Brighton 1 – Ipswich 1. Brighton live to fight another season of Championship football. Hurrah!
My bet – Tony and Gordon will move for a referendum on the euro as soon as the Conservative leadership contest turns nasty – assuming it does (most previous contest have done so), which may be why Mr Howard has given the party space to bring in new rules in an attempt to smooth and hasten the process.
Right, election over. Move along. What’s next?
On the subject of the election result, I can’t see last night’s outcome really changing anything. The Tories certainly didn’t make any spectacular gains that are worth mentioning (at least in terms of share of the vote), whilst the LibDems continued their steady improvement and have certainly done more to be taken seriously as a proper third party. For Labour, the fact that a lot of the Blairites have disappeared will weaken the leader, but probably not sufficiently to change his plans regarding stepping down.
As I see it, the opposition parties still have a lot to do to be in a position to replace Labour in 2009. Or, more likely, Labour have yet to make that really big cock-up that will lose an election (although they’ve made some fairly horrendous cock-ups so far).
Our challenge this morning has been trying to decide how to vote in the county council election. Labour aren’t really an option, as the council has only ever been either LibDem or Tory. The Tories are the current incumbents.
Having studied the literature, I can find hardly any differences in policy at a local level. The main one I have found is that the LibDems oppose the introduction of charges for local car parks, whereas the Tories would rather introduce them and reduce the Council Tax – either way, you end up paying for the car park somewhere. Also, there is a rather complicated argument about the local planning process which essentially boils down to the LibDems wanting to keep the existing cumbersome and expensive process or the Tories wanting to spend a lot of money to change it – either way, it ends up costing us somewhere.
On balance, we feel that it comes down to track record and, put crudely, the Tories have increased the Council Tax more slowly during their period in charge than the LibDems did when they were in charge. Services have also improved and a few niggling local issues seem to have been sorted out.
So, it looks like a split ballot for me – different Xs on each of the two papers. But at least I can feel safe in the knowledge that I’ve voted locally in the local election and nationally in the national election. I encourage you to do the same.
Oh, and another factor – only the Tory county council candidate bothered to visit Ruralville (or our home at least) – so we can be sure that he knows we exist out here.
UPDATE – H has been to the polling station already and caused quite a stir, being the only voter there and causing palpitations for the rather elderly polling station officers who clearly are not used to such glamour so early in the day! I’m on my way there now.
Nipped round to the pub this evening to watch some big grown men dancing and hitting big sticks, with bells tied around their ankles and wrists. Apparently, good luck and fertility shall favour those that watch Morris dancing. Not sure about the fertility bit, but I had the misfortune of having to stand the drinks. Bah.
Ruralville must be one of the few places in the south east of England where Morris dancers can perform their rituals in the middle of the main road at 8.30 on a Wednesday evening with no fear of being run over.
My car broke down today. Thanks to Big Brother, I managed to get it to my parent’s home. He’s going to replace the thermostat switch which has failed, resulting in overheating and loss of coolant when I got caught in a horrendous traffic jam surrounding a lorry accident on the A27 this afternoon. Gah.
Turbotanks – hard. I can’t get past level 4. But brilliant, nonetheless.
Interesting – the Protest Vote Party. I’m not sure that suggesting that people put their X against the PVP simply because they do not know enough about the candidates and their policies is really going to encourage them to do so – in fact, I think that such a suggestion is more likely to deter those who have rejected the other candidates after thorough consideration.