Friday, May 29, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CXXV: David Watts

(David Watts)

David Watts: I was born in Yorkshire and spent my childhood between there and Malawi in Africa, where my Dad worked. Having graduated with a degree in law from Huddersfield Polytechnic I joined the Crown Prosecution Service as a clerk. I went back to the College of Law in London three years later and qualified as a solicitor, and then worked in practice for the next 15 years. In 2006 I gave that up and joined the country’s largest professional training company as a Course Director, providing post qualification training to solicitors and barristers. I am the author of four books and a number of other training manuals.

Away from work I am married with two daughters. I passionately support Leeds United, I’m a keen photographer, an avid reader and I can trace my family tree back to the 1500’s. In the early part of this century I qualified as a scuba diver. I am a committed Christian and attend Trent Vineyard church in Nottingham.

I joined the Liberal Democrats when the party was formed, although as I worked for a number of years as a civil servant I didn’t become active until the late 1990’s, when I took up a new job in Nottingham. I was first elected as a councillor on Broxtowe Borough Council in 1999, and was re-elected in 2003 and 2007. I stood for parliament in 2001 and 2005, increasing the Lib-Dem vote each time, and am the prospective parliamentary candidate for Broxtowe in the next general election.

What made you decide to start blogging?

It was either a real desire to communicate with people or possibly my inflated ego thinking that people might be interested in what I said. I can never decide which.

What is your best blogging experience?

Being able to tell with practical examples what a cowardly, nasty and evil bunch the BNP are. I wrote an article on my blog suggesting they were the scum of the earth, or at least the UK, and the way that this supposed political party responded was to direct silent phone calls to me all night every night. I had to call the police in.

And your worst?

I’ve not really had one yet.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Simply being able to report the apology of my Labour MP after he libelled me in an e-mail and on a web site, accusing me of seeking to raise funds for terrorists. The story made the front page of the local papers and given I’m a pacifist I was a bit put out. Initially he tried to front it out but one good broadside from my solicitors brought his complete and utter surrender and admission of a libel. I was very pleased to report that.

Favourite blogs?

Baby Barrista – as a lawyer I appreciate how cuttingly accurate this is, and it’s very well written.

What inspired you to go into politics?

A desire to make a difference and a belief that I was capable of doing so. I still believe that.

What are the best ways to combat the BNP in the forthcoming Euro/Council elections?

Not to be afraid to take them on – their one message is race and we need to show them up for what they are – a group of racist thugs. Their arguments, such as they are, as based on lies and falsehoods and we need to be prepared to show that. It is because people have been afraid to speak up against them that they have gained ground, most ordinary people would be utterly repulsed by them if they only knew what they were like, but we haven’t been prepared to do so.

Whats the best thing and the worst thing about being a councillor?

The best thing is actually achieving things for people. I chair the Development Control Committee and recently steered through a massive (£50 million) new flood defence scheme which will protect 16,000 homes from flooding. That makes a real difference to peoples lives. Aspects of the scheme were extremely controversial but afterwards both sides of the argument contacted me to say thank you and they thought that they had a fair opportunity to present their case and be listened to. The worst thing is when you fail, when the system doesn’t work for someone and you can’t fix it. Even as a member of the controlling group on the council you can still feel impotent at times that the machine just keeps on rolling and you can’t stop it.

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

I love scuba diving, I’m PADI qualified, and I’d love to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Two very young children mean that this won’t happen for a long time, but maybe one day…

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

I had the privilege of growing up in Malawi, in Central Africa. I’d love to go back there and when my kids are older that’s one of the places I want to take them.

Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Liberal Democrat/Liberal/SDP Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?

Paddy Ashdown. It was said that when he was a soldier his unit would follow him anywhere, if only out of curiosity to see where he was taking them. It was a bit like that when he led the Lib-Dems, but he transformed us from being the woolly fringe to the radical and real alternative.

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Desmond Tutu

Favourite Bond movie?


Favorite Doctor Who?

Christopher Eccleston, but David Tenant pushes him close. I’m a bit concerned that the new guy won’t be up to the job. Still, he won’t be lumbered with Catherine Tate as his sidekick.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Chocolate, every time

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

The Beatles or the Jam. My most recent concerts have been to see Pink, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson. All were excellent, and all very different.

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

Oxford. Cambridge is too expensive to park, and I work two days a week in Leicester so that isn’t really a big trip out.

Favourite national newspaper?

For a long time it was the Independent but I find I’m leaning more towards the Times now. I just object to Murdoch having any of my money.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Football, photography and genealogy. Back to scuba when the girls are older.

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


Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

Town Called Malice – The Jam

Pinball Wizard – The Who


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling

Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama

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