The received political and media wisdom about David Davis's "one issue by-election" says more about the commentators than the man himself. To a cynical, unprincipled careerist (and a journalist accustomed to reporting on such creatures) Davis's actions make no sense. All they can see is that he damaged his "career" by distracting attention from his Party's leader to the latter's annoyance.
Perhaps that is even how David Cameron sees it. I hope not. As Gordon Brown is discovering, no PM can stand alone. He needs to be surrounded by high quality people to prosper.
Davis has proved that to him there are things more important than his career. I would hope that is true for all of us. As the things Davis values are those that our ancestors valued more highly than life itself, it should not really be shocking. That our political classes are shocked shows how much our island race has dwindled.
It used to be a commonplace that people went into politics out of a spirit of public duty. They had a desire to "give something back" to a society of which they were proud. We can all think of many historical politicians who derived only the dubious benefit of fame from their careers. By their cynical comments on Davis's actions, our modern politicians and pundits are proving that those days are over.
Since parties began to prefer "career politicians" as candidates; men and women with politics degrees and a "real life" background only in think tanks, lobbying, political journalism and government consultancy, people have increasingly lost faith in the political process. Politics should not be a game. It should be an honest pursuit for concerned citizens; ideally those whose experience and understanding of real life equips them for the job.
Only those who see it as a game with prizes could see David Davis as a failure. Since the "prizes" are paid for by the rest of us, we should aspire to exclude such people from politics. I regard David Davis's campaign as a useful litmus test. Every politician and journalist who sneered is to be regarded with suspicion.