Friday, July 11, 2008

David Davis Back Where He Belongs

So, David Davis's sojourn away from the House of Commons is over. He won the Haltemprice & Howden by election with an overwhelming 72% share of the vote (the highest in a by election since 1997) on a 35% turnout, which was far higher than most of the so-called Westminster village 'experts' had predicted. Considering he had no real opposition, I think that is a very creditable turnout in the circumstances. It is roughly the same as the turnout in Sarah Teather's by election in Brent East in 2003, but far higher than Michael Portillo's (29%) or Hilary Benn's (19%). When you consider that 9,000 students were away, it is the summer holiday season, and it rained I am not sure anyone could have expected a much higher turnout than that.

The Greens came second, only narrowly ahead of the English Democrats. The candidate Labour was tacitly backing, Jill Saward, came sixth with a miserable 492 votes, 29 fewer than Miss Great Britain.

Here is the full result...

David Davis (Con) 17,113 (71.56%)
Shan Oakes (Green) 1,758 (7.35%)
Joanne Robinson (English Democrat) 1,714 (7.17%)

Tess Culnane (National Front) 544, Gemma Garrett (Miss Great Britain) 521, Jill Saward (Ind) 492, Mad Cow-Girl (Official Monster Raving Loony) 412, Walter Sweeney (Ind) 238, John Nicholson (Ind) 162, David Craig (Ind) 135, David Pinder (The New Party) 135, David Icke (Ind) 110, Hamish Howitt (Freedom 4 Choice) 91, Christopher Talbot (Socialist Equality Party) 84, Grace Astley (Ind) 77, George Hargreaves (Christian Party) 76, David Bishop (Church of the Militant Elvis) 44, John Upex (Ind) 38, Greg Wood (Ind) 32, Eamonn Fitzpatrick (Ind) 31, Ronnie Carroll (Make Politicians History) 29, Thomas Darwood (Ind) 25, Christopher Foren (Ind) 23, Herbert Crossman (Ind) 11, Tony Farnon (Ind) 8, Norman Scarth (Ind) 8

I didn't stay up for the result, which was delayed until 3am by a recount demanded by one of the fringe candidates, but left of centre civil liberties campaigner Anthony Barnett from Our Kingdom did. He was disgusted by the BBC coverage. Sounds like my decision to go to bed was good for my blood pressure...

[BBC] coverage of the count was an utter disgrace and will for the moment serve this angry viewer as a symbol of its appalling conceit and incompetance. It lost the sound when the Sherrif read out the results. Anyone could have run forward with a microphone to make sure they could broadcast Davis's acceptance speech. They didn't. Nor was their hapless reporter ordered forward with his own mike. Listen to Davis at his moment of triumph? Hear what he had to say about the issue? No need for THAT. The BBC knows all, and it knows that we do not need to worry about liberty while it can call in its license fee. Not only did we have the reporter then talking over Davis - he did not even have the curtesy to report to us what he was saying even though he could hear him. This farrago was followed by one of the most prejudiced leading question I can recall. Without any serious opposition, and indeed with voters pissed off by the sheer amount of idiot candidates, Davis got a fantastically high turnout in the circumstances. In 2005 the current Labour government only got 22 per cent of the total electorate. By my calculation Davis has got 27 per cent tonight. In other words he represents a significantly higher proportion of his electorate than Gordon Brown does of Britain's. So what does the BBC do? From the studio in London it asks, "Were all of his voters really voting in support of civil liberties?" Oh no, says their local lackey, in a clearly primed exchange. "I spoke to Conservative voters who said they did not agree with Davis but because they respected him and the way he was making a stand they were voting for him". The quotes are not exact, they accurately convey the exchange. It was clear, even though the turnout was deemed "respectable" (BBC for a triumph the Corporation disapproves of) we are not allowed to interpret it as people agreeing with Davis! You see, his success does not mean anything at all. If they had not voted for him it would have shown that the BBC was right and people did not care about civil liberties. If they do vote for him it shows that they don't care either - they just support his maverick integrity. Either way, no effort whatever is to be made to let listeners hear what the newly re-elected MP for Haltemprice and Howden has to say.

PS: The web arm of Britain's corporatethought managed to pull off the patronising view of Davis to perfection, headling the outcome as "Davis cruises to b-election win". It could almost have been "glides". No resistance, no effort, no story.

Mike Smithson of agrees...
The BBC showed once again with their minimal coverage of the count and lack of analysis that they have abandoned their case to be funded by a tax enforced by all the apparatus of the criminal law. Covering the electoral process at work should be the first priority for a public service broadcaster and they failed miserably. Sky, by all accounts, was so much better.
Seeing as the BBC didn't feel it necessary to bring you David's speech at the count, let me provide the public service they should have...

