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My local election result

My local election result

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempt to be elected as a Conservative Councillor for my local ward of Panshanger in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield. Last year the Conservatives lost this ward to the Liberal Democrats by 37 votes. After a very hard-fought campaign I actually managed to secure more votes than the previous Conservative candidate. Unfortunately, the winning candidate, Liberal Democrat Jane Quinton, did even better, extending the Liberal Democrat lead to nearly 200. National issues clearly played…

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On Leaving the Civil Service

On Leaving the Civil Service

Almost a year ago today I formally left the civil service. Handing in my notice was one of the hardest things I’ve voluntarily done. I’d joined the civil service immediately after leaving university and loved it. I’d done incredibly exciting things, from meeting ministers, working on policy as it was formed, going to No. 10 and to the House of Commons and even working overseas in the Philippines. The work was meaningful, enjoyable and interesting; I’d worked with some of…

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Twilight Struggle

Twilight Struggle

Would anyone be interested in a ‘correspondence’  game of Twilight Struggle? Twilight Struggle is a great two-player game based on the Cold War. The two players represent the US and USSR and use cards to compete for influence in the other countries in the world. Cards can represent operations, like adding influence or organising coups, or historical events from hosting the Olympic Games to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In some ways, the game is slightly reminiscent of Go, in that…

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2018: First Year of the New Blog

2018: First Year of the New Blog

A short look back on my blogging over 2018. I started blogging again in April 2018. In the roughly nine months of that year I wrote just over 95 blog posts, received just over 10,000 views and 214 comments (though some people also comment on Facebook and Twitter). December was the most visited month, with just over 1,800 views – driven, as always by the Christmas Quiz – while the most popular single post was about the TEF card game,…

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Five Questions Meme

Five Questions Meme

With thanks to liv for posting the meme and for setting me the questions below. For those not familiar, the way it works is that anyone who would like questions can ask for them; they then get set five questions – potentially about anything at all – that the original poster thinks they would find interesting to answer and others would find interesting to read. So without further ado, the questions I was set: 1. Would you rather be notable…

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My first Conservative Party Conference

My first Conservative Party Conference

This week I attended my first ever Conservative Party Conference (for that matter, my first ever political conference). As a civil servant, these had been strictly off limits, a banned political activity as mysterious and transgressive as they come, so it was with particular excitement that I headed up to Birmingham on Saturday. Some people, like me, may have absorbed a number of myths about the Conference, based on media reporting; namely, that it is expensive, that it is overly…

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Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

I spent most of Sunday trying to see the Chequers Brexit agreement in the best positive light. The deal seemed a long way from what I would have liked to see in a Brexit – which, as I’ve written before, would be some form of FTA arrangement. It ceded far too much control to Brussels – and that was even before the negotiations begin, in which no doubt the position would be compromised further. But I was conscious that I…

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Happy Birthday, NHS

Happy Birthday, NHS

Happy Birthday, NHS! I’m proud to celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of Britain’s best and most brilliant institutions. The NHS is absolutely fantastic. I’ve personally been fortunate enough in my health that I’ve not needed much from the NHS beyond childhood vaccinations and the mending of a broken finger, but every other member of my immediate family, and many of my friends, owe their lives to it. I don’t normally talk about my family on this blog, but I’ll…

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Democracy in Action

Democracy in Action

I attended my first election counting on Thursday evening. If you’ve never been to one, it’s a sight to see. Utterly simple yet incredibly effective; a community coming together to provide one of the most important public goods that we know of: democratic government. There must have been close to 200 people in the hall that night: counters, the returning officer, candidates and observers, all working through the night. The counters are (usually) employees of the local council, whilst the…

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