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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May 2005, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Wales voters' panel: Tim Noakes on the result

MEET THE PANEL
Tim Noakes
Name: Tim Noakes
Age: 54
Lives: Flintshire smallholding
Works: Scientist in lung medications industry
Original voting intention: Conservative
Final voting intention: Conservative
In 10 words or less:

"Married with teenage son. Interests: DIY, smallholding, old canal boat"

For a brief time it even looked as though we might be in hung parliament territory.

I confess to being an election night addict anyway, but this was compulsive viewing.

The Tories threw everything they had, but it wasn't enough, and in swathes of the country where there was significant movement away from Labour, it was much more to the Liberals.

The Tories had a fractured presentation, a bit like someone else's pick and mix. I doubt if the hard Australian edge of the campaign won them many friends.

I voted for them, but feel they really need to take a good hard look at their offering (perceived as being too right wing?) before the next election.

TIM'S PREVIOUS THOUGHTS

In many ways it was the Lib Dems' night - a reward for a positive campaign that stayed away from the negative. The other two main parties please note.

Having said that, I'd dread seeing them trying to implement some of these wonderful ideas they have in the hard world of Westminster government.

As for Plaid, I've nothing much to say other than that the people of Wales don't seem to be too keen on "the party of Wales".

Sensibly, they seem less and less enamoured with a party that has independence as its long-term goal. Perhaps next time they'll come in behind the Monster Raving Loonies.

So Labour is in again. I'm glad TB has had his wings at least clipped, and only wish this had happened before he pushed through some of their most contentious legislation such as tuition fees.

I predict:

1. He will have handed over to Gordon before three years are out, probably triggered by losing a vote on some critical bill (eg ID cards) or as a result of a rejection of the EU constitution.

2. This will be a torrid parliament, with Labour mired in black hole-filling problems yet circumscribed by a small majority.

3. If the Tories manage finally to reconnect with the electorate, Labour will be out by a landslide next time.

Finally, it has been a pleasure to provide these contributions.

We've all had our say, the result is known, now let us watch the next five years unfold.





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