Saturday, March 28, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part LXXXIV: Paul Dennett

(Paul Dennett)

Paul Dennett lives in the North of England with his wife and children and works in the IT industry. Paul blogs at A Progressive Viewpoint

What made you decide to start blogging?

I always felt that there were things that needed to be said that weren't being said well enough, often enough. So I decided to do it myself.

What is your best blogging experience?

Tricky one that. I'm thrilled whenever anyone thinks anything I write is worth quoting, or repeating, or even criticising. The most spectacular was when I made it into Iain Dale's UK Top 20 of Twittering Political Bloggers. But it was also hilarious, because in real terms it's completely meaningless.
The thing that meant most to me was probably when I was linked to by Mark Steyn for this post.

And your worst?

I got very downhearted at one point a couple of years ago and deleted the whole blog. Then I had second thoughts and rebuilt the whole thing from scratch.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

This was the first article I wrote that received much comment from elsewhere. It demolishes a monumentally bad report from the then Bishop of Oxford and some of his chums. The link to the report is broken now, as the report seems to have disappeared from the Church of England website. Hopefully it was removed out of embarrassment.

Favourite blogs?

Norm Geras for his wit and genuine wisdom. He's like a wise old uncle and always interesting to read even when I haven't got the foggiest idea what he's on about.
Sadie Smith because she's lively and funny and challenging, in just the right proportions - except that she doesn't post often enough.
Guido Fawkes because he's brilliant at what he does (although I don't always approve of it).
And there are about a hundred others that are worth a mention...

You have been blogging now for four years, slightly longer than me. How would you say the blogosphere has changed during that time?

The line between blogger and journalist has blurred quite a bit, which I think is appropriate, although it's also a challenge to the bloggers to raise their game.

What is it like being a non-party political blogger?

It means I am free to operate a strict "credit where credit's due" policy. I have a fairly coherent set of political views but my natural political allies are to be found in all the main parties. So I speak as I find.

How would you reform the House of Lords?

Combine the principles of nomination and election. Get whoever it is that nominates the peers these days to come up with a list of twice or three times as many candidates as there are vacancies and then get people to vote for them at the same time as the general election. Elect a third of them at each general election so you basically get a twelve year term. And call it the Senate rather than the House of Lords.

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


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


Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

I've always been fascinated by Ancient Rome, especially the late Republican period. Obviously it wasn't a democracy in the way we understand it, but they did have elections (on a limited franchise) which they took seriously and they were very big on what we would call the Rule of Law. Also they despised monarchy and were very suspicious of giving too much power to one person, so they tended to elect their executive officers in twos (or fours, or whatever). By the middle of the first century BC they had had a republic for nearly five hundred years and the wheels were falling off - very powerful people were undermining the system.

My favourite political figure would be Marcus Tullius Cicero, who saw that it was all going down the toilet, and tried in vain, but with some pretty impressive oratory, to stop it.

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?

My stock answer to this used to be Nick Leeson, on the grounds that he was living proof that one man could make a difference. However, these days too many people have followed his example rather too closely, so I'll have to pass on this one

Favourite Bond movie?

Haven't seen a Bond movie for years, and I couldn't pick out a best film. Connery was the best Bond though.

Favourite Doctor Who?

David Tennant

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?


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

Queen, probably

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

Cambridge. I've already been to Oxford a number of times and I don't know where Barsby is anyway

What would you say your hobbies were?


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

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen;
"Sowing the Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears;
and "I the Lord of Sea and Sky" by any sizeable church congregation anywhere.
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand - I'm not an objectivist and as works of literature go it's pretty heavy but it's just so mindblowing I would advise anyone to have a go...

"Rubicon" by Tom Holland - a fabulously readable history of the Roman Republic.
Any or all of the "Thomas the Tank Engine" books - my son loves them and they are actually quite clever for what they are.

1 comment:

Taru said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.