Thursday, June 12, 2008

David Davis Standing for Our Freedom

I joined the many Conservatives that would have been watching the news at 1pm with an open mouth as we slowly took in the fact that David Davis had resigned his seat in order to fight the subsequent by-election on the single issue of 42 days detention. I'm still a bit too shell-shocked to figure out if it was a good move or not. What I am sure about is he has my absolute support on the issue of detention without charge.

Polls suggest that people support 42 days detention by two to one. Some of the comments on my blog and many on other websites clearly show that the Government have failed to put across exactly what this insidious piece of legislation actually means for ordinary people in the UK. If you asked me if I would put terrorists in prison without charge for 42 days, I would say yes without hesitation. However, this is not what we are talking about. If it is passed, people suspected of terrorism-related crime will be allowed to be held at the whim of the Home Secretary. Let's look at how other crime and anti-terrorist measures have been used in the UK by this Labour Government.
  • Three men were extradited to the USA without any evidence being produced having been accused of a fraud against NatWest (not a USA company)
  • CCTV cameras which were introduced to fight crime are now being used to issue parking tickets long after the car has moved.
  • A lady was arrested for reading aloud a list of names in Trafalgar Square.
  • An 82 year-old man was arrested for heckling Tony Blair.
  • Compulsory ID cards may be introduced at a cost of £18bn; more than the Home Office spends in total on policing, immigration control and security each year.

In addition to this, Gordon Brown has the ability to ban public meetings, set up special courts and postpone elections thanks to the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This legislation is already robust enough to give the police and judiciary the powers that they need to deal with complex terrorism inquiries. I am perplexed that at a time that trust in politicians is at an all-time low, people should allow the very same people to determine the future of a British citizen in this way.

You will see from the chart at the top of this post that no other western democracy feels the need to have such controls. Vladmir Putin must be green with envy that he can only hold people in the Lubyanka for a maximum of five days. At 28 days we are already double the limit of anyone bar dictatorships. Why does this Government feel that our police are not as capable as those in Spain who suffered in the Madrid bombings or the USA who face a more severe terrorist threat than we do?

There is no need for Al-Qaeda to commit another atrocity in the UK. They have acheived an important objective in changing the behaviour and attitude of the population in this country in a way that the IRA never could. I remember the stoic attitude of my work colleagues as we were evacuated onto Leicester Square only to hear the Surrey Tavern pub bomb explode 300 yards away. Now, in a blinkered attempt to play tough politics the government has given fuel to a small number of nutters ready to prey on susceptible kids ripe for radicalisation. I end where I started. Terrorists deserve the severest punishment and then some. Locking people up without charge rips up the Magna Carta, the premise of 'innocent until proven guilty', Habeas Corpus, however you want to describe it, no longer exists in this country. It may take a decade or two but this legislation will go the way of other anti-terrorism legislation and be extended quietly to cover other circumstances.

David Davis stated his case in a superb statement that I have reproduced in full below. If he is right in his view that the Parliament Act will be used to force this legislation through it will be the ultimate irony; using legislation meant for a completely different set of circumstances to push through controversial legislation for political expediency:-

"The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden. Haltemprice is derived from the medieval proverb meaning 'noble endeavour'. Up until yesterday I took the view that what we did in the House of Commons representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because for centuries our forebears defended the freedoms of the British people – or we did, up until yesterday.

"This Sunday is the anniversary of the Magna Carta, the document that guarantees that most fundamental of British freedoms, habeas corpus, the right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason. Yesterday this House decided to allow the state to lock up potentially innocent citizens for up to six weeks without charge.

"The counterterrorism bill will in all probability be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. What should they be there for if not to defend the Magna Carta. But because the impetus behind this is essentially political not security the government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords. It has no democratic mandate to do this since 42 days was not in the manifesto. Its legal basis is uncertain to say the least. But purely for political reasons this government's going to do that.

"In truth 42 days is just one, perhaps the most salient example, of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms.

"We will have shortly the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with thousands of innocent children and a million innocent citizens on it. We've witnessed an assault on jury trials, that bulwark against bad law and its arbitrary abuse by the state, shortcuts for our justice system that make our justice system neither firm nor fair, and the creation of a database state, opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

"The state has security powers to clamp down on peaceful protests and so-called hate laws which stifle debate, while those who serve violence get off scot-free. This cannot go on, it must be stopped and for that reason today I feel it is incumbent on me to take a stand.

"I will be resigning my membership of this House and I intend to force a by-election in Haltemprice and Howden. I will not fight it on the government's general record; there is no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich. I will fight it on my personal record. I am just a piece in this great chess game. I will fight it. I will argue this by-election against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government. That may mean I have made my last speech to the House, possible. And of course that would be a cause of deep regret to me. But at least my electorate and the nation as a whole would have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of our day. The ever-intrusive power of the state into our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom If they do send me back here, it will be with a single, simple message. That the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday will not stand."