First, may I thank the returning officer, his officials ad the police. I would also like to take the opportunity to commend the other parties that contested this election. One of the freedoms I defend is the right of anybody to stand in a democratic election. By and large this has been a courteous and entertaining campaign. I thank everyone for taking part. Four weeks ago, I resigned my position as Shadow Home Secretary, and Member of Parliament. Not for personal gain. Not for political advantage. But to defend a principle. The doubters said it couldn’t be done.
You can’t win a by-election campaigning for freedom. You can’t shift public support for 42 days.
You can’t spark a national debate, they said… people just don’t care about British liberty. And yet, 3 weeks on, we’ve sent a shot across the bows of Gordon Brown’s arrogant, arbitrary and authoritarian government. We’ve galvanised a new consensus … across the political spectrum … beyond the world of politics. A new resolve. A new spirit of freedom. A fresh sense of purpose.

Today, the people of Haltemprice and Howden have delivered a stunning message to the government…as our campaign has reverberated across the country. Four weeks ago as Gordon Brown stooped into the gutter to rig the vote on 42 days, Ministers crowed that 69% of people supported 42 days. Today just 36% support it. Four weeks ago, the government touted public support for a range of other draconian measures. Today, 71% support my stand against the attacks on British liberty. And in the House of Lords, the last Head of MI5 savaged the government’s 42 day proposal. It now lies in tatters, robbed of any remaining credibility. Along with this government. And that’s after just 3 weeks.

But today is not the end of this campaign. It’s the beginning. On Monday I return to the House of Commons, to take up my seat in those hallowed chambers. I do so with a clear mandate to fight Gordon Brown’s vision of ‘Big Brother Britain’ tooth and nail. To stop 42 days dead in its tracks.
To prevent the disaster of ID cards before it happens. To protect our personal privacy from being ransacked by the ever-intrusive state. But most of all for the thousands upon thousands who have written to me… Supported me…and voted for me….

I return to fight for those fundamental freedoms that define our way of life. The freedoms that millions died defending. The freedoms that make Britain Great.
So, let's turn to the question which ConservativeHome tried to answer a day too early. Was it worth it?

I made no secret of the fact that I would rather David Davis hadn't done what he did. Like all his other close friends, if I had been asked for my opinion before he resigned, I would have counselled against it. He knew that. It's why he didn't talk to any of us about it. I respect that, even though I continue to believe it was a wrong decision. I also respect the fact that he sacrificed his political future for a cause he passionately believes in. There's no way back to the Shadow Cabinet and he knows it.

One result from this by election is that it has demonstrated the growing disconnect between the Westminster Village and the rest of the country. So-called expert commentators dismissed Davis as 'bonkers', 'going through a mid life crisis' or worse. The rest of the country saw a politician standing up for something he believed in, willing to make personal sacrifices for the cause. Whether they agreed with him or not, they liked a politician who strayed from the norm.

David Davis's aim was to spark a national debate. He may not have got quite the debate he wanted, but there have been acres of media coverage of the issue which would not have happened if he had not stood down. It has made some previous advocates of 42 days think a little harder about their support for the measure. It has brought together a rainbow alliance of people from across the political spectrum in a way which might not have happened before.

The whole campaign will have made it just that little bit harder for Gordon Brown to get this measure through the rest of its parliamentary stages. For David Davis, that will have made it all worthwhile. For me, well, I sit here thinking what a damned shame it is that a supremely talented man won't now be in the next Conservative Cabinet.

More on the by election...

Andy Sparrow - Seven conclusions
Liberal Conspiracy - Analysis
PoliticalBetting - Was Nick Clegg DD's big mistake?
Anthony Barnett - Canvassing in H & H
Glyn Davies - DD is a hero
Robin Lustig - A national debate?
Cassilis - What DD did and didn't do
Andrew Grice - DD 1 Labour 0
Danny Finkelstein - DD & baldrick's cunning plan

UPDATE: I have also written a piece for Comment is Free HERE, looking at the fallout fron the by election.


Anonymous said...

Re "Respectable" being BBCese for a triumph they dispprove. When they hate someone who wins they become "controversial". Hence the greatest US President since WWII whose brave standing up to the USSR saw it collapse and free hundreds of millions from communism; whose empathy for and ability to speak to the American people earned him the soubriquet the Great Communicator, was relegated to "controversial" when he died.

I wonder if Gadaffy friend and perpetrator of the Shell House massacre Nelson Mandela will be "controversial" when he dies. Not.

Anonymous said...

"David Davis Back Where He Belongs"

You mean the BACK benches?

Anonymous said...

Of course the BBC would not show Davis' acceptace speech in it's entirety! The BBC supports the Fourth Reich:the EU and their cronies- Labour! Anything positive to do with the 'conservatives' or 'conservatism' is deleted from existence with undue haste. But by eck- what a result for good old Basher!

Anonymous said...


Whatever influence you have with DD, DC et al, please, please lobby for a party policy to 'castrate' the BBC.

The corporate arrogance is intolerable and the licence fee collection tatics worthy of the SS.

