Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well meant advice?

I read in this weekend's Montgomeryshire County Times an article written by the former MP, Lembit Opik, advising me what objectives I should set for myself. Interesting thought I, but nothing wrong with that. I've had all sorts of people giving me advice. But the bit that gets me is that he claims he would have achieved these objectives if only he had not lost the election. Lets look at them in turn, and see what you think.

First up is the removal of five sets of traffic lights in Newtown, and the delivery of a new by-pass for the town. I've been involved in campaigning for this by-pass for decades. Its over 20 years since I was told with absolute conviction (when I was Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales) that a by-pass would be completed within 10 years! Actually, I do believe that we will see a Newtown By-pass started within five years - mainly because of the seriously unwise decision to allow Tesco the build prematurely, which has caused such traffic chaos. A point I do have to make is that this issue is devolved to the National Assembly, and so does not fall within the MP's power - which is what Lembit found out when he tried to have one of the sets of lights removed. It will be a big issue for me though - but for our 'team' of MP, AM and councillors. I reckon I'm in with a chance on this one.

Second up is to save the jobs at Shop Direct at Newtown. The former MP claims to have helped postpone the job losses until December. Must admit that's at angry variance to what people working at Shop Direct have been telling me. Lembit also tells us that he was 'in negotiations' with buyers for the firm. I shall write to the local Lib Dem office tomorrow to ask for the details of these buyers. No stone can be left unturned. I'm sure he'll be keen to let me have the contacts. I'll keep you posted on this. I will also pass anything promising on to the Assembly Government who are leading the search for a buyer.

Third up is to restore the Montgomery Canal to the national canal network by 2015, which it seems can only happen with the right 'MP input'. I was involved in this project for 15 years before Lembit even moved to Montgomeryshire from the North East of England. Its a worthy objective but has been fraught with frustration and delay over many decades. I'm an enthusiast, and will discuss it when I launch the Dingy Dawdle on the Canal next month - but I do think connecting to the network in 5 years could be too tall an order.

Fourth objective is the restoration of A and E services to our hospitals. He's off on one here. Two points to make. No way can this happen, no matter how brilliant an MP we may have lost - and its not an MP's call anyway. He must have known this when he wrote the words. The best we can hope to see is a better Minor Injuries Unit service. The issue of greater importance (this is a job for the MP, and realistic) is to retain a full A and E service at the Royal Shrewsbury. I'm already well onto this one.

What did surprise me was that there was no mention in this wish list of keeping our secondary schools open, complete with their sixth forms - again not really a job for the MP, except as part of a 'team' including councillors and an AM. I'd have expected this to be at No 1. However I look at things, my predecessor has set me a pretty stiff challenge. Better change my name by deed poll to Glyn 'Hercules' Davies without delay.

Azaleas on fire.

We have around 50 azaleas in our garden - all sorts of colours and sizes. Today they were on fire. Most years we have group visits in June/July - but this year I've been so otherwise occupied that there has been no time to prepare. This dazzler is about 8 feet tall. Should be viewed through dark glasses to protect eyesight.
This deep yellow is one of the most attractive that we grow. We've planted half a dozen of them fairly close together for impact. And it works. This photograph includes two of them.
Pink azaleas are not my favorites, but I've included this one to show the variety of colour available. We also have several white azaleas, but still not big enough to justify inclusion in my choice of four.
I had to include the old fashioned yellow that often grows in the wild. It carries a nice scent, which Mrs D likes - but I cannot pick up myself. We grow lots of these in shady sites under larger trees.

Moving a rubber tree plant.

I was browsing through the ConservativeHome site this afternoon when I came upon its 'Hits and Misses' on the Tory target list for the 2010 General Election. And into the outer recesses of my mind wandered Frank Sinatra's relaxing voice, crooning the line "Everyone knows an ant can't move a rubber tree plant". Of course an ant can't, but Frank's message was that the ant should not give up trying. I remember Sunderland beating Leeds in the Cup Final, when Ian Porterfield scored the winner. Sometimes crazy things happen.

