Colin Ross is a 33 year-old Liberal Democrat activist who lives in Wolverhampton and blogs at www.colin-ross.org.uk he currently works in local government but has worked as a campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Youth Council.
Colin mainly blogs on liberalism in the West Midlands but also other political issues he finds interesting both in the UK and overseas – particularly overseas elections as he is an unashamed political geek. He also blogs randomly about things in Wolverhampton, the West Midlands and Big Brother from time to time.
What made you decide to start blogging?
My blog is mainly about Liberalism in the West Midlands . I started blogging in July 2004 to help with my then role as Training Officer for the West Midlands Liberal Democrats and I was also annoyed at the lack of information about politics in the West Midlands (and liberal politics in particular) on the internet.
What is your best blogging experience?
The best blogging experience was probably in the lead-up to the Liberal Democrat debate on Trident at our Spring Conference in March 2007 – although we weren’t successful in passing an amendment to scrap (and not replace) Trident we improved party policy and I hope we will be reviewing it again soon. The blog got a fair bit of interest, I was described as a leading rebel (which is debateable by the Guardian) and even managed to get the Mayor of Hrioshima to write to Sir Menzies Campbell and the Liberal Democrats urging them to scrap Trident.
And your worst?
The worst thing is the self-restraint I impose on myself, sometimes it really gets in the way. During the Crewe and Nantwich by-election I got really annoyed with the Liberal Democrats over a bit of policy and the way we were campaigning on it, I didn’t blog about it at the time as much as I disagreed I didn’t want to harm our vote in the by-election (I did write to Nick Clegg and Lord Rennard as well as our Director of Campaigns about it though)
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
Wow, what a very difficult question. I guess it is one of the ones about the Midlands Industrial Council, I broke a fair bit of the story about the Midlands Industrial Council funding the Conservatives. I still get calls about it now. One of the blog posts is at http://www.colin-ross.org.uk/news/000889/why-transparancy_matters.html which didn’t break the story but explained why it was important. The original story that ended up dominating my life for a couple of months was actually a fair bit earlier in March 2006, its at http://www.colin-ross.org.uk/news/000651/tory_peerage_scandal__the_wolverhampton_connection.html
I have a few I like to visit, I have put them in alphabetical order rather than in my favourite order!:
www.andershanson.wordpress.com – Anders Hanson’s blog – Anders always has something interesting to say about politics and life, one of the best Liberal Democrat bloggers around
www.conservativehome.blogs.com – by far the best coverage of UK politics, it is also the best place to get local government by-election results on a Friday (though very occasionally they choose not to put them up if they did very badly!)
www.electoral-vote.com - it cannot be beaten for coverage of American politics in my view, short and concise but very informative for political geeks like myself
www.libdemblogs.co.uk – a useful check on what is happening in the world of Liberal Democrats across the country
www.lindyloosmuze.blogspot.com – Linda Jack’s blog – Linda and I agree on most policy issues concerning the developing world and international affairs, she also tends to be a braver blogger than me (I often encourage her to be more radical on her blog than I would be)
www.loveandliberty.blogspot.com – Alex Wilcock’s blog – Alex is a good friend and I find his views inspiring, he is much more of a thinker than I and I find I agree with him on 99% of what he writes and whilst I am not such a Dr. Who fan I enjoy his enjoyment of it.
www.politicalbetting.com – second only to www.conservativehome.blogs.com
What inspired you to go into politics?
I joined the Liberal Democrats during the 1992 General Election campaign; they were the closest fit to me politically (and still are). I got interested in politics for policy reasons, the environment, international affairs and civil liberties and equality issues are very important to me.
What is the best and the worst thing about helping to manage Liberal Democrat campaigns?
Well winning is always fun, but the best thing really must knowing you are actually making a difference, it helps when you have a candidate you can really believe in. The worst thing is the conditions, the salary was not good and you are expected to work all the hours available – I suspect that is why so many burn out quite quickly.
And how did that compare to being Parliamentary Campaigns Officer for the RSPB?
They were two very different jobs, both were fun but the RSPB was less stressful – it was much more 9-5 though which came as a bit of a relief.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Yes everywhere, but top of the list are China and India .
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Argentina and South Africa – both were fantastic for different reasons. Canada would also be revisited to see friends.
Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Liberal Democrat/Liberal/SDP Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?
Charles Kennedy gets my vote over Paddy Ashdown but only just, both had very good qualities and fatal flaws to their leadership. Charles wins out for his stance on Iraq – it was a very brave decision at the time and I know it wasn’t easy but the right things rarely are.
Best Prime Minsiter difficult one, I guess Churchill is the easy answer, Attlee must be up there but I will stick with the Liberals and choose David Lloyd George although it didn’t end so well…
Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?
Gorbachev and De Klerk – odd choices I know – but they are two of not many politicians who gave up power because it was the right thing to do.
Favourite Bond movie?
The easiest question so far – Goldfinger, best Bond, best villain, best bondgirl, best song.
Favorite Doctor Who?
Although I preferred it when I was younger David Tennant has been very good.
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
I would have loved to see Queen but Freddie was taken before I has a chance
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford , Cambridge , or Barsby, Leics..?
I have been to Oxford and Cambridge so lets try Barsby, Leics not that I know what is there!
Favourite national newspaper?
What would you say your hobbies were?
Seeing my friends is my most important hobby. Travelling, experiencing new cultures and meeting people is also up there.
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
Build me up Buttercup – The Foundations
JCB Song - Nizlopi
Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden
The Times Guide to the General Election (the latest one, all of the time)
Not a book but an Author, anything by Roy Jenkins is always enjoyable.
I am currently reading the Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchett – can I claim the series as a book?