David Davis: The Difficulties

I said in a previous post that just because David Davis is wrong on other matters, it didn’t make him wrong on 42 days. Of course this is a difficult one, and it shows just how confusing the lines now are when it comes to equal rights and the competing claims of minority rights. The clear problems come up in the following questions, the answers to which now fluctuate within and across party lines, rather than merely between them.

  • Supporting the Death Penalty

But it is my personal, moral, opinion that, in the most serious multiple murder cases, where the evidence is overwhelming (not just beyond reasonable doubt), it is justifiable.

This really gets me. How on Earth can he be so opposed to 42 days detention without charge, yet believe that a single circumstance could exist where the state could be allowed to take a life? If he’s looking at 42 days from a position of human rights then he’s a terrible hypocrite. Of course if his platform is a moral one, then he’s really stirred up a hornet’s nest.

  • Opposing Gay Rights

I may have voted against certain legislation, but that does not make me homophobic. For example, I am in favour of allowing Christian adoption agencies to be exempt from discrimination laws, because they do a great job and – out of religious conviction – believe children should have a mother and a father.

Well yes it does. You voted against the repeal of section 28, which you don’t try to explain or justify here. Section 28 let me remind readers forbade a local authority from:

“intentionally promot(ing) homosexuality or publish(ing) material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promot(ing) the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

A 21st century, former front bench politician, believing that homosexuality is a ‘pretended’ family relationship? How do you ‘promote’ it exactly? That would presume that you can make someone gay. I thought only nutcases like Iris Robinson believed that anymore. Is the Conservative Party not as enlightened as they want people to believe? Or have rights issues diffused out of party divides and refastened onto other divisions? Davis is clearly not looking at rights from a standpoint of equality – the most telling bit appears to be the ‘out of religious conviction’ quote, to which you can probably attribute both decisions.

Both of these rights issues used to be based on ideological lines – the left wing believed for the most part in equality before the law, the right supported the (unequal) status quo. David Cameron wants us to believe that those days are gone, and ultra religious Labour MPs like Ruth Kelly and late-stage-Blair tend to prove him right. But it is religion which is proving the increasingly influential dividing line, for all-too-obvious reasons when you look at Blair’s example. It makes life much easier – all you have to do is believe you’re right and hold on for dear life. Britain likes conviction politics after all. The problem though – it’s directly in contravention with the notion of equality. That it’s led to Davis to be against 42 days is nothing short of astonishing, and it’s not surprising that people, even the media, are getting confused.

Of course today the Davis campaign had a notable success, with councils in England warned today that their abuse of anti-terror and surveillance laws had to stop because it was alienating the public. Time will tell if anything changes.


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