If you scroll down, you'll see that I was no 210 on the Tory target list. If our team in Montgomeryshire had known just how hopeless a case we were, we may well have given up. Good job no-one told us how big of an ask it was. No-one else outside the the top 200 targets made it across the winning line. And some people ask me why I looked a bit taken aback to have won! And with a reasonable majority at that. "Woops, there goes another rubber tree plant".

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Star of the week.

For the time being, my blogging is probably going to be limited to the weekend. At least until I have a fully functioning office. So choosing a Westminster 'Star of the Week' seems a reasonable idea. Its all subjective of course - and depends on who happens to be speaking when I'm in the chamber. And David Cameron and William Hague don't count - because they would probably win every week.

This week there are joint winners - Peter Lilley and David Laws. The former moved acceptance of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday with great wit and just about the right degree of independent opinion. The latter, responded to an Urgent Question from Alistair Darling about the £6.2 billion of spending reductions that had been announced earlier in the week. OK, so things have not gone smoothly for David since then, but I thought his performance was outstanding.

Here's an extract from Lilley's speech, speaking of his pleasure at being invited by Mr Speaker to be involved in moving the motion " is an honour traditionally shared by a genial old codger and an oily young man on the way up. When the Speaker assured me that this year the criteria were different, I assumed he was referring to the fact that I am still mid career, until he added that instead of an oily young man , we have got a Lib Dem"

And another one. "Coalition requires compromise. Neither party can achieve all that it promised in its manifesto and many of us are receiving letters from our constituents upset that measures they voted for are not now in the coalition programme. There is a simple reason for that. The Conservative Party did not receive enough votes or seats to deliver all our manifesto pledges. The solution is more votes next time."

Here's a taste of David Laws "The previous Government were borrowing at the rate of £3billion per week - that is an unsustainable rate. Those huge public debts threaten financial stability and, if left unchecked, would derail the economic recovery."

And here's another - speaking to Alistair Darling "We appreciate he took over the economic position and the Treasury at a difficult time and also had to deal with the difficult circumstances of having a Prime Minister of the type that the last Prime Minister was".

As I post this blog, I do not know where today's revelations about David Laws expenses in the Daily Telegraph will lead. I can only comment that the loss of David Laws from the Coalition Cabinet will be a huge disappointment to me.

UPDATE - Fellow bloggers are reporting that David Laws has resigned. I make no comment about whether this is right or wrong - but it brings nothing but great disappointment to me. In a very short time he has shown us that he is/was an outstandingly good and impressive Minister.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Political Betting.

Matt Withers has written a good piece for today's Wales on Sunday about the contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party. He makes some nice comparisons, which I'd like to share.

1) Matt describes the job of leading the Labour Party as being as attractive as the 'Welsh Rugby Team's jockstrap cleaner'. At least its pleasing to learn that they do have them cleaned. My friend, Edna Mopbucket would probably do the job for nothing. And in passing, Brilliant Blues this afternoon. Makes up for yesterday's other code woes.

2) Matt compares Peter Hain's decision to rule out a bid for the leadership with his own decision to rule out dating Anne Hathaway. I too announce today that I'm ruling out a bid to become the next Dr. Who.

3) Matt dismisses Dianne Abbott's bid as the equivalent of one of those novelty records released at Xmas which don't make the top 40. I see what he means, but personally, I think it could still be good enough to win.

4) Matt reckons Ed Balls' claims to be able to unite the Labour Party as the equivalent of Tony Blair being appointed Middle East peace envoy!! Now, how far fetched is that?

He ends up dismissing the 'Miliband Two' as only having read about working class people in history books - and advises us to place a wager on Andy Burnham. Until this morning I fancied Ed Miliband's chances - but then Lord Kinnock came out for him. Could be worse, I suppose. At least it wasn't Gordon Brown. Speaking of wagers, I met a man yesterday who got 15-1 against me winning the Montgomeryshire seat. Mrs D only had 8-1, while No 1 son, Edward had a mean spirited 5-1. Pity was that my friend only bet £5. Mrs D risked only £25. I risked nothing at all.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family Album

