Sunday, November 25, 2007


David Davis on a Sunday Morning

I have strange thoughts when I’m a bit bleary. Well, all the time, really, but watching David Davis talking to Andy Marr just now I was struck by the two people he seems to be turning into.

Now, I don’t like the man or many of his more loathsome views, but I’ve long thought he was the most effective Tory spokesperson and, to his credit, he stuck up for some civil liberties when the rest of his party didn’t – against ID cards when the rest of them thought they were a great idea for bossing people about, for example. A week and a half ago, as Paul Walter noted with a shudder, both aspects were on display on the Today Programme: he showed just how effective / dangerous (take your pick) he was by effortlessly ‘winning’ a tough interview of the sort that regularly has David Cameron whimpering; and, even more impressively, I agreed with every word as he forcefully demolished the Labour Government’s bullying desire to lock people up for two months without charge.

Watching his face today, though, it’s not his political Jekyll and Hyde liberal / illiberal stance that struck me. Or if it was, it was in a Dorian Gray way, that both were having their effect on the image I saw on the screen. Is it just me, or is he turning into an uncanny mix of Paddy Ashdown and the Emperor from the Star Wars films? Just take a look at that chiselled jaw, those tightly-narrowed eyes, but also that ghastly pallor, that ‘craggy’ becoming distorted as all that use of the Dark Side begins to take its toll.

Even his outstretched-hand-turned-to-the-side gesture looks like he can’t make up his mind between ‘dead spider’ and ‘Force lightning’.

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I have observed a similar process of physical change at work in Cameron over the past several months (though my points of comparison are not nearly so high-flown - the best description, and one I have stolen, is that he is turning into a thumb). I wonder what is going on at Shouty Plonker HQ? Is some obscure power source on the wane, so that the human rubber masks are beginning to fall away for good? Will John Redwood turn out to be a giant lizard after all?
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