David Miliband has been MP for South Shields since 2001 and Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since May 2006. He was educated at Haverstock Comprehensive School, London, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His previous work includes Secretary of the Commission on Social Justice (1992-94) and Head of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit (1997-2001). David is married to violinist Louise Shackelton and they have one son, Isaac. He blogs at David Miliband.
Why do you blog? > So I can hear people's ideas, and explain mine.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Helen from Northampton told me that the Government's shared equity scheme needed to take more account of the danger that banks would think someone seeking shared equity was actually a bad debtor. The best debate on my blog has been about the idea of personal carbon allowances.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > The Wikipedia debate on the idea of an Environmental Contract getting trashed (by forces of anarcho-conservatism?).
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't be disheartened.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Don't know about heroes but Karl Polanyi and Albert Hirschmann arrived at an opportune moment in my graduate studies.
What are you reading at the moment? > State of Denial by Bob Woodward.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Modern: usually the last Ian McEwan novel I have read.
What is your favourite movie? > Battle of Algiers.
What is your favourite song? > 'Dancing in the Street' by Martha and the Vandellas.
Who is your favourite composer? > Too hard to separate Mozart, Mahler etc. But 'Liebeslied' by Fritz Kreisler has special meaning.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Nuclear power.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Freedom depends on collective action.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Not sure they count as 'philosophy': that politics doesn't matter, and that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Both are a dirge against trying to do the right thing.
Who are your political heroes? > Keir Hardie for what he started, Nelson Mandela for what he achieved, Robert Kennedy for what he promised.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Honesty is the best policy.' Wasn't this the slogan of the Manchester Oddfellows?
What would you do with the UN? > This is turning out to be much harder than Norman promised...
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Twin terrors: climate change and religious fanaticism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Better to come, more dangerous to come.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No plans to find out.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Determination.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Insincerity.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Is it true that you have to be a millionaire to be a Chelsea fan?
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Shopping.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Getting time for family.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Meet my wife sooner.
What talent would you most like to have? > Needing only five hours sleep a night.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Teacher.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Geoff Boycott.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Arsenal.
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