Our two grandchildren have not appeared on this blog for a while. Little Darragh, as he is invariably described is a very cheerful young person. No 3 son, Tim and Adrienne are blessed. His mum lifted him up for this photograph. He is just five months old.
And here's Ffion. No I son, Edward and Karen are also blessed - but she's quite a handful. Ffi is two and a half, and does not like to be left out of anything. When I said "lift" for Darragh's photograph, up went her arms in sympathy.
And here's is Edward. At 1300 hours today he opened his birthday presents, which included a flying lesson. I had to take him to the Welshpool - Montgomeryshire Airport myself - in case he refused to get in the plane. Here he is inspecting the vehicle. I heard him asking the tutor what happened if the propeller stopped turning. Tutor laughed - but I thought it was a fair question.
Anyway, the 'hugely brave' Edward finally boarded the plane, and here it is on a fly past. Immediately after this photograph, the pilot pulled his joystick back (if that's what they do) and the plane shot up about 100 feet. When he eventually landed, he claimed to have enjoyed himself.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What on earth is Mr Hain talking about.

Sometimes, its possible to be involved in a 'nonsense' discussion. This is how I felt this morning as I listened to former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain talking about the expected referendum on transferring law making powers to the National Assembly for Wales in those policy areas already devolved. I'd risen early in order to hear him speak on Good Morning Wales at 7.00 am.. I was speaking on the same programme myself at 8.00,along with the Lib Dem AM, Peter Black. As you might expect of new 'coalition' buddies, Peter Black and I were in complete agreement - while it seemed to me that Peter Hain was blustering incoherently as he tried to re-write history.

Lets go back a step. The Assembly Coalition Government (Labour and Plaid Cymru) agreed in 2007 that this referendum should be held before, or on the day of the next Assembly election in May 2011. And it was quickly 'accepted' that the same day would not be appropriate for such a significant decision. We then had several months of pointless time wasting on this issue, before Sir Emyr Jones-Parry (a highly competent retired diplomat) was asked to head an even more pointless time-wasting commission - which eventually told us what we knew in 2007. During this period, some of us were pointing out that the time needed to hold the referendum meant moving much more quickly. Personally, I strongly suspect that neither Labour nor Plaid actually wanted it, but did want to blame a new Conservative Government for refusing it. But Conservative leader, David Cameron fired an Exocet into this plan with his Broughton declaration, which announced that Wales could have its referendum if it were to be asked for. That must have caused a few feathers to fly in the Cardiff coalition hen house as devious plans were shredded. But lets move on.

The National Assembly was eventually asked to vote on the issue in February 2010 - a date so late that this blog (and others) questioned whether my preferred October date could now be met. Even then, it took Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, 10 days to pass on the letter to Peter Hain asking for the referendum. Now we reach a point of disagreement between Peter Hain and his successor, Cheryl Gillan. He tells us that he moved the process on when in office, while during her first five days, she can find no evidence whatsoever of this. Interesting. I hope the Foi questions been submitted. Whatever, we are where we are. The Electoral Commission tell us they need 10 weeks to settle the question which will be put to the people. There are but 7 or 8 weeks before the summer recess. You do the arithmetic. The Parliamentary work needed after the Electoral Commission has finished its work cannot take place until Parliament returns in October. And there will need to be several weeks campaigning before the referendum can actually take place. None of this is news to anyone who has been reading what I (and others) have been writing for years. Personally, I still hope there may be a way around this, but it will have nothing at all to do with Peter Hain, whom I think we should refer to as 'The Great Obstucturist' whenever discussing this matter.

To finish, another couple of points about what Mr Hain has been saying. He insists that the time needed by the Electoral Commission must not be "telescoped". And we know that he has long held the view that the referendum should not be held until after the next Assembly Election anyway. You make your own mind up about what to think of all this. Perhaps 'nonsense' was too kind a word.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Welsh at Westminster

This morning I 'appeared' on a phone-in on BBC Northern Ireland. It seems that I've inspired a new Northern Ireland MP to include a few words of Ulster-Scottish in his maiden speech. Must admit I didn't know there was such a language. One caller claimed it was no more than a dialect. Anyway, let me explain how I arrived in such an odd situation.

