OK, I lied

Sorry, I know I promised not to mention it again but but David Davies, the Tory Shadow Home Secretary, has just stepped up* in a truly astonishing way.

He’s resigned from the Conservative party to stand in a by-election for his own seat, on a platform of opposing the “erosion of civil liberties.” Not just the 42 days but the database state and CCTV. Woot. The man is fast becoming my hero.

From the BBC report

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said it was an extraordinary move which was almost without precedent in British politics.

I’ve decided to list the Labour MPs of principle as well.
The 36 Labour rebels were:

Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield), Katy Clark (Ayrshire North & Arran), Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead), Frank Cook (Stockton North), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne Central), Andrew Dismore (Hendon), Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras), David Drew (Stroud), Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow), Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath), John Grogan (Selby), Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate), Dr Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak), Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool Walton), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock), Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway), Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton), Julie Morgan (Cardiff North), Chris Mullin (Sunderland South), Dr Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West), Gordon Prentice (Pendle), Linda Riordan (Halifax), Alan Simpson (Nottingham South), Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury), David Winnick (Walsall North), Mike Wood (Batley & Spen) (from the Independent)

I am very pleased to see my last-week’s hero Alan Simpson is in there in my new political heroes list. Plus a good few more. Blimey, a patriotic tear is rising in my eye. There is still some hope for the country.

* Apologies to the Wire for gratuitous use of Baltimorespeak. And, in case you’re wondering why no recent Wire blogs, it’s because I don’t want to do Series 5 spoilers.

Finally, a good MP

There was a depressing 1984-in-2008 story that wasn’t already blogged to death here (because there are far too many. I have to pace myself.) Here’s the Register’s version. The Register heading and sub-heading give you the flavour of the story:

The New Order: When reading is a crime
Download a book, get arrested

A student downloaded the AlQaeda Training manual, which was on his Politics reading list. He asked his friend – who was on the University staff – to print it for him. The University spotted it in the print queue and called the police. Student and staff member were detained for a week and the member of staff is now about to be deported for “irregularities” in his application to live in the UK, after ten years here. (Yes, you’ve guessed it. They were muslims.)

I’m not going to go into the civil liberties aspects of this. They speak for themselves. Some of the comments on the Register article expressed them better than I can.

Instead I’m going to look on the bright side. This grim and shameful affair has highlighted the fact that there is still a sane and courageous UK Labour MP. No really. Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South.

He described the original arrest as a “dreadful cock-up”. The subsequent deportation was a blatant attempt “to try to justify the abuse of that power under the Terrorism Act. If we allow this to be done in our name, in our silent collusion, we become the architects of our own totalitarianism. We live in fear of speaking openly. We live in fear of enquiring and researching openly… We live in fear of the quiet unannounced knock on the door and we live in fear of our own shallowness, in terms of the willingness to stand side-by-side with each other in order to defend the very basis of an open democracy that we claim that terrorism is a threat to.” (From the Register)

Somebody make that man Prime Minister.

This is his home page. I was even deliberately looking for something to stop me posting a fan-post here – to spare my own shame at having to applaud a politician. As far as I can determine (there’s only so much you can read on an MP’s website, ffs) – he doesn’t put a foot wrong. For example, here is a 2007 article he wrote about the Blair and the Iraq War.

However, I found out, from an article in which the Independent was singing his praises last year, that he is resigning at the next election. He is “to carry on campaigning on “green” issues outside Parliament.”


An Anonymous Coward comment on the Register article:

don’t believe that this bloke is really “New Labour”! That is the first and only anti-Stasi/ Stalinist/ Big-Brother statement I’ve ever heard from New Labour – it is obvious that he’ll never make the cabinet and that he’ll brought back in line by the Whips.
It was nice while it lasted…