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All the desperate stuff about how Gordon Brown is a "bottler" just shows how bad DD's decision is for Cameron. Brown hasn't bottled anything.

GB has, for the first time in a very long time, shown that the claims he is a great political strategist do have at least some basis in fact.

This week DC has lost his home secretary, the Sun and maybe even a "safe" seat. And Labour had to do nothing...

Davis seems to have convinced himself that he is a figure of national significance.

Would be interested to know how long the polling continued after the initial DD announcement, bearing in mind the way that the Westminster rumour mill went completely bonkers on Thursday afternoon with some extremely wild off the mark suggestions?

The initial poll reaction is meaningless. What we can't afford is for "leading Conservative"s to start slagging him off and make the party appear disunited.

It is unlikely that Mr Davis decision will improve Labours standing with the electorate. What will diminish this parties standing is its MPs publically stabbing Mr Davis in the back, especially given the widespread support that Mr Davis appears to be receiving from ordinary members of the public. The public can handle and appreciate this situation, it is out of touch MPs and media hacks who cannot.

What it has also done has increased pressure on Mr Cameron to actually tell us what he really stands for on these very important issues.

What total bollocks this poll is.

Did anyone listen to Any Questions and any Answers today ?

Total support for DD who has tapped in to a massive mood of disillusion with conventional politics.

David Cameron and the party generally must get behind DD and keep him close.

One bad thing has already happened because of DD's resignation:

We've lost a popular and effective Shadow Home Secretary and gained a wet one.

The second bad thing is yet to happen:

Cameroons will start briefing against him (like in tomorrow's Sun Tel) and then DD will bite back.

None of this will harm us fatally but it's going to hurt some.

The underlying strength of our lead is shown by the headline numbers, and if there is any good news for Brown round the corner I can't discern what it is. Single events may or may not have a short term impact on ratings, but Brown bounce aside, the trend has been solid since 2006. Relax and enjoy your Saturday evening.

Labour remains at 26%; no sign of the "second Brown bounce" that Labour has been predicting!

The shift from 48% to 41% Conservative support is only temporary and may be because of the negative and out-of-touch press and media reporting - possibly some "don't knows", as a result.

As the 'David Davis for Freedom' campaign gets underway, Conservative support should pick up again significantly and return to 48% +.

Cameron supporters don`t have to brief against Davis to make him seem wrong and a fool he does that himself every time he opens his own mouth.

Much sense from Alan S. Parties suffer when they look divided. Cameron should sack any frontbencher who starts stirring it with DD.

Are our conservative MPs really so bloody thick that they cannot see the massive potential in this, to start a real bandwagon rolling and start to tap into the publics mood. This party could really, and I mean really, finish off Labour for years and years to come if it plays its cards right on this.

Stuff 42 days – people do not really give a toss about this. Push the erosion of general civil liberties that can and do affect most of us because that is where peoples concerns really lie. I have looked at many blogs since Mr Davis resignation and most people are right behind him on this.

Do we have any more MPs within this party with the guts and principles to start taking advantage of this opportunity?

Has anyone stopped to wonder if the drop in support for the Conservatives might be caused by the lukewarm support, if not outright criticism, of Davis? Anyone of a libertarian bent is looking at the Tories and saying to themselves, "They're not thinking what I'm thinking".

Come on, let us live in the real world. Davis' selfish action of vanity,delusion or visions of self importance is bound to harm us in the opinion polls.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in 'cloud cuckoo land' It is not only the Tory high command who are seething at his decision to call a by election but also mere humble foot sloggers like me.

We had got 'don't say Brown say hopeless' on the run -that is a 1964 or 1966 Conservative campaign slogan against George Brown, for all the liberal bloggers who wern't born then and who have never heard of George Brown.

Davis' actions have taken all the heat off Brown and for all we know could be the start of a Labour comeback.

Won't be paying much attention to that poll.

Furthermore, given that most of the arguments re DD's decision seem to be centered around the strategy of it, I would just note that I doubt he really cares. The reason this has gone down the wrong way with much of Westminster and the media, I think, at least at the moment (subject to review), is because it is almost void of a strategic agenda. It is founded on a belief, a sentiment. What people think of it is irrelevant when questioning whether or not it is 'right'; (forgive the double negative but) as such, it cannot not be.

And I doubt he'll have any trouble winning his seat back when up against Kelvin "Absolute Shocker" MacKenzie.

