Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Jonathan Calder

Welcome to the latest in our series giving the human face behind some of the blogs you can find on the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator.

Today it is Jonathan Calder, who blogs at Liberal England.

1. What’s your formative political memory?

I can remember JFK being assassinated and being taught to say that Alec Douglas Home was Prime Minister, but really my Liberalism dates from the early 1970s when my father left us (an experience that taught me I was not a Tory) and the Liberals were winning by-elections.

I realised that I was not a Socialist a couple of years before that when Boxmoor County Primary School demanded a letter from your parents before you were allowed not to have custard with your pudding.

2. When did you start blogging?

The first post on Liberal England is dated 4 March 2004.

However, I did write the diary of Whittington (Susan Kramer’s cat) during the first London Mayoral election in 2000. That has some claim to be the first political blog in Britain.

3. Why did you start blogging?

I wanted a shop window for my various writings, but blogging soon became an important activity in its own right.

4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?

Liberal, eclectic, wistful, humorous, inquisitive.

5. What five words would you use to describe your political views?

Liberal, localist, pragmatic, postmodern, civilised.

6. Which post have you most liked writing in the last year (and why)?

Andrew Mitchell, the great and the good, and me from September last year. It reminds me of my trip to New York for Oxfam and reports an event that no mainstream journalist would get to attend.

7. Which post have you most liked reading in the last year (and why)?

I was very impressed by The Contented Lib Dem’s series of posts on the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance. They are summarised here. He or she argued a controversial case, backed it up with evidence and engaged with the commenters, getting the better of most of them. Unfortunately, nothing has appeared on that blog since.

8. What’s your favourite YouTube clip?

Assuming that the Bible and complete works of Steve Winwood are already on the island, how about this version of Dolphins by Tim Buckley?

9. Which bloggers, writers or thinkers inspire you?

John Stuart Mill, Karl Popper, Richard Rorty, Charles Dickens and Malcolm Saville have all inspired me, but none of them is blogging any more.

Among journalists in the mainstream press I enjoy Matthew Parris, Julian Glover and Martin Kettle.

Among political bloggers, Caron’s Musings and Mark Thompson’s Blog can be relied on for solid coverage of the Liberal Democrats, as can Liberal Democrat Voice of course.

For more idiosyncratic perspectives I look to David Boyle, Chris Dillow and Iain Sharpe.

10. Give us a surprising fact about yourself:

I used to be a member of Golden Wonder’s Pot Noodle tasting panel.

You can see all our posts featuring Liberal Democrat bloggers here.

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