Menzies said...

Did he fight for something important: yes

should hehave done it: why not?

was the bbc a joke here yet again: yes!

Has he made DC look bad: only to people in westminster by and large.

So why cant one of the best front line tories of the day be in the next tory government, ok so maybe not as Home sec, but to say he cant is madness, and thats one of many things that makes outsiders (non politicos) wonder what it is that our leaders are on

Paul Linford said...

Unless you know something I don't, Iain (which is perfectly possible!) I wouldn't take it for granted that DD won't be in the next Conservative Cabinet. David Cameron does not strike me as a vindictive man and if having DD in a senior role will strengthen the line up - which it would - I think he'll be prepared to let bygones be bygones.

Anonymous said...

"He won the Haltemprice & Howden by election with an overwhelming 72% share of the vote (the highest in a by election since 1997)"

A fatuous statement. How many by-elections have there been in England in living memory where both Labour and LibDems (or Liberals) have not participated?

Anonymous said...

What a complete waste of time and money.

Stu said...

I'm not sure I can quite bring myself to get worked up over a technical fault. As anyone who knows about live event management knows, technical faults happen all the time. The microphone going out could even have been sabotage from the Make Politicians History Party, did you think of that?

As for David Davis, when he stepped down he stood by his principles, but he also exposed himself as naive in believing the 'public' would have a 'debate' on his issue when he wanted them to, and furthermore naively believed that the Labour Party would have the same principles as he does. Ask yourself if the tables had been turned and a Labour MP had stood down, would you want the Tories to run against them?

So, a triumph for the bloggers and commentators who predicted exactly what would happen, right at the start.

Anonymous said...

DD will be in a strong position to argue his case for this and other issues.Dave will look even more formidible with DD on the back benches particularly if he starts forgetting what Conservative policy really looks like.

Anonymous said...

Surely the significant statistic is that David Davis got 5,679 FEWER votes than in 2005.

Anonymous said...

I think David Cameron will be mighty relieved that only 25% of the electors voted for David Davis and that he got 5000 votes less than the last General Election. He is no longer a threat to the leadership.

Like Kilroy-Silk & David Owen, he had such potential, but he couldn't channel it wisely.

At least all those lost deposits can go someway to paying back the electors who had to pay for this unnecessary event.

Anonymous said...

You could almost taste the BBC's cynicism when David was being interviewed on BBC Breakfast, this morning.

Even with little sleep, he made the interviewer look like a fool, a biased Conservative hating fool.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, in terms of turnout, I'm not sure you can use "normal" by-elections, e.g. Teather, Portillo, Benn. This was not a "normal" by-election.

Whilst admiring Davis' principles, I can't imagine that had you asked him some weeks ago, he would have said he wanted a "very creditable turnout", a limited national debate and a victory against fringe candidates.

And I can't help but conclude that he would have been able to make more progress over defeating 42 days had he been Shadow Home Secretary.

Anonymous said...

"Ministers crowed that 69% of people supported 42 days. Today just 36% support it ... Today, 71% support my stand against the attacks on British liberty."

71% of 34.5% = 24.7%

i.e. 75.3% did not turn out to support Davis and his 42 days.

Daniel Cullen said...

Well done David Davis. You have to admire the man's principles whatever your political point of view. I always thought of David Cameron as Tony Blair incarnate, and that that would in fact be good for the Tory party. I am beginning to wonder if, after all, they should have gone for David Davis as their leader, but I wonder if he would have resigned that position? Another debate perhaps...

Anonymous said...

I do not see why DC can not put DD back in the shadow cabinet, even as home secretary. As far as I know DD did not disobey Dc's orders.

DC seems to be pretty fair minded, I would have thought more serious opposition would come from other MPs who want a cabinet job. Grieve will have to go, he just does Not cut the PR Mustard in such a prominent job.

Old BE said...

Well done DD - for if nothing else you have proved the idiotic Westminster pundits wrong. It is time for a revolution in the way that politics is reported by Big Media (TV and the broadsheets).

The voters are being radicalised by the incompetence and bullying of this government. It's time for the Tories to step up and promise to sort out this authoritarian mess.

DC needs to find DD a high-profile role. He should be the brains behind the next Tory manifesto.

Unknown said...

There is one question that hasn't been satisfactorily answered by Mr Davis throughout. Would he not have been in a better position to shape policy on civil liberties as the putative Home Secretary of a party that looks destined for government?

If not, isn't the ineluctable conclusion that a David Cameron govt would not reverse 42 days & the other encroachments upon our civil liberties? Otherwise why didn't Mr David wait 2 years until the train set was all his to play with?

Roger Thornhill said...

The BBC lost the sound? Stalinism still thrives at Broadcasting House.

Still, if you think DD is not aiming for a crack at the top job, you are mistaken, Iain. If Gordon is elbowed, that is the last window DD has to make a grab for the crown.

Liam Murray said...