56 comments:

cllr david pickles said...

Oh Paul! This is quite unique is it not? "David Davis standing up for our freedom". What a hoot! David Davis standing up for David Davis is more like it. What freedom? Freedom for terrorists to blow us to smithereens. Whither Ann Widdicombe, the only Tory with the guts to vote for up to 42 days detention. Suddenly the Tories are not the party of the people, suddenly the Tories are not the party of law and order, and suddenly the Tories are not the people you can trust with your security. Try getting someone to vote Tory if their loved ones have been blown to bits on an underground train or a bus.

In short, the Tories have been shot in the foot. I would suspect that all of the remaining 21 local councillors will dutifully toe the party line and vote against 42 days. Gutless isn't the word to describe them. And don't think you or your party have me by the proverbial short and curlies, because I am well aware that the 42day detention isn't a UKIP policy either, but I agree with it 100%, as does Bob Spink (an ex-tory who defected to UKIP).

Some of us have principals that go beyond party lines.

It's a pity the Tories haven't any.

kickpicklesout said...

David,

So essentially you believe that UKIP are 'gutless' and guilty of everything you say about the Tories above? Or is it ok for UKIP to oppose 42 days but not the Lib Dems or Tories?

cllr david pickles said...

kickpicklesout. because you use a pseuydneum you are as gutless as the tories you are supposedly in support of.

its a personal view, which you well know. If my party are against the 42 day rule, so be it. I am for it, and as a man of principal I am and always will be for it.

You, however, are one of the gutless, because you haven't the balls to use your real name.

Cllr Tim Crowley said...

Paul,David and all.
I probably wont be popular for saying this but here we go.
What the heck is David Davies playing at?
From a political standpoint what he is doing IMHO is pointless and to a certain degree counterproductive.
The Conservatives get themselves into a position where they are holding the high ground and have the Govt on the back foot and he goes and does something like this.
Now from a personal perspective if a terrorist is caught then let him rot for 42 years let alone 42 days but i do understand that the argument is broader than this.
Under these rules Maggie could have quite legitimatley banged up Arthur Scargill and the whole board of the NUM in the early eighties.
It is the trusting of the people who will bang people up that i have an issue with and David i dont think that is gutless.
If an authoritarian Govt is elected then these laws could be used akin to Chile,Argentina and Zimbabwe.
Some out there might think great, but i for one am uneasy about the extension of these civil contengencies powers.
As for Davis well only time well tell.
I think he has dropped a b**lock from a great height.
Watch the next opinion polls and also the way in which the Murdoch Press now goes.
I hope i am wrong but it doesnt look likely.

tom stanford said...

I think David Davis is right to highlight the issue of our traditional liberties being slowly extinguished by a Government and a State that is swollen, and swelling to excess. whether you agree with his by-election tactic or not we must concede that we're now talking about the issue.

Pickles demonstrates his now established politcal ignorance by making the thinking banging people up for 42 days will stop people getting blown into smithereens. Very dumb. Usual crap about having 'guts' and suggesting that voting Conservative would get you blown up on the tube. Crass stupidity. you know what, maybe he shouldn't flaunt the word "gutless" too freely seeing as he is too yellow-bellied to give people a vote on his defection to his duplicitous party. Silly little man.

Freedom is only one generation away from extinction and it is a testament to the terrorists' abilities that our country is backing an increasing infringement on British liberties that have been the envy of the world for some 800 years. when we find terrorists and they are proven guilty they should be executed in my view, but strangling our hard-won British freedoms is now the way to do it, else they win.

British liberties were crafted well before most nations were even born, they were forged on the battlefield, with millions of British and Commonwealth soldiers fighting to maintain them.

What an insult the memory of the unknown soldier that we surrender them so feebly now.

kickpicklesout said...

Ahh Cllr Pickles, you verbally attack me for using a pseudonym, but your aggressive nature somewhat justifies it does it not? You have a very feeble way of distracting from the fact that yet again you are out of line with your own party's policies. If this is such a major thing for you, do you intend to defect again? Who to this time?
You are also a hippicrit, we all know about your notorious use of pseudonyms!!

kickpicklesout said...

And just to clarify, I meant the belligerent nature of your response (twice you refer to me as gutless).

Cllr Tim Crowley said...

When we are talking about freedoms and civil liberties it is always good to look at history.
I forced my children to watch Schindlers list to try and at the end of it said not to worry because that sort of thing couldnt happen again....could it?
We must tread very carefully when giving away our freedoms.

Scully said...

David

Settle down with a cup of tea or something stronger, this is going to take a while.

You have been known to post under a pseudonym or ten yourself. I don't condone anonymous posts but we need to keep things in perspective when considering chucking insults around.

