That's just an extract. The whole article is HERE.
"As for David Davis, dear boy...well, what can I say? Too many speeches, on too
many subjects. Too many interventions. He's an ex-leadership contender, and a
senior colleague. If he wants to come back, he really should be keeping his
powder dry. It won't do at all." Those words, or others rather like them, tend
to emerge from Conservative MPs these days when the subject of Davis comes up
(at least, from those reasonably well-disposed to him; those less well-disposed
are more hostile, and express themselves in terms ranging from contempt to
I declare an interest. I'm a friend of Davis, voted for him twice as leader, and had a hand in his 2005 leadership campaign, of which the full story is yet to be told. I like him, respect him, admire him, and am exasperated by him (the last two attitudes tend to battle for primacy). I would say that he was badly-advised to quit the Commons and the front bench to fight a quixotic by-election if he'd taken any advice other than his own. He'd have made a forceful Home Secretary, and his talents are a loss to the Government. At the same time, he's a lone wolf and perennial outsider, the temperamental opposite to smooth, insidery David Cameron.
It's a statement of the obvious to say that he's spiky rather than fluffy. His method of argument is rather pugnacious as well as highly rational, and there's a touch of the lecture hall as well as the battlefield about it.
Instead, it's worth grasping that there isn't a game. Davis isn't trying to execute a master plan that would return him to the Conservative front bench and deliver him a Government car and red box. I say this not so much on the basis of conversations with "sources close to David Davis", but because the facts suggest it. Davis was a Whip, knows the system, and understands that waging backbench campaigns - or shooting his mouth off, whichever way you want to look at it - won't further endear him to the Prime Minister, who decided long ago that Davis was trouble, had his view confirmed by that by-election, and tends to stick to his judgements of people
once he's made them.
There should be a place in the Commons for dissenters, heretics, bomb throwers, the awkward squad. Davis loves Parliament, and has written a book about it. He also likes running backbench campaigns. His first major one, a push during the late '80s to scrap the Dock Labour Scheme, was successful, so it would be wise not to write all his present ones off. And what's the world come to, after all, if an MP can't campaign for causes he believes in? If in doing so Davis is held to have joined the great gallery of
British eccentrics, fades into obscurity or (worse) becomes a celebrity, so be
it. Parliament should be about more than simply minding your manners.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
The Future of David Davis
Paul Goodman has written a superb analysis of the motives which drive David Davis, and what the future holds for him. Read it HERE. What a superb addition to the ConservativeHome team Paul has been. He is one of the few must-read columnists around on Tory politics.