Friday, June 13, 2008

Have you had a David Davis moment?

I am sitting in my office at home having just spent the past hour watching the Dispatches programme from earlier this week on Gordon Brown and how it all went horribly wrong for him. Was the decision to allow election speculation to get out of control last year Brown's David Davis moment?

I suspect there will now be a new term entering the lexicon of political language given Davis's decision to throw his political career from the top of a cliff over the vote on a bill on which he took a principled stand. Whilst I accept that Davis is a man of honour and deeply held beliefs, he has allowed his judgement to be seriously clouded.

The idea to resign and force a byelection germinated over the weekend. By Thursday it had taken root and grown out of all proportion, producing its own poisonous fruit.

I remember a few years ago sitting in a wine bar with a couple of MPs who will remain nameless as the three of us got through more wine than I would normally drink in a single session. During that time, we worked out how to put the world to rights along with who we were going to tell to do what the next day. We even sent ourselves voicemail messages to remind ourselves of the courses of action we had proposed.

In the cold light of morning, free from the mind bending qualities of white wine, a more realistic view of the world prevailed. Our voicemail messages were quietly deleted and we went about our normal business without carrying out those rather fatally dangerous decisions of the night before.

David Davis appears not to have had the cold light of morning strike him by Thursday when he sprung his Don Quixote impression on an unsuspecting world. There is nothing to be gained by forcing an unnecessary byelection and since Labour won't play ball anyway by putting up a candidate, the whole saga appears more as a pantomime than serious politics.

So, have you had a David Davis moment when you have taken an unnecessary decision for all the wrong reasons? Gordon Brown's David Davis moment was allowing election speculation to run riot simply to destabalise the Conservatives. Brown has suffered ever since, until now, when David Davis himself as taken the heat off him. How Cameron must be feeling at the moment is probably not printable.

I suppose in politics, you should always expect the unexpected. Talking of which, I am still trying to rearrange my diary for the first half of September. It won't be easy trying to be away from Cowley St in the run up to conference.

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