Monday, September 29, 2008

Live-blogging from the Freedom Zone: Iain Dale and David Davis

David Davis maintains that he resigned simply in order to highlight the freedom issue; however, he also admits that it was because he could see no other way of highlighting this without ruining his career.

Davis maintains that there was no bust-up between him and Cameron. He can remember when Howard was booed for condemning ID cards; Davis was then cheered for speaking against them.

Iain asks whether Davis felt that he "was letting the cause down" because Davis was good at getting headlines. This is a Dale bugbear, of course. Davis does say that he is still going to be around.

There is no difference between Davis and Grieve, David maintains.

Davis says that he has not had one moment of doubt about his decision; he did think that he might lose his nerve, but he has not "for one minute" regretted his actions.

Davis: Gordon Brown keeps talking about what it is to be British (it's a terrible word -- almost German!). Britain is almost unique in their balance of freedom -- the only others are those that we influenced (the Anglosphere).

All of the innovations that we made, science, technology, engineering, all of that innovation came from that freedom.

Davis told Clegg what he was going to do immediately after he told Cameron. "You can't always trust the Liberals to do the intelligent thing, so I wanted to give him time to think about it."

Whether or not Labour would run was in the balance.

Davis's conference with Cameron was rushed and Cameron said, "why?" Davis replied with is reasons. Cameron said, "but it might not work." Davis: "But I think that it will."

Davis maintains that, although he had planned it out logically, in the end it was "an emotional decision" taken almost on the day. Amongst other things, he didn't want Dale calling every half hour saying, "no! Don't do it."

Your humble Devil can't help feeling that David is slightly over-egging the "big decision" pudding.

Iain points out that Davis has said remarkably little about civil liberties since.

Davis maintains that "well, it was August." He says that he will be spending about "25% of my time on this issue"; he will mainly be concentrating on it again when the 42 days Bill comes back to the Commons.

If the House of Lords holds its nerve and keeps punting the Bill back, April or so, that's when Davis will start being very vocal again.

Davis tends to run campaigns off news events. And he will spend 3/4 of his time on other things. What they might be is not elucidated.

Davis is not going to be the standard-bearer for any particular party faction. He wants to ensure that Cameron is PM, and he will be.

Davis wants to see lower taxes for the country, but he doesn't believe that lower taxes are the central issue at present. "People are thinking will I still have a job, will I still have a house..."

Your humble Devil thinks that all this might be helped if people were allowed to keep their own cash, e.g. lower taxes.

Davis maintains that this government has been astonishingly wasteful (true enough); as a past member of the Public Accounts Committee, he knows that you cannot cut taxes "willy-nilly".

Davis points out that Chief Secretary controls expenditure and that it should not be, as at present, a new boy taking on Ministers, but vice versa.

We need to be able to manage public expenditure properly.

However, the Tories need to be able to talk about public spending without people yelling "Tory cuts!"

"Everyone says that Brown is a wonderful Chancellor. He never was; he never was!"

Davis maintains that he warned about NuLabour's creative accounting in the nineties but that no one listened; now it's too late.

He believes that Afghanistan will be the issue at the next election as Iraq was last time. He says that he pointed out, "never mind achieving victory in Afghanistan: can anyone tell me what vitory looks like?" Davis believes that we have a moral and tactical commitment to finish the job (as do I, in fact). Davis is off there soon to assess the problems on the ground.

Davis does not believe that there is an appropriate job on the next government for him; he knew when he resigned that his Parliamentary career might be over.

Dale maintains that Cameron may have a problem with those with little experience in his Cabinet; would Davis not see himself there?

Davis points out that Cameron's facing a tough first few years, at least. It is the worst economic situation since 1979. He has to do it in his own way. Cameron wouldn't want Davis offering advice from the side.

People on the Brum street are apparently saying, "can you not get these fucking cunts out sooner?" [I paraphrase, of course.] Davis thought that Brown would do better than he has; the first three months was what Brown should have been. And then Brown fell to bits.


Chris Gill (TFA): I admire David for standing up for his principles. But where did this drive come from. Why did he not draw attention to the corpus juris?

