Monday, 31 May 2010

Woburn Safari Park

I have been in London for 30 years. Woburn Safari Park has been in existence for 40 years. So I have no idea why I suddenly suggested last week, that we head there for a day.

Anyway it was a fun day, though being bank holiday weekend it was all a bit too busy.

Here are a few photos I took.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Visit to Malaga

I have returned from our short visit to Malaga, which was very enjoyable. The weather was great - sunny but not too hot. We went to the beach on four occasions. We also went to the Vino Mio a couple of times, one of them on my birthday. Food was great as always. On Friday we took the train through to Fuengirola to see 'Putting on the Glitz' at the Salon Varietes. It was fabulous. Hugely talented performers and crew. The choreography was not easy but they mastered it perfectly. Very impressive for an all-amateur theatre group.

I also tested out the new camera which Andrew gave me for my birthday. I had managed to drop my previous camera once too often. The new camera, A Sony DSC-TX5 is dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and waterproof to a depth of 10 feet. The sea at the Malagueta beach is not clear enough for underwater shots, but this is one I took from in the sea looking towards the shore.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Riding the Mawddach Trail

The week before last, we had a few days in mid-Wales, near Machynnleth. Andrew decided we should take our bicycles, even though neither of us has cycled for many years. I am glad we did. We decided to cycle the Mawddach Trail down an old railway line to Barmouth.

The good thing about old railway lines is that there is no real uphill. It was a sunny day if a bit chilly and windy. Anyway here is what I captured on my flip video.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

General Election (6)

It was Harold Wilson who said 'A week is a long time in politics'. The events of the past 7 days have shown the truth of this.

There was I, a week ago, disappointed with the election result and blogging that Nick Clegg had an impossible choice. Ideologically I would have preferred a deal with the Labour party, but I realised that the political arithmetic simply did not add up. So a deal with the Tories became almost inevitable.

I have never voted Tory in my life. So a LibDem / Tory alliance was a difficult concept for me to accept. But I have been impressed with David Cameron over the past week. And of course impressed with Nick Clegg. The deal is a good one. Importantly, I think it is a deal that could last a full parliament.

And interestingly it is not so much the Labour party that is marginalised, but in fact the Tory right wing. We get the best of the Tories (and there is some of that) and the best of the LibDems.

I applaud the courage of both Nick Clegg and David Cameron. And I look forward to a fascinating political situation, not least in the House of Commons.

Bring it on.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

General Election (5)

Well the voting is over and the result is in. Or perhaps not quite in.

My feeling? My over-riding feeling is one of great disappointment. What happened to all the voters who, according to the polls, were going to vote Lib Dem? I suspect that the younger voters, who were more likely to vote Lib Dem, simply did not bother to vote.

I feel a bit like I do being a supporter of the Scotland football team. Lots of hope and expectation - always dashed at the last minute.

But of course the election is not over. We do not know who will be Prime Minister. And despite the disappointing result, Nick Clegg has a vital, yet hugely difficult decision to make. Coalition with the Tories? Which would prop up a party with which the Lib Dems have huge policy disagreements. A informal agreement with the Tories? Which is a bit wishy-washy. A coalition with Labour. Which would prop up a defeated party. Frankly, all of those have huge risks.

In my view, the opportunity given to Nick Clegg to press for voting reform is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And he must make this a precondition of any pact. The whole country would gain if voting reform comes about. But promises on this must be cast-iron ones. If Clegg can deliver voting reform, he will make the political process meaningful again.

If he has the courage to walk away from any Tory offer that does not contain voting reform - real reform not just a Constitutional Commission on the issue - he will face concerted approbation from the right-wing media. He needs to recognise that and ignore it.

So I wish Nick Clegg strength and courage over the next few days. The stakes are high. A Tory government with the power to decide the date of the next election, would almost certainly win a full majority on the first-past-the-post system. Let us do our best now to ensure that will not happen.

I want to continue to be able to wear the T-shirt saying 'I agree with Nick'

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

General Election (4)

I had a postal vote. And I voted for the Lib Dems in both the national and local election. Nothing has happened since I voted to make me doubtful about that vote. It was a positive vote made for positive reasons. The Lib Dems have a realistic plan for economic recovery, a strong team, a good leader and, above all, a vision for social justice which is stronger than that of the other two parties.

But I am worried. The latest polls are suggesting that the Tories might get an overall majority. And the Lib Dem vote is slipping. marginally but perceptively. I say to the British people, please do not be fooled by Cameron's false rhetoric. Please do not allow Chris Grayling, Liam Fox, Theresa May et al to taste government again. Please keep the momentum going for a fairer society.

A country should be judged by its treatment of its minorities. If the Tories win, then Britain will be a less comfortable country to live in for single parents, migrant workers, gays and lesbians and the very poor. Don't let that happen.

I have always liked watching election night on the television. I shall be glued to the television on Thursday night and into the early hours on Friday. But I am apprehensive about whether I shall enjoy the result.

Fingers crossed.