back to article David Davis tells El Reg that Labour is 'mesmerised' by tech

As polling day approaches for the Howden and Haltemprice by-election, voters and observers are left with an eerie sense of déjà vu as Labour once again refuses to debate its civil liberties record with David Davis. Just over four years ago, a keynote conference, “Mistaken Identity”, was organised by Privacy International. …


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  1. Michael
    Thumb Up

    Decent bloke with head screwed on right...

    It's clear the wrong man won the Tory leadership election.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Scott Wichall

    Silly Me - A song about it by dreamflower

    I found a song all about it. Go to to download it. Its quite catchy!

    And fair play to David Davis for taking a stance on this....I personally feel "trapped" in this country now, compared to only 10 years ago

  4. Mark

    "So he goes back to the evidence"

    "and on the evidence he has seen so far, the absolute limit for such detention is somewhere between 21 and 28 days."

    But isn't that based on a case where the information they took someone to court for was found in three days (IIRC) but they held this quiet until the last couple of days they had to detain him?

  5. Rob

    Blimey, grab your ice skates...

    ... never thought I'd come a cross a politican like this (alive, and mentally stable by the sounds of it).

    Mine's the big warm jacket with the ice skates, looks like I'm skating to work with the devil on Monday.

  6. Andrew Smith
    Thumb Down

    This is stupid!

    While I agree with his stance on this issue I disagree with most other things he believes in. So why should I vote for him to represent me on just one issue, which by the way is going to be law no matter what he says or how we vote?

    We elect MPs to represent the people of the local constituency, we do not elect them on one issue, and a majority of the public actually support 42 days. Which just shows how stupid the public seem to be. They don't care what he stands for, just that he made this pointless publicity stunt.

    There is no Lib Dem candidate and no Labour candidate, so the choice isn't fair anyway. The whole thing is a farce and a waste of money and time. MPs should not be allowed to act like this, especially when it makes no difference either locally, nationally or to any laws. There should be a rule that MPs cannot resign and then re-stand in the same seat for a minimum of 3 years or so.

  7. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    Computer Science degree as well!

    I thought that being a former SAS man and (one of the very few) defender of civil rights, he was spot on, but now we find out he's also a techy!


  8. Tom

    A teaspoon of wine in a barrel of sewage is sewage

    A teaspoon of sewage in a barrel of wine is also sewage.

    I know which one I'd rather drink.

  9. Ian Ferguson
    Dead Vulture

    I agree with him but...

    ...this reads a little like a biased puff-piece, I know you're not the BBC but how about some press neutrality?

    Or maybe the article is intended to goad the nu-Labour press department into a statement? :-)

  10. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    At least he's prepared to put his money where his mouth is

    The theory is we live in a democracy. At least David Davis seems to be prepared to go back to the electorate and say

    I think this is wrong. Tell me what you think.

    The problem with most modern politics is that no one is prepared to take responsibility for anything. They all just want to have their place on the gravy train. Well here we seem to have found an exception.

    Of course New Labour won't put up a candidate, of course they won't get into a debate on this. Even they haven't managed to pass legislation to outlaw any view that opposes them. Look what happened the last time someone tried to ask an awkward question at the labour party conference.

  11. Perseus


    A Tory concerned with civil liberties... That'll be the day

  12. Dan
    Thumb Up

    Is it too little too late?

    I can't help thinking he should have made a fuss about this during the tory leadership campaign, I think there is a large section of the public who if properly educated about the dangers, would start to understand the liberty/security problems. Rather a biased article mind, but still, we really need something to counter all the current stuff going on, and DD appears to fit the bill.

  13. Wokstation
    Thumb Down

    Article about a viewpoint...

    ...or an advert for David Davis?

  14. James
    Thumb Up

    Sound guy making sound well reasoned arguments

    Mr Davis, you have earned my vote.

  15. Alien8n Silver badge

    @ Michael

    tbh he'd be the wrong person for the leadership.

    David Davis is clearly better suited for a role as Home Secretary than as leader of the Tories. He's got a good grasp of the issues and the background to understand why Labour's solutions just never work.

    The very fact that Labour refuse to participate in any dialogue with him also shows what a liar Brown is. It was Brown who stated back when he was about to become PM that he'd listen to the best people in parliament regardless of their politics. Instead we have a false PM with more cronies around him. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

  16. Guy
    IT Angle

    I'm not suprised he resigned

    Was talking sense and actually looking out for his constituents...bad traits for a politician

  17. Paul Webb

    The tories have a leader? With substance???

    I used to vote Labour. Without fail. Then I gave up on party politics and voted on issues. Now I am despairing and dissolute about what to do with my vote. So now I find myself siding, quite reasonably I think, with DD. The world's gone mad I tell 'ee. Now where did I put that twat-a-tron...

