Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part LVI: Duncan Crow

PAUL: This interview took place before Wednesday, when David Cameron's son Ivan died. It would have been published yesterday but it did not seem right and with Duncan's permission I held back. Given the situation yesterday and that this interview touches briefly on the rough and tumble of partisan politics, I sincerely apologise if any offence is caused and if I have still published too soon!


Duncan has been a Conservative Borough Councillor for Furnace Green in Crawley since 2003. In 2006 upon control of the Council changing from Labour to Conservative, he became the Deputy Leader of the Council. In 2005 he was elected as a West Sussex County Councillor for Tilgate and Furnace Green and he is the youngest member of West Sussex County Council. He has been blogging since June 2008. Crawley is the most marginal Parliamentary Constituency in the UK with a Labour majority of 37 in 2005.
His blog can be found here.


What made you decide to start blogging?

There were a few left wing blogs from my area but no Conservative ones and I felt the need to redress the balance and also to have another medium to reach people as a Councillor. I was also unhappy at some of the local media coverage and I wanted a way of quickly being able to put things in the public domain with me doing the editing!


What is your best blogging experience?

Possibly when I did an entry in the week of the US Presidential election and it got featured on Al Gore's website, causing me to receive hundreds of hits in a day from all over the World.


And your worst?

Nothing bad as yet. I have yet to receive a single complaint about anything I've written on my blog but I'm always wary that there are those who will look for something to cause trouble for me in my role as a Councillor. I make a point about not being unpleasant about fellow Councillors or residents although I will expose blatant hypocrisy when it occurs. I do view Party Leaders as fair game and Gordon Brown is public enemy number one on my blog but I always aim to keep it in good taste.


What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Perhaps my best blog entry was a dissection of a letter that had appeared in the local press from all the Crawley Labour County Councillors about proposed boundary changes. There were some huge inaccuracies and misleading information contained within it. I was able to quickly expose these and put in the correct facts. It was viewed by the Electoral Commission and I actually referenced this blog entry in my own submission to the Boundary Commission.


Favourite blogs?

Politicalbetting.com is very informative and I like Burning Our Money. These are the two I view the most.


What inspired you to go into politics?

I have always been interested in politics and it made sense to do something that I find interesting and where I feel I can make a positive difference.


Isn't it a bit rich for Conservatives like yourself to highlight alleged examples of Labour sleaze when there are murmurings that the Conservative Party house isn't exactly in order! Take for example the allegations about Lord Ashcroft?

No party is perfect and I do think sleaze damages all parties regardless of where it comes from. When the Conservative Party had problems with sleaze in the mid nineties, Labour were relentless in attacking it and reminding us for many years afterwards. We also had all this whiter than white stuff from Tony Blair. Now the shoe is on the other foot, I am not going to shy away from kicking them when they are down. They deserve it for all their hypocrisy.


Barack Obama seems to have wowed politicians and activists from all the main political parties in the UK. On a non partisan level can you see any Westminster politician who could do for the UK in the 2010's that Obama has done in the US (Bar Brown and Cameron)?

If we can't include David Cameron then the answer is no one but I'm not sure even he would have the Obama effect. It remains to be seen over the next year. I doubt Obama will be able to repeat it but who knows? It is a different style of elections and politics in the US and we are more reserved. I suppose the nearest thing we had to it was Tony Blair in 1997.


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

Nowhere immediately springs to mind but Asia is such a vast continent with so much to see.


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


I haven't been abroad for many years so I suppose there is nowhere I have the strong urge to return to.


Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Conservative Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?

It would have to be Mrs Thatcher although I did like William Hague as leader but it was a thankless task at that time.



Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?

John Major in as much as coming from a humble background and being able to become Prime Minister whilst still being able to be a nice and genuine guy.


Favourite Bond movie?

I like most of them and have no favourite.


Favorite Doctor Who?

I have liked the last two and felt it was a shame Eccleston didn't do more episodes than he did.


Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

If you mean ice cream, how about vanilla with mint chocolate sprinkled on it?


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

I don't know but it would not be The Smiths! I was horrified when David Cameron said he liked them.


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

Weekend visiting? I'm always too busy! There are many nice places in the UK and I often think these get overlooked in the mad dash to get abroad.

Favourite national newspaper?

The Times, but I seldom read national papers. We have a good local paper here in Crawley called The Crawley Times.


What would you say your hobbies were?

Hobbies? That would be nice. Maybe when I'm older but I enjoy doing what I do now.

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

I seldom read books. So much of my time is taken with reading Council papers, emails and reading online that like to rest my eyes when I can. Songs? I seldom listen to music either but if the radio is on in the car, something relaxing and not too loud.

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