I've mentioned the bit about the 'growing disconnect between the Westminster Village and the rest of the country' this morning as well - not sure the shift is as stark as some thought.

In the first 48/72 hours the line was 'mad as a brush / vain / ego-trip / mid-life crisis' etc. Then by the weekend you and others were crowing about some underlying shift - 'the public like principle / maybe he's started something / this could be big / significant etc'.

But surely in the end both those reactions looked extreme? Davis was sincere and it wasn't a mad ego-trip but neither was the public particularly enthused. By day 7 the footy & Big Brother were getting more attention and things just drifted till yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Waste of time and money.

The 'debate' has barely been shifted by this pompous campaign.

Also I think it is a fair comment by the BBC that a number of DDs voters would be voting for reasons other than his '42 day' agenda. It is naive to think anything else.

I don't know where these people are that support DD's resignation stunt. Everyone I've spoken to about it doesn't have a supportvie word to say on the subject ... and no I'm not in the 'westminster village'.

Anonymous said...

I also think that Iain is being hasty in saying DD will not be in the first DC cabinet.
He may say so from inside knowledge of the DC entourage, but this also falls foul of a 'Westminster Village' mind set.

I predict that DD will have to serve out his punishment on the back benches, but he will be forgiven by the next election.

This is because DC will realise that many who have, or are now thinking of supporting the party, identify far more with DD than with the Michael Gove tendency.

Inner circles may control the parties, but as John Kampfner warns re Labour in today's Telegraph, if a party doesn't eventually bring the people with it, it will implode

Dick the Prick said...

Iain, could you pass on my regards to Dave? It's pretty hard to blag hard nosed Yorkshire folk and having the CoE Synod down the road is enough naval gazing for one week, thankyou very much. He did the right thing and they knew it. Hurray for H&H and make sure DD takes a rest - the lad looks flaked out.

Newmania said...

That is a terrific post Iain and the reason why I cannot do without your blog. I know I usually drivel on but just for once.

Thats all I have to say

Anonymous said...


Former CCHQ staffer
Former Tory parliamentary candidate
Former Chief of Staff to David Davis
Tory blogger

Who is more "Westminster Village" than you Iain?

If David Davis is so principled why did he drop his support for an English Parliament the second the SCOTTISH Iain Duncan Smith offered him a place in the Shadow Cabinet?

Surely the biggest story of the night is the amazing success of the English Democrats in coming third in a parliamentary by-election. Davis should now return to supporting an English Parliament NOW or face losing this seat at the next election.


Anonymous said...

I think you're quite wrong to believe that the rest of the country is all het up about civil liberties and 42 days. If an alternative Conservative candidate had been running its highly likely that the electorate would have punished DD for wasting everyone's time and money on a self-indulgent personal crusade. He should resign at the next election, if not sooner, and join Amnesty International or some such now that he's become a one trick pony at the beck and call of Sami Chakrabati.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Leftie anonymous trolls are out in force this morning.

Whatever negative spin they struggle to put on this result, the fact is that DD have a mandate, which is more than you can say for the Prime Minister

Anonymous said...

Today Haltemprice and Howden, tomorrow 10 Downing Street! Amen.

Anonymous said...

The BBC showed once again with their minimal coverage of the count and lack of analysis that they have abandoned their case to be funded by a tax enforced by all the apparatus of the criminal law.

The Conservatives should make a manifesto commitment that the compulsory BBC tax will be abolished.

Anonymous said...

It's always amusing to see Tories having a go at the BBC. You all seem unable to grasp the notion that the facts and your opinions are not the same thing.

It is your opinion that David Davis has done something worthwhile. The large majority of the electorate in Howden & Haltemprice don't seem to agree - they didn't bother to vote.

And the rest of country doesn't care either. If Davis wanted to spark a national debate, he failed. And not because of the BBC either.

I happen to agree with Davis over 42 days, but this by-election was a silly stunt and a waste of tax payers' money. The BBC gave it the prominence it merited. No more, no less.

rosie said...

When one reads the spiteful comments which appear to come from the Shameroons it just reinforces my view that I cannot vote for the Tories under the current leadership.
I do hope that as a backbencher DD will go a little beyond his own remit of civil liberties and support the concept of an English parliament. A cause I understand he supports but has been silenced.
Perhaps Iain you can confirm whether he does hold this view. Do you know?

Anonymous said...

No it was not worth it. I continue to ask myself whether Mr Davis would have stood if he had not got Nick Clegg's agreement not to field a candidate? The Lib Dems came second in the previous general election. Further, I very much resent the cost of this ego trip. I do hope that the total figure is eventually determined. I also feel that rules need to be changed whereby a sitting MP does not have the right to call an election.

Many of us were totally uninterested in the bye election given that the other two political parties did not stand. The BBC represents us all - not just those who support David Davis. I thought the questions on Breakfast TV this morning were highly relevant. They were the questions I would have asked.

