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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 June 2008

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

TORY SHADOW Home Secretary David Davis has stood down to fight a by-election in opposition to the government's narrow victory on the issue of 42 days detention without charge for 'terrorist' suspects. At first, politicians and political commentators united to condemn Davis' announcement.

Ken Douglas

Tory leader David Cameron was reportedly furious - it diverted attention from the government's problems after Gordon Brown avoided defeat only by buying the support of nine Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Also Cameron wanted to move on from an issue that appeared to have popular support and that the Tories opposed for largely technical reasons.

Brown was reportedly delighted. He backed the announcement by former Sun editor and Murdoch stooge Kelvin Mackenzie that he was considering standing against Davis.

Davis seemed to have given up a guaranteed appointment as Home Secretary if the Tories win the next general election. Was this the act of a maverick MP or a more far-sighted move to carve out a position for the future, particularly with an eye on the Tory leadership? Davis, for instance, ensured he got the Lib Dems to agree not to stand against him before dropping his bombshell.

By 15 June, the real world intruded on the Westminster bubble as Davis' stand was gaining some popular support. Shadow cabinet members were getting emails applauding Davis' stand.

Such is the low public standing of MPs that Davis' apparent preparedness to sacrifice his career because of his principles gained an echo. Murdoch is now distancing the Sun from the idea of opposing him - the paper's prestige would be damaged if its candidate was hammered in the polls.

Survivors of the 7/7 attacks were apparently sounded out but said they would be more likely to campaign for Davis. And at least one Labour MP, Bob Marshall-Andrews, says he will campaign for Davis.

This incident shows the volatility of British politics at present; many people feel there is no alternative to the sleaze-ridden incompetence of the main political parties. But it also shows the possibility of a new right-wing populist party forming in future. The Tory Party's fault lines run deep - patrician one-nation Tories rub shoulders with Thatcherites, right-wing libertarians, right-wing authoritarians, anti-EU nationalists etc - and the consensus behind Cameron is a fragile one.

But we can put no faith in capitalist politicians leading the fight against the dangerous 42-day law. It should be opposed by the workers' movement as a danger to innocent Muslims and to all opposing unjust wars and other government policies, as the legislation can be potentially used against any worker.

Davis cannot speak for workers, he is a right-wing Tory. He supports the anti-gay section 28, the return of the death penalty, and has called for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped; yet his attacks on Britain's 'surveillance society' struck a chord. It shows how far the Labour Party has moved to the right that such a politician may be seen as the only sane man in the asylum.

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In The Socialist 17 June 2008:

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

Unite and fight against racism

Protest at BNP 'hate festival'

Let AmDani stay!

conference


International socialist news and analysis

Lisbon Treaty 'No' vote delivers major shock for political and big business Establishment


Socialist Party campaigns

Shell drivers strike

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

Greater Manchester - save your post office

London protest over Rajapaksa's dismal human rights record

Stop big business polluting our environment


Education

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Polyclinics - Stop this backdoor privatisation

PFI - a very bad deal for the NHS

Reopen the battle on NHS pay


Socialist Party campaigns

End the occupations

Unison conference: Angry delegates attack leaders


Post office closures

Leeds: Stop Beeston post office closures


Socialist Party workplace news

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

Victory against bosses at Keele

Workplace news in brief


 

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