Sunday, June 15, 2008

Which way the wind blows

Civil liberties campaigning Observer columnist Henry Porter comes out for Davis, as does the redoubtable Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti in the Mail on Sunday. And so does Labour peer Helena Kennedy in the Independent.

Belatedly, media are catching up with the public mood...
The Spectator
gets it. The Mail on Sunday headlines with 'Poll reveals huge public support for Davis' decision to force by-election over Government anti-terror laws'

The Observer's Gaby Hinsliff writes that 'suddenly Labour is not laughing at David Davis', as the paper strongly backs the principle of what Davis is doing in an editorial. Simon Hefffer in the Telegraph thinks he is setting a powerful example. Davis himself writes in the Telegraph of how he is fighting to defend basic freedoms, and readers come out in support in droves in the comments. The letters page is keen too.

In fact, support for having a proper debate on civil liberties is now rife across the political spectrum. Blogs and readers' comments, pretty well everywhere, are in support of DD, from the Guardian to the Telegraph and Times and BBC. Meanwhile, Kelvin McKenzie is rumoured to be pulling out , and there is speculation that Mr Murdoch is considering fielding baggage handler John Smeaton, who shot to motivational speaking fame after 'setting aboot' an inept extremist at Glasgow airport, though the Sunday Mirror says this is not the case.

The debate has ignited, and the Tories now have to hold the line on liberty, and not back-track, and Labour really need to field a candidate. A proper one who can answer questions in detail about the government's anti-terror laws and policies. A Labour politician, then, not a symbolic cut-out. Only snag is, the Labour candidate where Davis is standing doesn't, apparently, support 42 days. Bob Marshall Andrews, a Labour MP critical of the anti-terror line, has gone further and said that he will campaign with Davis.

If Labour are so confident of their anti-terror position, and the poll that says the public broadly support Brown's anti-terror laws, then they should have no problem meeting principle with principle, point with point, political argument with political argument, matching a politician against a politician, should they?

The country deserves nothing less. I wonder if the government will have the courage of its convictions or continue to smear and sneer from the sidelines, ever more out-of-touch with the public who recognise a genuinely principled stand and applaud it, even if they don't agree with Davis on 42 days? Calling it a 'farce' looks cheap, and worse, cowardly - and simply makes Brown look like an unelected ditherer who won't put his policies to the real test - a public vote.


Update: oh dear, about that poll....

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Anonymous AngryVoter said...

"The Sun is also said to have considered approaching Rachel North, a survivor of the 7/7 bombings, who has campaigned for justice for the victims, but North said she admired Davis's stand: 'I am a big fan of civil liberties and freedom and democracy, all things that terrorists are not keen on, and I'm pleased that a senior politician has campaigned about this.'

Would she go out on the stump for him? 'I might do something, but he hasn't asked me.' Davis, unsurprisingly, says she is 'exactly the sort of person' he would welcome." Guardian/Observer

So, when you going to go give a couple of speaches for Mr Davis Rach?

June 15, 2008 10:58 am  
Anonymous IanG said...

I don't know why the Tory's thought DD's move was bad for them. They could use his stand to campaign on thses issues. I think the problem is that the Westminster village is so out of touch with the common folk that what concerns people in the street barely registers with politicians. I say this from a standpoint of a socialist, I would never in my mind have supported any Tory but with the way Nu Labour have moved so far to the right my MP (Conservative) has a lot of things in common with my views. Not all but more than half.

Sorry, going off topic here but a good post Rachel.

June 15, 2008 11:18 am  
Anonymous Christiaan said...

I'm still trying to work out how to donate to Davis' campaign online.

June 15, 2008 11:19 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I've been expressing my opinion about civil liberties being above party politics for some years now.

I'll continue to say so. I'm not campaigning for the Tories and I'm not campaigning for the Government.

I have been, and will continue to campaign for democratic rights and freedoms and civil liberties in general. Hope that clears that one up.

June 15, 2008 12:35 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

christiaan - not sure, but a reader posted this in the comments

1) Email address “”
2) Cheques to “H&H CA fighting fund”
3) Address “Haltemprice & Howden Conservatives at 32, Main Street, Willerby, Hull. HU10 6BU”
4) Campaign website will be up on Monday.

June 15, 2008 1:20 pm  
Anonymous Christiaan said...

Thanks Rachel.

June 15, 2008 1:34 pm  
Blogger Boggo said...

I've just sent a cheque to the Haltemprice Cons, but they really need to get their act together, have a look at Barack Obama's website where it is hard NOT to give money.

Not everyone who supports DD is happy to give money to the Conservatives.

June 15, 2008 2:26 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

There will be a website up tomorrow, apparently.

I know what you mean about the Conservatives...roll on a cross platform single issue thingy

June 15, 2008 2:29 pm  
Anonymous a very public sociologist said...

So MacKenzie's thinking of pulling out. That can't be because he's going to get humiliated at the polls would it?

June 15, 2008 5:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will be the website according to Haltemprice & Howden Conservatives email they sent out to those that enquire - not live yet...

The Anon

P.S. You need to include your address if you are sending a cheque - they need to verify that you are allowed to give to an election campaign under the law.

June 15, 2008 6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the donating money but not giving to the Conservatives issue - you would probably end up with some issues about the electoral funding limits/declaration issues. Probably doable, but ZanuLabour would love a slip up...

IIRC the maximum spend on a by-election is £100,000 - I could see this being reached before the end of next week.

The Anon

June 15, 2008 6:39 pm  
Blogger Philip said...

I don't know why the Tory's thought DD's move was bad for them.

Probably because little Davey Cameron is trying to build a Big Tent of support which will include the libertarians and the One Nationers as well as the authoritarians and the quasi-BNP-ers. He would much rather snipe from the sidelines as Brown self-destructs than take a stand (i.e. formulate a policy) on anything at all.

June 15, 2008 6:58 pm  

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