I do hope that David Davis does not get a senior position again. He acted in his own interests and not those of his party. David Cameron has behaved appropriately throughout but I am sure he now realises that Mr Davis is a maverick and has no place in his team.

Richard Nabavi said...

I think your post is spot-on, Iain, except perhaps that you underestimate the chance of DD returning to the Conservative front-bench, albeit not for a while.

Anonymous said...

The result suggests that about three quarters of the good folk of Haltemprice and Howden don't care much for their exhibitionist MP or his views....

Curmy said...

Back where he belongs ? He's lost his shadow minister's job !

Letters From A Tory said...

David Davis has become the champion-elect for the Conservatives on civil liberties, which will suit him very nicely when the Lords tell Labour to shove their 42-days where the sun don't shine.

Iain Dale said...

Let's correct some points which have been made in the last few comments...

Let's Get Real 10.15 - 27% of the Haltemprice & Howden electorate voted for DD, while 24% of the UK voted for Gordon Brown. Slam dunk.

Anonymous 10.13. Fatuous. He had already told Cameron of his decision to resign his seat before he talked to Nick Clegg.

Rosie 10.08 - yes, DD continues to support the cause of an English parliament. I talked to him about it on Sunday.

Little Lord Fauntleroy 10.05. Always amusing to see Tories having a go at the BBC... like LibDem voting Mike Smithson, or Labour voting Anthony Barnett. You just made a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

And a triumphant blow is struck for liberty. Except no one really noticed. I'd love to see a credible argument for how this farce even approached sparking a national debate on the subject.

niconoclast said...

How extraordinary that Davis discovers liberty when it is proposed to hold a few mad mullahs with murder in mind for 42 days. Is he being bankrolled by Al queda? Who can buy this ridiculous posturing from a man who has bought the whole tory tax Welfare Statist panoply and now starts preaching about liberty. And who will save us from his cacophanous din of cant.

Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, I think DD was correct to go to the people on this matter. As for the BBC coverage, well nothing is perfect - after all consider all those in Lords who have some experience in this matter, I suppose the BBC will brand them as loonies as well.

Labour just bottled it - typical of Brown.

Anonymous said...

Iain, GREAT analysis ! A couple of points..

* Could you implore David Davis to re-record his speech, just for his website, so we can hear his words.
Might be a bit 'cheesy' but for the web, should just about work.

* I agree that he has achieved what he set out - he has kept this issue bubbling on the stove while the Lords take their first look at it.
Gordon can't sneak this one 'under the radar'.

* I agree you are wise to urge him to be cautious - if everyone on the Conservative Front Bench team did this, where would they be ? But in life there is always room in a team for a maverick like Eric Cantona or Ian Botham or Shane Warne - you couldn't or shouldn't have a team full of them. But without them the world would be a worse and duller place.

* Don't bet against him being in the 'Shadow Cabinet' ! He will have to work his way back, of course, but if the Tory conference show how much they support this guy, they will find a place for him inside the big tent.

He has, after all, shown that he is far far more of a 'fighter, and not a quitter' than that thin-skinned, glass chinned prat Peter Mandelson.

Go David !!!

Anonymous said...

"There's no way back to the Shadow Cabinet"

I wouldn't be too sure about that Iain. Just because the nulab Cabinet has almost no talent whatsoever doesn't mean you should assume the Shadow Cabinet is overflowing with it.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree on the disconnect. I remember being utterly bemused by the 'expert' opinion on this from day one. A brave decision for a principle, and yet the commentariat establishment could not see that in their weird Westminster bubble.

Old BE said...

Iain you are wrong. 0% of the electorate voted for Gordon Brown to be our Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A complete waste of time and money.

And you demean this blog by wasting an equal amount of time and money.

DD is toast.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale said "Let's Get Real 10.15 - 27% of the Haltemprice & Howden electorate voted for DD, while 24% of the UK voted for Gordon Brown. Slam dunk."

Errrr...when did the UK get a vote on Gordon Brown Iain? Other than that, a great post which has got the Labour sock puppets at the mouth by the look of it.

And well done David, hope he enjoys a well deserved kip ahead of his return to Westminster.

Anonymous said...

Iain. Why are the Tories so wound up about the BBC? People like me have been asking WHAT the Tories intend to do with the liberal bias of the BBC when they get into power? Sounds to me like NOTHING.

The BBC needs to be killed. Scrap the TV tax and let the BBC feed itself.

On Radio 5 this morning Victoria Derbyshire did a phone in about Davis and 42 days. There wasn't a single Muslim caller. Now that is unusual from the BBC. In fact I can't remember hearing a single Muslim caller about 42 days on the BBC anywhere.

Is it that the BBC only wheels them out when it works for them and not to support the Tory party?

The quicker you Tories work out the BBC is openly against you and is determined to use the public money it takes from the poor under the threat of jail to see Nu Labour get elected again, you will continue to struggle to get equality from the BBC.


