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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2005, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Wales voters' panel: Tim Noakes on week 1

Tim Noakes
Name: Tim Noakes
Age: 54
Lives: Flintshire smallholding
Works: Scientist in lung medications industry
Original voting intention: Conservative
In 10 words or less:
"Married with teenage son. Interests: DIY, smallholding, old canal boat"
I watched the Gordon & Tony press conference on the economy.

After listening to reminders about how good it all apparently is, with low unemployment (partly due to the fact that we are now paying for at least 500,000 extra civil servants) then watched an uptight TB listen to Gordon, with all of the frank perturbation of a cat on hot bricks.

On Radio 4's Today programme, Gordon spent most of his time trying to score cheap shots on the Howard Flight incident.

It seemed to me that this was both feeble and rather transparent. When finally cornered on future tax and other impost rises he repeatedly refused to rule them out, with some suitably adroit wriggles and sophistries.

Watch out for more money disappearing as if by magic out of every pocket - it's like being groped by an octopus.

On the other hand, I'm getting increasingly worried about Tory taxation/spending sums. I believe they can be made to add up, but fear that the damage inflicted by the unsubtle slash and burn approach they seem to be planning may make us wish they hadn't.

The surgery to unpick the complexities of the nanny state needs to be done carefully; the equivalent of a scalpel is needed, not an axe. Overly simplistic and half-baked schemes must be avoided.

Take the canals. British Waterways have accumulated a property portfolio that substantially helps pay for maintenance of the canal system.

The Tories want to sell this property off as part fund-raising in the general shakeout, but no way will they increase the rest of the maintenance grant.

Result - big problems some way down the road, perhaps with some waterways closing. For me, that would be a hanging offence.

So after the first few days my gut reaction is still to vote Tory, but I am beginning to worry...

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