Monday, April 06, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XCII: Owen Polley

(Owen Polley)
Owen Polley: I'm a 32 year old reluctant accountant. I live with my girlfriend, Kerry, in Belfast. My blog is Three Thousand Versts of Loneliness

What made you decide to start blogging?

I enjoy writing, but I’ve never been quite sure what to write or what to do with it. The medium came to my attention and I decided I’d have a go. The emphasis on politics has been almost accidental.

What is your best blogging experience?

It has to be making the Orwell Prize shortlist.

And your worst?

I suffer from the usual coterie of trolls and spammers. And someone on Slugger suggested that I write without style. It is an indictment of my conceit, but that hurt.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

I’m usually a bit dissatisfied with my entries to be honest. I often feel that they start well, but I get lazy half way through and don’t develop the ideas as I might. Probably my best political material has been concerned with the Conservative / UUP electoral pact. It’s something I feel strongly about.

Favourite blogs?

A Pint of Unionist Lite does a great job of synthesising unionist stories from across the UK. Redemption’s Son has a real grasp on grass roots unionism. I always keep an eye on Scottish Unionist. Burke’s Corner is a beautifully written blog by a Burkean conservative. Down and Out in Lenzie and Lossiemouth is written by the Alan Partridge of the blogging world. In terms of the big boys, Cranmer writes very nicely and Hopi Sen is thought provoking. I’m afraid I don’t really get Guido and his ilk.

What inspired you to go into politics?

A belief that the strengths of this country, and the reasons for keeping its constituent parts together, were being rather poorly articulated. Particularly on this side of the Irish Sea.

What sparked your interest in Russian affairs?

I’ve been interested in Russian history and literature since my school days. Visiting various parts of the former Soviet Union cemented that fascination.

How do you see the Ulster Unionist/Conservative potential merger progressing?

It will be interesting to see how the electorate take to the new alignment in the European elections. If Jim Nicholson can get close to the UUP vote in 1999 I think it will be seen as something of a recovery. That would provide the impetus to be braver and start thinking about cooperation in Stormont elections. I don’t think the UUP needs to disappear, but I would like to see the relationship getting steadily closer. After all, that is the logical outcome of arguments which Cameron and Empey have invoked.

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

Oh goodness yes. Innumerable places. Parts of Russia and eastern Europe which I haven’t visited, swathes of central Asia, India, the Middle East. Most of all though, South Africa in 2010 with the Northern Ireland football team.

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

Again there are many places I would like to revisit. Kiev, Novgorod, Moscow, Florence, Rome, Berlin.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

It almost borders on cliché, but Benjamin Disraeli springs to mind. He’s a figure who shaped definably the type of politics which we have in Britain today.

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?

David Trimble is hardly a fashionable figures amongst unionists in Northern Ireland nowadays, but I believe his political bravery played a large part in creating a peaceful, more stable region, secure within the United Kingdom.

Favourite Bond movie?

The Spy Who Loved Me

Favorite Doctor Who?

Colin Baker was the incumbent when I actually watched the programme.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Mint choc chip please.

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

The Pixies.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Dublin, Belfast, or Newry?

It’s desperately disloyal but I’d put Dublin first. I try to avoid visiting Newry when possible.

Favourite national newspaper?

The Guardian usually finds its way into our house, although I strongly believe that its sports’ coverage is appalling. I read the Telegraph online too.

What would you say your hobbies were?

I watch an enormous amount of football.

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

Off the top of my head.
Freewheel - Duke Special

All I Want Is You - U2

The River - Bruce Springsteen

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol

Secret History - Donna Tartt

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