Praguetory runs a political blog from his flat in Prague. He studied economics at Nottingham University but retains a deep interest in his home town of Birmingham. The picture is quite old, but Praguetory is currently dissuaded from posting a more recent picture because the road from anonymity to disrepute is a one-way street. His blog can be found here.
What made you decide to start blogging?
You’ve got me off to a partisan start, you bugger. It was Labour’s “worst week” (Prezza, Hewitt and Clarke) that switched me on to visiting political blogging sites. What precipitated my own blogging was a Saturday night out with some fairly apolitical friends who were complaining about mainstream media bias. I promised to send them a mail with some websites worth visiting for alternative views. It ended up being just as quick to set up a blog and that’s how it started.
What is your best blogging experience?
Being asked to do a Paul Burgin interview is a treasured moment.
The greatest high was early on, just before moving to Prague. Having set the blog up on a Sunday evening, I got a text from a friend on the Wednesday morning saying that I ought to get down to the newsagents. I had been quoted on page 2 of the Guardian for my views on the CSA. That shocked the family – me buying the Guardian that is.
Sorry to go on, but the contacts I have made through blogging transformed my experience of this year’s Conservative Conference. I particularly enjoyed spending time with Alan Drew, the editor of Prison Works and going to fringe events with Wat Tyler of Burning Our Money (including the Sieghart/Osbourne autistic interview).
And your worst?
Finding like-minded people on the blogopshere. I wanted to be original! Seriously, I sometimes get tempted to use blogs for personal attacks. I think I might have knocked Tom Watson for his IT problems a bit too much. The worst is ahead of me I am sure. Expressing my admiration for Enoch Powell later in this interview may draw some unwanted fire.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
My ongoing land value tax series has attracted the most comments and in my biased opinion a high quality of debate. Paul, you might have enjoyed this wind-up post which me and Bob Piper combined on.
Varies. They all go through purple patches and it sort of depends on mood doesn’t it? I use my blog as my starting point for browsing. I delete links I stop liking. Often, I enjoy going to blogs where I am likely to disagree. For those escapades I find Bob Piper fun and in recent weeks Tom Watson too. From my end of the political spectrum I always enjoy visits to The Croydonian for the breadth and depth of subject matter, his eloquent turn of phrase and the rich characters who contribute.
What made you join the Conservative Party?
I have always been a vocal Conservative Party supporter. Birmingham Ladywood council candidate, Peter Smallbone, asked me to (stop talking and) become a member. Playing a very small part in the Hounslow campaign in May where the Tories took control of the council for the first time in 36 years was pretty invigorating. Despite being a relatively recent recruit, I can’t imagine leaving.
What are you doing in Prague?
I’ll answer that question the other wrong way round. I’m not trying to find myself ;-) (Hat tip to
Kerron for the smiley)..
Are you a Cameronista or a Cameronskeptic?
I’m not going to give myself either of those labels. However, I regret not been vocal enough in supporting the Cameron style of leadership. As I think we need to be fighting on all fronts, I like the way that he has engaged with and energized Ian Duncan-Smith, William Hague and even John Redwood. Sure I have disagreements, but isn’t having people like me griping part of his strategy?
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
New York, Reykjavik and Singapore.
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Backpacking around the Dominican Republic - unforgettable.
Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
I am fascinated by Enoch Powell, partly because he looked and spoke like some of my Black Country ancestors, partly because he was unfairly ostracized, but mostly because of his integrity, intellectualism and his ability to inspire. It’s down to people like him that the West Midlands didn’t emerge from the industrial age as a Tory wasteland. Do you like his quote “A politician who complains about the media is like a fisherman complaining about the sea”? I admire Richard Nixon, too. He is under-rated.
Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
In the political world it used to be John Prescott, but recently my biggest inspiration has been Sion Simon. Due to his inspirational leadership, positive attitude and incredible achievements my greatest hero from the sporting world is the former Warwickshire cricket captain Dermot Reeve.
Favourite Bond movie?
This a real bloke test isn’t it? Octopussy is the one I’ve seen the most times and I’d still watch it again. Casino Royale recently finished filming in Prague. I’m looking forward to that one.
Favorite Doctor Who?
Tom Baker - the closest we have these days is Peter Ainsworth, I understand that Tennant is a Socialist (shudder).
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
I prefer mint-flavoured crisps.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
Good question, dude. I like intimate gigs. A sometime friend watched Led Zeppelin play in a backroom of a country pub in the Midlands in the early 90s. That would have rocked.
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
Oxbridge towns are great to visit when you have friends there. I don’t. As with many other locations in Leicestershire, Barsby ends in “by” indicating Viking origin. It should be worth a visit. Barsby – is that the right answer?
Favourite national newspaper?
As we only get the Guardian and the FT on the same day here in Prague, I don’t read UK papers much at the moment. My favourites used to be the Times and the Sun, but I’m a little disturbed by the Murdoch press of late. I think he’s losing his touch. Do I sound like a grouch?
What would you say your hobbies were?
I’m a pretty strong chess player and play socially once a week. I like to think of myself as a pool shark (but I’m not) and play football most Fridays.
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
Firstly a 1966 classic from Bob Dylan – Just Like A Woman. Next up would be local heroes Judas Priest with a Touch of Evil and finally Seattle band Alice In Chains with Them Bones off the excellent Dirt album.
As I travel light, books are something I consume rather than treasure. For me the best books are ones you come back to, so here goes. Mandela’s “Walk To Freedom”, a business book called “Rainmaking – How To Attract New Clients” and my favourite childhood book, the Birmingham A to Z.