Thanks for returning to Washminster - which returns after a break of a few weeks. Over the coming days this blog will introduce new features to enhance your enjoyment of the site.
May promises to be an interesting month. Today voters are going to the polls in England and Wales. Ken Livingstone faces the first credible challenge as Mayor of London - and the polls suggest there may be a major upset. Boris Johnson, MP for Henley (in Oxfordshire); former Editor of the Spectator; and a frequent guest and host of "Have I Got News For You" [http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/haveigotnewsforyou/] - is tipped by some to win - an outcome regarded as unthinkable just a few months ago.
Voting also takes place for some district councils across England and local (as opposed to National Assembly)elections are being held in Wales.
I have a particular interest in elections in Rugby [http://www.rugby.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?categoryID=524&documentID=1049] where I live. As a prospective candidate in the East Midlands, I'll be watching the results in Derby City [http://www.derby.gov.uk/CouncilGovernmentDemocracy/Elections/Notice+of+Election.htm], Amber Valley [http://www.ambervalley.gov.uk/services/governmentpoliticsandpublicadministration/democracyandelections/], Bassetlaw [http://www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/], Lincoln City [http://www.lincoln.gov.uk/menu_map_level_3.asp?sec_id=4160], and Daventry [http://www.daventrydc.gov.uk/news/daventry-district-prepares-for-the-polls/].
The UK, despite some devolution, remains a centralised state - and many voters will cast their ballots, not on local issues, but to reflect their current attitudes toward the national government.
What message will the voters send to Gordon Brown? - and what will the repercussions be?
In the United States the closely fought battle for the Democratic Party nomination continues. The next primaries will be held on Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina.
The next few days will be interested (if not uncomfortable for some!).
Welcome back to Washminster - and follow the events as they unfold.