Anonymous said...

Another dreadful display by 'when we win' Naughtie on Toaday this morning; he should be first on the plank after the next election.

Iain Dale said...

Re my comment above - I should have said 24% voted for Labour, not Gordon Brown. We never even got the chance to vote for him...

Oscar Miller said...

Something serious has to be done about the BBC. It is no longer good enough for some inner circle of the political classes to preside over the blatant, persistent, institutional bias of the BBC, with the fiction that they are impartial. The feeble and empty putdowns of anyone who points out this bias, usually demonised as 'right wing nutters', no longer has any credibility whatsover. As Iain points out you don't have to vote Tory - you just have to have a modicum of honesty and decency. The coverage of the Davis election has shown BBC bias at its most glaring. When they thought it was a vote loser for the Tories they gave his decision to stand down disproportionate coverage. As soon as the polls revealed that most people admired Davis for taking a stand, they wiped it as far as they could from the airwaves and tried every tactic to ridicule Davis and the election. This of course has absolutely nothing to do with the principle of 42 days, which the BBC are happy to oppose when its the likes of Sami Chakrabati or the far left opposing it. But if it's a Tory - then suddenly the issue is downgraded and treated as if it's a piece of silliness. This is pure unadulturated political partisanship from the BBC. The politics of the tribe - no different from supporting a football team. Something serious must be done about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"The BBC represents us all - not just those who support David Davis."

It does not represent me at all. Iain would not allow me to say what I would like to do to the bunch of ****s.

Guthrum said...

Not sure what he has achieved here, other than positioning in the Conservative Party as the 'principled lost leader'.

I would have been far more impressed if he had campaigned on a platform of a written constitution that guarantees our freedoms from any future government left or right, so that we can slap them down with an unconstitutional reminder of what this country is about.

That would have had the voters out in droves, but he stood as a conservative with a fairly authoritarian background.

However good try 3/10 for effort

Anonymous said...

Why are people - including yourself, Iain - saying DD will never be in a Conservative Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet? We all know the first rule of politics is never say don't!

Anonymous said...

I admire David Davis for having the courage of his convictions. For actually having principles and being prepared to act on them. For saying what he means and meaning what he says.

We are all so unused to the idea that a politician understands what princples are and doesn't lie about everything that people found it hard to understand DD's stand.

His position can only be strengthened by his principled behaviour. Why shouldn't he return to the Shadow Cabinet - and in the fullness of time - be in Government? He has strengths David Cameron needs, and he isn't a public school boy, definitely can't be accused of being "a toff", AND has earned his living outside politics.

(By the way, I'm not normally a DD fan - but credit where it's due)

Dick the Prick said...

I never really bought the argument that it was a stunt. It's not a very good stunt - no Grand Canyons or Double Decker busses just ordinary voters being asked what they think - sacre bleur!! Dave Davis ain't Derren Brown, he's just asked the people of H&H for a fresh mandate. It's almost like a politician respecting the people - now that simply cannot be allowed. The dude from Sky was on the ball. Strangely Miss Great Britain hustings were about improving the military covenant - another valid cause - good lass.

Anonymous said...

So, David Davis defended his own seat against no candidates from parties that currently have an elected MP in the House of Commons on a reduced turn out that delivered less votes than he got in 2005 against the massed weight of the Monster Raving Loony Party, Miss GB, The English Democrats, the NF and other assorted indepedents.

Well done David.

As for the attack on the BBC, I am surprised they turned up at all, after all David had already wasted enough public money on this charade without throwing more at it.

Anonymous said...

Iain writes:

Little Lord Fauntleroy 10.05. Always amusing to see Tories having a go at the BBC... like LibDem voting Mike Smithson, or Labour voting Anthony Barnett. You just made a fool of yourself.

Sorry, why do a couple of non-Tories moaning make it less amusing? The people calling for the abolition of the BBC and the license fee are all Tories.

I hope you go into the next election with those policies, because it will guarantee that you lose. Ordinary people value the ad-free services the BBC offers and they value its (generally) balanced and sensible news coverage. Abolition or privatization will make it look like you want your rich friends to control everything.

No-one wants Fox News UK, except a small bunch of ultra-right loonies.

Anonymous said...

Iain (and others) - there is a big difference here. In a general election there are other major parties that some think worth voting for.

This was declared as a single issue byelection therefore anyone not turning out to vote for the cause can safely be assumed to be against the issue or indifferent to it...

Johnny Norfolk said...

I admire DD for what he has done. The BBC are a disgrace. I do hope the Tories sort them out after the next election.

Anonymous said...

"24% voted for Labour" - even your great heroine never got 50% of the popular vote let alone the votes of 50% of the electorate.

Can we now assume that Iain Dale favours electoral reform?

DiscoveredJoys said...

If Dave Cameron has any sense he will utilise people like David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith in a 'principle and policy' think-tank.

