BLOGNOTES FROM BORIS – Civil and Liberties Group

The other day a group of about 20 Tory MPs met to launch the Conservative Civil Liberties Group. I stuck my head round the door to see what was going on. As I came in, a distinguished Tory of vaguely wettish tendencies was saying that it was perfectly right that there should be a conflict between Tory desire for liberty and Tory desire for authority and security, bla bla bla. I nodded my head in approval. We are all a bit schizophrenic on this one. But there come moments, surely, when every Tory must want to stick up for ancient freedoms, as they are being removed by this Labour government. Just what the hell does Charles Clarke think he is doing, arrogating the power - TO HIMSELF - to detain people indefinitely without trial? We have seen nothing like this since the 1940s, the decade in which the state made its most signal advances in eroding economic and personal freedom in this country. Why are so few voices raised in defence of the principle of habeas corpus? Isn't it blindingly obvious that if the state has enough evidence against a man to incarcerate him, it must have enough evidence to put him on trial? What is the justification for this massive expansion in the power of government? They say we are at war, and wartime deserves special measures. Well, that is a premise I reject. We are not at war. We face a terrorist threat from a group of maniacs, who have no discernible or intelligible political agenda except the restoration of the Caliphate, a project - unlike, say, communism, or the unification of Ireland - that means absolutely nothing to people in this country. If we think these people are a threat, we should try them for conspiracy. The excuse, apparently, is that a trial would be damaging to the interests of the security services, since it would expose their wire-tapping operations. That is not a good enough excuse for taking away a freedom that has existed in this country since the days of Wilkes. By all means bang them away. But it is a disgrace not to put them on trial.

75 thoughts on “BLOGNOTES FROM BORIS – Civil and Liberties Group”

  1. Definitions:

    1. Caliphate: A Caliph is the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state; a successor of Muhammad and by tradition always male.
    The office or jurisdiction of a caliph. The last caliphate was held by Ottoman Turkish sultans until it was abolished by Kemal Atatürk in 1924.

    2. Wilkes – Wilkes, John. 1727-1797.
    British political reformer noted for his published attacks on George III and for his support of the rights of American colonists.

    3. Habeas corpus –
    1. One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of the party from unlawful restraint.
    2. The right of a citizen to obtain such a writ.

  2. So, let me be clear, Mr Johnson, when you become PM you will totally disassociate yourself from the anti civil liberties government of the United States, and embrace the policies of Amnesty International?
    Do this and introduce legislation to restrict the activities of those corporations polluting the planet, and you may have me voting Tory yet.

  3. I agree. It seems we are just resigned to the fact that Labour will do whatever it wants now, regardless of what other people think. They’re winning the psychological battle, and it’s a disgrace.
    On another vaguely related note, I’m still smarting that the Prince Harry story was conveniently used to obscure the fact that the WMD search was called off. Labour seem to use bluff and the media to obscure any inconvenient facts, a point I raised at:
    http://www.wibbler.com/blair

  4. no, just me a bit ‘fick! I hope I haven’t insulted anyone’s intelligence.
    dat’s all 4 now Nick I fink

  5. good to see that Boris is thinking on the same lines as the vast majority of law abiding citizens in this country.

    Like Boris, I too was utterly horrified when i heard the proposals yesterday. I honestly could not believe that it was happening. The Tories really need to get their act together on this one.

  6. Hear, hear!

    The whole ‘we are at war’ argument falls on its arse when you consider these new powers can have you locked away not for having suspected links to al Qaeda but animal rights extremists.

    How long have we been at war with animal rights extremists? Did I miss a meeting?

  7. I agree with Boris’s view entirely but I am not sure he answers the implications of his own question, “Why are so few voices raised in defence of the principle of habeas corpus?”.

    The issue of habeus corpus of itself is of immense importance. However the broader issue as to why and how this most illiberal government is able to ride a coach and horses through our ancient traditions and concepts of liberty is left hanging. Just what has happened since New Labour took power that it has been able to destroy so much of what was once held so dear with little more than a murmer?

