I’ve just heard the news that the Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has resigned his position in UK Parliment, and while that doesn’t interest me that much because UK politics and politicians are like petulant teenagers and deserve little respect, Davis has just broadsided me.
His speech struck a chord and his actions are nothing short of selfless, or so it would seem. It seems that a politician has finally done something for the right reasons rather than bickering like children.
David Davis decided to resign, and give this speech, after Parliment voted through the extension of the so called Terror Detention Limit, a law which allows anyone suspected of a terror related crime to be held in prison without charge for forty-two days, a figure that doesn’t sound much until you say forty-two days is in fact six weeks.
However it’s not just that, it’s the growing erosion of our civil liberties that has been bothering him, something that should be bothering us all, and his resignation speech was a corker. Here it is from The Times Online:
“The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden – Haltemprice is derived from a medieval proverb meaning noble endeavour.
Up until yesterday I took a view that what we did in the House of Commons representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because for centuries of forebears we defended the freedom of people. Well, we did, up until yesterday.
This Sunday is the anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that guarantees the fundamental element of British freedom, habeas corpus. The right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason.
But yesterday this house allowed the state to lock up potentially innocent citizens for up to six weeks without charge.
The Counter-terrorism Bill will, in all probability, be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. After all, what should they be there for, if not to protect Magna Carta?
But because this is defined as political, not security, the Government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords.
It has no democratic mandate to do this since 42 days was not in its manifesto. Its legal basis is uncertain to say the least but, purely for political reasons, this Government is going to do that.
Because the generic security argument relied on will never go away – technology, development complexity, and so on – we’ll next see 56 days, 70 days, then 90 days.
But in truth perhaps 42 days is the one most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedom.
And we will have shortly the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it.
We have witnessed an assault on jury trials, a bolt against bad law and its arbitrary use by the state. And shortcuts with our justice system, which will make our system neither firmer nor fairer and a creation of a database state opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.
The state has security powers to clamp down on peaceful protest and so-called hate laws to stifle legitimate debate, whilst those who incite violence get off scot-free.
This cannot go on, it must be stopped, and for that reason today I feel it is incumbent on me to take a stand. I will be resigning my membership of this House and I intend to force a by-election in Haltemprice and Howden.
Now I will not fight it on the Government’s general record. There’s no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich. I won’t fight it on my personal record – I am just a piece in this great chess game.
I will fight it, I will argue this by-election against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this Government.
Now, that may mean I have made my last speech to the House. It’s possible. And of course that would be a cause of deep regret to me. But at least my electorate and the nation, as a whole, would have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of our day.
The ever-intrusive power of the state on our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom and a steady attrition undermining the rule of law. And if they do send me back here, it will be with a single, simple message – that the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday will not stand.”
This was almost stirring in it’s nature and certainly shows a great deal of passion and conviction as well as sheer determination. Now why can’t our politicians be more like this and less childish, non-sensical, unethical, and unwilling to stand up for anything other than the opposite of what the other party are?
Let’s just hope that whatever happens with Davis that the House of Lords throw out this dangerous law change and that the insanity and paranoid Labour government out aside their plans to put the change into law regardless.