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A Note Of Caution Concerning David Davis

(Author's note - I am not 'The Devil's Kitchen')
Without wishing to hog my host's blog, and while still adhering to the belief that the reasons David Davis has stated for his resignation make it an unqualified good, a thought occurred to me last night which I have not seen reflected in any of the official commentary on the event that I have read thus far, and which might be worth sharing.
Mr. Davis's resignation is not, as Iain Martin has described it, 'political lunacy'. Although it might appear to some to be quirky, if not quixotic, it most certainly would appear to be principled; and yet, from a particular point of view, it might seem to have been guided by a cold, steely calculation.
If - make that when - Mr. Davis is re-elected, as an individual he will possess the authority which comes from having made a stand on a point of principle. Already a big beast, he will re-enter the House of Commons an even bigger one. Mr. Davis is always going to be a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and he knows it. His re-election on a point of principle might either make him David Cameron's natural successor - or else give him the impetus necessary to mount a leadership challenge.
Mr. Davis is an ambitious man, otherwise he would not have reached the level he has already achieved. It would be interesting to know precisely what ambitions he still nurtures - if they include the leadership of his party, it might be the case that his resignation will do those ambitions no harm. He's certainly given David Cameron a hell of a job to do.


I have seen speculation that this might be on his mind. However, would it be a bad thing to have an actual Conservative leading the party as opposed to Tony Bliar Mk 2?
Anonymous said…
It would appear that Murdoch is keen not to see this happen.

Democracy. What a gas!
Ordovicius said…
He won't return as a bigger beast if he ends Brown's streak of bad luck
Dodgy Geezer said…
All of the general population, I think, have considered the many aspects of this move - in much greater detail than the political commentators, who seem to be struck dumb and are looking for someone to tell them what to say!

A resignation 'on principle' is (as Beyond the Fringe had it) 'just what we need at this stage of the war'. Davies has changed the political map with one (reasonably) safe manoevure. And given the Conservatives a differentiator between them and Labour - something all the commentators have been crying out for.

What this also gives him (and the Conservatives) is a month of continuous publicity on a specific topic which Labour is deeply split on. He is playing the Martin Bell card as well - how can he lose?

What I have not heard mentioned is the state of each parties' finances. The Conservatives have rapidly (and cleverly) cut their exposure by saying that this is a personal matter. The Liberals have saved money by 'joining Davis in principle'. That leaves Labour. I understand from Guido that Labour's constitution forces them to stand - that does not mean that they will, but it's more pressure on them. They are caught in a trap, and will have to suffer for a month before saying the inevitable 'Lets move on from this!'

I understand that the Sun is proposing to fight if Labour does not. This should be good!
I agree that we shouldn't all be sucking each others dicks just yet but frankly if Davis keeps the 42 day rule in the headlines for all the right reasons, I am not going to complain.

It does show a marked distance between a Tory and ZNL which has been lacking since DC took over and the public can see it.

On the other hand, the by election will act as a referendum on whether we are happy to have our liberties taken away or not, again, no bad thing whatever the reason. If 75% of the great unwashed ARE really happy to sign away the Magna Carta on condition they get more Eastenders and a 10p tax rate, I want to know about it.

What happens after Davis is re-elected is frankly for the Tories to sort out amongst themselves. People are sick of the third way be it blue or red and this will prove to Dave that emulating Blair will ensure him the same fate.

Davis is also a good speaker, his resignation speech was plain and simple and without an Eton accent. Whilst people are being asked to tighten their belts, they will resent a toff telling them to do so. Davis could be the man to lead the Tories and would always be under scrutiny regarding liberty if he won his seat on that single issue. Again, no bad thing for liberty.

If KK stands, God alone knows tricks and mud slinging will go on but it'll be great entertainment that's for sure.
Anonymous said…
There are positions far more powerful than Leader of the Conservative Party.
Being one of the Grandees, a 'Kingmaker' offers huge power over a lifespan greater than that of a Leader or PM.
I doubt Davis is unaware that modern politics is image based and he knows what happened in the leadership election
BBC Radio has just reported that Labour will not enter a candidate

What a week!
Watervole said…
Enough is enough. Thank God someone in parliament has the guts to say so.

Cameron's greatest threat is to ignore the fundamental truth behind Davis' argument. His action may even have been at Cameron's instigation - certainly someone smart is pulling the strings, whether that is Davis alone is a matter of debate.

This will prove to be a seminal moment in British politics. We should give Davis a knighthood at the very least and I concur with your kingmaker suggestion. I think Cameron is very smart and a good Party Leader but I think Davis has offered us a different kind of leadership - on a higher level. Those kinds of people are irreplaceable.

Congratulations to Davis for standing up to be counted and showing up Brown and his government for a bunch of self-seeking and self-serving fascists.
Chris Snowdon said…
I'm not so confident this will end well. It would be nice to think - as Davis presumably expects - that the by-election campaign will turn into a month long advertising campaign for liberty. I can't see that happening. The media are determined to look for ulterior motives and a political soap opera. Channel 4 News managed to report this story for 20 minutes last night without discussing civil liberties. They showed his (superb) resignation speech but cut out the meaty stuff about ID cards, CCTV and so on. I imagine the BBC did the same if not worse. The talk is of the Tories being divided - a bloody stupid thing to say in light of Labour's backbench revolt, but a favourite political theme for the pundits.
The media seem to be searching for the reason why DD did this. Of course, DD has given his reason and it is striking that the Westminister crowd is completely unwilling to accept, even for a second, that what a politician says might be true. After 11 years of Blair and Brown, I wonder why that might be?
monoi said…
He is taking a risk, which is more than the shithead who is PM was willing to do 6 months ago.

If there are rewards for him, it is only fair in my world.

I think labour and the media will try and belittle him. However, as we have seen in the latest by (or bye ?) election, and the irish referendum today, it can backfire quite spectacularly.

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