The drop in support happened before any criticism of Davis - on Thursday the only thing anyone said was surprise & shock. Whatever the strength of Davis's arguments, his personal sincerity and his great record as Shadow Home Secretary he behaved stupidly and against the best interests of his fellow Shadow Cabinet colleagues, his fellow Tory MPs and his party. Thank heavens we chose the other David if this is Davis's understanding of political strategy (the DD T shirts were probably an early giveaway)

Its recoverable but just think what the story would be today without his theatrical announcement - Gordon Brown forced to rely on DUP votes after sleazy deals, Brown not just reneging on a referendum but ignoring the Irish No, lost papers on a train and a bloody huge 25% lead for the Conservatives.

Oh and 42 days heading for defeat in the Lords with David Davis getting plaudits all round for his mastery of his brief. Instead we have tales of splits and the Opposition appears foolish.

The lead is still 18%, The Sun predicted it would drop massively. It has not. Support for Labour has not increased.

The media need to stop treating this as a scandal. A resignation due to sleaze would smash the poll lead, not stepping down over a principle matter.

The reality is that Davis has resigned and there will be a by-election. There is no benefit to the party whatsoever from anything less than total and unequivocal support for his stand. We should be making much more of Brown's failure to put up a candidate to defend the government's policies against him. The next few weeks can either give the party an opportunity to mount a massive campaign against the government's assault on our rights and freedoms (linked to its disgraceful behaviour over the Lisbon Treaty) or we can just display the internal division and backstabbing which dominated the years 1990-2005 and which we all hoped was over. The choice is ours.

I agree with the view that if senior shadow cabinet members start badmouthing Davis, it will do more harm to the Conservatives than anything David Davis has done, or will do. Why don't these people think before opening their big mouths. I'm quite surprised that David Cameron has not gagged each and every member of the shadow cabinet, but there again, he's worryingly weak and always has been!

David Davis has caught the mood of the people and I am shocked that the media and politicians as a whole have misread the situation completely. The continuation of criticism continues in a vain attempt to try and justify themselves in the face of a very angry public. If all goes true to form, wait for the U-Turn of commentary within the next day or two.

"Cameroons will start briefing against him (like in tomorrow's Sun Tel) and then DD will bite back."

Which Cameroon(hate this childish insult by the way)is it AlanS?

Dunno ChrisD; I'm just looking at the second para of this post.

Ah well, looks like DD and myself are the only two people left in Britain who give a fig for civil liberties then!

Has nobody in the Conservative party heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It seems to me it's behind every Tory downfall. It's what destroyed Thatcher, Major and IDS. David Davis has done exactly what Gordon Brown failed to do last year: put everything on their line so the electorate can have their say. Conservatives who are objecting are doing so because they fear it taps into their vulnerability.

Gordon Brown's biggest justification for 42 days was that the public wanted it (indeed, it's the only issue over which he apparently leads against the Tories). David Davis has made an enormous sacrifice in order to prove him wrong and give real people the opportunity to make their own decision about the matter, instead of being told by Mr Brown that it's what we want.

Criticism of Davis' bold and UNPRECEDENTED (and therefore we do not know how this will play over the long term!) move from conservatives both plays directly into Gordon Brown's hands and will put those who like the idea off voting for conservatives in general.

(The only difficulty of David Cameron's position is that he obviously does not want other likeminded MPs to follow suit.)

"Dunno ChrisD; I'm just looking at the second para of this post."

AlanS, the article mentions a leading Conservative IIRC. I am waiting with baited breathe to see if that is a Shadow Cabinet Minister, backbencher or one of the retired old guard. I would personally only use the word *leading* to describe a senior member of the Shadow cabinet.
It could of course turn out to be Hezza or Tebbit, who are hilariously joined in agreement on a major issue for once. Oh the irony of Hezza criticising another Maverick for daring to take on the government, when we know that Tarzan preferred taking on his boss and his own party.....

Guys, we are all focusing on the wrong numbers. The number we should focus on is the 48% before Davisgate!!! 48%, what on earth were Labour and the LDs on at that stage?

The thing is that the 48% is based on the public's view before exceptional items such as Davis and 42 days (which we are told the entire country wants). Except, Davisgate and 42 days will soon be forgotten, but the state of the economy, tax, crime, sink schools etc etc etc won't be. In other words our rating is 48% when the public is voting on the issues that matter day in day out.

Oh and another thing, Sky News says another bunch of secret docs have gone awol on a train.

Honestly guys, it's all ok. Really.