    I suggest there are various reasons to explain this phenomenon. Firstly and of course not surprisingly 9/11 has provided the government with the opportunity to claim national security as the justification to any challenge to their illiberal policies. I also believe the relatively benign economic environment has meant that people have been less inclined to challenge the government more generally. Certainly Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have not been doing a very good job of it since 1997 and only now appear to be prepared to lay a few punches just a couple of months away from an election. It is not only the opposition which has been cowed by this government’s majority but so have other institutions of the state. For example, we are all familiar with the arguments regarding the politicisation of the civil service and interference with the police. The House of Lords has been well and truly squashed into the shape that the government wants it to be. Our armed services have been shoved around and over stretched from day one. Our intelligence services have been pushed around to do the government’s bidding. The government has also benefitted from a largely sympathetic media and when it has not it has moved heaven and earth to bring it into line. What about the supposed guardians of our liberty, the judiciary? They have acted to very little effect. They were tossed the bone they had always wanted in the form of the incorporation of the ECHR into domestic law at the ouset. This was something many of us felt would have disastrous consequences for our unwritten constitution and for liberty . We are now being proved correct with the obscene hypocrisy of human rights law now indirectky resulting in dtention without trial for all UK citizens. Our judges fetish-like focus on human rights law has apparently blinded them to the wider loss of our rights and liberties.

    In short since 1997 the government (supported by its constantly sweetened friends in the post-modern establishment) has openly and stealthily been waging a cultural revolution. We are in the political and moral confusion we are today because most of us have refused to recognise this fact let alone address it.

  8. Dear Melissa

    Who are the members of the Tory Civil Liberties Group? I think we should know.

    Is Dominic Grieve a member or dies being in the shadow cabinet and in favour of ID cards preclude him?.He was excellent on newsnight the other night. I do not know if Paxman was being deliberatley easy on him but Grieve was very sound.

  9. I’ll add another “hear hear!” to this. Let’s hope the rest of the tory party take note, as they could really gain support over these issues.

  10. Ah, Boris, but if the Conservatives were in power don’t you think that a Conservative Home Secretary would be proposing exactly the same? Not that this excuses Clarke, because at bottom all politicians are the same: they want power, lots of it and unquestioned, including the power to silence anyone who disagrees with them even as they bleat about their commitment to civil liberties.

  11. We all carry around the legacy of 39-45 in our genes: the ‘finest hour’ thing, and a palpable threat. That was the exception, of course – almost all our other wars have been ghastly cock-ups. What really offends me is when the government of the day milks the cock-up (sometimes I love a good mixed metaphor) to cover their tracks. I’ll never forgive Margaret Thatcher for her jingoism over the Falklands: perhaps we were right to be there, but the triumphalism was unforgivable. And of course it took everyone’s minds off unemployment and got the Tories re-elected on a race memory of the British Fleet sailing proudly off to once again rule the waves.

    That’s just like Tony Blair and the ‘War on Terror’. Sure there’s a threat, but it’s mostly smokescreen. The minute you announce the country’s at war, you can introduce all sorts of extraordinary measures and play the ‘security’ card every time someone questions you.

    All of which is a very roundabout way of pointing out that this government’s behaviour is not unique. By all means criticise Blair (he deserves all he gets) but remember that doubletalk is a symptom of power.

    They all do it.

  12. Joseph

    If the Tories were in power there might be a few who felt restrictions on liberties might be defensible but i very strongly doubt if the majority would. These proposed powers are so sweeping and enormous they would have been unthinkable a decade or so ago in all but wartime and perhaps not even then. Even if a majority of Tories did want such a thing it would get nowhere because the opppsotion parties (remember how labour always tried to stop the annual renewal of the anti-terrorism act?), the media and sundry other luvvies and lawyers would be up in arms.

    This government has got away with so much simply because the lefty liberal post 1960 establishment has been on its side for all but the Iraq war. The anger over that was particularly strong precisely because it was row between friends.

    Anyhow I for one whilst disgusted am not surprised at this goverment’s hypocritical illiberalism. Labour always opposed the Tories as a matter of principle regardless of the merits. Also the left in general despite all the propaganda does not have a particularly good record on civil liberties once in power. In fact the left seeks to glamourise some of the worst offenders. Remeber all the students with the Che posters in the 1970s. And now a film has been made about him. Whose next for a makeover, Pol Pot?

  13. A timely posting by Boris, and thanks to Melissa for the annotations. The Civil Liberties Group sound like an interesting bunch – and if the Tories can start lecturing Labour on being authoritarian, that’s go to be a good thing! I for one was very disappointed that the Tory official line is to agree with ID cards, if only because they are a total waste of money. These further attacks on personal freedom put forward by the Government are the clearest sign yet that the Tories have a fighting chance of making serious gains at the next election. The Labour Party has never had any respect for the traditions of the country, be they legal or cultural, and that is a weakness that the Conservatives can exploit.

