Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XCIV: Conor Ryan
Conor Ryan is a freelance writer and consultant. He blogs at conorfryan.blogspot.com. He is a former senior education adviser to Tony Blair and David Blunkett.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I wanted the chance to say what I thought when I wanted.
What is your best blogging experience?
And your worst?
Some of the (fortunately infrequent) anonymous abusive comments. I always think people should say who they are.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
That's for others to say!
I read Hopi Sen, Alastair Campbell, Luke Akehurst and Iain Dale pretty regularly, and I like the Times Comment Central and John Rentoul on Independent Minds.
You worked as adviser to David Blunkett, then Tony Blair. What are the differences between working with them and what policy aims did you have during those times that you feel were achieved ?
I think they are already transforming attitudes to education in inner city areas. They are introducing a new culture and giving young people who were often written off in the past a reason to work hard in school. Anyone who doubts their potential should visit one.
It is going to be very difficult. But though the Tories have some good people, most would-be ministers are lightweights. Their policies are much less developed than Labour's at this stage in the 1992-7 electoral cycle. But to pick one: their kowtowing to the BMA on health is pretty shameful and would be a disaster for patients and the NHS. And their stance on the economy has been pretty bizarre.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Plenty of places! Australia, India, Egypt and Syria to name four.
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
I like going back to the US, but would like to revisit Turkey and Argentina, and always enjoy the Greek islands.
Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
Michael Davitt, the Irish land leaguer has always intrigued me - and his writings are fascinating.
Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
Probably Mary Robinson, the former Irish President.
Favourite Bond movie?
I enjoyed Casino Royale in both versions.
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Chocolate, but not too often.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics...?
Cambridge always over Oxford, but I can see Barsby has its attractions.
Favourite national newspaper?
Probably The Times, though I also read the Guardian each day, because it has the better crossword.
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)?