortiori not worth taking a principled stand and resigning over?

Are there not rather more ancient rights and liberties being eroded through ‘ever closer union?


Anonymous Nothos said...

Your Grace,
I thought you of all people would have supported the move, if only to get the public discussing this. A member of the shadow cabinet resigning will be slapped across the news much more prominently than the results of a vote in the commons, regardless of how important.

As for Ireland, it seems a bit naive to assume that the mainstream British media would give it more than a cursory going over at the best of times. Look at the Lisbon result in the Lords, which was barely mentioned. Why would they discuss the issue when it's occurring in a foreign country when they're not even willing to discuss it occurring in ours?

12 June 2008 at 17:29  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Nothos,

His Grace does not oppose Mr Davis, but he is somewhat baffled by the strategy, and the choice of the straw that broke the camel's back.

12 June 2008 at 17:33  
Anonymous Nothos said...

Your Grace,

And my second point? Do you really think the media in this country will give the Irish referendum anything more than an inch or two in the papers or a couple of minutes in the six o' clock news?

At least Mr. Davis is keeping the debate of this overly draconian measure in the news, even if, yes, his timing and motivation does seem a bit odd to say the least.

12 June 2008 at 17:42  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Nothos,

It is just possible, if not highly likely, that the Irish referendum result (which His Grace believes will be 'No') would have been splashed across quite a few newspapers tomorrow.

It is not that Ireland was ever significant in the UK, but a 'No' in the only EU country to hold a referendum on the revamped Constitution would manifestly have been significant and have made headlines.

Now there is no hope.

12 June 2008 at 17:49  
Anonymous Nothos said...

Your Grace,

While I also believe (and hope) that the referendum will produce a No, I still think you are overestimating the impact this would have had on the mainstream media.

But as you say, now we will never know. At least it'll make it more interesting when the ratification bill returns to the commons.

12 June 2008 at 17:58  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

A lot of people have been saying, "Why didn't he do this before?" Well, perhaps he has been feeling more and more boxed in till at last he had to do something, and thank heavens he did!
I hope that one inevitable result will be that the whole EU Elephant will eventually get some attention. So much of what DD is protesting about is EU lifeblood.

12 June 2008 at 19:25  
Anonymous Passer by said...

Abolishing habus corpus was not in nulabours 2005 manifesto (contract with the electorate) thus it is a matter of principle...your grace would not you resign from such a rotten institution? someone has to draw attention to the sleep walk to neopleonic (guilty till proved innocent as judged by the agents of the state) EU code,

12 June 2008 at 19:32  
Anonymous Terry said...

At least it establishes Davis as a man of principle and differentiates him from Cameron - this is no bad thing and may pave the way for a challenge to the non-ideological Conservatives at some point

12 June 2008 at 20:30  
Anonymous william said...

What exactly are the Conservatives for? Is there any distinctive thing for which they stand – and for which they are prepared, if need be, to go down with all guns blazing? It's been a very long time since they gave any such impression. Which is why it is such a relief to find one, at any rate, of their number for whom principle clearly trumps personal advantage.

Maybe DD should have taken the same stance at 28 days. But that's water under the bridge – perhaps there was still hope, at that stage, that a point of equilibrium might be reached between the threat to national security and encroachments upon civil liberty. By now we surely know better: 42 days is merely a temporary stage in a never-ending process of dismantling our hard-won freedoms.

At some point, if one believes in those freedoms at all, one must say "thus far, and no further". There may not be any invincible logic to when one says it, but the point must be reached, or else the principle surrendered for ever. It must be neither so early as to appear to be straining at gnats, nor so late as to have already swallowed the camel. DD clearly believes that moment is now; it ill behoves those of us who believe in liberty to criticise his exact choice either of timing or of the casus belli.

12 June 2008 at 21:08  
Anonymous Mr Old bead Jiggler said...

I'm with you on this, Your Grace. Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus were trashed a few years back. Davis voted for 28 days detention without trial. It's very odd. What's hs position now? 0 days, 2, 7, 14?

12 June 2008 at 21:50  
Blogger haddock said...

If I was in that situation and wanted to shout about the question of freedom and the substitution of european law for our ancient laws and customs ( and get party support, well initially at least, from a party that did not want to talk about it ) I think to resign and seek re-election a pretty clever ploy.
I don't think the 42 day issue will stay at the forefront for long.

PS has Your Grace noticed this ?

"Belief in God is much lower among academics than among the general population because scholars have higher IQs, a controversial academic claimed this week."