It wasn't the issue. Brown thought that he could make himself better than Blair. It was cynical Labour Party politics.

But corpus juris is important, but he didn't want to conflate the issues.

[Fingers tired.]

Next question: might your next principled stand be on the European Project.

No. He's basically pro-EU.

OK, the same question being asked a few times. Bored. That's it for the moment.

UPDATE: your humble Devil asked why Davis spoke in favour of 28 days, but not 42.

His reply was two-fold. First, that they had less than a month to come to a concensus on the Bill. Davis found that some police officers believed that 14 days was too little. So, they needed more.

Second, realpolitik. 28 days would defeat 90 days: keeping it the same would not have.

However, having had over a year since then and being able to gather proper data (which he couldn't do in a month), he believes 28 days is too high. For instance, the recent "liquid bomb" plot had evidence sufficient for conviction at 4 and 12 days.


UPDATE 2: properly controlled, Davis is in favour of surveillance. He is in favour of "very severe penalties for the misuse of this technology". He believes that databases, etc. make us less secure. The reason for cancelling ID cards is not merely to save money, but to stop the very possibility of the Big Brother state. And he does not want ANY council to have access to cameras, and other surveillance sources, etc.

Generally, he seems like a decent and sincere guy: I shall not open his trapdoor...


danfhope said...

RE: EU, don't forget Davis was in the Whips Office pushing through the Maastricht treaty...

pagar said...

Davis believes that we have a moral and tactical commitment to finish the job in Afghanistan (as do I, in fact).

What moral commitment? What job are we trying to finish?

Even Davis admits he doesn't know what victory would look like and unless, we are prepared to nuke the whole country it is a fight that will never be over.

Don't get too close to politicians DK- you can never be sure where they've been and you might catch something nasty.

Ian_QT said...

How about the Communications Database (see here)?

Trixy said...

Ask him about the Andrew Symeou case tomorrow. He was told about it months ago during his campaign and the hearing is tomorrow in Westminster.

I am sure he's done lots of research on it since then given that he's such a champion of liberty.

Old Holborn said...

He was elected entirely on the civil liberties ticket. I've heard nothing from him since.

Afghanistan/Iraq/Weekly rubbish collections have bugger all to do with him.

Tell him to get me my rights back, the bastard.

Dick Puddlecote said...

FOR freedom but PRO-EU? WTF?

Dr John Crippen said...

"David Davis maintains that he resigned simply in order to highlight the freedom issue; however, he also admits that it was because he could see no other way of highlighting this without ruining his career."

.....hmmm maybe.

Sadly, he has ruined his career though.


archduke said...

wow.. george osborne is going to stop the RISES in my council tax for two whole years

wow.. what a voter winner.


how about abolishing all taxes for those on the lowest wages George?

but then George's hands are tied - since we're tied into the EU.

archduke said...

are you serious - Davis is pro-EU?

the man must be either as thick as a plank or lying through his rear end.

is he seriously suggesting that the removal of british freedoms has nothing to do with the EU?

Anonymous said...

Here's something he could have a go at...

'John Carr, from UKCCIS, (UK Council for Child Internet Safety - launched today) told the BBC the council offered a last chance for the online world to police itself.

"There are continuing levels of anxiety amongst parents, teachers and so on, about kids getting access to material they really shouldn't be seeing on the internet.

"If the internet industry doesn't respond and do this - clean up its act on a voluntary basis - they're going to get legislation and compulsion."

This committee allegedly reports directly to the great The Great Helmsman himself. The next brick in the Great Firewall of Britain foundations well and truly laid.

Roger Thornhill said...

UKCCIS - just what we need - another QANGO.

Note how it needed Jaiquequackey, a lass called smith and Balls to launch it. Split that department - get two overpaid numpties for the price of 20.

pagar said...

Perhaps DD could do some work on getting Paul Gadd an exit visa.

How long before the rest of us will need one? The way things are going there could be a long queue.

fewqwer said...

However, the Tories need to be able to talk about public spending without people yelling "Tory cuts!"

They will have to bulldoze the BBC then.