  14. I seem to recall saying “And you’re next…”

    I don’t care if it’s in Belmarsh, my own home, or a sodding budgie cage… detention without trial is detention without trial. And I’m simply delighted to wake up in a country that will now allow the same treatment of…

  15. It’s for your own good, you know…

    I’m not sure if I have words to express just how angry, exasperated, disgusted and terrified I am about our lovely Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s latest wheeze.

  16. Latest word from Tony Blair? “I pay great attention to the civil liberties of the country. But…”

    Still, it was good to see David Davis getting the first words in from the Tories on this one, quoting Jefferson and actually sounding quite sensible for a change. Why the hell isn’t the party standing up for the rights of the individual against big government more often? They might actually get some of us to vote for them… (Well, that’s probably taking it a bit far, but still…)

  17. I’m glad that Boris has come out so strongly against the Home Secretary’s outrageous proposals.

    It is deeply disquieting, however, that so few MPs, of any Party seem prepared to say they plan to bowl this out when it come up for a vote in the HoC.

    Also deeply disquieting is the seeming support for (not just acquiescence in) that other outrageous policy – the introduction of compuslory ID Cards – by not only the bulk of the governing Party, but also by Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. A truly amazing abrogation of responsibility and contribution to the steady destruction of our democracy, which has taken centuries to develop and risks being destroyed in months.

  18. While few people were willing to endorse Soviet Communism openly, particularly after the purges and the exposures of Kruschchev’s secret speech, there were plenty who were always willing to make excuses for the communists along the lines of “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” and so on.

    With his characteristic turn of phrase, Lenin called people of this type “fellow travellers” to their faces and “useful idiots” behind their backs.

    Most of us seem to be useful loyal idiots …

    Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.
    – Winston Churchill

  19. Dominic Grieve is the Chairman of the Group, I believe – esbonio *seems* (though I could be wrong) to think Grieve a supporter of ID cards – he isn’t and was absent on the day of the vote.

  20. ‘You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.’

    Jozef – your’re right all we can ever do is carry on fighting. Or in my case carry on writing. There may never be a victory. But at lest I will have words.

  21. Dave

    The reason I am not sure about Dominic Grieve is because although he appears sound on civil liberties and therefore one assumes is opposed to ID cards he is Shadow Attorney General and presumably bound by the Leader of the Opposition’s decision to back ID cards.

  22. Someone get rid of the current government. The Tories will need to act quick to get in, and I’m more of a Lib Dem fan myself, but I’d vote for anyone who’s actually capable of saying “hang on, wait a minute, you can’t do that!”

    Interesting quote in http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4211127.stm

    “Earlier Mr Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was “unhealthy” to have so much power concentrated in the hands of a few people.”

    Good of him to admit it…

  23. Boris

    What is the official conservative position on this issue, I still have no idea

    also good to see that you oppose this at least

    alan

  24. Boris’s best so far. I am in total agreement – and with the opinions of my friends here.

    Claiming special powers in the face of a supposed threats is the oldest of political tricks. This is the way that totalitarian regimes work. Detention without trial is the method of places like Burma and North Korea.

    Democracy has to be based on human rights. Without the assurance of those rights, it can’t function. Under special circumstances, extra security may be introduced and elections postponed etc. but that can only be done with the broad agreement of the people and the main political parties. It must be temporary. People must known when it is going to end.

    According to the BBC, “Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the public had to trust him, Mr Blair and the security services to use the ‘grave’ new powers wisely.” Well, I don’t trust Mr Clarke. I don’t trust Mr Blair, and I don’t trust the security services.

  25. Lets’ not forget that it was the Conservative Ted Heath government who brought in internment in Northern Ireland in the early 1970’s. The excuse was that NI was at war then, and maybe it was. However he only thing achieved was more hatred, and more terrorism. It never works to reduce terror. I’m glad Boris is against the infringements of liberty, and hope that the rest of the conservatives will be too (and a few labour MP’s)

    ID cards – In NI it was always the norm to carry a driving licence (ours had photos even back then) and be asked for these at the drop of a hat. I didn’t mind this, and neither did most people. I don’t have a problem with carrying an ID card either, apart from the fact it seems to be horrendously expensive for what it is.

  26. Boris -That is not a good enough excuse for taking away a freedom that has existed in this country since the days of Wilkes

    Should read – That is not a good enough excuse for taking away a freedom that has existed in this country since the days of Ted Heath 30 years ago.

  27. boris.
    Why did you not vote against i d cards in december 2004 in the commons?
    All you tory mps abstained. Why?
    Is this campaigning against the erosion of liberty?
    Funny way to do it.