    - mine's the one with the rainbow scarf

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    did someone just mention BBC and press neutrality?? LOL never has a more pro-labour apparatus existed.

    As to issues - sure I don't agree with alot of his or his parties views, but on civil liberties it has to be said, New Labour make the Rusty Lady look soft.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Matt Campbell

    You wrote to your MP to tell him that he and his party are no better than Nazis, and that Britain today is as if it was run by Nazis, and you're disgusted to be told he took offence?

    Spare us the pretend indignation. When you insult people to their face, tell them they are effectively the same as amoral, racist mass murderers they very rarely see your point of view.

    If you've got past the age of fourteen and not figured that out yet then perhaps you aren't yet past the mental age of fourteen. Grow up.

  20. George

    Dear El Reg. Please don't become a politcial mouthpiece.

    You were wonderfully politically agnostic in the old days purely commenting IT in the government, this is a step in the wrong direction and feels like party politically broadcast.

  21. Nomen Publicus

    grim history of people ignoring lose of liberties

    Either people vote to retain their liberties or one day they will discover that they are unable to vote.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Andrew Smith

    Sadly it is true that the public would happily trade almost all freedoms under the belief that a: they have nothing to hide and so don't need to worry, and b: they believe the removal of various freedoms will make them safer. Particularly with major media outlets unwilling to press hard questions on the matter (every interview I've seen on the Beeb or Sky has been unbelievably weak, much like phorm and other issues of late.)

    O well, a year or two and I'll be off to a nicer nation (Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam - they all sound good to me)

    Mines the one with the Nekomimi on the back.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Why the surprise??

    Which country had the largest Internal survellience dept?

    Which country denied the right to travel to it's citizens?

    Which country denied freedom of speech to it's citizens/

    Which country was the socialist ideal?

    That's right, the good old Soviet Union.

    Socialism (in all it's guises) = Total control of the population.

    Isn't there already a campiagn to dob you neighbours into the KGB, Sorry I mean't DSS.

    Government Members using the special lanes on the MotorWay.

    £24,000 in expenses to furnish an MP's house.

    I wonder if Comrade Brown has a Dachia in scotland somewhere?

  24. Mark

    RE: grim history of people ignoring lose of liberties

    Until "the people" realise they have nothing to lose. Revolution. Which never goes well.


    Russian czars treating people as commodities and giving all the privilege to their mates.

    French revolution: "let them eat cake" attitude to people's rights

    American revolution: Tax their products to keep them down, and they throw you out.

    In each case, thousands upon thousands died.

    All because those with power didn't think of letting go while they still had their lives.

  25. N1AK

    @Andrew Smith

    What you don't seem to get is you ARE supposed to just vote on this one issue.

    David Davis was going to represent his seat until the next election, which means their was nothing you could do till then to remove him from office.

    If he wins the by-election, then guess what he keeps his seat till the next election (no longer than if he hadn't resigned).

    The Lib Dems didn't run because they agree with the cause, and they want people to vote FOR limitations on goverment control.

    You could perfectly well vote for Mr Davis (representing limited goverment control) in the by-election, and vote against Mr Davis himself at the next election (which was the first time you could of if he hadn't of resigned anyway).

  26. Mark

    The stupidity of the public

    "a majority of the public actually support 42 days."

    No, it was that only a minority complained.

    Only a minority supported.

    That was good enough "for the listening gov".

  27. N1AK


    I'm not a big fan of many things about David Cameron and David Davis. But regardless of my personal position, David Cameron seems to of been the right person to put the Conservatives in a position to win an election.

    If there is one thing that the fact that William Hague, IDS and Michael Howard showed it was that too many voters simply won't vote for the conservatives regardless of the ability of the leader if they didn't lose that nasty party edge.

    Perhaps with Labours brown led self destruction Mr Davis could of won the election, but too many left leaning voters would of found it hard to vote for him.

  28. Mike Smith

    @Andrew Smith

    "So why should I vote for him to represent me on just one issue, which by the way is going to be law no matter what he says or how we vote?"

    Well, if your apathetic attitude is representative of the the majority of the British people, then maybe it is a waste of time after all.

    Laws can be changed. It takes lot of time, a lot of lobbying and maybe an attack of common sense from some very senior people in the judiciary (q.v. the current kerfuffle over anonymous witnesses) but it can be done. At least David Davis is trying to force the issue and do the little he can to turn back Britain's setady progress into a police state.

    If he had done nothing, the issue would have dropped off the front page, to be replaced with far more burning issues like which egotistical gibbering retard was going to be slung out of the Big Brother house next, or which overpaid football player had been caught in flagrante delicto at the weekend.

    Unless there's some sort of minor miracle in the next year or so, the Conservative Party is going to win the next election. It seems sensible to me to underline the message that the police state has gone far enough when the chance is offered.

