David Davis, the ex-Tory MP soon to stand in a by-election for his own constituency on a platform of opposing 42 day detention without charge and defending civil liberties, is a hard-line right-winger. He supports the restoration of the death penalty. He has voted repeatedly in Parliament against lesbian and gay equality: against the repeal of Section 28, against an equal age of consent, against adoption rights. He voted to cut back women's access to abortion. He wants to abolish the minimal protections of the Human Rights Act.
Even on the issues he has claimed as his own, Davis' disagreement with New Labour is tactical. After all, he himself voted for 28 days detention and, as was then Tory policy, for ID cards. And, of course, like all loyal ruling-class servants, he opposes not only the repeal of Britain's anti-trade union laws, but even the most minimal extension of workers' rights to soften the industrial autocracy which our bosses have now established in the great majority of workplaces.
Davis is an enemy of freedom. It is ridiculous that this man should be accepted as a champion of liberty in popular consciousness, aiding the election of a Tory government which will, whatever the details, attack our rights even more viciously than New Labour has.
Neither Labour nor the Lib Dems will be standing in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election (one of Labour's considerations, apparently, was that its previously selected candidate opposes 42 day detention!) The only serious candidate to float himself, Kelvin McKenzie, the ex-Sun editor who said he would oppose Davis on a "tough on terrorism" platform, has been vetoed by Rupert Murdoch, who told him the Sun would not back him.
So a right-wing, authoritarian, ruling-class warrior like Davis is left to present himself as a champion of freedom, with only an even more right-wing populist and the Monster Raving Loony Party to oppose him! No wonder so many people think politics is a farce!