Whether David Davis was wise or not to make the move that he did, (Tim: David Davies is MP for Monmouth so will be surprised at your low opinion of him:) ), he is certainly standing for our freedom for the reasons that Tom has articulated.

In your posts you are failing to look beyond the headline and consider the unintended consequences of legislation. It isn't relevant how the 21 Conservative councillors would vote since it is in no way within their remit. Philippa Stroud and Ken Andrew are the relevant people that you need to tackle. Bob Spink is only a UKIP MP as a flag of convenience after being threatened with deselection so he does not feel the need to show regard to his adopted party's position.

MI5 have not asked for this extension. No-one has had to be detained for 28 days as yet. Neither 28 days nor 42 days would have helped in 7/7 or 9/11. In the latter example, the potential detainees would already be dead. Legislation is already in place to charge suspects that will not reveal an encryption key to the police thus rendering the argument of modern technology as a driver of this legislation as redundant. One of the checks is that Parliament will have to agree the order every seven days. However, they will not have access to the details of the case in order to prevent prejudicing a subsequent trial which begs the obvious question how will they know which way to vote, unless each vote is just a rerun of the overarching debate on the principle of the legislation rather than about an individual’s future. Compensation is no real compromise. I suspect that more compensation could be wrung out of such a case by an ambulance-chaser anyway but how do you put a price on your loss of freedom equating to a three month prison sentence and the subsequent finger of suspicion that is bound to follow within that person’s local community.

Your comments about people being blown to smithereens have no basis in fact. Rachel Northis a survivor of the 7/7 bombing, escaping from the first carriage of the Kings Cross tube train. This is what she said during the 90 day detention debate in 2005:

"As everyone reading this knows by now, I was on the bombed train at Kings Cross, in the first carriage. So yes, I am not surprised that terrorists seek to do what they can to attack my democratic society, to threaten my liberties, to spread fear, to seek to divide us.

"I do not expect my democratically-elected government to do the same. I cannot, and do not speak for all the victims, and nor can, and nor should Tony Blair and Charles Clarke.

"But I know one thing: to defeat terrorism and hate-filled individuals we need to draw strength from each other, to co-operate and talk with each other, whether white or black, Muslim or Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Jew or atheist. Just like we did when the lights went out and the tunnel filled with smoke and we heard the screams of the dying; we drew together, we held hands, we prayed and we did not panic.

"I do not see why this ill-thought out macho posturing, which can only destabilise and divide us, by robbing men and women of the ancient and fundemental right of habeas corpus, and making sections of the community afraid, is going to defeat terror.

"And I will not meekly accept claims that this is to be done in my name. This is panicking, this is fearful, this is not helpful. I expect better than this, and I deserve better than this. We all do."


She has supported David Davis in his stand and has included in a recent post,

"We do not defeat terrorism by throwing away what we hold dearest of all, our liberties."

Protecting the public should be the first duty of Government. Recently, Jonathan Evans, head of MI5, reminded us of the very real and growing threat we face from Islamist terrorism in this country. He rightly pointed out that we must ban those groups operating in this country who promote hatred and violence. At the same time we must ensure that our response to the threat is neither indiscriminate nor disproportionate, because unnecessary draconian new powers can alienate communities, damage vital intelligence opportunities and act as a recruiting sergeant for terrorism.

At 28 days, we already have the longest pre-charge detention period of any comparable liberal democracy in the world. Yet the Government has decided that it wants more. However, the Home Secretary admits that there has not been one case where the police have needed longer than 28 days to question a suspect pre-charge. The evidential basis for extension is hypothetical at best. In the absence of compelling evidence, I will continue to oppose any extension. There are other areas where we are failing to act as strongly as we should. Police and security services should be given the power to question terrorist suspects after they have been charged. Conservatives have also been consistently calling for the use of intercept evidence to be admissible in court. It works in many other countries and it can work here. Such measures would greatly enhance our ability to successfully prosecute suspected terrorists.

Look further down the line. Look further behind the headline Yes, we need the strongest line on terrorists. However, we cannot chuck the baby out with the bath water risking our fundamental way of life. This is a long post but that is because it is not a simple matter that can be dismissed with simplistic statements.

tom stanford said...

couldn't agree more Scully, but simplistic statements are Pickles' speciality. the later in the day the more simplistic they get.

perhaps he should take note that one of the senior MEPs his band sends to Brussels, Mr Godfrey Bloom, has said he supports Davis' stance.

He's right of course but what a mass of contradictions these people are.
Its pretty funny actually.

The more freedoms we give to the state the less likely it is that we will get them back. it is not the British way.

Cllr David Theobald said...