12 June 2008 at 22:16  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

" ... somewhat baffled by the strategy, and the choice of the straw that broke the camel's back."

Your Grace, the camel does not choose which straw breaks its back. The straw is imposed on it.

12 June 2008 at 22:18  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
You can't possibly be suggesting a conspiracy? No. Perhaps Davis and Cameron had a spat? Boys will be boys after all...

12 June 2008 at 22:33  
Blogger Laban said...

Off topic, but did you notice the BBC's seventeen-minute prime-time euthanasia promotion on Tuesday ?

12 June 2008 at 22:51  
Blogger Laban said...

Try again - one of the poorer features of blogger is its truncation of long urls

12 June 2008 at 22:53  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
despite the astonishment and discomfort , i think every person has their price and for david davis yesterdays terroism vote was it .

i think the media cannot savage his prinicpals or personal belief , he may have not batted an eyelid at 28 days , the climate back then was different , but he must have just sat dwon looked at parliment , and thought this isnt right , there are no mandates for this , no proof , no unianimity of support .

things are crystalising in the publics mind that parliment has ben rigged to cheat them out of there say on matters that require their say .

i want mr cameron to be the next prime minister hopefully heading a party with the conviction of david davies stance , the actual by election will in an odd way give people there say , despite being a large instrument to crack a labour nut

13 June 2008 at 02:16  
Anonymous some bloke said...

Your Grace.
You say that " ...Labour's authoritarian legislation which the Conservatives are, in any case, pledged to repeal if they win the next General Election. "
Forgive me, but my understanding is that they are committed to " looking at it closely... " only.
Perhaps Mr Davis' bold stand will compel them to do more.

Polls sugest that over 60% of the public support 42 days but such is the unpopularity of this wretched Government that a by-election fought on this very issue is likely to humiliate them.

God Speed David Davis

13 June 2008 at 04:55  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 June 2008 at 07:07  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

David Davies should be supported in what he has done. The only MP to show any conviction in recent times. We need more like him who will think and act for what he believes.

When he voted for 28 days he proved he was not a zelot but a thinking man.

13 June 2008 at 07:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

As we move into the world of Franz Kafka - propelled by lazy commentators, venal politicians, and an apparatchik class of Anti-Democrats, David Davis may appear curiously out of tune - ride but he simply wants no part of the conveyor-belt ride to 1984.

That is his choice - he is an MP elected by constituents. It seem perfectly reasonable to return to those who elected him and discuss matters...isn't that the supposed basis of legitimacy in this polity rather than adherence to some London party apparatus or media/broadcast monolith ?

I really do not see how a by-election writ which must take place in the autumn with the summer vacations ahead could affect all news items in-between, and the fact that Davis will not need to parade views he does not believe at the Tory Conference but can address the fringe; is forgotten in this obsessional fetishism with respect to Front Bench Politics.

Autumn will be a much harsher climate for all

13 June 2008 at 07:51  
Blogger Tomrat said...

David Davis strategy would seem threefold:

1. He is expected to win his safe seat, even as a independant candidate - thus through his high profile resignation he has not lost any political power but gain credibility for what is a courageous stance amongst gutless men; for once I stand by the twitterati to say this will surely increase his electorate mandate in the forthcoming by-election.

2. Many political commentators believe that the entire 42days issue was a twofold strategy; it deflected attention away from the crucial House of Lords vote and it made Gordon Brown appear like he could carry some political clout - important to a man who has been more or less had his premiership terminalised months in to starting. Davis' actions have more or less neutered the press' coverage of "Brown's win". Long term his campaign in this by-election will bring the question of civil liberties to the fore; amongst which the question of supranational entities dictating to sovereign nations how to do business will have to be mentioned.

3. As the shadow home secretary he has a mandatory duty to support the parties policy and stance (which as I've commented here before, the Tory's have a "dont rock the boat" approach to creeping authoritarianism); now as a senior MP on an independant ticket he will be able to vocalise his concerns without the need for subtlety, political double-speak or outright lies, and he will be able to promote these issues to the fore without restriction - it wouldn't surprise me if Cameron wouldn't be put under immense pressure to give Davis his old job back or a similar one.

13 June 2008 at 08:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EU has the laws of a police state, how fortunate that the terror attacks occured when they did.

If the attacks hadn't occured, they might have had to invent them.

PS, it turns out the 7:40 was cancelled on July the 7th and the Met has had to admit to Parliament that it can no longer acount for the sequence of events from Luton.

17 June 2008 at 23:29  

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