DAVID Davis's by-election campaign on the issue of 42 days will be just the first salvo in a major "freedom" campaign led by the former shadow home secretary.
Supporters of the Tory MP said they are gearing up for a relentless campaign on issues such as ID cards and the surveillance state, claiming they want to redraw the Conservatives as the party of liberty, against the authoritarian Labour Party.
Davis will set out his agenda in the coming week as he aims to link the new law allowing the police to detain suspects for 42 days without trial to his wider campaign. One ally said: "David is making it clear that the only truly libertarian party out there is the Conservative Party. That is what the Tory Party was about and should be about for the future."
Having spent some time praising Davis's stand from a libertarian point of view (and helped with the LPUK press release), one feels that one may have been somewhat out-manoevered. Whoops!
Notwithstanding the fact that I still applaud Davis's stand on the civil liberties issue, I should point out that the Conservative Party is hardly "the only truly libertarian party out there". The idea that libertarianism is "what the Tory Party was about" is, frankly, laughable. The best that can be said about the Conservatives is that they might be less authoritarian than NuLabour (it would be difficult to be more so without simply declaring a one party police state) but libertarian they are most decidedly not.
Long ago, in the 1800s, the Tories may have been laissez faire but that is not quite the same thing; it was out of laziness rather than ideology. After all, they were more than happy to bribe the electorate with their own money in order simply to beat the Whigs (a tactic that they are still using today).
I wish that it were, in fact, so; I wish that the Tories really were going to be libertarian because then LPUK could just pack up the party and go home. I would have to buy Jackart a few drinks as an acknowledgement that his tactics were right but, in the end, we would have achieved the desired result: a libertarian government.
I, for one, would welcome it.
But this is not going to happen. Amongst other things, the Tories are still in favour of Britain's membership of the EU—an organisation which is fundamentally unlibertarian and whose laws have primacy over our own—and they do not truly believe that people should be left to their own devices; the day that the Tories announce, for instance, the legalisation of all drugs will be the day that I believe that they are not a quinessentially statist party.
Still, it is, at least, a move in the right direction and if they get the word "libertarian" out there and known amongst the general populace then they are doing half of our job for us...