Whatever David Davis' motives maybe, it appears to a 'layman' councillor that he has given Brown a lifeline on this issue. GB was, as we say in St Helier, 'Arsehole Lucky' to win the vote (I am highly interested to know what the DUP have been promised in return for their support). The extension to 42 days, in my view, is a further kick in the teeth for Habeas Corpus which is a massive, massive part of our ethic. One of the most terrifying bills of my time was turned into a Save the Labour Government exercise by MP's who should vote with their consciences and not due to whips threatening their seats!
I sincerely hope David Davis will not deflect too much attention from the real crux of this dangerous, ill conceived, unnecessary and undemocratic measure. With a real possibility that it may not get through the Lords, I cannot see why he has chosen to resign at the moment. Very odd.

Havering Tory said...

I think you can argue that Mr Davis has been very clever indeed. We're now talking about the issue of 42 days, civil liberties, traditional freedoms and the legitimate role of the State in relation to the individual in a way we certainly were not two days ago - before the vote.

It's frontline news now and the issue and the concepts are receiving much more coverage and being debated far closer than previously.

Very clever I think.

cllr david pickles said...

and perhaps "kickpicklesout" could go back to school and learn how to spell! "hippicrit". Please! I'll listen to those who are educated thank you.

tom stanford said...

well Pickles i thought you'd know how to spell hypocrite, you are the living definition but hey ho.

Come on matey, be a man, address my comments earlier about your demonstrated political ignorance. no lame excuse please about not addressing critical comments, Mr Councillor Pickles sir, or are you too chicken?

you seem to be too yellow-bellied to defend British Freedoms and Liberties, why not at least defend yourself, pal

Kickpicklesout said...

Cllr Pickles, you are genuinely a very nasty piece of work. I actually have dyslexia, but for your information, I am far more educated than you, and have a job that you could only dream of getting. In fact, I also went to one of your precious grammar schools. So your prejudices show through once again... Germans, people with SEN, who else?

Good way to avoid the question by the way. When you lose in 2010, I will reveal who I am.

I now give you the chance to withdraw your absolutely outrageous comment and say sorry.

cllr david pickles said...

kickpicklesout - there is not a nasty bone in my body, and if you know me you would know that. What I'm sick and fed up of is people like you jumping continually to the defence of the Tories when people like me make comments about them. All people like you and others are paranoid about is me losing my seat. So be it - it's not for you to decide that, it's the good people of Belmont. If I lose, I lose, if I win, I win, simple as that. Also don't give me the old chestnut about prejudice and throw the german market at me. You and others know full well the reasons for that, I couldn't care less where they come from, but I retain the right to stick up for our market traders which the tories obviously are not interested in.

So any more bile you want to throw in my direction?

tom stanford said...

Well i wouldn't mind you answering my ppoints on British freedoms which you are less than enthusiastic to defend.

your penchant for avoiding debate is very well recognised, matey.

Bob Briant said...

I venture to suggest the chart above showing periods of pre-charge detention in various countries is complete rubbish. Try instead this illuminating report from the BBC website on periods of detention in the major western states:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7084762.stm

Albeit with regret, I go along with the public opinion majority in accepting the need to provide for the extension of pre-charge detention for up to 42 days for terrorist cases in exceptional circumstances.

This seems to me to be a prudent step in anticipation of possible contingencies where the security services might otherwise become inundated by the number or complexity of cases. The frequent argument made that there is no evidence to justify the extension is entirely irrelevant - the extension is intended as cover against credible conceivable contingencies which have not (thankfully) materialised so far.

The public debate IMO ought to focus on the Parliamentary procedures for invoking the intended extensions in each case, the essential periodic judicial checks during the course of detentions beyond 28 days and the compensation payable in cases when no charges are laid.

Unfortunately, exceptional threats to public safety do merit exceptional prudential measures for public protection.

As in much press comment yesterday and today, I regard DD's resignation as a histrionic futile gesture - Cameron was entirely sensible in his vain attempt to dissuade him.

Cllr David Theobald said...

Is Mr Kickpicklesout one of the Oxfordshire Kickpicklesouts?

Dionysus said...

No, I think it's the Hampshire Kickpicklesouts.

Which reminds me, he's late for his appointment...

Scully said...

Bob

The BBC figures are Foreign Office figures, thus coming from the same Government that is justifying the policy. Some of them refer to detention without trial which is not the same as detention without charge. My figures have come from Liberty, who it is true to say have their own agenda to push as well.

Bob Briant said...

Paul,

My response seems to have got mislaid somehow.

Should I post it again?

cllr david pickles said...

Well - here's one for you all tonight.

"European governments pledge to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, despite Irish voters vote against".

That completely encapsulates the arrogance that is the EU. And the Tories response? "Tories call for referendum" !!!!

Pathetic. IF they truly wanted one, why the hell did they sign they Maastricht treaty?

Nationally they are a tarnished party and whatever Cllr Scully likes to think they cannot ever again pose to be the party of the people.

tom stanford said...

hey i shall now call you 'Coward Pickles', are you still not addressing my points?