Last week, all new MPs joined in a 'familiarisation' session in the House of Commons Chamber. After a few presentations, we were invited to ask questions - as if it was a full blown session. I decided to flex my voice and ask whether I would be allowed to use a couple of sentences of Welsh in my maiden speech. Back came the answer that Mr Speaker might just allow it, if I were to translate any words spoken in the language of heaven into English, the official language of the House of Commons. I intend to give it a go, and hope that Mr Speaker exercises his now legendary generosity in allowing it. I can crawl with the best when needs be! After the meeting, other new MPs told me that they rather liked the idea, and might also try a few words of Yr Iaith Cymraeg. I hope Mr Speaker hasn't had enough of it by the time I deliver my own maiden speech.

So I've been speaking Welsh in three very different formal situations today - two minutes on Irish radio, giving Irish listeners a taste of our language, another three minutes for Newyddion about the Coalition agreement, and taking the oath before Mr Speaker in the house. Several of us did this. The oath has to be taken in English first, in order to make legal the taking of the oath in Welsh. Anyway, it seems I've had a bit of influence on what happens at Westminster already.

Voting with my leader.

Yesterday, along with other Conservative MPs I attended a meeting where David Cameron informed us that a referendum of Conservative MPs was to be held about the constitution of the 1922 Committee. The proposal put to us was that all Conservative MPs, including all those on the Government payroll, would have voting membership of the Committee, which previously had been reserved for backbenchers only. The ballot opened very soon afterwards and continued this morning. 168 of us voted for the proposed change, while 118 voted against it. Must admit I found it a difficult decision, but after much careful thought, I decided to back the proposal. I received quite a bit of advice to vote otherwise.

What concerned me was that we were setting aside 88 years of history, and had very little time to hold discussions which might have helped new parliamentarians come to a considered conclusion. So what to do. Over recent months, I've developed a huge respect for David Cameron, and in the end I decided to give him my support. He wants us to go forward during what may be a very turbulent period in British politic history as 'one party' encompassing the whole parliamentary party - not as two separate groups, backbenchers and frontbenchers. OK, I might feel uncertain when setting aside such a long standing tradition, but I'm pleased that the Prime Minister had his way.

So that's three big meetings of the Parliamentary Party in a matter of days. Firstly, we were consulted on the ongoing discussions with the Liberal Democrats, which led up to a coalition. Secondly, we were all called to meet the Prime Minister soon after he had returned from the Palace after accepting the Queen's invitation to form a Government. And thirdly there was last night's meeting which fundamentally changed the backbenchers 'committee' which had existed for 88 years. And I've only been an MP for two weeks. Its mentally exhausting. Not since the 1940s/50s have new parliamentarians been involved in such meetings.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Resting - not dead

Being elected a Member of Parliament is a very big deal - especially if it was not a foregone conclusion. Simply do not have time to blog. During the last two/three weeks of the campaign I was working at the edge of my personal capacity. And then it was straight down to Westminster to join in the most tumultuous period of modern political history. But I will always be able to say that I was there. Big advance this morning when Jan began working for me - temporarily out of our Welshpool office. Eventually she will be based at a new Newtown office. Off to London now, for a week of 'swearing in' beginning with the Speaker tomorrow - which rumour suggests could be interesting. I'm expecting to be done on Thursday.
Anyway, took a stroll around the garden this afternoon - with my camera. The top photograph is the entrance to Cil Farm. It seems such a short time ago that I planted the horse chestnuts that frame the gateway. Pity all my fancy brickwork is covered up. David Cameron chops logs, and Gladstone cut down trees. I shear sheep and build with bricks. Second photo is one of our earliest Azaleas. By next week they will all be out. Our garden will be at its best. But the election ruled out any visitor groups this year.
This prunus is Edward and Karen's wedding tree - which they gave us as a sort of reverse wedding present.
And last up are our Canada Goose family. There were six babies this year, but one went missing - to where I know not. We try to farm the garden for wild life, and this family have been joining us every spring since we dug out the pond.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dust beginning to settle.

Can just about see light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing that can be described as 'out of the woods'. But during the day, I've spoken with someone who might run my office at Westminster, and another someone who might start dealing with the mountain of constituency work at home, and have decided where my constituency office will be. All in all, I sense the threat of disorder to be receding. Main problem has been the unexpected media opportunity that came my way in the back-wash of a high profile election win/defeat. Couldn't afford to let such a chance pass by ungrabbed. And today, I was back on my favorite programme of all - Called to Order - though not of course with the late great Patrick Hannan. But fair play, Adrian Masters is doing a decent job of trying to fill those very large shoes.

