It would be fair to say that posts you find here could be classed as largely critical, and steadfastly non-partisan. But it seems necessary at this moment to redress the balance a bit, and tip a hat to the Tories for the sterling job they’ve been doing recently as the Opposition.
Davis’s just-announced resignation is inspiring, and is made even more so by the fact that it seems not to be a party-political stunt, but rather a personal crusade for the sake of what is right. Before now, his opposition to Labour’s totalitarianism – ID cards, detention without trial, surveillance society, etc., etc. – could easily be put down to him just doing his job; as the Shadow Home Secretary, one would expect him to always express the party line irrespective of his personal opinions. And you can never quite be sure if the criticism generated by the opposition is really down to true disagreement with the things that the ruling party are doing, or just simply a contrary attitude aiming to gain political capital from decisions that they would have made anyway.
However, it would appear that Davis’s actions originate from strongly held personal beliefs, and have clearly taken both friend and foe by surprise, which makes it unlikely that it is an elaborately orchestrated coup de grace by the Conservatives (although it may indeed add further pressure to the already beleaguered Brown camp). This appears to be simply one man’s principles being forcefully expressed, and with no material support for his re-election offered or expected from his party, these principles are all he is standing on.
Davis’s steadfast opposition to Labours continual erosion of civil liberties over recent years have been very much appreciated by very many people and, despite the fact that he may be guilty of foolish self-indulgence in this matter, his admiration and respect is only multiplied by the confirmation that he has in fact meant what he’s said. The real tragedy is that he will no longer have the influence to bring his opinions to bear on his opponents now that he has left the position as Shadow Home Secretary. We can only hope Dominic Grieve proves a worthy successor.
As for Cameron, well he hasn’t been slacking either. In a recent speech to the Campaign to Protect Rural England, he came out with these gems:
For the last decade or so, in the name of modernisation, rationalisation and efficiency, we have been living under a regime of government by management consultant and policy by PowerPoint.
“The result has not been a contented, streamlined nation humming with efficiency and gleaming with modernity.
“The result has been an explosion of bureaucracy, cost and irritation, endless upheavals and pointless reorganisations, the elbowing aside of colourful, human, informal relationships based on common sense and trust in favour of the grey, mechanical, joyless mantras of the master planner with his calculations, projections and impact assessments.”
The outcome had been “socially destructive” but also “economically inefficient”, he said, undermining institutions that are the foundations of society and creating extra costs for the state to pick up.
“All this because we live under a regime that prizes bureaucratic neatness above all else,” he went on.
“A regime – indeed a whole culture that it has spawned – which knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Well dare I say it David, but you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head there. You’ve deftly expressed what is so blatantly apparent to all of us, but so very hard to articulate. I just hope you believe in your soliloquys as much as your ex-Home Secretary does.