  28. I’ve been watching this blog for a while now, and it does seem that if there’s one area where Boris has let his audience down, it’s that ID cards abstention. Any chance of an explanatory post? Even if it’s just to admit that the Whips were on particularly good persuasive form that day?

    We wouldn’t mind the reason, but it would be nice to understand…

  29. It’s not just Boris who seems disappointing on ID cards but a lot of other Tory MPs as well. Weren’t they told to do their Xmas shopping or something like that at the time of the vote. I think we should know what the views of the members of the new Tory Civil Liberties Group are on this subject. I would have thought ID cards are a pretty fundamametal issue if not a touchstone of liberal credentials. If this new group isn’t against ID cards it may well be a busted flush from the outset.

    I read Dominic Grieve’s speech on the Queen’s Speech last night and he was very sound and clear on just about everything but ID cards.

  30. Dear Boris,

    About time, and likely not soon enough. If the Tories had been on the side of British Civil Liberties from the start, they would be in a much better position vis a vis the election.

    Off the top of my head, the Labour Government has brought about:

    1) a Ban on foxhunting
    2) regulations on how adults can discipline their own children,
    3) Belmarch prison and the associated Habeas corpus infringements
    4) an attempt to eliminate the right to trial by jury
    5) soon to be introduced mandatory ID cards
    6) a stated intention to outlaw criticism of religion (Incitement of religious hatred) to cynically try to gain back the Muslim vote
    7) an stated intention to give the government the right to detain people in their homes without trial

    I’m sure there is even more examples that I can’t recall.

    Instead of a campaign focus of government waste and cutting taxes, why not focus on the above:

    I long to see a Tory Election poster with the above items listed, followed by the question:

    Thinking of 4 More Years of Labour? Which Civil Liberties will be the next to go?

  31. Might the abstentions on the ID card vote have been part of a deal whereby the government quietly drops the bill after the elections, but in exhange gets it past second reading to save face after Blunkett got sacked?

    Of course, Boris couldn’t possibly tell us either way…

  32. “1) a Ban on foxhunting
    2) regulations on how adults can discipline their own children,
    3) Belmarch prison and the associated Habeas corpus infringements
    4) an attempt to eliminate the right to trial by jury
    5) soon to be introduced mandatory ID cards
    6) a stated intention to outlaw criticism of religion (Incitement of religious hatred) to cynically try to gain back the Muslim vote
    7) an stated intention to give the government the right to detain people in their homes without trial”

    …you forgot to mention the creation of several totally unproductive, yet expensive new layers of government and regulation (The scottish parliament, the welsh assembly, the london assembly) all in red strongholds. What a coincidence.

    “Labour seem to use bluff and the media to obscure any inconvenient facts.”

    Melanie Phillips summed it up:

    “BBC journalism — with some honourable exceptions — is indefensibly skewed over a wide range of issues. It filters all events through the prism of a particular world-view

  33. It is clear that almost everyone here is against any form of indefinite imprisonment without trial, but I wonder how we would react if we ourselves were detained.

    Imagine that, as a result of bureaucratic error, a false accusation or a rash entry in your blog, you were detained indefinitely at home with your telephone and the internet cut off, would you obey the authorities, ask to be put in touch with a lawyer, and wait patiently until you were released?

    Or would you decide that your rights (and the implicit social and political contract on which British Society is based) had been violated and accordingly you were entitled to attempt to escape (if necessary by using violence) and struggle against the authoritarian British state by whatever means appropriate?

  34. (Short) open letter to Boris and any other Tory MPs who may or may not be indulging in complex strategic deals with their own Whips or even(heaven forfend) the Government:

    Come on guys. This ID card thing is a very serious issue. One of the biggest concerns is that the cards will be used to store financial, political, or personal information about us that we can’t see and don’t know about. The last thing we need is potential opponents of the bill doing everything in secret AS WELL.

    We won’t think any less of you if you tell us what’s going on, you know.

  35. Simon – good answer. Though I’m sure none of us ever ever make ‘rash entries’ in our blogs. Every word well meant, that’s my motto. But if they want to send the intelligence services round looking for seditious material, they’ll be sorely disappointed.

    Unless you count a copy of Playpower and a couple of Steve Earle CDs as potentially damaging to the state (whatever that is)…

  36. Terrorists kidnap people who disagree with their political opinions. Charles Clarke proposes to kidnap people who disagree with his political opinions. Therefore what is the difference between this government and terrorists?

