Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXXVII: Linda Jack

Linda Jack has a background in Teaching and Youth Work and as active trade unionist, now working for the FSA on their Financial Capability Strategy. She served as Lib Dem Councillor until May and is currently sitting on Federal Policy and International Relations Committees. Linda is also a former PPC for Luton North, currently PEPC for Eastern Region. Trustee for Elijah Trust, a charity working with the Arab Palestinian Citizens of Israel. She have a particular concern for the Bedouin in the Negev. Motivated by injustice of any kind. You can read her blog here.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I started during our last but one leadership election just over two years ago because a few people were slagging off Simon Hughes, and then I just got the bug!

What is your best blogging experience?

Probably the first time I discovered a blog had reached no 1 on the aggregate for the day - I was stunned, I think the title was 'Iain Dale with his knickers in a twist’!

And your worst?

When my fellow bloggers were baying for my blood because of the mild comments I had made about Ming on WATO, I think I am pretty good at defending others but find it incredibly difficult to defend myself.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

It is hard for me to judge, but between a couple that my peers have nominated Multiculturalism, the latest moral panic? Or Let’s Lock up our Children why don’t we?

Favourite blogs?

Political Betting, Lib Dem Voice and Paul Walter

What inspired you to go into politics?

I have always been one to take up a fight when I believe people are being treated unfairly. I am particularly inspired by the Old Testament prophets, especially Isaiah and Amos – railing against those who “trample the needy and do away with the poor” and constantly challenging injustice. I often say that my first attempt at collective bargaining was in the army and it didn't go down too well! In fact I got threatened with a charge of mutiny - which was the only offence punishable by death at the time, so I am ashamed to say I backed down! Then as a student I got involved in student politics, ending up as President of my SU against the odds. I think it was my poster campaign wot won it! I had beautiful posters with slogans like 'The UNION needs JACK' and 'Come up Trumps with Jack' and 'Put Jack in the Box' (under which someone had scribbled 'and close the lid!')

You are involved with the Elijah Trust, for the benefit of Mars Hill readers, tell us what it does exactly?

Elijah Trust is a charity which was set up initially to support Mar Elias Educational Institutions founded by Elias Chacour (now Archbishop in Galillee) but now we have a wider brief to support Palestinian citizens of Israel in general, we also partner with Mossawa a human rights organisation based in Haifa. My particular interest is in the Bedouin community living in the unrecognised villages in the Negev, who though Israeli citizens are hugely discriminated against without access to water, electricity, roads and very limited health care and education.

How did you find being Lib Dem PPC for Luton North?

It was great fun, the pressure was off because it wasn't a winnable seat for us, although I was amused when I got asked to do an interview with Radio 4s PM. I thought they were confused with Luton South (a seat we thought we could have won) but they said 'No, we think Luton North could be a shock result' to which I replied ' there'll be noone more shocked than me!'. The highlight for me was the young people's hustings organised by 3 Counties Radio. I was nervous (having been a youth worker most of my life I should have done OK) but, it was great and I got a phenomenal response from the young people.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

So many places, but probably somewhere like Alaska where I could see the Northern Lights

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

My pal from work, Martin and I did a bit of consultancy work in Trinidad about 18 months ago and we stopped off for 3 days in Barbados on the way home - it was idyllic and I would love to go back.

Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Liberal Democrat/Liberal/SDP Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?

Leadership wise Paddy - his worth is now recognised as an international statesman, what a pity he never had the opportunity to be Prime Minister.

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?

I am going to be cheeky answering this as I have seen others have! Greatest living inspiration is Desmond Tutu - he was on telly the other day and was asked how he wanted to be remembered he said 'he loved, he laughed, he cried' what an epitaph! I have a Tshirt with a quote from him 'I am wondering which bible people are reading when they say religion and politics don't mix' closely followed by our own party President - Simon Hughes who has always been an inspiration to me.

Favourite Bond movie?

Probably The Spy who Loved me.

Favorite Doctor Who?

Tom Baker - could it be anyone else?! Although it has to be said I still hide behind the settee when Dr Who is on!

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Ooooh, all 3!

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

Queen when Freddie Mercury was alive

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?

Cambridge - I love it

Favourite national newspaper?


What would you say your hobbies were?

I like the way you phrase this - what would I SAY my hobbies were - perfect for me as I hardly get anytime to persue them anymore! I used to love all sorts of artycrafty things, making paper, painting, illumination, sketching. I used to be an art student and had ambitions to be a silversmith - maybe an ambition for retirement now....... So now I usually only get time to do a bit of photography and swimming.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Favourite songs - this is a movable feast depending on my mood and level of nostalgia - but today they are – These are the days of our lives – Queen, Lenny Bruce is dead – Bob Dylan and if I am allowed a classic, I know that my redeemer lives – Handel. Books - Blood Brothers – Elias Chacour (The book that has inspired me most about the Israel/Palestine situation) Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen and Primary Colours – Joe Klein

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