Welcome Iain Dale readers
My former FCO lawyer colleague Dominic Raab has stormed home to win the Conservative Party nomination for the Esher and Walton parliamentary constituency, after securing a strong win in the constituency’s ‘open primary’ when any member of the public could come along to choose a candidate and some 700 did so.
Dominic has helped deal with war crimes trials at The Hague Tribunal so he is a formidable expert in justice at the sharp end. He’ll be a great asset to a future Conservative government.
Dominic has written an excellent book about the decline of civil liberties in the UK under Labour’s malign rule:
It perceptively links the torrent of legislation expanding the role of the state (often in manifestly oppressive ways) to underlying and maybe even instinctive collectivist assumptions about human nature and responsibility, but also shows how the subtlety of English law and the checks/balances therein have been seriously undermined in the process. Buy it.
David Cameron’s idea of opening up politics in this way is proving a fascinating (and so far successful) experiment. On the process of Dominic’s own selection, here is a good account of how it worked on the night. It’s all about exuding Confidence, which in turn is part of Leadership:
… a critical part of engaging the audience is to make them see you as the winner using your body language. This means subconsciously telling them that you are a winner, making it easier for them to choose you.
This is primarily demonstrated in the way the person enters and leaves. Everyone must have been hugely nervous, turning last minute ideas over in their heads, looking out for familiar faces...
Easier said than done. But Dominic did it.
This looks to be about as safe a seat as it gets. So Welcome, Dominic Raab MP.
A reader (see Comment) fears that the election of a former FCO official will merely reinforce British subservience to the EU:
I hope I’m wrong and that Mr Raab turns into a crusading, pro-independence nationalist but he won’t get rid of the over-mighty state without getting us out of the EU and, given Quisling Cameron, I doubt any intention to roll back the state.
I suspect that it is not Conservative policy to pull the UK out of the EU. But for anyone interested in the detail of the way the English tradition of rights has been entangled for the worse by European law ideas, Dominic’s book is excellent.
Plus he proposes specific ideas (including a Bill of Rights) for redefining the way human rights are seen by the courts in the UK, to bring a lot of policy areas back from the legal jurisdiction of Strasbourg/Brussels to our own courts’ control.
Just the sort of authoritative professional insight we want among our next batch of MPs.
As for rolling back the state, Dominic’s book quotes economist Irwin Stelzer’s 2008 warning that "there is a ‘tipping point’ at which the government’s share of the economy becomes so large that the private sector function efficiently". Stelzer feaed that that point would arrive when the government was claiming more than 40% of national income, a figure triumphantly attained by Gordon Brown with the results we all see.
If we want to see that situation rolled back, the only hope we have is to elect people who at least identify and analyse the problem accurately.