  37. Charles Clarke to replace detention without trial with… er… detention without trial

    Wasn’t it a political masterstroke for Charles Clarke to announce his ‘solution’ to the Law Lords’ ruling (that detention without trial is in fact illegal) in the same week as the Auschwitz liberation anniversary? His fantastic, totally-non-illegal pla…

  38. Esbonio:

    I have a list of those who attended the Civil & Liberties Group Launch –

    Dominic Grieve
    Desmond Swayne
    Douglas Hogg
    Marion Roe
    Damien Green
    Eric Forth
    Paul Beresford
    Richard Shepherd
    Andrew Mitchell
    Jonathan Djanogly
    Edward Garnier
    Cheryl Gillan
    Peter Ainsworth
    Graham Brady
    Peter Lilley
    Boris Johnson
    Earl of Northesk

    I hope this is helpful

  39. Thank you very much, Melissa. I hope they will be able to attract more support. Have a nice weekend.

    Esbonio

  40. One thing you have to remember about ID cards; they were brought up during the last stretch of conservative government, in 1995/1996 in a paper titled “Identity Cards – A Consultation”.

    Introduced by the then home secretary.

    Michael Howard.

  41. Barry, Mystere and Mark – re ID cards

    I have it on pretty good authority that Boris will vote against ID cards on Third Reading

    Party loyalty so far probably

  42. Melissa – tell your good authority that’s cheered me up no end on a gloomy saturday in which the most exciting thing I did was a trip to IKEA…

  43. oooh! IKEA !! I’m sure that Wifey would agree that all you need now is a nice cup of tea and sit down

    Roll on sunshiney Spring!

  44. Barry

    I asked another MP of similar views and he said “I couldn’t vote against my party!” and I think that is right and proper – we need some sort of collective unity and loyalty to the party chiefs — not sure if Robert Jackson would agree tho’
    😉

    Where do your allegiances lie?

  45. Melissa,

    As I’ve said before I believe you’re supposed to represent constituents first, not your party.

    Loyalty to party chiefs and whips at the expense of changing the way the state interacts with its citizens is not acceptable.

  46. Barry — aw, I really don’t want to disagree with you too much at all…

    My question is – how do we know what constituents think – we ought to have a local survey

    It must be impossible to represent every interest of every constituent

    You obviously feel very strongly about this and you really must go and see the man himself as I have alluded somewhere before – you’d enjoy it!

  47. To James E. Cann, your argument about the need for the conservatives to berate labour for taking away our civil liberty to indulge in fox-hunting would only expose them to allegations of hypocricy because it was the conservatives who took away our age-old right to engage in the good-old english traditions of bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and sending our children down’mine.

    (Certainly to half the people who post here).

    To Melissa, I think you are confirming the suspicions already voiced in this thread. It looks like a nice deal has been struck which allows Boris and other “concerned conservatives” to save face. They will meekly and quietly vote against the erosion of our civil liberties while their colleagues in the Tory leadership and mainstream of the party give it a nod and a wink. This is unacceptable: we expect people who are for civil liberties to show some “rage” and to voice it from the rooftops.

  48. not sure Count

    Boris is making his strong views known widely – without the Party they would have less effect

    Yes, some peacocks do show rage in loud voices but that may not be in their best interests long term. UKIP may feel they are making their views known but they are a minority – better to fight from within the Party

  49. Another possibility is that HMG pushed for ID as hard as it could to save face, but has begun to realise the hidden costs and political implications and will quietly drop its plans when no one is looking. Certainly, reasons against keep mounting up, as anyone who reads Private Eye will tell you…

  50. ID CARDS

    Few issues have as many ramifications as this one. There is a lot of new technology involved and we need to work out all the implications. The Americans – always sensitive to personal freedom issues – have been discussing aspects of this that haven’t even surfaced here.

    The Home Office have been consistently pushing all the wrong buttons. Nazi Germany wouldn’t have done a worse job – with all the talk about innocent people having nothing to fear etc. They seem to see the issue in terms of protecting the state through greater surveillance of the population, but that should not be the purpose of an ID card. The card should be for proving that you are who you say you are. Nothing more and nothing less. It should not contain hidden information.

  51. It is sad to be reminded that the liberties that Mr Johnson and his Boss Howard shout about sare in fact those that former Home Secretary Howard was seeking to erode 10 years ago.

    In this totalitarian mode people are held illegally by the government for years by draconian fiat. Even Saddam or any other dictator would have given them show trials, but Blair and Bush just hide them away under cover. So what’s next?

