The blog was started in May 2006.
My first political involvement was dressing in orange (this was before the days of “You’ve been Tango’ed”) to attend primary school in support of John Pardoe, the Liberal MP, on election day 18th June 1970.
At school I took a deep interest in history and current affairs. I was particularly fascinated by the long drawn-out death of General Franco of Spain. I was also interested in the writings of Karl Marx, although appalled at how they spawned the ridiculous Soviet Union.
I enjoyed a few years doing part-time work for Radio 210 in Reading while doing warehouse work. I then became rather attached, oddly enough, to warehouse work, exhausted my enthusiasm for spinning discs, and have been loosely in the warehouse business ever since (computer spare part logistics).
I joined the Liberal Party in 1987 after the death of David Penhaligon and have been a keen (Liberal/Liberal Democrat) activist ever since. I have no political ambitions (I know what an MP and a councillor really do – they are both pants jobs) but enjoy being involved in politics as a hobby. I particularly enjoy delivering leaflets. Blogging allows me to tap away on the computer in my study next to our kitchen, with the door open, and still be in communication with my family.
In fact, blogging reflects an interest of mine which is more long-standing than my interest in politics – writing. At the age of nine I ran my own weekly “newspaper” which I distributed to friends and family. From that age I used a typewriter and a old Gestetner duplicator. At the same time, my interest in language was unleashed by a wonderful English teacher. Ever since I have had an urge to type and write continuously and if I burble a bit too much it is perhaps partly because I type so quickly, so the whole blog thing becomes a stream of consciousness, to an extent.
In the period 1989 – 2008 this writing urge manifested itself through writing letters to newspapers, of which I had about 1,000 published. Since 2006 I have chanelled all my writing energy into this blog.
Besides being interested in UK politics, I have had a deep interest in US politics since 1968. In that year, I decided to cheer on Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election against Richard Nixon – for no other reason than Humphrey’s head looked rather comical. My interest in US politics deepened considerably in 2000 when a brief illness gave me time to deeply study the events following the presidential election that year (the hanging/pregnant/dimpled chads episode etc). Since then I have followed US politics on a daily basis and a good proportion of my posts are about US politics. It provides me with a frivolous escape route from the sometimes mind-numbing seriousness of UK politics. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump have been a particular constant source of fascination to me.
My attachment to liberalism has been very resilient. One part of my family had Methodist roots. My grandmother campaigned for Isaac Foot, the Liberal MP for South-East Cornwall and Michael Foot’s father. I feel an affinity for John Wesley and, for example, his campaign against slavery via encouraging people not to take sugar in tea (I don’t). I was born and brought up in one of the few constituencies in the country which had a Liberal MP.
One of my heroes is the late Lord Soper, who was leader of the Methodist church in England, and a regular speaker at Hyde Park Corner. Another of my heroes has always been Winston Churchill, warts and all. I also find myself greatly attached, despite his faults, to the late Ted Kennedy and to William Gladstone. I am also a great fan of Shirley Williams and would run off a cliff if Paddy Ashdown told me to.