The David Davis resignation: what it means

Lib Dem Voice yesterday highlighted the contrast between David Davis’s passionate opposition to Labour’s attempts to bang up citizens for six weeks without telling them why, and the rather more lacklustre opposition of the Tory leadership:

I don’t doubt for one second the integrity of David Davis, the Tories’ shadow home secretary, in opposing Labour’s draconian 42 days proposal. He is one of many Tories who have shown themselves to understand the importance of defending hard-won freedoms. But what if Mr Davis weren’t to be the Tories’ home secretary? What then? Would his successor stick to his guns? That the question can legitimately be asked shows how fragile is the current Tory leadership’s commitment to opposing the Government’s careless junking of individuals’ liberties.

If we needed further evidence of this, it came with today’s shock move by David Davis to resign as an MP and fight the subsequent by-election on the issue of 42 days, and Labour’s undermining of civil liberties. The official Tory line emanating from David Cameron’s office is that he fully backs Mr Davis’s stance. I don’t believe if for an instant.

Mr Davis recognised that the Tories’ influential neo-cons in the shadow cabinet, George Osborne and Michael Gove, would much rather have backed the Government over 42 days: only tactical considerations of defeating Labour in the Commons persuaded they and Mr Cameron to rally behind Mr Davis’s stand. But none of them, it seems, wanted to fight the proposal through the House of Lords, and try and defeat it again when it returns to the Commons.

Only Mr Davis felt this was an issue of principle on which the Tories must continue to stand firm. And that is why he has resigned.

With the Lib Dems backing Mr Davis in the subsequent by-election – and Labour recording just 12% of the vote at the 2005 general election – he will almost certainly return to the Commons with an overwhelming personal mandate, a hero to those Conservatives and others, including the Lib Dems, who genuinely understand the importance of civil liberties.

Will Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Gove then dare to stop him calling on the Tory party to continue to fight the 42 days proposal? Of course not.

Mr Davis will have made his point, and forced the Tory party leadership to stand by their opposition to Labour’s monstrous extension of detention without trial. But that he had to go to such lengths demonstrates how flimsy is the Tory leadership’s commitment to opposing 42 days.

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113 Comments

  • Cheltenham Robin 12th Jun '08 - 1:59pm

    Why oh why are we not standing in the by-election.

    Please explain, I genuinely don’t understand what’s going on here.

  • Hear, hear, Lawrence
    We should stand a candidate (fan club strikes again…)

  • A question.

    If (as reported) he is going to stand as an Independent – perhaps as the price extracted by the Lib Dems for not opposing him – will it be feasible for him to return to the Conservative benches (let alone the front bench) before the next general election?

  • If a libDem (Huhne?) also resigns in the same manner it will turn the by-elections into a referendum on the issue.

    Labour would then have to win both by-elections to avoid the perception it is acting against the will of the people.

  • Laurence, the polls are rubbish. A by-election followed by a binding ballot would prove that.

  • This stunt is strikingly similar to Cameron’s bizarre proposal to have a “joint” candidate for London Mayor. It is a ploy to make the Tories look as though they are the party defending civil liberties, to make it look as if they believe in a “big tent”, and to gain lorry loads of favourable publicity.

    Meanwhile, the Green Party can walk in there and take a strong second place. We will be well and truly Norwiched.

    Who thought this up? Not Davis. Doubtless one of Cameron’s string-pullers in Washington.

    Dick Taverne had a genuine grievance against the Lincoln Labour Party and the electorate supported him.

    Backing Martin Bell was the only way to get rid of Neil Hamilton.

    The situation in Haltemprice & Howden is not remotely comparable.

    You know, Brown could go up there and say the Tories and Lib Dems are playing silly political games with Britain’s security. And he might win some votes.

    Are the people of Haltemprice & Howden not entitled to have a Lib Dem on their ballot-papers? Are we not disenfranchising them? How very democratic!

  • “What’s going on is that some people are quite incapable of working out what is important, and what is not important.”

    Exactly! Personally I got involved in politics because of the issues not because of petty party politics. If anything should transend party politics it is 42 days.

  • “If anything should transend party politics it is 42 days.”

    But 28 is fine?

  • No. Absolutley not. 28 days is not now, nor ever will be fine.

  • So, do you mean that no matter how horrendous the legislation, just because it has been passed by parliament we should accept it?

  • The Tory Party seems to have succeeded in fostering the notion that Davis is out of tune with the Cameron/Gove, Cheney-directed leadership.