    Will The Conservative Party be party to this sick introduction of state controls on our free movement and enjoyment of liberty. If they do their failure to even resist makes them worse than Blunkett Straw Blair et al.

    And that is terrible
    Like the failure to keep benefits for single parents and other “reforms” MPs ought to have fought against the government.

    And My blogs get censored.

  52. Michael Howard on House Arrest

    Interesting, my letter would have reached Michael Howard yesterday and I’m not claiming cause and effect (but would it not be nice?) – Michael Howard spoke out against House Arrest today. ‘He disagrees with the plans to permit suspected terrorists…

  53. I read in the Independent today that smoking is shortly to be banned throughout the palace of Westminster.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=606846

    “Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North and a 40-a-day smoker, said the change would be a profound culture shock. “I had to light a cigarette to steady my nerves when I heard,” he said. ”

    This suggests that Pound was unaware of the new rules. My question is: When did Parliament vote to stop itself smoking?

  54. Melissa wrote:

    ‘I asked another MP of similar views and he said “I couldn’t vote against my party!” and I think that is right and proper – we need some sort of collective unity and loyalty to the party chiefs’

    This is exactly why the public have little confidence in MPs, they make themselves irrelevant. If an MP has an opinion, by god, I want him to say it, not be ‘whipped’ (interesting term) into submission.

    Yes, there is a time for party loyalty (you have to pick your fights), however when our historic rights are eroded party loyalty should go out of the window and every member should vote their conscience. If not, then they should not be surprised by increasing public dissillusionment.

    Whilst I’m on a rant, after the next election, let’s not hear about public ‘apathy’ whilst we have an electoral system where most votes don’t matter. If you live in a safe seat you can pretty much guarantee who will win…. that doesn’t mean I won’t vote, though I can understand why people don’t. Nevertheless, I know that my vote won’t matter too much. Never having lived in a marginal, it never has.

    MPs who don’t vote their conscience on such big issues, when their votes all have equal weighting are a snub to the vast majority of people in the country who live in non marginals and whose vote is almost meaningless.

  55. Comment on Boris Johnson’s Blog

    This was seen on Boris Johnson’s website, I hope that the author won’t mind it being reproduced: Dear Boris, About time, and likely not soon enough. If the Tories had been on the side of British Civil Liberties from the…

  56. oh ok Murk – but those really are murky waters you’re treading – many MPs would not be there were it not for their respective Parties.

    Go it alone – stay alone – we ‘joe public’ really aren’t in a position to know all the machinations of party politics, are we? or are you in M15?

    C U Murky

    ps BTW your blog picture ‘Skimble in Colour’ is breathtakingly fab

  57. Indeed, party loyalty is important – if not only for the reason of living to fight another day. Picking one’s battles is important.

    However, if an MP votes against a deeply held belief for this reason then they’re not worthy of our trust.

    Voting with the party where a contrary belief isn’t deeply held is another thing entirely!

    Thanks again for the pic comment 🙂

  58. I’m really astonished that the Tories have not made a huge issue out of civil liberties. This government seems to be busy gathering unprecedented powers and taking away all sorts of rights and legal protection from the average citizen (or are we still subjects?) … and yet the Tories don’t seem to be the party of civil liberties that they used to be. Howard supporting id cards? I’ll be voting LibDem. If you want my vote then start standing up for the rights of the individual.

  59. This issue must surely be one of the Tory standpoints for the next election. Really, this government have banned Smoking in public, Fox-Hunting, smacking and are now going to force us to carry identity cards so they know just who we are before they ferret us away in our own homes for possibly (yet unprovably) being some sort of threat to national security.
    I hope sincererly that the Tory Party do stand up against this, and I wish to God that Howard had not supported ID cards earlier, but I guess what’s done is done.
    I hope this merry band of Tories can support that principal of habeas corpus, and continue our country in the tradition of justice and away from the tyranny risked by Mr Charles Clarke’s insanity.

  60. I hope sincererly that the Tory Party do stand up against this, and I wish to God that Howard had not supported ID cards earlier,

    If he can’t support it, then oppose it. An abstention is such a lilly-livered approach, it really is.

    It’s essentially saying ‘don’t blame us, we didn’t vote it in’, but without taking the chance of actually making a stand. It’s pleasing none of the people none of the time.

  61. Tory MP suspended and Boris’ Award

    A tory MP has been suspended for two weeks, looking at the news item…. slease returns! Makes a change from spin and half truths though. I’ve also just seen that Boris Johnson has won a channel 4 award for making…

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