If you were such a crusader in the 1990s against Maastricht why didnt you defect then?? hmmmm, too yellow bellied?

come on, Coward David Pickles, too shy to defend our liberties & freedoms? Or too ignorant?

pathetic, matey, have a go...

Bob Briant said...

This was my "mislaid" response:

Paul,

If FCO briefs were the source of the BBC report, I suspect those were gathered in by the civil service. In the absence of documented rebuttals, I am unwilling to reject the BBC report merely on the basis of what only amounts to a political slur. The BBC certainly has the journalist resources to confirm or refute reports of pre-charge detentions in other countries.

Liberty is hardly a dispassionately objective source and is likely to be glossing over means of bypassing or evading apparent legal constraints on pre-charge detentions in other countries by means of holding charges or the device of investigations directed by examining magistrates - such as, in the case of France, tabled allegations about associating with known criminals.

The proposed extention of pre-charge detention is only intended to cover conceivable contingencies where the security services could become overstretched by the number or complexity of investigations relating to potential terrorist plots. Judging by several past and present cases before the courts, it is often necessary to investigate foreign trips and connections as well as multiple identities, evidently a regular cover device used by terrorists, and decrypt coded computer files.

Curiously, DNA evidence has proved critical for convictions and acquittals (or discharges) in literally thousands of criminal cases yet David Davis is opposed to a DNA database. ID cards would help to shorten investigations of claimed multiple identities and identity theft - a popular tactic of fraudsters - and yet DD is also opposed to ID cards.

Frankly, I am greatly reassured that he is no longer shadow home secretary. He was a political liability.

By several accounts, successive polls in the press have reported that the public supports the extension of pre-charge detention by two-to-one majorities. DD is doing a serious disservice to the Conservative Party.

With regards.

Scully said...

Bob

The FCO report would have been compiled by Civil Servants. You can read it in full here. It is an impartial precis of counter-terrorism legislation in ten countries. However much of it is being used out of context in that examples such as France and Greece refer to detention without trial which is not the same as detention without charge. The former is a matter of building up a case to ensure a successful conviction whereas the latter is the detention of someone against whom has so little evidence that they cannot lodge a charge.

There is already legislation in place to tackle many complex issues that come up in the debate. It is already an offence not to reveal a password for an encrypted data file for example, therefore a charge can be brought there which would not preclude further charges being added later. One of the most popular pieces of encryption software, PGP is considered a munition in US law and misuse brings severe penalties even if used in the UK.

DNA has become a vital tool for solving crimes. However, as it currently stands children as young as 10 are being added to the database without their knowledge. Swabs are taken if they are held by the police for any reason. Registration is not compulsory for people not convicted of any offence but Chief Constables will not remove entries for those who may be only let off with a warning. With regard to ID cards, the Government have repeatedly shown themselves incapable of commissioning and running a database, yet are insistent on building the biggest database of its kind in the world. I simply do not trust this or any government to implement the schemes properly.

You are right that public opinion is in favour of 42 days detention and so the Conservatives are swimming against the tide, I don't think that this is a reason to jettison a principle that has lasted 793 years. You will see from some of the posts above that not everyone has taken the same reasoned approach as you in determining their support for the legislation.

I'm still up in the air about David Davis. I think that I am too close to the Westminster Village myself to make an objective decision. A poll this morning shows that 57% of his constituents support his move. However, I'm still surprised by the fact that he didn't appear to consider what would happen if the Labour Party took the obvious decision not to field a candidate, thus leaving him out on a limb. I attended a dinner last night where he was the main speaker. He got a big welcome but the attendees seemed split in their view. I'm not sure that it will have a long-lasting effect on the party either way.

cllr david pickles said...

Bong! Completely off topic - but very interesting. Caroline Spelman caught tonight lying about the length of time she paid her nanny out of public funds. "She was paid for 1997 and 1998", said Mrs Spelman.

In fact she was paid for the 1st quarter of 1999.

What next? David Cameron actually being honest?!?!?!?!?!?!?

cllr david pickles said...

Tom Stanford - Coward?

If you fancy your nose being re-alingned please call.

tom stanford said...

Haha, thanks for confirming that for me, Picks

Threats of violence, the last refuge of the ignorant...

still no chance of you addressing your hypocritical point on Maastricht?

Scully said...

David

1. Please don't use my blog to make physical threats even in jest. As an elected representative of Belmont residents we don't need any virtual Prescott moments here.

2. The area of expenses is an issue that affects every party including yours.

UKIP MEP Tom Wise is quoted as saying "I can make shedloads as an MEP...it's cushy", whilst explaining to an undercover reporter how he has claimed nearly £1m since being elected in 2004, including flying no-frills and claiming back a full-price ticket. He added "I have a simple philosophy. You and your parents are paying for me. Sorry, tough!"

