Blockley

imageArrived in Blockley in the Cottswolds for a long weekend with friends in cottage Courtyard House. Always interesting to be in a country when 1) the country is waiting for a new royal baby 2) it’s Bank Holiday on Monday 4th and lots of things to do this weekend and 3) general elections are planned for Thursday May 7th: all elements to enjoy the English culture en look how the English are doing!

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When we woke up on Saterday, with above view at our garden, the BBC reported that Kate Middleton had gone into labour and arrived at the hospital at 6:00. Great news for David Cameron and well planned the weekend just before the elections: a new Royal baby always impacts English National feelings and this is good for the Tories! Cameron was interviewed by the BBC at 8:10 and he already congratulated Kate, William and George.

The elections are important for the UK for two reasons: 1) both on the left (SNP) and right (UKIP) parties are challenging the old tory, labour and liberals landscape and these parties can for the first time make a difference and can infleunce government policies and 2) they are also important for Europe: there is are a lot of anti Europe sentiments in the UK and the outcome of this elections will also infleunce the UK policies regarding the EU.

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Later on Saterday we heard from our friend Els B. in the Netherlands through WhatsApp that the new Princess was already born at 8:43 that morning so at the moment of the Cameron interview. As we were walking and shopping in Stratford upon Avon, just like William Shakespeare used to do, nobody was realy interested and aware of this news which surprised us! The birth of the new Princess is news but not breaking news, see also below advertisement in the Daily Telegraph they day after: ‘To us every baby is a Prince or a Princess’.

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On Sunday we visited Blenheim Palace which I had already visted some years before. At this moment there is an exhibition on Winston Churchill’s life which was very interesting and because of that I bought in the museum the book Boris Johnson wrote on him ‘The Churchill Factor – How one man made history’. I started reading it and writing a blog about him.

On the elections we did not hear much while we were in the UK, the only thing we saw along the road were billboards for all parties in a small format, not as much as in the Netherlands. The campaign in UK is a media campaign just like everywhere else and looks to be a close call for both Conservatives and Labour, around 10 seats are expected to make the difference on election day. And the winner will need also a third party to form a coalition, both on the left as on the right. A lot of speculation on potential coalitions in the media and politicians who don’t want to tell who they want to work with after the election (although they probably already know…).

Before the elections I predicted David Cameron would win win but without enough votes to form a coalition, this was partly true: he won but with with an overall majority! and Boris Johnsson was elected as MP so in a good position now to run as a candidate when Cameron stops is five years. Strange that the polls were so wrong last weeks, it seems the researchers don’t have the tools to do a solid forecast, adn that while everybody is talking about Big Data. What’s the value of Big Data for business when you can’t even predict the results of elections?

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Nice to be back in the UK and we enjoyed the Cottswolds again and especially our visit to Oxford where we visited the Bodleian Library where some scenes of the Harry Potter films were filmed, impressive! You can smell the past in this Library and the importance to stick with traditions and institutions which form the solid base of democratic countries.

 

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