Man of principles

BBC: David Davis resigns from Commons

Shadow home secretary David Davis has resigned as an MP.

He is to force a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency which he will fight on the issue of the new 42-day terror detention limit…

He told reporters outside the Commons: "I will argue in this by-election against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government."

As well as the new 42-day detention limit, Davis also cited CCTV cameras and identity cards as things that are eroding our civil liberties.

An MP with principles. Remember those? Me neither. No doubt Labour will chicken out of standing against him.

Unfortunately, he neglected to mention the smoking ban in his list of assaults on our freedoms.

Meanwhile, in related news…

BBC: No deals on 42 days, says Brown

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has firmly rejected claims he "bought" victory in a Commons vote on terror detention…

Opponents claim Mr Brown swayed the DUP with extra cash for Northern Ireland—but Mr Brown insist they voted on national security grounds.

"There were no deals," Mr Brown told a Downing Street media conference.

I wish I'd been at that press conference. I would like to have asked the following question:

"Tell me, Prime Minister, are you familiar with the phrase pants on fire?"

An opportunity missed

Compare and contrast:

President George W Bush:

Today Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial - the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Amnesty International:

Amnesty International has condemned the Iraqi Appeal Court's decision on 26 December 2006 to confirm the death sentences on Saddam Hussein and two of his co-accused in the al-Dujail trial and said the court should have ordered a re-trial. The organization said it opposed the death penalty in all circumstances but it was especially egregious when this ultimate punishment is imposed after an unfair trial.

The trial of Saddam Hussein and his seven co-accused before the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) was deeply flawed and unfair, due to political interference which undermined the independence of the court and other serious failings," sad Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa programme. "The Appeals Court should have addressed these deficiencies and ordered a fair re-trial, not simply confirmed the sentences as if all was satisfactory at the trial stage.

It was absolutely right that Saddam Hussein should be held to account for the massive violations of human rights committed by his regime, but justice requires a fair process and this, sadly, was far from that, "said Malcolm Smart."The trial should have been a landmark in the establishment of the rule of law in Iraq after the decades of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. It was an opportunity missed.

Torturers' Relationship

BBC: Bush enters Cheney 'torture row'

US President George Bush has reiterated his position that the US administration does not condone torture, following comments by Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Hell, I detest Cheney as much as the next guy, but I have to agree with Bush on this one: torturing him seems a little bit harsh.

(Unless it's just a quick dunk in the water, I suppose.)


BBC: Israel admits phosphorous bombing

Israel has for the first time admitted it used controversial phosphorous bombs during fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July and August.

That's chemical weapons to you and me.

You might remember that Saddam Hussein is currently on trial for, amongst other things, using those sorts of weapons. But Saddam, of course, is an evil war-monger, whereas Israel is participating in a war on terrorism.

So that's all right, then.