The one UKIP MP, Bob Spink paid his ex-partner's daughter from expenses whilst she was at a 6th form college. He also pays his ex-wife despite the fact that she lives in Dorset which is neither near his Essex constituency or Westminster.

It's pointless attacking a single party over this when there are some people who get caught up in arcane rules, others who bend the rules to maximise their returns and a small minority that are simply defrauding the taxpayer and deserve the book to be thrown at them. If everyone got together to sensibly alter the structure then politicians wouldn't feel the need to spend £100k fighting court battles to hush everything up.

cllr david pickles said...

Paul, I have no wish to drag down the quality of posts on your blog, but the likes of "Tom Stanford" and all other anonymous posters, quite frankly get on my wick.

I have just perused the "other" blog - ScullduggeryWatch - and requested that certain posters, not least Scullduggery him/herself come out into the open.

After reading through the posts and trying to suss out who is who (who the hell is aardvark by the way?), I have concluded it's not worth posting any comments at all if they are to be commented on by "anonymous" posters or those with a silly nickname.

I have asked if ScullduggeryWatch revealed his/her identity and await that. Till then I will confine myself to serious posts here, under, of course, my own name. I am aware you can identiy my IP so at least you will know that it is me who is genuinely posting.

RFK said...

David,

I would not waste your breathe on the other blog. Almost all of the posts come from 1 or 2 people under multiple pseudonyms.

I would just like to add one thing in favour of anonymous posts. Sometimes people like to be involved in debate but fear personal insults. Also, some people hold jobs which mean they are not allowed to actively engage in partisan political debate (eg - civil servants).

Scullduggery made it a priority to attack people on a personal level and make wild and false allegations. I think many people wanted to avoid giving people like that the opportunity.

Sean Ludlow-Harris said...

Councillors Scully, Crowley Pickles, Theobald and Others,

Thus far I have refrained from comment on this topic of 42 days detention and Mr Davis' response to it.

I found myself somewhat at odds with myself holding two very distinct opinions. The first being the utilitarian idea of the greatest good for the greatest number which is a strong argument in favour of 42 days detention. The freedoms of some can be suspended for the benefit of the many. For a long time in my life I would have thought this an almost invincible argument based on the deepest common sense.

The second argument was that of individual liberty and certain inviolable rights that are contained therein. The right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention being at the forefront of these morally guaranteed rights, enshrined in our culture and protected by our laws.

The two principles can seem irreconcilable at first. The former being concerned with the protection of society and the community as a whole. The latter being concerned with the protection of the individual.

In my opinion, after deep reflection, I think that they are not irreconcilable, but instead are compatible.

Society is a collection of individuals who sacrifice some rights for the benefits that the State can offer, for example taxation for a police service, a courts system to enforce contractual obligations and an army for protection against foreign aggressors. As time progressed the concept of welfare also became an assumed power of the state, which Sir Winston Churchill categorised as ‘safety net’ welfare (in contrast to the shambles of today). These were rights that were carefully apportioned to the State in order to protect our individual rights.

Because individuals make up groups (be they families or communities), and groups make up society the absolute protection of individual rights – including the freedom not to be imprisoned without trial or charge – is paramount in defending society itself. The moment the State forgets its role in guaranteeing these basic individual liberties is the moment that liberty itself begins to wane. The more power we credit to our State the more difficult it is to get back.

Ultimately it is a commitment to freedom and rights that separates us from the terrorist ideologies. On this standpoint I entirely condone David Davis’ actions.

David Park said...

Paul,

I think you may be right.

My first reaction on hearing the news was 'WTF', followed by 'there's no way that's the party decision.' I couldn't see the calculated advantage for the Conservatives and therefore assumed he must be mad.

However, as you say, when you step back a bit from the normal Party politics, it makes more sense. Whether this step has been made due to ego or conviction or a mixture of both, it is undoutedly powerful. How many actions have a forced a change in the Sun editorial policy in the space of a few days? DD's actions also have major implications not just for the Government in the short term but for Parliamntary and Party politics in the medium term.

This contest will be fascinating, not just because of the issue at stake (on which I wholeheartedly endorse DD's position) but because of the consequences post the by-election.

Watch this space I guess.

Bob B said...

It is reassuring to know that there are some people with sense on the Conservative front bench in Parliament:

"Despite outbreaks of disloyalty, Mr Cameron stood firm behind Mr Davis in public. Above all, Mr Cameron supported him over precharge detention, when others had expressed their doubts. George Osborne and Michael Gove had worried that the Tories were in danger of getting too closely associated with the civil liberties agenda. David Willetts and Andrew Lansley also harboured reservations."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4124757.ece

cllr david pickles said...

Mr Ludlow-Harris. It's not often we agree on anything, but your sentiments regarding 42 days were very well put.

Bob Briant said...