    Davis is NOT a civil libertarian. He is a right-wing thug.

    Think about it.

  • Laurence, Parliamentary sovereignty depends entirely on the continued support of the people through democratically legitimated mandate, not opinion polls.

    What mandate Brown could claim is waning and was shown yesterday to be 9 highly whipped and bribed votes.

    For Labour to lose by-elections fought on these issues would be a far greater counterweight against this government than any opinion poll.

  • Different Duncan 12th Jun '08 - 2:39pm

    As long as Davis is standing on an exclusively pro civil liberties manifesto, then it is reasonable that we don’t field a candidate.

    However if during the campaign he mentions absolutely anything on tax, police, education, health, transport, anything, we have been conned and are going to look stupid. Do we trust him enough to put our reputation on the line like this?

  • Laurence – In that case I guess we attach different values to civil liberty. That’s entirely fair, I accept that for some people civil liberties is less important an issue than, for example education policy.

    My own personal opinion is that without civil liberties we have nothing. I personally feel that allowing our citizens to be locked up without charge for longer than countries with appaling human rights records like China is pretty horrendous.

  • Cheltenham Robin 12th Jun '08 - 2:47pm

    Do we trust him enough to put our reputation on the line like this?

    Oh course we bloody shouldn’t

  • I recommend people to read Chris Rennard’s letter to Paddy Ashdown when Paddy was thinking of not standing a candidate in Eastbourne after the tragic assasination of Ian Gow by the IRA (page 92 of Volume 1 of Paddy’s diaries). Pretty much everything that Chris says then is applicable now, especially about making hasty decisions.

    The final words are:

    “It will not be seen as bold or courageous to recommend not fighting – it will make you a laughing stock in Walworth Road, Downing Street and eventually in the quality press that you threw away this chance”

    Incidentally, I think it is unlikely that we would win in Haltemprice & Howden but I cannot see any benefit in not standing. It gives the initiative to the Tories, it glorifies what is really a stunt and will demoralise activists and undermine our base. What do we get out of it? Will anyone change their vote to us because of it?

    Finally, I think it is quite wrong for those who are advocating not standing to take the position that is the only “principled” thing to do. Whilst I don’t doubt the principles of those who take position, I think it is equally principled to take the view that the electorate should be given the chance to express their views fully. That means giving them the chance to vote Liberal Democrat.

  • No need to shout dear – I can hear/read you perfectly well.

    We may well have civil liberties, but are you genuinely telling me that giving the state the right to lock up its citizens for 42 days without charge is not an infringement of civil liberties?

  • mellow yellow 12th Jun '08 - 2:54pm

    I am absolutely gutted and disgusted that there will be no Lib Dem candidate at this by election.

    The Lib Dems stood when the Tory was killed by the IRA, are we saying that this is more important than that, the public support 42 days, this was an absolute open goal and an opportunity to show that Clegg’s Lib Dems were not Tory puppets but a fierecely independant and proud party.

    This is the beginning of the end for Clegg, i’m telling you, disgusting!!

  • Laurence the available evidence is dubiously premised and highly questionable.

    A 60/40 split among 1200 anonymous members of the public canvassed by an organisation who asks questions favorably biased by the vested interest which funds them is hardly a secure basis for making a decision regarding 60m people.

  • Different Duncan 12th Jun '08 - 3:01pm

    As I understand it (please correct me as necessary) he met with Clegg to ask if we would not put up a candidate if he resigned. If we had insisted on standing a candidate then Davis probably wouldn’t have resigned. Therefore the 42 day debate would be yesterday’s news and forgotten by the media and inevitably the voter. At least this will keep interest on our civil liberty infringements for another month or so. Then again, I can’t help think it is very risky to trust Davis to not campaign on other issues where we distinctly disagree with him, and not allow ourselves a say in the debate.

  • mellow yellow 12th Jun '08 - 3:05pm

    “As I understand it (please correct me as necessary) he met with Clegg to ask if we would not put up a candidate if he resigned. If we had insisted on standing a candidate then Davis probably wouldn’t have resigned. Therefore the 42 day debate would be yesterday’s news and forgotten by the media and inevitably the voter. At least this will keep interest on our civil liberty infringements for another month or so. Then again, I can’t help think it is very risky to trust Davis to not campaign on other issues where we distinctly disagree with him, and not allow ourselves a say in the debate.”

