There used to be a time when politics in the UK were about different principles and ideas – now it is more a matter of a battle between databases. Millionaire thriller writer Ken Follett told readers of the Observer how, after a recommendation from the Democratic Party in the US, 1m pounds was raised to give the Labour Party an Excalibur database which enabled them to ensure a rapid response to all moves by the then Conservative government. Alas, an angry Follett reveals that once the election was won, the party dithered on a new plan to turn Excalibur into a commercial project – with the Labour Party getting free access. So no new material has been scanned in since May 1. But the opposition Conservative Party now has Excalibur up and running while Follett fumes that a valuable asset has been wasted through sheer stupidity.