Meanwhile, the phone went three times during the dinner, and after ignoring it the first twice I thought it prudent to answer. It was my Mum, telling me my parents' house had gone on fire on Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately not "burnt down"; there is considerable roof damage and there will have to be much rewiring, but happily much of the house, including - crucially - the snooker table, survived unscathed. Fortunately my mother's recently acquired interest in the family finances, as well as her ever more prevalent habit of telling my Dad (lovely man, but somewhat parsimonious with those things he considers non-essential) exactly what she thinks has meant that, for the first time in years, he grudgingly bought house insurance last December. Lucky.
Also meanwhile, I thought I should report that I am very impressed with my MP, Diane Abbott. Some of you may remember that I joined in the general kerfuffle of concern a month or so back over the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, and wrote to my MP via this handy site. I quickly received a letter back from her, along the lines of "thanks, yes, I'm concerned about this too, and I shall be tackling it with vigour."
So having been quite pleased to receive a response so rapidly, you can imagine how impressed I was when I got another reponse yesterday:
Dear Ms. Austin,
A short while ago you wrote to me about your concerns regarding the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. I shared your unease about some of the proposals contained in the Bill and therefore wrote to Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC to ask him to address the issues you highlighted. I am pleased to say that I have received an encouraging and comprehensive letter of reply from the Cabinet Office explaining that the government has listened to the concerns you highlighted and addressed them by amending controversial parts of the Bill. I enclose a copy of the reply with this letter as well as a copy of the amendments made to the Bill. I hope you will find this useful.
Please do not hesitate to contact me again in future.
Diane Abbott MP
And indeed, she encloses a copy of the letter from the Cabinet Office and a (too long for me to have read yet) list of amendments.
I've written to my MP twice before, but I've never experienced such good "follow-up service". As the quintessential floating voter, it's rare that I can pinpoint my voting intentions this far ahead of a general election. But Labour will be getting my vote next time, because I want Ms. Abbott in the House.