  29. Jay Cooper
    Dead Vulture

    Anyone want to join my class action lawsuit?

    For breach of privacy when I caught on CCTV without my express permission? Obvioulsy my actions waive the neccessity for permission in certain instances like when i walk in a bank. Reckon "so good they named him twice" Davis would support me?

    Like fuck. I'm leaving this dump of an Island. Anyone care to follow? Oh, will the last one out please unplug my phone charger?

    Civil Liberties are dead........................

  30. pete
    Dead Vulture


    People care a whole lot less about liberty than they do about money. If people knew exactly how much money the id card. systems, check were costing them each year they'd actually start kicking back instead of just acting like a door-mat.

    But then again its hardly suprising that they don't as the Government keeps lying about it.

    Canada for me ...

  31. Stuart Harrison
    Thumb Down

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Labour? Socialist? Don't make me laugh.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    He's right y'know

    When the Nazis came for the communists,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,

    I did not speak out;

    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,

    I remained silent;

    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,

    there was no one left to speak out.

    This government really have lost their way. I don't know who they're listening to but if their aim is finally to realise Thatcher's doctrine of "there is no such thing as society" they are heading the right way. It doesn't take much imagination to see totalitarianism as the flipside of the nanny state.

  33. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: He's right y'know

    Whose law did we agree it was that's just been invoked here?


  34. amanfromMars Silver badge


    "Dear El Reg. Please don't become a politcial mouthpiece ..... You were wonderfully politically agnostic in the old days purely commenting IT in the government, this is a step in the wrong direction and feels like party politically broadcast." .... By George

    Posted Friday 4th July 2008 13:05 GMT

    By George, without IT there would be no politicians. They tend not to be bright enough to realise that ..... which is probably just as well given their lack of Positive Direction. However, that does suggest that IT has been sleeping ....given that they are given/afforded such a prominent voice.

  35. Pete James

    @ George

    ...and a few other people who have complained about the piece being biased.

    Maybe it's because we're almost conditioned to expect any article about a politician HAS to be critical, when something like this appears accusations of bias spring up? I would add that bias is the first accusation made when in fact it's just something you don't agree with. Nothing wrong with that, just need to recognise it.

    FWIW I think this plan isn't really working and he's having to bang his drum to get it all back in the press. So a noble idea I suppose but doomed to failure.

  36. Dennis

    @ AC - BBC/Pro Labour Apporatus

    Had to laugh last night - London tonight lead with a 10 minute blurb on some deputy mayor who'd "borrowed" 25k from a punter while a parish preist.

    It's a shame there wasn't any non political news yesterday - such as the brutal murder of 2 french post grads.

  37. Jon Kale
    Paris Hilton

    Pro-civil liberties, eh?

    So, let's have a look at some of Mr Davis's votes in the past. After all, such a fine upstanding Member, with his unblemished record of support for human rights and civil liberties, should be an example to us all.

    Oops... looks like he's for:

    * reducing the abortion time limit

    * restricting IVF to couples

    * equalising the age of consent

    * rolling back the HRA

    Oh, and he's also in favour of capital punishment, much like many of our more knuckle-dragging colleagues in Leftpondia, and voted repeatedly in favour of going to war with Iraq (ditto).

    It appears that, for Mr Davis, civil liberties only apply if you're male and heterosexual. Strange, you kept very quiet about *that*. Next time, could we have an *interview* rather than a reacharound?

    Paris, 'cos even she wouldn't fuck you as hard as Mr Davis and his chums would like to...

  38. Mycho Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    @Paul Webb and others undecided

    Vote against the government. Not just this time but as often as you can with a clear conscience.

    The longer they are in power the worse they get, so keep their majority down and stop them getting too comfortable that they can get away with murder.

    The saying that politicians, like nappies, need changing regularly for the same reason is entirely true. Even good politicians need time to get back in touch with the electorate which they cannot do while in power. Give them a break.

  39. Thomas Silver badge

    Resinging as an MP

    Sorry to be dull and technical about it, but MPs can't actually resign. What they actually do is apply for a functionally useless historic position that technically has them a [nominally] paid employee of the crown, barring them from service as an MP. Of course they can then actually resign that post and stand as an MP again if they want.

    While this persists it's pretty much impossible to legislate as to the ability of these people to stand as MPs again. And sadly the British system doesn't usually favour making actual rules when unhelpful historical anomolies can be used to achieve much the same thing through a ridiculous fiction.

  40. Mycho Silver badge

    @Sarah Bee

    It was Gnubers Addendum to Godwin's Law. GAG for short.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sarah Bee:Re Godwin

    From what I see on forums around the internet the consensus is forming that Godwin's law (at least the ideas that it is inappropriate to make the comparison or that it terminates the discussion) has been suspended in the current crisis over civil liberties.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    David Davis

    Kudos to the man, but, lets face it, he is a member of the nasty party. The party that perverted the right of congregation, that baton charged the unions and destroyed community cohesion with their pile of shite "no society" mantra. That sold the nations assets to their mates and made a pile running them into mediocrity.