    That’s very noble of him then, he wants to have an election only if he is guaranteed of winning, and Clegg’s said yes, absolutely crazy, have you any idea how this will play in Lib / Lab marginals when people realise Clegg’s in the Tories pocket.

    Unbelievable!

  • I really wonder if this has been thought through properly.

    On the question of principle, it does seem strange for us to be endorsing David Davis, of all people, as a kind of united opposition flag-bearer on civil liberties. Whatever Chris Huhne says, I don’t think we should be supporting 28 days. So why should we give Davis a clear run?

    On the practical question, this just might have been the party’s golden opportunity to stop the Cameron bandwagon in its tracks. Press reports are indicating that Labour won’t put up a candidate, which ought to have made it highly winnable for us.

    But I suppose it’s too late to do anything about it now, unless the local party insists on fighting.

  • Breaking News:

    BBC reports that the SNP will not contest the Haltemprice and Howden by election.

    ?

  • It makes sense not to stand a Lib Dem 12th Jun '08 - 3:18pm

    1. This is David stunt to get attention – why dignify it
    2. This is a Tory splits issues – why get in their way
    3. We agree with Davis on 42 days (or he agrees with us) – what would we fight him on
    4. We are all knackered after local elections, Crewe, henely – why bother with a side show – relax and prepare for the next proper one.
    5. We couldn’t win in this situation
    6. We could do without spending more money

    Got it?

  • The decision not to contest may give David Davis the biggest majority in Parliament as well as massively enhancing his reputation as a civil libertarian, a kind of modern day John Wilkes – but make no mistake he is not! He has sought the repeal of the Human Rights Act, tougher sentencing, an increase in police numbers and a range of new anti-thug powers. Davis is a right-wing though ‘policy-lite’ opportunist who having lost the leadership two years ago and out of place with younger Cameroonian colleages, is seeking his last opportunity to bask in the limelight and strengthen his hand in the Tory Party. I’ve always thought Davis’ speaking manner smacks of incencerity and shallowness. Tories opted for the far less experienced Cameron at their last leadership election, because they realised Davis would be even more of a disaster than their previouis two incumbants.

  • Cheltenham Robin 12th Jun '08 - 3:20pm

    Lets let the Tories win a by-election and also have all the publicity.

    David Davis will increase his majority at the subsequent general election.

    Why are we throwing this target seat down the drain?

  • Obviously there are arguments for and against standing.

    What I can’t see is any argument for Nick Clegg pre-announcing that we won’t stand, rather than letting the local members decide.

  • Indeed Cheltenham Robin.

    It is the wrong thing to do to stand aside for what is basically an ego-trip.

    As the poster above quotes we didn’t in Eastbourne and shouldn’t do so again.

  • Why aren’t we standing in this seat? Well, wait to see what Labour do.

    Labour’s best damage-limitation option here is to pull out as well; what do they gain by participating in Davis’ stunt? (Unless they stood a chance of winning the seat, which they clearly don’t.)

    So if we stood a candidate and everyone else didn’t, it’s us vs. Davis on a single issue on which we both agree. We lose *and* look sillier than Labour.

    That’s why it’s different to Eastbourne.

  • If Labour don’t stand they are supporting the principled argument and opposing their Labour government.

    Labour has to stand a candidate, even though they will lose (though maybe the conspiracy is to return to two-party politics).

  • Alix – I’m sorry you seems to have misunderstood my point. I agree with the decision not to stand. It is indeed the “noble” thing to do.
    My comments about petty politics were directed at those who were trying to put party politics above the issue of civil liberites.

  • Why are we relying on a Tory to make a stand on 42 day detention – expecially a Tory who has shown himself to be illiberal on other important pieces of legislation.

    Apparently some people here now consider opposition to this piece of legislation as qualifying Davis as a ‘champion of civil liberties’

    He may have some libertarian qualities, but that does not excuse us from disenfranchising our own supporters in what was a target seat!

    We should have at least allowed our candidate to stand even if his campaign supported Davis’s position on civil liberties.

    A poor decision by Clegg

  • “We should have at least allowed our candidate to stand even if his campaign supported Davis’s position on civil liberties.”

    We should at least have allowed the local members to make the decision.

  • Different Duncan 12th Jun '08 - 3:43pm

    If this by-election is going to be on a single issue, civil liberties vs. anti-terrorism, the polls suggest that the public are behind Labour. Can we really write Labour off? The constituency is pretty conservative; how should we read their stance on this?

  • mellow yellow 12th Jun '08 - 3:45pm

    Nick Clegg has just made Haltemprice and Howden safe for the Tories for a generation.

