A minor victory

July 11, 2008 at 11:04 am | Posted in Big Brother Britain, British Politics, Conservative Party | Leave a comment
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I suppose that given the mitigating factors – the lousy weather, the generally poor turn-out in by-elections and the fact that anyone in their right mind should be sunning themselves in the Mediterranean right now – the 34% turnout and 75% of the vote is a pretty impressive victory for David Davis.

Did the absence off the major parties turn it into a circus filled with loonies, fringe parties and knuckle-dragging malcontents? Absolutely, though Davis was gracious enough to acknowledge that the crowded field speaks well of our election system. Did the beauty queens, greengrocers and Elvis impersonators dilute the impact of Davis crusade? Perhaps, as it bolstered the media narrative that his campaign was quixotic and vainglorious. But did these factors fatally undermine his campaign? Only if your expectations were too high. At the very least, this by-election gave us another three weeks when the issue of 42 days – and civil liberties in general – had some place in the news. This meant it was being discussed by more than just bloggers and Guardian columnists. For all David Davis may or may not have achieved in Haltemprice & Howden, his prolonging the debate can only be a good thing.

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