Thursday, 12 June 2008

Gordon Brown, 42 days - and David Davis

Yesterday saw Gordon Brown get his crucial vote through the House of Commons on the 42 days detention for suspected terrorists by the slim margin of nine votes. This was only achieved by getting the 9 DUP members from Northern Ireland into the 'Yes' lobby. Rumour has it that these MPs were bought off with financial inducements for the benefit of the Province, suggestions that of course both sides strenuously deny (of course they would hardly do anything else would they!). Allegedly help would be forthcoming to assist with the water bills over there. Should this happen then folk in Devon and Cornwall would be extremely resentful bearing in mind that we have the highest water bills in the country.

We all know that politics is a very grubby business and, although I take an interest standing on the sidelines, the deceit and double dealing that takes place would be something I couldn't stomach if I was an activist. The issue of '42 days' I have to say is different from most of the others in that we dealing with personal liberties here and the matter of bestowing favours to various backbenchers in return for their vote is an absolute disgrace. It was noticeable though that Brown wasn't able to turn the majority of the rebels in his direction so good for those who stuck to their principles.

Talking of principles mention must be made of the extraordinary decision by shadow home secretary David Davis to resign his (safe) seat and force a by-election which he would fight on the 42 days and other anti-liberty legislation. Nick Clegg has announced that the LibDems would not oppose Davis but would of course have a candidate in the next General Election. Of course Labour could also say they wouldn't contest any such by-election which would make the whole exercise a little pointless I feel. But if Labour didn't put up a candidate they could be accused of running scared.

This resignation of David Davis (he made his impassioned speech at lunchtime today, you can watch it on the BBC news website) has thrown commentators and bloggers into a spin. A huge diversity of opinion can be read and heard, is David Davis a man of principle or is he guilty of unnecessary grandstanding? One good outcome so far as I am concerned is that he is keeping people's attention on issues such as the 42 days detention and ID cards. I think we are guaranteed plenty of chatter about him on tonight's BBC 'Question Time' programme.

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