Big issue today, as its been for days, was the Coalition. All my political life, my main opponents have been the Liberal Democrats - and here I am, climbing into bed with them. And with enthusiasm - though I must admit its a case of 'needs must' bed-sharing rather than a 'starry eyed consummation'. The most serious political issue of our time is Britain's need for a stable government to tackle a financial and economic crisis. Its likely that very unpopular actions will have to be taken. Most sensible people know this - and know that it would have been the case whatever the result of the election. A Conservative minority government could not have carried its programme, and there would have been another election later in the year. The idea of a Labour/Lib Dem/Uncle Tom Cobley coalition would have been rejected as a story line by Hans Christian Anderson as too far fetched. It was time for the holding of noses an doing what had to be done - by Lib Dems as well as Conservatives.

And now its done I can see some local advantage here in Montgomeryshire. Normally, the defeated Lib Dems would have kicked lumps out of the heartless 'Tories' for 'savage, ruthless cuts'. Now of course it will all be a necessary and balanced reassessment of priorities. No wonder Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem leader in Wales was reported to have left the National Assembly in floods of tears this week - though I must admit this could be no more than an ugly rumour. Please tell me if its true. Now that we are in coalition (though not in Wales as Ms Willliams pointed out when out walking today with new Sec of State, Cheryl Gillan) I must show concern when my new buddies are upset. I hope to post tomorrow on what sort of deal I think the coalition agreement is.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Refections on Election.

I suppose it was the 'Portillo Moment' of the (first?) 2010 General Election. It had all started in May 2007 when I lost my position as a member of the National Assembly for Wales, a surprising and deeply disappointing development - a sort of mini Welsh 'Portillo Moment' in itself. The question was whether I should seek selection as Montgomeryshire's candidate to challenge Lembit Opik. Mrs D was encouraging. So I went for it, knowing that winning would be highly unlikely - but possible if everything went well.

And everything did go well. Ironically, my (which soon became 'our' as the 'team' developed) aim was to provide what I called a 'public service' office, rather than one focused only on winning elections. But winning elections is what we started to do - for the first time in Montgomeryshire. We put up nine Montgomeryshire Conservative candidates in the 2008 Powys Council elections - and won six seats. We have never won a Council seat before! And won the 2009 European Parliament election in Montgomeryshire by a country mile. As we approached the 2010 General Election, it really did feel as though a win was on the cards. And then we had the televised 'Leader's Debates' - which seemed to have given the Liberal Democrats a huge boost. It seemed to me that defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory. Turned out that there was no Lib Dem boost at all. First suggestion of this was the 'Exit poll' - which I just did not believe. Luckily I did not emulate Iain Dale, and promise to run down Welshpool High Street naked if the Lib Dem implosion turned out to be true. The people of Welshpool had a lucky escape.

Tidy campaign. Got on with all the candidates. Especially liked the Plaid Cymru candidate, Heledd Fychan, who went down well. I probably took a fair number of 'her votes'. I suppose my commitment to the Welsh Language, and to making a success of the National Assembly for Wales, and regular appearances on S4/C must have had an impact. Because we had put together such an effective campaign team, I reckoned that we were destined for a good result. Highlights were the visits of William Hague and David Cameron to Montgomeryshire to support us during the campaign. But a swing of 12% looked beyond us. Lembit tells me the bookies had him 1-25 to win. You'd get better odds on being hit by a meteorite. And as Lee Waters tells me, those of us from farming stock are supposed to be a bit pessimistic. Actually he said 'miserable', but I'm trying to move on from that.

Mrs D and I were just leaving home for the count when I saw Betsan Powys on BBC Wales telling the world that the "result in Montgomeryshire was going to be much closer than we had all been expecting". We set off for the count sensing that we were going to do well, but it still didn't occur to me that we could actually win it. Perhaps if I'd believed the Exit Poll, it would have been different. Anyway, arrived to discover that we were leading, and already in the home straight. Must have been a combination of exhaustion and surprise that hit me for six. Before I'd recovered, the BBC wanted an interview. I know Mark Hannaby, so I agreed. By this time, the sharks could smell blood in the water, and everyone wanted to talk to me. Well they actually wanted Lembit, but he wasn't talking. You know the sort of thing. "Get Opik on. If he won't do it, get the Tory on. What's his name - Jones or Evans or whatever. What you mean 'he looks a bit dazed'. Don't give a damn about him anyway. Its not about him. Its about Opik."

