What a topsy-turvy world we live in. I grew up in a home that was always proudly Labour. I remember being at school and being delighted when Maggie Thatcher was ousted. The night John Major was defeated in 1997 was one of the happiest in my life and Jeremy Paxman’s interview with Michael Portillo just before Portillo lost his seat is one of my all-time favourite TV moments. In every election since I was old enough to vote, I have ticked the box marked Labour. But can I do that any more?
Yesterday saw the passing of the proposal to allow detention without trial for 42 days: an outrageous attack on civil liberties, and one proposed by a Labour government for purely political reasons. Whilst Labour MP Diane Abbott made an impassioned argument against the change to the law (according to Tory MP David Davies “one of the finest speeches [he had]heard since being elected to the House of Commons”).
But where are the Labour front-benchers standing up for this assault on the freedoms that go back to Magna Carter, the anniversary of the signing of which is this weekend and which is one of the most important polictial documents ever create anywhere in the world?
Well they’re coming from the Tories. In an act of political hari-kari which has to be applauded, David Davies, the shadow home secretary, has announced that he is standing down from Parliament in order to force a by-election, which he will then fight on teh issue of civil liberties and nothing else. The Lib Dems leader Nick Clegg has already said that they will not be fielding a candidate in the election, another act to be applauded.
So where does this leave us? Well, it all leaves me very confused. For the first time in my adult life it will leave my hoping that a Tory wins an election, and it will leave me wondering where the hell I will put my mark the next time I’m standing by a ballot box.
UPDATE: Mandate, one of the agencies in the group I work for, have a very interesting post on why Dave Davis’ resignation is a bad move.