Paul, if I were you I'd quickly jump off the soap box supporting David Davis. It now looks as though the only serious competition he will have in the forthcoming byelection will be from the Monster Raving Loony Party. The Conservative front bench in Parliament is (very sensibly) deserting him according to this report in the Telegraph:

"[David Davis] also appears increasingly isolated from the Conservative leadership, with William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, and Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, both publicly stating their opposition to his move."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/2140055/David-Davis-delays-standing-down-to-challenge-Gordon-Brown-at-PMQs.html

Scully said...

Bob

The main thrust of this thread is that I support his view on civil liberties, not necessarily the way that he has chosen to express it. For the latter, I am still firmly sitting on the fence (ouch!).

Although 42 days detention is favoured in polls, Dominic Grieve, the new Shadow Home Secretary has confirmed that we would repeal this legislation.

sean ludlow-harris said...

I have just read on the BBC website that Labour will not field a candidate against David Davis.

My view is that they are shameless in their political cowardice.

cllr david pickles said...

Paul - as you blatantly refuse to create new threads (especially about the Irish vote), let's go off-topic once again.

I put this challenge to you and your "Tory" colleagues.

WHEN WILL YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO CALL UPON THE GOVERNMENT TO NOT RATIFY THE LISBON TREATY.

WHEN WILL YOU HAVE THE HONESTY TO LET THE VOTERS OF SUTTON & CHEAM, CARSHALTON & WALLINGTON KNOW THAT DAVID CAMERON'S CALL FOR A "REFERENDUM" IS PURE HOKUM, BECAUSE HE, AS WELL AS YOU AND ALL THE TORIES LOCALLY KNOW THAT THE THING WILL BE RATIFIED LONG BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION WHICH WILL BE IN MAY 2010?

Interested in a REAL debate or do you just want to continue waffling on and insultate your colleagues?

David

Scully said...

David

You cannot be serious when you state that I have blatantly refused to create a new thread about the Irish vote. This is a blog about my council work that strays off into broader politics, not the BBC. Have a look at Conservative Home, Iain Dale or Guido Fawkes if you want regular posts about the wider issues of the day.

I'm incredibly pleased that the Irish voted the right way. I'm less pleased about seeing Graham Tope in Sutton an hour ago who was brought back from Brussels to help win the vote in the House of Lords which ratified the treaty for the UK.

I assume that you didn't watch any of the debate in Parliament when the Conservatives did exactly what you ask in calling upon the government not to ratify the treaty. (It is better coming from them, rather than a councillor).

cllr david pickles said...

Paul, agreed. I DID watch the debate this evening, and I am as disgusted as you are that Tope was rushed back from Brussels for the vote.

If one thing you and I have in common it is a pure hatred for the Lib-Dems and their patronising of the local electorate, but I say again, if the Tories are serious about this, then it should filter down to ALL the local constituencies.

You, surely can see what is going on, so is it not encumbent on you as the leader of the Tory group to let your constituents know what is really happening in the real world?

I have never seen anything from Philippa Stroud about this, and according to my sources she is serious about winning in 2010. Perhaps I should ask her? I just object to the way that you all cosy up to her and Ken Andrew with the arrogant assumption that they will win. You cannot win unless you tell the electorate the truth.

Scully said...

David

I do what I can but I am only the leader of the Council Group, not the Conservatives as a whole. This means that I have influence on Philippa and Ken's campaigns but do not run them. They decide on their own priorities.

Items of news such as the Lisbon Treaty are usually best covered by the national media in order to remain topical. I can cover them on this blog but don't have time. I wanted to write an article on the Irish vote but didn't get around to it for a few days. By that time it was too old for this medium. I've found the best posts are as something is happening or immediately afterwards.

I don't believe that we will be gifted a win at either parliamentary or local level. It is true that the polls are looking favourable but anything can happen. Our policy groups are meeting and working well so that we have a comprehensive vision that will cover as many people's priorities as possible whilst running the Council in an effective manner using basic Conservative principles. Philippa and Ken are working hard in getting around the constituencies speaking to people. I take a view that you might recognise. I would consider a good result one that beats the polls by a few percentage points, thus adding value.

Tim Crowley said...

Paul,whilst David has a point about Lisbon with regards to the ratification post a new Tory Government,I do think that he is way off the mark with what will resonate with voters at next years euro-elections.
The economy is going to dominate over the next 12-18 months and watching both Darling and Mervyn King spell out the gloom and expected doom at last nights Mansion house speech will not be good for overall consumer confidence.Whereas at the last euro-elections issues of sovereignty dominated the agenda,there is more likely to be calls from your average voter for a lower interest rate structure as they have in the Eurozone.This will be resisted but remember people tend to vote with their pockets.
How UKIP fare is difficult to predict but i guess it will be worse than the last Euros due to inflation and the spectre of recession dominating.

cllr david pickles said...

