Friday, 6 May 2005

Five More Years

Well, it is now May 6th, the day after the General Election. Blair has been re-elected with a much-reduced majority. Pangs of '92 about it all (which was pretty much how I thought it would be). Looks like Blair's majority will be 60-something, which means he'll have to start listening to the Parliamentary Party for the first time. And not all of them are "New Labour" disciples, so it could be that controversial measures such as ID cards get scrapped, if it looks like there's going to be a rebellion over it. Or, of course, if it all gets too rocky, he could always hang up his boots, which he has said he's going to do anyway during this term.

Locally, we're in the Salisbury constituency, which has always been true blue. Nevertheless, I voted Liberal, the only issue for me being Iraq, where neither of the main parties' stances are acceptable to me.

Unfortunately for me it made not a hoot of difference - not only was the Tory chap re-elected but he was re-elected with an increased majority. If anything, it shows that my views on the importance of Iraq are in a definite minority.

Elsewhere nationally, the Liberals picked up some seats against Labour but not against the Tories, so I think they'll end up with around ten more seats. But mainly it seems the Tories picked up some Labour seats (although obviously not enough). Best result of the night was in east London, where George Galloway beat the incumbent Labour minister to take the seat. Purely on the Iraq issue. Good for him, I say. He was slurred by the "New Labour" hierarchy, just as Ken Livingstone was before him, and has gone on to show that people of integrity can win against the party machines.

Howard has announced today that he will stand down "sooner rather than later". But who will replace him? Quite simply there are no shining stars on the horizon. Even if there were, these people would surely be mindful of the way in which IDS was deposed. He should hang on for a couple of years and use the time to develop some alternatives. I don't think the Tories will gain power while they have remnants of '97 in some of their top roles, he's got to bring new blood through.

On to other things, last weekend went basically to plan, with the exception of a visit to A&E. Alice has been sleeping terribly badly for the last week, complaining of pains in one arm. I resorted to A&E simply so we could reassure ourselves that the arm wasn't broken. But she had such degree of mobility that they didn't even X-ray her - during the night she was obviously in pain but during the day she seemed fine. So all the hospital did was give her a dose of Calpol. As an update on this, she did not improve so Jacqueline took her to the doctors a couple of days later, and upon hearing the symptoms the doctor immediately diagnosed "growing pains" (which I didn't think were real but which obviously are!). Right symptons, right age, it all fits. Only problem is, there's no solution other than to dope her up with pain killers until it goes away. So, we're all short of sleep at the moment...

Took the plunge and decided to upgrade the network - I had most but not all of the required hardware sitting around the place already, lying in its box. The pain was installing the new wireless access point in the loft - the current one uses "power over ethernet", in other words the box gets its power from the Cat5 cable which connects it to the wired LAN. So, there's no need to stick a plug in the loft, basically. However, the new one doesn't have this, so now I *am* going to have to stick a plug in the loft! Unless, of course, there's one there already that I haven't noticed (quite possible!). So, that's going to be the main task of the weekend. I'm also thinking of getting a wireless print server too, which might make life a little easier (the printer is currently dependent on a computer being turned on). I think I'm getting quite adept at spending small amounts of money in order to squeeze as much out of what I've got as possible.

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