There's also a YouGov / Sunday Times poll tomorrow - conducted on the 12th and 13th.

They have us on a 22 point lead.

Con 47 (+2) / Labour 25 (nc) / LD 18 (nc)

It wont be a difficult read, as I shall not bother to read it.

Please guys, there is no division at all here. Davis and Cameron are ad idem on 42 days. Stop stoking artificial divisions and doing our opponents' bidding!

I do hope nobody will start using idiotic expressions like Davisgate. Oh woops! Someone has.

Simon - is that confirmed anywhere?

Simon's post is confirmed by Mike Smithson who says that YouGov confirms that our lead is cut to 22%, with fieldwork in the last 2 days. Now, will all the doomongerers (is that a word) who are banging on about Davis causing a major problem please engage brain and pipe down. The Great British public will vote on issues that are of import in their daily lives, not all the Westminster Village twaddle.

Now, as I said earlier, relax and enjoy Saturday night. Up here in Yorkshire the party's prospects feel ok.

"Simon - is that confirmed anywhere?"

Yes it is on PB.com

Con 47%(NC) Lab 25%(+2) libdem 18%(NC)

Steve Garner
"The Great British public will vote on issues that are of import in their daily lives, not all the Westminster Village twaddle."

And I suspect that the Irish vote and the DD incident will have suddenly have given hope to the Great British Public that perhaps they might start getting listened to by the major parties.

Probably a false dawn but one can but hope!

Re The Sunday Telegraph story: it is a red herring and a misquote.

Story : "Fox says Davis was selfish"

What Liam actually said : "David took this decision himself".


look guys get behind david davis he is doing something yes which is political suicidal but also brave . i tell you one thing which did annoy me , reading that half wit lorraine kelly having a go int he sun( i read it online) - i doubt she can even spell civil liberties - let alone understand the concept.

unfortunately as the sun is the most read british newspaper and they start a personal campaign against david davis- it will leave only the principled (and i will be one of them ) to keep backing him

i also dont know how anyone can call this an ego trip -he's probably destroyed his political career on a matter of principle - in fact to me that sounds like selflessness

i had to laugh at another article i read apparenty ukip want him to join them -what after there only MP in westminster Bob Spink voted for 42 days.

I'm very pro David Davis (campaigned for him in 2005 in Haltemprice & Howden), and agree strongly with him on 42 days (and much else).

I do wish he hadn't done this though - we need him in his old job, and in office. Labour Ministers feared him and are relieved he's not there - that's not good.
But maybe he feels very strongly that our freedoms are being thrown away and this demands putting so much on the line.

The worst thing to do now would be for MPs to publicly attack him. Let's accept it is an issue of principle, and support him in his campaign. Unity is essential.

Congratulations to Dominic Grieve. David Cameron made an excellent appointment there.

I will take DD seriously if he includes giving away our sovereignty to the EU in his great debate.

I support David Davis unequivocally and see this by-election as a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we stand for. If you have any doubts, please voice them in private.

"Looking at the timing of the interviews, those conducted after David Davis’ resignation would appear to show a lower Conservative lead, but I would be wary of reading anything at all into this - firstly the numbers of people in each subsample are very small, so any contrast could easy be sample error, secondly you do tend to get different political skews at different times of the day when conducting a poll simply because different socio-economic groups are at home answering the telephone." Anthony Wells, UK Polling Report

For the first time in living memory (and probably the first since the time of Disraeli) a senior politician has put his job on the line on the single issue of our fundamental freedoms and the insidious erosion of the rule of law.

Like most people, I was surprised when I heard what David Davis has done. But my first thoughts were not “selfish”, “cynical”, “attention-seeking” or “damaging”.

I think most people outside Westminster saw it for what it was. A man who felt so strongly about an issue of principle he was prepared to put in the time and sweat to take his case to the people, even if that meant giving his colleagues a hard time.

This is a view add odds with vast majority of the pundits and politicians who occupy the bars of Westminster and the prime slots on College Green.

People whose only frame of reference is in terms of “personal rivalries” and “disagreements at the top of the party”.

These people are so astounded by what David Davis because their view of the world has been skewed by years on the political inside. They speak a language which has lost the word for “principle”.

Take the incredulous Michael Brown who wrote in Friday's Independent “I simply don't believe that ordinary voters will understand what Mr Davis is doing.”

Is it any wonder that politics turns people off ? We’re constantly told how disillusioned we are with the current political generation, but when one politician does stand up to be counted, he is dismissed as either a charlatan or a madman.

