Back from reality
Well, well, well.
I didn't quite expect to come back to quite so many comments or links here at the end of the weekend. I hadn't actually been aware of the existence of the Libertarian Party let alone that it had so many rather over-excitable members.
Absolute belief in liberty at the expense of all other political goals seems to me just as dangerous as the absolute belief in equality at the expense of freedom promoted by communists. Real politics involves trade-offs between liberty, equality, economic prosperity and security (and probably some other values too) to try to achieve a society that maximises the happiness of its citizens. On 42 days, like the Government, I've come to the conclusion we need to trade in a bit of liberty to get a bit more security, just as we use taxes to trade a bit of people's economic freedom to deliver more equality.
At least the angry chaps from the Libertarian Party are consistent, unlike David Davis who saw no theoretical argument against 28 days but suddenly discovered 42 days was a principle worth resigning over, and whose concern about the potential for the detention for 6 weeks of the innocent is not matched by his stance on capital punishment, where he supports the death penalty, which it is quite difficult to compensate people for if they are found innocent after their execution.
The people I feel sorry for are Tories like Michael Gove who it's fairly obvious to assume were privately supportive of the Government position but were forced to troop through the "no" lobby against their consciences in a vain effort to keep Davis from going postal.
Any way I had a pleasant weekend away from the Internet, glibly innocent of the ant heap I had poked, enjoying a visit to Labour First's Annual Meeting at the Brandhall Labour Club in Oldbury, Sandwell, where we heard from two of the heroes of Tuesday's government victory, Chief Whip Geoff Hoon and Home Office Minister Liam Byrne, and voices from the floor urged the former to take tougher sanctions against Labour's persistent whip-breakers. I also found time to finish writing the campaign plan for the Hackney borough council elections on the horizon in May 2010 (there go all my weekends for 2 years - canvassing starts rather soon) and to visit the Cherwell Boathouse Restaurant for dinner and the Summertown Wine Cafe.
One unexpected potential collateral benefit of the David Davis by-election is that if he is not careful Bob Marshall-Andrews MP may find himself kicked out of the PLP. As he chooses to vote against his own party so often, this might be a welcome formal recognition of the reality - he doesn't behave or vote like a Labour MP, so why keep pretending he is one?