    The Conservatives have not changed, they still listen to the voice of the Daily Mail, the curtain twitchers of middle England, the very people that were happy with 42 days.

    Expect nothing but more of the same. This country has always been in a fight between authority and freedom. Freedom is not won in some damn fool by-election stunt.

    Mines the one with the molotov in the inside pocket

  43. alistair millington Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Wait a second....

    Checks calendar, looks for broken mirror, black cat, checks for phase of moon.

    Something isn't right. I find myself liking a politician

    Ooohhh scary. He sounds like he actually cares... now if he just talked about cutting government tax payer wastage and getting the MOD back into shape, I actually might vote for him.

    Oh wait "Cameron the blair clone won..." and I don't live in Hull.


  44. John Stevens

    Sorry, Jon Kale...

    ...but I do keep seeing this sort of namby-pamby me me me redefintion of civil liberties...and it really shouldn't wash. Politicians and political views do not fit neatly into two camps (labelled good and bad).

    Some people may actually have good - and liberal - reasons for being for or against something: and just because the result of their thinking does not lead to you getting what you think you deserve doesn't make them any less liberal for all that.

    So DD is in favour of reducing the abortion time limit? You may disagree with that view but if - I'm not agreeing with this! - you take some sort of view about the existence of a "soul" and life beginning at conception...then the most illiberal position in existence is that touted by the pro-abortionists.

    Doesn't make DD right - just doesn't mean he's anti liberty either.

    Ditto restricting IVF to couples. Since there is a wealth of evidence out there to suggest that single-parenting can disadvantage children, just dismissing DD's view as anti-liberty is pretty juvenile. Perhaps u need to brush up on your JS Mill, who talks about the state not having a right to restrict people's liberty except where they might do harm to others.

    Seems it is at least arguable that direct harm could result from this liberty. And so on.

    Civil Liberties are not the same as just giving people whatever they would like. Those who think they are probably don't really understand them in the first place.

    P.S. I note some suggestion of bias in the piece. Um. This was an interview with the man! You may object to the Register's decision to do such a thing...but you would hardly expect DD to do a balanced interview, setting out the arguments for and against himself, would you?

  45. Anonymous Coward


    the key thing is that nothing will change.

    In politics it is always the best way to preserve the status quo, ie if you are seen to be changing things you will get bad press and lose votes. So, when labour get kicked out the next party will be no better.

    The coat because mine is the one trying to find a way out of this country...

  46. Steve

    @ Jon Kale

    "Oops... looks like he's for:

    * reducing the abortion time limit"

    That's not a cut and dried argument that the time limit is currently right and there are reasoned arguments for both extension and reduction. Saying he's against a woman's right to choose is little harsh unless you're saying he wants to reduce it zero

    "* restricting IVF to couples"

    That's not unreasonable when you consider that having a child is not a right, the procedure is expensive and bringing up a child is a two person job - not a crack at single mums, just a fact. A person bringing up a child on their own is far more likely to suffer stress and fatigue and poor health as a result of the amount of work involved.

    "* equalising the age of consent"

    So he's for allowing homosexuals and heterosexuals being treated equally in the eyes of the law? The bastard! Did you mean he was against it?

    "* rolling back the HRA"

    I've heard this said before, but I can't belief he's daft enough to just be spouting out the usual "muslim peados are blowing up our jobs" crap from the Daily Mail.

    I don't think any of that really justifies "It appears that, for Mr Davis, civil liberties only apply if you're male and heterosexual." As for capital punishment, that's not a civil liberties issue, "it's a can't understand reasoned argument" problem: Justice is not infallible, death is irreversible. Therefore, death should not be used as punishment.

    How about not voting for him because he supports a system which is deliberately set up to minimise the involvement of the public in policy making? Why is that no longer a valid reason?

  47. Pete James

    @Jon Kale

    Oh Deary me Jon. A few people here commented on the article being a bit of a puiff-piece, so it's perhaps only fair that you give a balance to it. However, supporting civil liberties doesn't mean being opposed to capital punishment - the two are not related, as are many of the other points you raise which are tenuous in the extreme.

  48. Anthony

    Yeah but he's still..

    a slimy bastard.

  49. Dave Bell

    Come the next election...

    ...if my apparently decent local MP has voted for the 42-day limit, I'm not voting for him.

    (My local MP is Labour, but has a good reputation as a constituency MP.)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re Gnuber

    Oh, you mean this

    I don't think that has reached meme status yet! Anyway the generic Godwin suspension covers that as well I would say.


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