Some things he might have missed:
"I want Labour to debate this pre-eminent issue. If they think we are soft on terror, or my arguments don't run with ordinary people, then turn up at the byelection and prove it. If they don't come, we will have the campaign anyway, and find people to argue both sides of the debate."
1) Labour just did debate this pre-eminent issue. In the House of Commons. He was there. Next, it's going to the Lords. Then it'll be back in the Commons. That's Parliament for you. By-elections are, on the whole, somewhat less representative of the nation.
2) What exactly will winning this by-election (5000 majority, nearest rival not running) do? Force the Commons to reconsider? Does contempt for the sovereignty of Parliament really fit with his new role as champion of our freedoms, or has he not grasped that 1 is considerably less than 646?
3) Does he realise just how little 99% of the nation cares about any given by-election? Not at all would be a good first-order approximation.
4) Does he think he's at a school debating society? "We'll find people to argue both sides" - and then hey - we'll do the show right here! Presumably, if he can't find people to act as sparring partners it'll be a dramatic indictment of the weakness of the government case and not, say, a queasy unwillingness to take part in the David Davis Debatorama.
Finally there's this:
If people disagree with me, the only explanation is that they're ignorant, or stupid. I mean, what's the point of democracy when people keep getting it wrong?"There is a huge imperative to get the public engaged on this issue and get beyond the soundbites. Last week there were polls showing 68% in favour of the government's policy. That 68%could not have understood or read the policy, so the only way to break through that is to get a serious debate going in a one issue byelection."