Don't remember much about what happened next. Just remember being up on stage thinking that the Returning Officer needed to improve his Welsh, when I realised that he'd just told the hall that I had been elected MP for Montgomeryshire. Completely forgot that the world was watching. Lembit and I looked at each other, both of us floored by what had happened. I'm told we both accepted the result with graciousness. Seems I'd asked my team not to celebrate excessively - reason being that I've been in the same position as Lembit in the past. I know what that sort of disappointment feels like. And then everyone went home. And now, I cannot finish this post because I have to head off to Westminster to sign in, and meet David Cameron at 6.00 to find out whether we are in Government or not - or at least how the discussions with the Lib Dems are going. Life is going to be a bit different from now on.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Fresh Start.

Have recovered from what has been a very strange few days. Had thought about extending my mini-break from blogging to something much longer, but have decided otherwise. Daughter, Sally is home and she has decided to make some changes to the site tomorrow morning. I suppose it is a bit odd that I'm still glyndaviesam. Whatever, I need one more day to fully recuperate. Being elected an MP will be a bit of a fresh start. I suppose not being elected an MP would have been a fresh start as well. Having to leave lots of much loved things behind. And will have to employ a part-time gardener. And NO - it will not be on expenses. Will do a blog post tomorrow entitled 'Reflections on Elections'. One bit of good news though. Some of you might remember Edna Mopbucket, who used to slip me the odd morsel of juicy gossip. Well, Edna's taken a shine to the straight talking Eric Pickles, and has wangled herself a cleaning job at Westminster. First shift, she reckons that she happened to hear the conversation between David Cameron and Nick Clegg earlier today. No idea what she wanted to tell me but I decided it would be risky for me to make any comment.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Emotional collapse when the final whistle blows.

This is difficult for me to admit. I am emotionally knackered. And for the second time during this election campaign. The first was when I tried to do CF99 on S4/C in Cardiff two weeks ago. A combination of lack of sleep, and a day's pressure followed by a drive to Cardiff did for me. Always thought of myself as completely indestructible. Even cancer was no more than a temporary inconvenience, which did not lead to a day off work. Always been hard for me to accept personal human weakness. Reason I'm emotionally exhausted is that its over, bar the counting. I've held my last meeting of the campaign tonight - at Welshpool Town Hall. I remember playing rugby, and crashing when the final whistle went. That was emotional as well.

As I blog, I have to admit that I really shouldn't feel down. Lucky in so many ways. David Cameron came to Montgomeryshire this afternoon. For those who have worked so hard on my campaign, it was a truly brilliant reward. And we had to be really sharp to make it work for us. Heard he was visiting us at teatime yesterday, and was told he wanted to meet supporters at 2.00 today. We had an hour to put a crowd on the street, and we did it. With a day's notice we could have put 500 on the street. For me it was special that he came to support me, and that his visit was to the Welsh medium primary, Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd. Our next Prime Minister backing me (and in brilliant form) and the language I've grown to love. When you think about it, its no wonder I feel a bit tearful as I put my feelings into words.

No idea how tomorrow is going to go in Montgomeryshire. My ambition is to achieve the best Lib Dem to Tory swing in Britain. I hope its enough to win. We have put together a brilliant campaign. And there's been so much support from Montgomeryshire people. I need a 12% swing, and genuinely believe that I would be the best choice for Montgomeryshire. Lembit Opik does not deserve to win. I would not vote for him, even if I could not vote for myself. If he does win, it will be entirely due to the Clegg surge - and the irony is that Clegg has no time for him at all. He has taken the people of Montgomeryshire for granted big-time. He's let everyone down, including the Liberal Democrat Party. He's a completely discredited politician. Why don't you say what you think Glyn.

Whatever, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow's another day - a big day. I still think I'm in with a chance. Feel the power surging back already. What was that rubbish about emotional weakness. I'm ready to serve. One more day to go.