Sunday, August 07, 2011

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CL: Simone Webb


Simone Webb :
I'm a seventeen-year-old student, socialist, Labour activist, and queer feminist. Just finished studying A Levels in Government and Politics, English Literature, History and Maths. Her Sins were Scarlet But Her Blog was Red is a blog of lefty politics stuff, with an increasing feminist focus, updated whenever I get particularly riled about something. Hoping to study PPE at Oxford, like a horrifically careerist politician. (I hope I'm not that.)
 

What made you decide to start blogging?
 
I’ve dabbled in various blogs for some years, but I got Blog Was Red off the ground last year during the Labour leadership campaign because there were so many thoughts I was having which just weren’t fitting into 140 characters. Plus, it’s always a handy way to let off steam.
 
What is your best blogging experience?
 
When my blog post about my experience having my internship at DIVA magazine withdrawn because I couldn’t afford the travel expenses got such a wide audience; it was picked up by Michael Ezra on the blog Harry’s Place, and then by MP Robert Halfon in Parliament. It was brilliant having the subject of unpaid internships and social mobility being brought to people’s attention.
 
And your worst?
 
Contradictorily, also the internship blog. Although it was good getting such a wide audience, there was a lot of criticism of my actions; not in itself a bad thing, but the critics were frequently personal, unpleasant and ill-informed. Also, I was disappointed at the extent to which the case became about my personal experiences, rather than the problem of internships and social mobility as a whole.

 
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
 
Definitely Postfeminism? Bollocks. I was getting immensely frustrated with how many people, men and women, dismiss feminism as a movement that’s achieved its goals. In the blog, I tried to lay out the main reasons why post feminism is so blatantly nonsensical. With statistics.
 
Favourite blogs?
 
Labour Uncut, The F Word, Awkward Ed Miliband moments.
 
What made you decide to go into politics?
 
I’ve had an awareness of politics since I was very young - I actually remember Tony Blair being elected! Became actively engaged at college, while I was studying Government and Politics for A Level. It rapidly became my favourite subject.
 
You are known on Twitter to love Biggles. Do you have a favourite Biggles book and have you seen the eighties film with Peter Cushing and Alex Hyde-White?
 
I’m particularly fond of Biggles Buries a Hatchet, in which he goes to rescue his old nemesis Erich von Stalhein from a Japanese prison camp. And no, I haven’t seen the eighties film (which contains time travel, if I recall correctly) but I certainly intend to!
 
What are you looking forward to the most about studying at Oxford?
 
The range of material I’ll be able to study - and all subjects I love. It looks bad, but I didn’t actually apply for PPE for careerist purposes; I genuinely get pleasure out of the academic study of philosophy and politics in particular.
 
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
 
Russia. And Argentina.
 
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
 
Bruges, in Belgium. It’s lovely, and I want to go to the Dali gallery there again.

Bar the present one, who is your favourite Prime Minister, and if different, your favourite Labour leader?
 
I’ll go a bit different and say Lord Grey, who pushed through the 1832 reform act and thus started off the process, however slightly, of making the UK a real democracy. Not to diminish people like Clem Attlee, but I have a fondness for Earl Grey. Also, he made great tea.
Favourite Labour leader; difficult, but probably Attlee. Or maybe Keir Hardie, for being Labour Leader: Original.

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
 
Mary Wollstonecraft, for being one of the founders of feminist thought. I have a massive retro-active crush on her.
 
Favourite Bond movie?
 
Goldfinger.
 
Favorite Doctor Who?
 
My favourite Doctor is probably the 9th, Christopher Ecclestone, if only because he was my first. But Matt Smith’s beginning to overtake…
 
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
 
Chocolate, easily.
 
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
 
If it has to be a band, then at the moment it’d be the Moulettes, a folk band I’ve rapidly become obsessed with.
If it could be any musician, it’d have to be Johnny Cash, easily.
 
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
 
Oxford!
 
Favourite national newspaper?
 
Well, this is shameful, but I was raised on The Daily Telegraph, and although I disagree intensely with many of its opinion pieces, it’s still the newspaper I get on with best in terms of style and news. I also like the I paper.
 
What would you say your hobbies were?
 
Reading (lots and lots of reading), doodling poetry in spare moments. Getting lost in my own head. Going to geeky political events. Watching Westerns and wishing I was a cowboy. Twitter. Shakespeare-loving.
 
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
 
Songs:
Sebastian, by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel
A New Argentina, from the musical Evita
Hurt, as sung by Johnny Cash
 
Books:
Right Ho, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

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