This could be separate from any Cabinet role they might have.

People are crying out for principled government - there has been too much spin and short-termism, see where it has dragged us down to.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to watch the by-election result, but it was almost completely ignored by the BBC, so I watched it on Sky. Sky covered it properly between 2 and 3 a.m., while the BBC ignored it and played inane video tapes of low grade political news and gossip from the US instead. Then when the BBC read out the news at 3 the by-election result which had just been announced wasn't even mentioned. This was presumably because the news was "world news", i.e. miss out anything of interest to the British viewers who are the ones actually paying for the service.

Anonymous said...

Much as I agree with the campaign (such as it is) against 42 days, a turnout of 34/35% is pretty derisory given that the whole point of the by-election was not getting DD re-elected but allowing people to show how strongly they felt about the 42 days issue.

Show how much you care about the issue, cried DD. And barely 25% of the electorate could be bothered to vote for the issue.

strapworld said...


Some of your contributors, the BBC and many in the westminster bubble, have forgotten the amazing groundswell of public support and praise David Davis received when he made his announcement.

What followed and is now apparant is that the public will be ignored. It is a farce, says Brown and his incompetent crowd of cronies, and that is the way they treat the people.

This governments attitude to what the people are saying, be it on 10p tax the Car Tax row and questions on our liberty, show them to be the most authoritative and communistic government we have had. That they are led by a man who is unelected and unwanted and a cabinet of incompetents matters not. They are treating us all with contempt.

Cameron tells us that David Davis will not go back into the shadow cabinet! He should well remember that David Davis is extremely popular! It is also telling us that he, cameron, agrees with the westminster bubble, and this election was not necessary!

Remember Churchill was regarded ina similar vein to they way they are now treating David Davis.

Perhaps Mr Davis should encourage those that supported him to form a pressure group within Parliament of a cross party organisation to fight for our rights!

He could embark, with those of a similar viewpoint, on a Nationwide debate taking the issues to as many people as possible. The more people are aware the more people will be disgusted at the 42 day idea!

I do not normally agree with James Whale but I heard him the other day suggest that people should unseat every sitting MP to get a new body of MP's who were not wedded to the expenses trough and may provide us all a better service!

Worth considering.

ongratulations Mr Davis you spoke for the majority and more power to your elbow. I suspect that your task will be more uphill now.

Anonymous said...

History is more likely to be the final arbiter of David Davis's role in the fight for civil liberties.

In Nineteen Hundred and Thirteen, on June the 4th, Emily Wilding Davison threw herself under the Kings horse at the Epsom Derby. An act of recklesness that proved fatal. No doubt, had she consulted her friends, they would have advised against it.

On her tombstone, her epitaph reads:


The rest, as they say, is history.

Anonymous said...

He needs to be back as Shadow Home Secretary, nowhere else except as Party Leader.

strapworld said...

It is a fact, supported by the courts, and in fact can be found in Lord Citrine's first edition of The ABC of Chairmanship that to abstain is to support the motion!!

Not many people realise this and always amuses me when people abstain and do not give a rider stating that their abstention should not be taken as in anyway supporting the proposal.

So, to those who are now claiming that this was a single issue election, David Davis can justifiably say that those that did not vote supported him!!

Bottler's bloggers are doing their best, but, as usual, they are pathetic!

Anonymous said...

SNP overtake Labour in Westminster support

49% say they want the SNP to win Glasgow East compared to 33% for Labour

Chris Paul said...

Iain - can you please explain when John Major got a mandate from the electorate for his first term as PM? And no, it's not different. Or at least it is different only in that Blair was (perhaps foolishly) committed to leaving in good time for a GE, whereas Thatcher would have gone on forever if she could and there was no presumption that Major would be next.

And while you're explaining yourself perhaps you could explain about the 9,000 students?

Are they 9,000 students studying elsewhere who would be MORE LIKELY to be home? Or 9,000 students at local FE/HE colleges who are more likely to be BASED at home?

Anonymous said...

Feedback (on Radio 4) has just lengthly reviewed listener reaction to David Davis's resignation and his reelection. And they chose to concentrate, exclusively, on complaints that he got too much coverage and that the other 25 candidates should have had equal air time to him. Not a peep about the complaints they received about their rude, negative, Westminster obsessed coverage of his resignation and the reasons he was standing. Having once been a committed license supporter I am seriously starting to think it is about time to spread news subsidies around among more broadcasters.

Anonymous said...

O damn. I sold my Bradford and Bingley shares and put all of the money on Miss GB to win. Can I get nothing right?
freedom to prosper

Anonymous said...

Whatever negative spin they struggle to put on this result, the fact is that DD have a mandate, which is more than you can say for the Prime Minister

Utter rubbish. DD was elected to Parliament by the voters in his constituency, as was Gordon Brown. So, same mandate as an MP.