    I am not from the constituency but I’d like to hear from someone who is.

  • Alix wrote:

    “@Sesenco, “The Tory Party seems to have succeeded in fostering the notion that Davis is out of tune with the Cameron/Gove, Cheney-directed leadership.”

    What would be the long-term point of such a strategem?”

    To persuade the Lib Dem leadership to stand aside in Davis’s favour.

    Joe Otten wrote:

    “It highlights division among the Tories and Gove and Osborne will be squirming.”

    I don’t know about Osborne, but Gove will have a sickly little rictus smile planted on his preternaturally smug face. His fiendish little ploy has worked. He has got the Lib Dem leadership exactly where he and his Washington backers want them.

    JamesS wrote:

    “Tories opted for the far less experienced Cameron at their last leadership election, because they realised Davis would be even more of a disaster than their previouis two incumbants.”

    Cameron’s election was assured by the Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, manipulating a focus group on Newsnight.

  • “We should at least have allowed the local members to make the decision.”

    Good point – I expect we’ll lose a few members there because of this.

    I imagine this is part of Nick Clegg’s strategy to ‘fix our broken political system’ and no doubt we’ll hear an announcement to that effect at some point.

    I think he’s wrong. The argument that this issue transcends party politics is all very well. But many of the Tory’s who voted for 42 days only did so because they wanted to give the Government a black eye. Therefore the vote had already succumbed to party politics before Davis even resigned. He himself has geniuine strong feeling on it, but it beggars belief that he should be the standard bearer on this when he’s been part of a party which has been as equally authoritarian as Labour when in power.

    At the very least we should have endorsed an alternative independant candidate to stand in the constituency on a platform of civil liberties – i.e one who was actually independant. Not a Tory!

    I’ve seen enough ‘independant’ Councillors who are actually members of the Conservative party to want another one in the house of commons. The only good that could come out of this is if a public split develops between Davis and Cameron

  • gavin grant 12th Jun '08 - 4:29pm

    No disrespect to the good Lib Dems of H&H but it is no longer a target seat for two good reasons. Despite significant LDHQ funding DD trebled his majority in 2005 and we have subsequently lost 10 Cllrs in the Constituency in 2007. This is similar to what has happened in the other so-caled decapitation seats. They no longer receive central Party funding and all saw large Cllr losses last year. the only exception is the one we won, Westmorelanf & Lonsdale where Tim Farron’s team goes from strength to strength!

  • Gavin Grant wrote:

    “the only exception is the one we won, Westmorelanf & Lonsdale where Tim Farron’s team goes from strength to strength!”

    Note true. West Dorset saw neither a diminution of our vote in 2005 nor big councillor losses in 2007.

    Does Oliver Letwin get a free ride too?

  • Matt GB wrote:

    “The last time a by election was fought by a sitting MP who resigned was, IIRC, 1986, in NI.”

    You are forgeting Bruce Douglas-Mann in 1982, and he lost.

  • Cheltenham Robin 12th Jun '08 - 4:40pm

    As a price for not standing I think that David Davis should agree to share a platform with Nick Clegg on the subject of 42 days.

  • Valerie Talacko 12th Jun '08 - 4:41pm

    I’d also rather win a fight on the issue. Excellent decision not to stand a candidate (in fact, when I first read about it I automatically assumed we wouldn’t be standing).

  • Valerie Talacko 12th Jun '08 - 4:52pm

    Laurence, I think it’ll show rather nicely that the Tory Notting Hill command is lukewarm on civil liberties.

  • Laurence, this by-election mightn’t prove anything to you, but then nothing proves anything to you unless it confirms your preconceptions. I suspect it will prove a wide variety of different things to a wide variet of different people.

  • If this by-election was a true test of the publics opinion on civil liberties, the right choice for the Lib Dems have been to back a true independant with a non-party political track record in working on human rights and civil liberties.

    As it stands, this by-election will be fairly irrelevant in terms of testing the public opinion on 42 days.

    Its different from the Martin Bell situation, since he was a geniune independant.

  • The whole manner of this announcement has set DD up to be a cause celebre and public hero – it is futile to fight against the tide of sympathy he will create in his wake with every tedious repitition of his ‘courage’ and ‘principled stand’.

    From standing alone on the steps of Westminster buffeted by the wind through to the evocative adjectives used in his statement the iconography is spot on, so now is the time to be equally stoic in our own principled resolution and patiently wait for the General Election to come round.

