Friday, December 19, 2008

Something nice to say about National Express

I got to Kings Cross tonight in time to pick up my ticket from the machine and catch the 9pm train (made easier by its late departure). It was only when I found my seat reservation did not tally with what was on my ticket that I realised I have caught completely the wrong train. My ticket was for the 7.30pm, not the 9pm. The latter was what was in my diary. Somehow I had managed to book the earlier train (rarely done as seats on it are like gold dust) but made the wrong note in my diary. I decided to go off in search of a train guard and explain the situation. The result was that I was allowed to continue without being charged anything extra, even though the mistake was mine.

As I said in the Journal earlier this week, the staff of National Express are reasonable and understanding. And they have just proved to me again that description is quite accurate.

Meanwhile the latest twist in my cat story. This will mean nothing to readers of this blog but Facebook friends may know what I am on about. Our London cat, Jess, went missing on Wednesday. She had never been missing before, ever since we got the flat 9 years ago when she adopted us and moved in to take advantage of our hospitality.

So her disappearance was of some concern to us. Richard decided to produce a leaflet for the neighbourhood and deliver it this morning. It worked. To cut a long story short, she was located trapped in a flat in the neighbouring block to ours where the occupants had gone away for the xmas period. Jess had been heard by the people in the next flag crying and trying to get out. The RSPCA had even been called. Anyway, she was suitably rescued. Jess is back in our flat and we can relax again.

Anyway, I am now finished work for the year though tomorrow I have a photo op with Fiona Hall MEP and I have to finish the email newsletters. So much for trying to get them finished today. A mixture of too much to do and a number of new issues to write up. I hope to finish them this weekend but don't hold your breath.

Sent via BlackBerry


kevin scott said...

Good news about your cat, Jonathan.

Some pundits on a particular election forum are claiming your North East EUro MEP will be toast come June next year.

Any comments on that potential event?

Jonathan Wallace said...

Not having seen who the pundits are, I can't comment on whether or not they are hacks for other parties. As for the election outcome itself, it will be close. As with 2004, a few votes across the region will make all the difference.

I have however been in politics for nearly 28 years and for nearly all that time, "pundits" have been declaring us toasted, squeezed, dead, doomed, destroyed, crushed, flattened, etc. We are of course still here.

kevin scott said...

Yes, but the point they are making (and I agree) is that the Lib Dem's 2004 success in the North East Euro elections coincided in a surge of support for your party in local elections that were held at the same time.

That won't be the case next year since the only other elections in the North East are mayoral elections in North Tyneside and Hartlepool. Your party is not a contender in either of those elections.

Add to that the fact that UKIP is imploding and the independent, Neil Herron, is 'not planning' to contest the election and most of those votes will either go to the Tories or the BNP (particularly in Sunderland, where Herron polled strongly), so it looks like your party could be squeezed by the Tories and Labour who look on course to take the three seats.

You may be right and the imminent demise of your Euro MEP could be prevented.

But, since you are also flatlining in the national opinion polls under your new(ish) leader Nick Clegg, I don't share yoir optimism, Jonathan.

Jonathan Wallace said...

UKIP and Herron votes going to the Tories makes no difference to the actual seats won unless it pushes up the Tory vote to a point where they are more than twice what the Lib Dem vote is. There is nothing to indicate that the Tories are doing well enough in the North East to suggest they are twice as strong. And this year's local elections put the Tories in 3rd place behind us.

The factor that will ultimately decide the 3rd seat is the relative position of Labour and Lib Dems. If Labour have more than twice the vote of the Lib Dems, Labour will win 2 seats. If they are less than double, Fiona holds her seat. As I said before (and your interpretation that this is being optimistic strikes me as odd) it will be close. Across the region, a relatively tiny number of votes will swing it.

One other factor is the switch from all postal voting to the more traditional method though with a large number of people voting by post. Quite who benefits from this will be interesting to see.

kevin scott said...

Yes, it will all depend on who can turn out their vote in an election which, historically, is prone to low turnouts.

I realise you are always keen to downplay Tory chances in the North East, but UKIP and Herron garnered about 17% of the vote last time with Herron polling particularly well in Sunderland, an area the Tories did spectacularly well in May's local elections.

Moreover, the national media will spin the Euro election as the first great national test between Brown and Cameron. Your party could easily be squeezed as some of your support deserts you in order to punish Brown.

Ironically, you may have to reply on a BNP surge at Labour's expense next June if your MEP is to keep her seat in Brussels.

Don't worry Jonathan, we intend to do our very best in the North East in order to oblige!!

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