Jim Denham was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1954, and had his first birthday on the boat to the UK. He joined the International Socialists for a short while as a student at Birmingham University in the early 1970s and was expelled, joining the group that became the Alliance for Workers Liberty. He worked at the Longbridge car plant for five years before being sacked for leading a 'disorderly mob' during a dispute in the early 1980s. Since then Jim has worked for Birmingham TUC Centre for the Unemployed and the NASUWT. He blogs at Shiraz Socialist.
Why do you blog? > Because I'm angry, frustrated and bored. To be honest, it's probably also a substitute for real political activity.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Just getting feedback, especially from people I respect who apparently think I'm worth taking seriously.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > All the conspiracy theorists, anti-Semites and obsessives out there.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Just write what you think and don't worry overly about preparation, style or spelling.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Marx, Darwin, Freud and Einstein.
What are you reading at the moment? > Operation Shylock by Philip Roth.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Louis Armstrong, George Orwell, Pablo Picasso.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Grapes of Wrath.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Ozymandias'.
What is your favourite movie? > Double Indemnity.
What is your favourite song? > 'I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Hoagy Carmichael.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > World War II, defencism and the Proletarian Military Policy. I was never happy with Trotsky's 'revolutionary defeatist' position on WWII, even though his version of it (the Proletarian Military Policy) goes as far towards anti-Nazi defencism as it was possible for him to go without fundamentally questioning the entire policy. For some years now I've thought that defeatism in WWII was wrong.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The idea that religion is worthy of respect.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Capital. Why? It changed everything, didn't it? I still haven't come to terms with all of it. And it's beautifully written – a work of art as well as science.
Who are your political heroes? > Marx, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Shachtman and Matgamna.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Tax the rich until the pips squeak.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Religious fundamentalism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I bloody well hope the best is yet 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.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-importance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Too numerous to list here.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes: anyone who disagrees with me.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > All sports and especially football.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Loneliness in old age.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Yes.
What would you call your autobiography? > Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Drinking, arguing, laughing and listening to jazz.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Kingsley Amis, Dorothy Parker, Billie Holiday.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]