What made you decide to start blogging?
The desire to find another way to communicate with residents, wanting to inform people about what councillors actually do, and to offer a balance to the very one sided political messages that were prevalent in our borough.
What is your best blogging experience?
Finding out that the chief executive is reading my blog.
And your worst?
In a rash moment of anger I posted an open letter to the leader of the opposition both on my blog and to the local paper. I was outraged both at the way the opposition had turned a political issue into a witch-hunt, and because I knew that the councillor at the centre of the furore was having personal issues to deal with at the same time. It hit me a few hours later what I had done: a little ol’ backbencher publicly taking on the opposition leader. I spent the whole weekend feeling sick at what the fallout would be. As it turned out it the comeback was nowhere near as bad as my expectations. The experience has made me a lot bolder and I have now embraced my role as a thorn in the side of the opposition.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
It is not strictly a post but I am quite proud of my Local Planning Issues page. Planning applications cause the most consternation amongst local residents and it is a great way of keeping them informed and assuring them that their ward councillors are keeping an eye on what is happening. It gets the most hits.
I don't follow many specific blogs but I regularly skim through the Lib Dem blog aggregator. Liberal Democrat Voice tends to be my most regular read.
What inspired you to go into politics?
Becoming a parent. Suddenly my local neighbourhood took on greater significance. Local play facilities, litter, schools, local policing and the environment all became important in my life. I realised that a woman's, and especially a mum's perspective was important in local politics. Allowing too much domination of decision making by men, and at local authority level often by men of retirement age, means that decisions are being made without a proper understanding of how the issues might impact on all residents.
Whats the best and the worst thing about being a councillor?
Best: some of the casework I do, especially for carers, can make a real difference to someone's life, even though for me it might be no more than making a couple of phone calls. Very satisfying. Worst: getting blamed for things I have no control over.
What inspired you in your role as councillor, to take on the issues of Health and Well Being?
I had been campaigning as part of my work for the local National Childbirth Trust about changes being made to local maternity services. Through this I came into contact with Health Scrutiny Committees. I realised that I could have more influence over these issues from 'the inside'. It was also a practical decision to stay away from education as with children currently in the system I wanted to avoid an area where my judgement may not be so impartial.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
India. I had a well travelled friend whose account of this country made me long to go there. I am just waiting until the children are a bit older so the Malaria medicine is less of a worry.
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Having visited the North Island of New Zealand I am keen to return to explore the South Island.
Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Liberal Democrat/Liberal/SDP Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?
As I came late to politics after a misspent youth I can't say that I was paying sufficient attention to qualify me to answer.
Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?
This may get me into a whole heap of trouble but I must admit to a grudging admiration of Mrs Thatcher. She was our first female PM, but managed to make being a woman merely incidental to the position. Then, although I disagreed with her views, you have to admire her conviction. As someone who all too easily can see both sides of an argument and the various shades of grey around an issue I would love to have her certainty that her way was the right way.
Favourite Bond movie?
Casino Royale. Having read all the Ian Fleming bond books I believe that Daniel Craig's interpretation of the role is closest to Fleming's vision. Nothing at all to do with Mr Craig's swimming trunks!
Favorite Doctor Who?
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Mint - preferably with chocolate chips in.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
Cambridge because I’ve never been.
Favourite national newspaper?
What would you say your hobbies were?
Reading, cooking, sleeping and knitting (a new one).
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
I’ve gone with choices that have given me the most pleasure rather than necessarily selecting the worthier examples.
Songs: Kiss on the Lips by The Dualers - a pair of Croydon Buskers who have built a large following and released an album; Martha's Harbour, All About Eve; Young Americans, David Bowie.
Books: Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett; Watership Down, Richard Adams; Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks.