Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Please keep my promises...

I attended the Convention on Modern Liberty a few weeks ago. I haven't really blogged much about it but it was an excellent event, very well attended and with some fascinating panel discussions on various topics relating to liberty. I was disappointed that it did not garner more media coverage (there was some coverage on the BBC news website and short pieces in some of the papers but given the calibre of the event it deserved better).

One of the keynote speeches was delivered by David Davis. He is an excellent public speaker and gave an impassioned oration on liberty or the lack of it in this country and warnings about where we could be headed. He also had very strong words for Jack Straw with which I fully agree. There is an mp3 of his speech available here and a transcript of it here.

The thing that struck me most about his speech however was when he asked for the audiences indulgence whilst he spoke to his own party. Here is the excerpt:

And I ask the non-conservatives in the hall of which I suspect there are a few, to forgive me for a second while I give a message to my own party: please keep my promises. Please abolish the ID cards the first day you get into government. Please reduce 28 days to a more civilised level as soon as you possibly can and please look at every law you pass, every law you pass, and study it so that it gives freedom, privacy, and dignity back to the people even if it is at the price of taking power away from the government from time to time.

Whilst I absolutely applaud Davis for his speech and activity in the area of liberty over a long period I have to reiterate a point I have made before on this blog. Why on earth did he resign? What he is now begging his party to do are things he would have had direct resonsibility for as Home Secretary if he had stayed in his post. Instead of this he is now reduced to pleading with his party from the sidelines.

I was always dubious about his idea of resigning and forcing a by-election as it fell well outside the normal parameters of politicians behaviour. At first I thought that I might have been thinking too much like I was inside the Westminster bubble. However the position Davis is now in I feel vindicates my belief that it was a mistake to give up his position.

If the Conservatives win the next election, we are unlikely to get a Home Secretary with the libertarian credentials of Davis and I think the country will be worse off for it.

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