Those inside the Westminster bubble who dismiss Mr. Davis have missed the point.

As Matthew Parris has written, the public is heartily sick of people in public life who hedge, duck and scuttle for cover whenever it would be awkward to take a stand. I too believe that David Davis has genuinely touched a chord with people in the world outside politics. Not only because we admire an underdog. Not only because politicians with principles are in short supply.

But because there are thousands of us, ordinary, law-abiding folk who have become increasingly nervous about the insidious erosion of our freedoms in the name of this or that “vital” issue, only to see the same new powers which are supposed to protect us subverted to other purposes.

People who feel indignant when they are told that their respect for our fundamental freedoms means they are somehow ‘soft on terrorism’.

People who realise that our best means of protection has never rested in the clumsy interventions of governments, in new regulations which detain the innocent, immigration rules which aren’t enforced, or the growing apparatus of surveillance which is as intrusive as it is unnecessary.

What most people know instinctively is that the best guarantee of our protection is quite simply the rule of law. The rule of law, upheld by people who are prepared to stand up for the historic freedoms on which it is founded, enforced by a police force who take the trouble to walk the streets which they serve and administered by a system of justice which is generally acknowledged to be fair but firm.

My father and thousands like him fought to uphold those values, not to see them frittered away in a morass of ineffectual legislation, while whole estates become no go areas and kids get knifed in front of disused police stations.

I believe David Davis has touched a chord with many ordinary people, many new to the Conservatives, many new to politics.

So, this is my advice to David Cameron :-

1. Find the time to read Matthew Parris’ article in Saturday’s Times.

2. Leave pride aside and concentrate on being great instead. Welcome Davis back when he’s won and have him firmly in your camp. I haven’t slogged for all these years in opposition to see another Blair-Brown dynamic gnawing away at a Conservative government.

3. Don’t let the opinion polls scare you on the 42 days issue. If you widen the question to cover government surveillance (why have we got street cameras for each 14 of us but policeman on the streets for each 10,000) it’s actually a popular one.

4. There’s nothing to lose by giving Davis your absolute support and campaigning in Haltemprice and Howden. Even if the public are mildly in favour of 42 days it’s a technical issue which they’re not passionate about either way. You’ll get more credit by showing ‘backbone’ than you’ll lose. And giving Davis your absolute support will put a stop to the media babble about splits.

5. See to it that this is a cross party campaign. This is a real opportunity to gather Libdem votes on an issue they thought was their own without any loss of core support. And if you meet Tony Benn up there, then what the heck ? You’re creating the same ‘big tent’ which will serve us well further down the line.

6. And finally, have confidence. The issue is right. There are three strong reasons against 42 days :-

a. Practicality - it offers no real benefit. In fact, it’s no more than another gimmick which takes the public’s attention away from the fact that our streets are no longer safe.
b. Principle – our hard-won rights for personal freedom have a value. You chip away at them only when absolutely necessary and this is not such an occasion.
c. Misuse – there is no doubt the legislation will be misused. People will become complacent. We all know that other so called “anti-terror” legislation is now being used by local authorities to find out whether parents are genuinely in the catchment zone of their local school.

For the first time in living memory (and probably the first since the time of Disraeli) a senior politician has put his job on the line on the single issue of our fundamental freedoms and the insidious erosion of the rule of law.
What about the MPs who left Labour for the SDP, a number of whom were very senior.

The thing is that everyone knows David Davis's opinions on the matter he has outlined them while Shadow Home Secretary, the by-election is just in a single constituency so how can that be considered a national debate.

Until the election, Labour's majority is increased by 1, obviously Labour well in third place at the previous election have no prospect of winning the seat - if they put a candidate up it will still be between David Davis and Kelvin MacKenzie and possibly UKIP and Mad Cowgirl of the Monster Raving Looney Party who seemed actually to be taking a principled stand in favour of locking up dangerous people, and the Miss Great Britain Party who are also taking a principled defence in favour of the 42 days move.

As Shadow Home Secretary he had a platform - he could call press conferences, he could have launched a national campaign.

All the by-election is doing is giving a platform to Kelvin MacKenzie to insult all kinds of people, and no doubt a bunch of liberal anarchists to come along and generally attack both government and opposition for a variety of support for existing legislation and proposals over new legislation.

Whether he likes it or not, David Davis cannot control a by-election campaign which will have a tendency to run off onto a whole range of issues depending on what the voters there and candidates standing want to talk about.

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