Bill Jones was born in Oswestry in 1946 of school teacher parents. He attended the Priory Grammar School, Shrewsbury and then studied International Politics at Aberystwyth University. In 1970 he worked as a fast stream civil servant in Whitehall but 'escaped' back to academic groves in 1972, after which he taught politics in Manchester University's Department of Extra-Mural Studies. Bill served as Director from 1986 to 1991, then incurred a stroke while out jogging but made a good recovery. He is author of The Russia Complex: The Labour Party and the Soviet Union, as well as of a number of books on British politics. He blogs at Skipper.
Why do you blog? > It's yet another - though fun - means of expressing my obsessive interest.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Response to my condemnation of Jonathan Ross for asking David Cameron if he masturbated to images of Margaret Thatcher when at Eton.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Redneck US response to my criticism of US gun laws.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > David Hume, J.S. Mill, George Orwell.
What are you reading at the moment? > Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, Bob Dylan.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Dickens's Hard Times.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Dover Beach' by Mathew Arnold.
What is your favourite movie? > Raging Bull.
What is your favourite song? > 'In My Life' by the Beatles.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That all humans have much more to unite than to divide them.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That any set of ideas has a monopoly of the truth.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Hans J Morganthau's Politics Amongst Nations. It explains how states really interact rather than how they should.
Who are your political heroes? > Lloyd George, Churchill, Dennis Healey.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'You can't make a policy out of an argument.' (Lloyd George)
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Heavy penalties for littering.
What would you do with the UN? > Strengthen it.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Climate change and terrorism, destined to converge.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Try to think the best of people.
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.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Tolerance and even temper.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Every bird likes to hear its own song.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Gardening, watching soaps.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My children.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd be more adventurous intellectually, creatively and occupationally.
What would you call your autobiography? > Bouquets not Brickbats Please.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Australia or Italy.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading newspapers and novels; watching telly and films; spending time with friends.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Sebastian. (Well, you did ask.)
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Woody Allen.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Trueman, Botham, Gower, Warne.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Dr Johnson, Disraeli, William Hague.
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