But Gordon Brown is not PM because of that, but because he leads the largest party in the Commons. If there were a vote of confidence tomorrow he would win and win easily.

And that's all that counts. There's no such thing as a popular mandate to be PM. Never has been.

Anonymous said...

a great result

DD is still fighting for a kingdom long bereft of nobility

the mob that populate this land are by the main too ignorant to understand the importance of his arguement. worse still are those that voice contempt for a man who has given up high office to pursue freedom for his kin, not least whilst greedily voting for their share from the trough (see i.austin mp)

they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety

franklin was bang on

this country deserves no less

Anonymous said...

Well, for a start I support DD and think he has achieved approval for his civil liberties stance and status as an honest MP - and that has currency amongst a bunch of dishonest, lying, traitors. Gordon Brown has no such authority to be Prime Minister, and reneged on the Labour manifesto pledge for a referendum.

I do think the voters of H&H have let us all down in not getting at least a 50% turnout. But 35% is good local election standard. But I am pleased to see people like Tony Benn and Bob Geldof pile into the action - I don't see them backing off in a hurry. And to get such a broad church is an achievement.

But, what does really please me is to see so many labour trolls and the BBC out in force with their nasty putdowns. This always means they are rattled - and that is good news. The BBC should be shot for treason - they are an enemy of the state and many people are saying so. They should not be allowed to undermine our democracy as they are.

And all those on about wasted money , might like to compare the waste of the BBC or the Labour Party on a daily basis. I'm much happier to see my money spent on endorsing my freedom, than on paying for the second wives of immigrants, handouts to terrorists we cannot deport, feckless invalidity benefit claimants, £100k pay rises for useless BBC executives and the John Lewis list.

Anonymous said...

A great win by David Davis! Now that he has set this process in motion, how about some other politicians having the guts to do the same? A constant stream of good results for the Tories, & bad results for Labour, would really keep the pressure on Brown!

And how about Clegg having the guts to go head-to-head with his Tory & Labour opponnents to confirm - or otherwise - his leadership? And then some of the Labour Lisbon Treaty liars too - especially Miliband & Murphy! But they wouldn't dare. The voters would EAT them!

Devil's Kitchen said...

"For me, well, I sit here thinking what a damned shame it is that a supremely talented man won't now be in the next Conservative Cabinet."

Of course, because there is absolutely no way that Call Me Dave could ever have someone who actually believes in civil liberties in his Cabinet, eh?


Unsworth said...


"Re my comment above - I should have said 24% voted for Labour, not Gordon Brown. We never even got the chance to vote for him..."

And nor will we get the chance to vote for (or against) his successor.

Oscar Miller said...

Anon - I heard Feedback as well. What a devious bunch of wankers the BBC are. Were they really inundated with complaints that David Icke wasn't given more air time? What a load of cobblers. The anti-Davis bias was palpable. And I notice that all those people who dismiss complaints about the BBC as coming from 'tories' - all seem to be Labour supporters. Which really rather proves the point.

Unsworth said...

Anonymous 10:13 AM

"The BBC represents us all"

Oh, is that so? By what means?

Evidence please?

The BBC is stuffed full with third-rate, opinionated, biased and largely incompetent individuals with vastly overinflated senses of their own importance, value and intellect.

A bit like the Government Front Bench, really.

Anonymous said...

Littlelordfauntleroy Said:

'There's no such thing as a popular mandate to be PM. Never has been.'

On the contrary, I think you'll find it's called a General Election.

At least David Davis had the guts to put his principles to HIS electorate - The people of Haltemprice & Howden - and let them make their choice.

More than can be said for our gutless, un-elected Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

reed wrote:

On the contrary, I think you'll find it's called a General Election.

So my ballot paper at the next election will have a section for my local MP and another for PM will it?

I look forward to casting my two votes.

Anonymous said...


You missed the point - David Davis has indeed received a mandate from his constituents to be an MP, as has Gordon Brown.

But no one has yet to give Gordon Brown a mandate to be Prime Minister. That will ONLY come with a General Election.

Yes, he may well be Prime Minister by being the leader of the largest party in the commons, but he has no mandate from the electorate, who have yet to give their approval to him in that position.

(and probably never will)

Anonymous said...

littlelordfauntleroy said...

"Ordinary people value the ad-free services the BBC offers and they value its (generally) balanced and sensible news coverage."

Ha ha ha.

Anonymous said...

reed said:

Yes, he may well be Prime Minister by being the leader of the largest party in the commons, but he has no mandate from the electorate, who have yet to give their approval to him in that position.

(and probably never will)

They certainly never will, because they will never be asked.

There is NO SUCH THING as a 'popular mandate' to be PM. As I'm sure you recall from the February 1974 general election, it is perfectly possible to win more votes than any other party and still lose the election.

So please, please stop banging on about our 'unelected' PM and his lack of a mandate.

Anonymous said...

Alright, alright...I'll stop banging on about our PM, who is un-elected and has no mandate.