I'm really looking forward to the pending by-election in Haltemprice and Howden (Con, David Davis) because the definite abstention of the Liberal Democrats and the likely ignorance by Labour means that Davis has a good chance of digging his own political grave without the other main parties being involved.
By-elections aren't for single issue politics, and 'principle' of opposing 42-days detention is not served well by creating a publicity-seeking by-election for the benefit of an embittered right-winger with leadership ambitions. Under the British constitution a member of the Cabinet must accept collective responsibility. The minister or shadow is bound by the decisions made by his or her colleagues as a whole, and resigns when the issue is such that they feel they can't accept the decision and stay in their post. Going the whole hog, and resigning your seat as well as your shadow cabinet post is baffling, and high-risk
He says he wants to 'lead a national debate on civil liberties' but by resigning his seat he's making sure that debate is most firmly centered around....erm....him!
The Irish are counting the results today of their own referendum on the Lisbon treaty - now, that's the proper way to have a national debate about a big issue! Davis was, until yesterday, an elected representative of the people of Haltemprice and Howden who most probably voted for him because of his stance on many issues, and has forced a referendum in his own constituency. Meanwhile, the constituents of Haltemprice and Howden will face a pointless by-election in which they get to vote for the (a) dangerous right winger , the (b) nutcase right winger or the (c) facist, assuming that the usual shower of lunatic parties decide to stand a candidate.
(STOP PRESS: Need I say more, Kelvin MacKenzie, erstwhile editor of The Sun has announced he might be interested in standing in the seat - roll on this ridiculous showdown!).