Proof once again, if any were needed, of the financial incompetence and "win at all costs" mentality of the Tories.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was quoted as saying on the BBC "If I were running the treasury, I wouldn't rule out re-negotiating public sector pay deals. We should be helping people with the cost of living, not hitting them".

Pardon me while I laugh. This is supposed to be the party of "economic competence", but Osborne just to garner some cheap votes will say anything. He is prepared to stoke up already rising inflation by giving public sector workers basically even more money (on top of their inflated gold rimmed pensions) just to keep them happy.

You couldn't make it up. Remember Black Wednesday anyone?

RFK said...

David,

I see your belligerent style has gone into overdrive over the past few days!

Regarding the Lisbon Treaty, you do have a point regarding the 2010 election, it is a difficult situation for the Conservatives and they are right to do what they can to prevent it being ratified. Once that has happened, it is incredibly difficult to return to it years down the line.

Personally, I see how much casework and responsibilities Councillors have. I understand that it must actually be impossible to cover every national issue. This is why we have MPs who are elected to vote in Parliament, and Councillors elected to vote on local issues. Although there is always room for cross-over debate, I would prefer my Councillors to be a master of local issues, rather than a jack of all trades. As you say, Philippa Stroud is the Parliamentary spokesperson and I’m sure she would be delighted to give you her position on this, just e-mail her. However, considering that most of the UK was against this treaty, hence the Government backed out the referendum, do you really think it matters what any opposition says to them? Labour talk about listening but it’s all rubbish.

As for public sector pay rises, I for one fully support the hard, difficult and stressful job of our public services (police, ambulance crews, nurses, teachers etc etc). Our local Police thoroughly deserve the pay rise they were promised then denied by the incompetent Labour Government. I am delighted to see that the Conservatives will revisit issues such as this to see what can be done. To try and make political capital and equate this to ‘Black Wednesday’ is slightly odd!

tom stanford said...

looks like Picks, the Councillor for Jacob's Creek Ward has gone mentalist over this. calm down, matey, you don't want to burn yourself out before contesting the Blossom Hill parliamentary constituency.

angry angry man, he's so bitter about you tories being on the ascendency, its a bit tragic.

No wonder he's angry because being in his party he will never be in a place to change things,is this a case of sour grapes (no pun intended)?

cllr david pickles said...

Not at all Mr Stanford (not your real name of course as you are fully aware of my drinking habits. Hopefully if you are ever here I'll have drunk it all).

Why should I be bitter about the Tories being in the ascendency? Good luck to them. I'd rather have a Tory government than this shower anyway. I left the Tories for UKIP on two points of principal which you are fully aware of. So I'm not angry, nor am I bitter, but I do post using my own name.

cllr david pickles said...

rfk - re nurses, teachers, police etc - of course they deserve a decent salary, but I'm talking about the public sector and the private sector here. Common sense dictates that the Bank of England should RAISE rates by around 1/2% and keep them there for as long as necessary to choke inflation, however painful that may be.

The alternative is a return to 1978when ironically it was a (proper) Tory government that sorted out the mess, not a bunch of amateurs who will say anything for a vote that we have now.

Scully said...

Tom

I had considered deleting your earlier post as the insinuation is unecessarily personal though Daivd's response negated the need for this. I hope that we can keep this blog on the issues rather than personal digs.

cllr david pickles said...

Paul - thanks. I do really feel that we should keep comments non-personal but political. I like nothing more than hard debate, more than often I admit I probably overstep the mark, or get it wrong, but personal comments have no place in debate in my opinion. Maybe "Tom" would like to reveal his true identity? (but I doubt it).

RFK said...

I agree, let's have productive debate, there is a place for petty and nasty politics... It's called the Liberal Democrat Party!

Sean Ludlow-Harris said...

I have no tract with personal comments or attacks either, I much prefer to debate the issue at hand.

Having had time to reflect, Councillor Pickles, do you still think that 42 days is appropriate as a next step in the erosion of our traditional British liberties?

cllr david pickles said...

Mr Ludlow-Harris - yes I still feel strongly about it. I know that MP's were basically whipped over the vote, but I was pleased to see that the UKIP MP did at least vote for it.

I think that on balance civil liberties and human rights (both sayings banded about too much in my opinion) have to take a back seat if we want to ensure the safety of our citizens.

It is of course a personal view, and in some respects not a political one, but I would stick to it given the current climate.

Bob Briant said...

I trust that the LibDems will be fielding a full byelection team in support of David Davis to avert the threat of the Monster Raving Loony Party winning his Yorkshire seat, a contingency which many misguided folk might cheer.

Btw I don't think we have heard yet from Mr Clegg about whether the LibDems have recently switched to supporting more of David Davis's cherished policies - like restoring capital punishment, for instance.

scott nugent said...

monster raving loonies and liberal democrats, who can tell the difference?

scotty