Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday Interview: Marshajane Thompson

Marshajane Thompson is, in her own words, a "Unison activist and general lefty type". She lives in London with her family and used to blog at Union Futures many moons ago. Inbetween work and her union responsibilities, Marshajane tweets here.

- You used to blog at Union Futures. Why did you stop?

Life, work and twitter got in the way!

- What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?

That choosing your blog theme will take longer than you think :) But also to update it often and not be afraid to engage when you're called out or disagreed with.

- Is blogging different now from when you first started yours?

Not really , though there are a lot more blogs now than when I started (wow now I feel old)

- Do you find social media useful for activist-y-type things?

Yes very, I do quite a lot of activisty type stuff online and organising real life stuff.
You'd be surprised at how many members contact me and prefer to talk about their issue over Facebook than email.

- Who are your intellectual heroes?

Rosa Luxemburg, Keynes, Tony Benn (I know, I'm such a reformist)

- What are you reading at the moment?

I'm re-reading Tom Paine: A Political Life by John Keane

- What was the last film you saw?

Frozen (yes I know Disney was a fascist, but hey I love it and my kids are obsessed with it)

- Do you have a favourite novel?

The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.

- Can you name an idea or an issue on which you've changed your mind?

Faith schools (I am now opposed thanks to the political education of some comrades ...)

- How many political organisations have you been a member of?

UNISON and the broad left in UNISON, Respect (very briefly), Labour Party and Labour Representation Committee.

- What set of ideas do you think it most important to disseminate?

Equality issues. We do seem to be going backwards in some areas. The myths around immigrants and myths around the welfare state and scroungers. Also, exposing all the tax avoiders and tackling low pay.

- What set of ideas do you think it most important to combat?

The idea that violence against women and everyday sexism is acceptable.

- Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major influence on how you think about the world?

Recently, The Failed Experiment – and how to build an economy that works by Andrew Fisher fits that bill.

- Who are your political heroes?

Tony Benn (again) and Peppa Pig. She is apparently a "feminist, communist, gay rights-loving pig spouting dangerous left wing propaganda.

- How about political villains?

Thatcher (obviously), but also Cameron and Blair

- What do you think is the most pressing political task of the day?

Defeating the neoliberal consensus

- If you could affect a major policy change, what would it be?

Getting rid of all the changes in the awful welfare reform and universal benefit crap and having a decent social security support level.

- What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world?

At the moment the situation in Gaza is awful and we should be doing all we can to assist Palestine and free Gaza.

- What would be your most important piece of advice about life?

To have broad shoulders, there will always be someone (or many ones) ready to have a go and knock you down. Have confidence to keep going but also admit when you are wrong (not that I have learnt any of that yet :p)

- What is your favourite song?

Better Man by Pearl Jam

- Do you have a favourite video game?

Still love Mario, but also Rayman

- What do you consider the most important personal quality?


- What, if anything, do you worry about?

Literally everything, I can worry about the smallest things (like that I still haven't packed yet for my weekend away because I'm a week late with this :) ) to things that really matter like my kids.

- And any pet peeves?

Being ignored.

- What piece of advice would you give to your much younger self?

To relax more

- What do you like doing in your spare time?

Spare time??? Mostly any spare time I have is at the caravan with my family :)

- What is your most treasured possession?

My phone obviously!

- Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Not what you can put on your blog!

- What talent would you most like to have?

Some willpower

- If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for?

An unlimited amount of shoes.

- How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money?

It wouldn't, I often have hypothetical arguments with my family because they correctly moan that if I did come into any money I would give it away or waste it on politics :)

- If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be?

Kurt Cobain, Angelina Jolie, Karl Marx

- Socialism. Will you live to see it?