Stuart Weir (Cambridge, Democratic Audit): I don't know what impact David Davis will have on the erosion of civil liberties after the pusillanimous performance of Labour MPs (many of whom I want to respect) in the 42 day vote. But he has already exposed the political class - and yes, that does mean the media too - as a cynically self-important bunch. The outrage of his colleagues is extraordinary. These are people who have elevated the norms of party politics to a principled position above the protection of the human rights of British subjects and residents here. How dare Davies put his personal principles before the convenience of his party? How self-indulgent the man is! The gloating media coverage has been nauseous. The Guardian and no doubt other newspapers carried the inevitable anonymous quote, this one from a senior Tory trashing Davis. When will the British press cease this unprofessional and unprincipled practice? Nick Robinson on the BBC said, with that odd leering death-mask face of his, that colleagues were describing Davis as "courageous", by which they meant, "bonkers". Yes, they are between them even debasing our language. Good for Shirley Williams on Question Time, who used the word in its proper sense. And on this occasion, quite accurately too.
My first reaction was to look Haltemprice and Howden up on the map with a view to going there to campaign for him. Then I remembered going to Chesterfield to canvas for Tony Benn. The organisers there did their best to keep me confined to the election HQ, transcribing canvas returns, rather than let me loose, an evident southerner, on the narrow streets and doorsteps of the town. David should get full support from all those who value our liberties, for his intention to hold a deliberative debate with his local public on the real issues at stake, to show up the flimsy representation of public opinion created by poorly-phrased opinion poll questions on which the Prime Minister relies. But there should be careful consideration of how such support is given.
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