Question Time

Why don’t you cover some really popular topics?

“Because they’ve been done to death! Any Guardian or Telegraph hack can do a good opinion piece from a deliberately popular or controversial viewpoint, and it’s a flow I have no intention of swimming with. Due to this, I haven’t written much on Jeremy Corbyn yet, as my views are pretty mainstream and don’t need to be regurgitated once again. On the other hand, my slant on the War on Drugs might not be entirely conventional, but Peter Hitchens has explored it in quite enough detail – again, there wouldn’t be much point in reproducing his viewpoint in my articles.”

So what, exactly, do you cover?

“That’s a bit difficult to define, but I try to be pretty original. For example, I started out with an article on the Council Tax Threshold – who else has written a piece on that? This I promptly followed with a lengthy overview of the next Tory leadership contest to tie in with the party conference – there’s a wealth of material about Boris and George, but I only saw one article on a certain Nicola Ann Morgan before she threw her hat into the ring. In fact, I started planning my trilogy before she even made her move: evidently, I can see into the future…”

What’s Bernard Cribbins got to do with politics?

“I use sobriquets from time to time for the sake of a cheap joke. So David Cameron becomes ‘Call Me Dave,’ Nicola Sturgeon is transformed into alter-ego ‘The Tartan Starlet,’ and Jeremy Corbyn becomes comedian and actor Bernard Cribbins – the resemblance is uncanny!”

Does this blog have any political affiliation?

“Personally, I’m a right-leaning centrist, so that often comes through on the opinion pieces I’ve written for this site. But I’ve never joined a political party, and wouldn’t be willing to peddle a particular agenda for my readers. So this isn’t a Liberal blog, it isn’t a Tory blog – and it most definitely isn’t an outlet for Socialist propaganda!”

Are you going to branch out into anything else on this blog?

“I’m going to try and keep this a politics blog for now, with the focus firmly on local and national affairs in Britain. That’s what I know best, so I’ll stick to it. But I might try historical articles and book reviews from time to time, and I’ll certainly look into matters of youth politics such as ‘Votes at 16,’ ‘Curriculum for Life’ and ‘Raise the Wage’ – they’re all UK Youth Parliament campaigns, so they provide a good point of reference.”

How seriously should I be taking all of this?

Decide for yourself – I’m hardly a modern-day Orwell! At the very least, I’m trying to tackle serious and tangible subjects, so it certainly isn’t a complete farce. But touches of humour are there to make it all entertaining, and they should probably be treated with a bit less scrutiny than the rest of a given article. I’m as prone to a bit of political hyperbole as any jobbing journalist!”

Aren’t you still being a bit too formal?

“To quote Captain Redbeard Rum of Blackadder, opinions are divided on the subject! It’s all a question of balance, I suppose, but I try to write accessible articles without patronising my audience. Crude humour alternates with complex, topical satire to form an intricate tapestry of opinion and entertainment. Or something like that.”

Who’s your audience?

“Well, this isn’t going to be a particularly satisfactory answer, but I’ll write for anyone who can be bothered to read my stuff! There’s a focus on young people in some of it – speaking as a young person who’s been a Youth Council Chairman and Youth Parliament Member, I know what I’m talking about when I’m talking about myself. But I don’t want to restrict my audience; if you’re interested in British politics, this is a blog for you!”

How often do you post?

“I post approximately once every seven days, towards the tail end of the week. It’s a rigid structure which I plan to stick to, though breaking news might warrant a break with tradition!”

Why do you spend huge blocks of text on the same topic?

“You’re probably thinking of my linked articles, which can be read individually or as one for a long, coherent viewpoint. I refer you to ‘About’ for more information. But just start at the bottom and work your way up, and you’ll discover an epic saga to rival Frank Herbert or JRR Tolkien. Possibly.”

Should I feel free to comment?

“Yes, please do! All these things are moderated, so don’t do anything stupid – and you’ll get trapped in the net if you try. But challenge what I’ve written or add a viewpoint of your own, and I might get back to you.”

Anyone you’d like to thank?

“Absolutely! Joe Phillips created my banner for the princely sum of nothing, so he deserves credit for that. Lorcan O’Toole and Theo Penn have also been great sources of intellectual stimulation for this whole project. And finally, I must mention the young people of Newcastle, their Youth Council representatives and all the wonderful Members of the UK Youth Parliament. Without them, none of this would have been possible – or, indeed, necessary.”


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