    Because that’s what this is – it’s the starting pistol for the next GE!

  • Martin Land 12th Jun '08 - 6:34pm

    So now we are all going to suffer from a despicable twerp like DD preaching at us for 42 days from some of moral high ground.

    At least GB is offering compensation for wrongful detention!

  • Bibliophylax 12th Jun '08 - 6:52pm

    Re narrative: this could still go the other way, couldn’t it?

    Today we’ve had Nick Robinson, some Torygraph blog and the Grauniad’s Andrew Sparrow saying this is bad news for Cameron and the Tories; the Sun had already nailed its colours to Brown’s mast, so presumably they will be anti-Davis too.

    It needn’t take much more for the “who does he think he is?” angle to gain traction, e.g. he’s cost his constituents their MP for the duration of the campaign, he’s wasting public money on an ego trip, he’s made Cameron look stupid…

    *hopes*

  • It is already obvious that David Davis has gone far beyond the issue of 42 days detention. So much for a single issue campaign. In anycase 42 days is not a matter of principle – it is a judgement.

    I’m amazed that people think Davis will get lots of votes. Without the party machines working a by-election turnout is likley to be low. It’s not even an issue popular with the voters.
    Without the Lib Dems standing we have no voice in the debate.
    We have left the way open to the BNP to score second place in a parliamentary seat.

    I had thought the job of the leader was to get Lib Dems elected.

    If it had any political meaning other than as a stunt, Nick could resign on the need for STV elections.

    The idea that it will expose Tory divisions is laughable, as if the voters care – but we have sent them a strong message that the lib dems are going out of business. Oh and how did we benefit from Martin Bell or Wyre Forest?

  • David Evans 12th Jun '08 - 7:07pm

    It is clear that when the Conservatives selected David Cameron over David Davis, they selected Blair like style over real political substance. I always had a lot of respect for Mr Davis, coupled with a disappointment that he was a Conservative, as on many aspects he expressed a common sense old Liberal view of what was right and what was wrong both for the state and the individual.
    In that respect, it was clear he didn’t fit into the modern post Thatcher Tory mold. A man with principles in the Tory party – no wonder he didn’t make it to the top. We could do with more people like him.
    Haltemprice and Howden is a beautiful part of the country, but I hope we won’t be campaigning there – but then again, if Labour stand, a sort of combined but separate campaign on the disaster of Labour’s incompetence and misrule, would be a real coup and could give us real credence to cement our support and gain in the anti Labour backlash at the next General Election.

  • As the dust starts to clear it looks increasingly like the actions of a maverick figure.

    If it is a matter of principle he would have done better to seek a non-partisan grounding for the action which could only have been found had he gained agreement with other principled individuals to take similar action, however his choice to go it alone is decidedly reactionary and it therefore shifts the focus of reasoning onto his difference of opinion with his leader and points to a split within the Conservative party.

    If Cameron wishes to argue that there is no split in his team then it indicates his opinion that Davis is politically unreliable.

    Either way Cameron cannot offer personal or party support for the by-election campaign without undermining his governmental credentials.

    Davis has cut himself adrift from any respectable platform and turned himself into a single-issue politician – it may be a single issue which has widespread support (and with which liberals can sympathise), but his constituents will be short-changed by his new-found inability to speak out for them on the full range of subjects which concern them.

    DD has single-handedly redefined the political balance as we gear up to the next general election and makes it increasingly unlikely that Conservative unity can hold long enough to push on and gain them a decisive majority.

    Hung Parliament here we come!

  • David Evans 12th Jun '08 - 8:03pm

    James S says “The decision not to contest may give David Davis the biggest majority in Parliament as well as massively enhancing his reputation as a civil libertarian, a kind of modern day John Wilkes – but make no mistake he is not! He has sought the repeal of the Human Rights Act, tougher sentencing, an increase in police numbers and a range of new anti-thug powers.”
    Lets be honest, the Human Rights Act, like all attempts to make what should be common sense common law into rigorous legal speak, has become a beanfeast for lawyers persuing silly cases, wasting court time when there are massive delays in the system already.
    On tougher sentencing and increased police numbers, there are many liberals who believe that weak sentencing and less bobbies on the beat are part of the problem. This is particularly clear in youth crime, where the unlikelyhood of being caught and prosecuted and a lack of fear of punishment, is leading to a serious loss of liberty in areas where the infamous ‘feral youth’ inhabit. Old style liberalism understands that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, responsibilities protect the rights and liberties and prevents them from being abused.
    I for one would stand clearly on that side in these issues, from a clear Liberal standpoint.

