Iain Dale graduated in German from the University of East Anglia in 1985. He has worked in financial journalism, publishing and public affairs, and has started three businesses. He lives in Tunbridge Wells and has edited or written more than 20 books including The Little Book of Boris and Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words and Pictures. Iain is now publisher of Total Politics magazine and is a writer and broadcaster on current affairs and politics. He blogs at Iain Dale's Diary.
Why do you blog? > Because I've got things to say and I can say them without them being edited by someone else.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Probably the reaction to a blog post I did after I spoke at my Godmother's funeral. There was nothing political about it, it was an intensely personal blog post, but the reaction to it showed the blogosphere community at its best.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > The so-called blog war with Tim Ireland. I felt as if I was being stalked and didn't enjoy it at all. But in the end, if you put your head above the parapet you will get shot at.
What are you reading at the moment? > The autobiography of Jimmy Armfield and Richard Evans's history of the Third Reich. He taught me Austrian history at university.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Aachen Memorandum by Andrew Roberts.
What is your favourite movie? > Airplane. I like weird humour.
What is your favourite song? > 'Miss You Nights' by Cliff Richard. (!)
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Devolution. I'm now a vocal supporter of an English Parliament.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The economics of Adam Smith.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Marxism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > A book called In The Arena by Richard Nixon. Nixon is a great writer and this book had an effect on me largely because it crystallized what being in politics is all about. In order to make a difference you have to be in the arena – not just on the sidelines mouthing off.
Who are your political heroes? > Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Konrad Adenauer.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To halve the size of the state.
What would you do with the UN? > Move it to Switzerland, halve its size and budget, reform its voting structures and change the terms of engagement for UN peacekeepers.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamic fundamentalism.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Selfishness.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save someone's life.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Fishing where you put the fish back.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My weight.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Where do I start? I wouldn't have stood in North Norfolk at the last election if I had known what the result would be, I suppose, even though I enjoyed it immensely.
What would you call your autobiography? > End of Part One.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Patrick Duffy.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Washington DC.
What is your most treasured possession? > My Jack Russell, Gio.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Frankie Howerd.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Paolo di Canio, Trevor Brooking, Ian Botham.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > West Ham.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Richard Nixon, Otto von Bismarck and Cliff Richard.
What animal would you most like to be? > My Jack Russell, Gio.
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