  • rochdale cowboy 12th Jun '08 - 8:29pm

    If this is going to go ahead why didnt we insist on a reciprocal arrangement – ie 1 of our members resigning and fighting a by-election – a marginal Lib Dem Tory – and see if the Tories would contest it – if they didnt it would make our seat safer but methinks the tories would stand

  • “If this is going to go ahead why didnt we insist on a reciprocal arrangement – ie 1 of our members resigning and fighting a by-election – a marginal Lib Dem Tory – and see if the Tories would contest it”

    I’m sure there’s a flaw somewhere in that plan … can’t quite put my finger on it though …

  • According to the BBC, the BNP has said it won’t stand, as it agrees with Davis. And apparently UKIP hasn’t decided yet, but one of its MEPs has offered to campaign for Davis.

  • Hywel Morgan 12th Jun '08 - 10:29pm

    “Lets be honest, the Human Rights Act… has become a beanfeast for lawyers persuing silly cases, wasting court time when there are massive delays in the system already.”

    What are these silly cases – quite a lot have been thrown out at very early stages.

  • Maybe Laurence Boyce could stand in Haltemprice & Howden on the OMRLP ticket?

  • The vile Davis is a nasty right-wing scumbag. He voted FOR 28 days, so where was his precious Magna Carta then?

    He just LOVES the death penalty too, & any examination of this awful Tory’s record clearly shows he is a total hypocrite.

    Still he has screwed Cameron & the Tories, so that’s OK.

  • Laurence Boyce wrote: “I would if I knew what that was.”
    OMRLP = Official Monster Raving Loony Party

  • ColinW wrote: “The vile Davis is a nasty right-wing scumbag. He voted FOR 28 days, so where was his precious Magna Carta then?

    He just LOVES the death penalty too, & any examination of this awful Tory’s record clearly shows he is a total hypocrite.”

    He might have mend his ways. We should give people the benefit of the doubt if they say that they are prepared to stand for civil rights now, even if they weren’t in the past. :-)

  • Anon, the obviously question arises has he changed any of those views and repented and the answer is no he hasn’t….we agree with him on one issue, yes it’s an important issue but Davis isnt standing on a single issue platform like for example, independants in Kiddiminster did or Martin Bell did…he’s standing on the platform of the Conservative Party and his own personal socially authortarian views on other issues remain in place…

  • At last some real competition for David Davis. The Generalist Party will be contesting the by election:
    http://www.generalistparty.co.uk

  • Is the Liberal Party going to stand?

  • It’s a tiny, pernickety point of law but Rupert Murdoch cannot fund Kelvin McKenzie’s by-election campaign can he? As a US citizen he cannot donate more than £200 can he? This would also include donations in kind such as, perhaps, providing a column in his newspaper to Mr McKenzie to advocate the election of a particular candidate in a by-election.

    If Mr McKenzie stands, could he then have to give up his column in The Sun, or at least not mention the by-election in it?

    Obviously a company doing business in the UK can make donations, and Mr Murdoch is a large shareholder in such companies but wouldn’t he have to justify such a quixotic donation to the other shareholders?

  • David Evans 14th Jun '08 - 2:55pm

    Hywel Morgan asked of my comment:

    “Lets be honest, the Human Rights Act… has become a beanfeast for lawyers persuing silly cases, wasting court time when there are massive delays in the system already.”

    What are these silly cases – quite a lot have been thrown out at very early stages.

    You seem to have answered your question to an extent, I wonder what the full cost associated with throwing out the “quite a lot” was even if they were at the very early stages. One specific case, was where Dennis Nielsen, jailed in 1983 for murdering over a dozen young men filed a complaint against the jail for refusing to let him have a homosexual magazine. Perhaps some people do not consider that silly, in hindsight I consider it an example of the catastrophic moral mess that relying solely on the law leads this country to.

    However the absurdity of the Law also comes from the way it changes what would in the past have been common sense behavior. Here three examples:- “Northumbria police in early 2007 put pictures and names of 5 men who had ‘failed to appear at court’ but didn’t publish what they were wanted for as it would infringe their human rights – presumably to privacy. Now if I saw one of these men, I for one would want to assist the police to apprehend him, but would really like to know whether he was for example violent as it may affect how closely I would follow him to let the police know his whereabouts.

    I rest my case.

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