“The Steeple Times” quizzes Lord Alton about what’s on his mantelpiece
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom.” What’s your guiding force?
“The still small voice of calm” (from the Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier).
“Never regret, never explain, never apologise” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Pretty much the opposite.
Kerry Katona was unacceptable in 2007. Who is unacceptable in 2012?
No one is ever unacceptable – although their behaviour may be.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Being away from family and friends while I’m working.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
To save a life – the Rabbi was right when he said that the man who saves a single life saves the world.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“My right to choose.”
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home.” What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Charity does begin at home but it doesn’t end there so I support a variety of causes at home and overseas.
Have you ever been arrested and if so, for what?
Yes, for obstruction of the Highway (1835 Highways Act), as a young City Councillor, for objecting to the harassment of some teenage constituents. The case was dismissed by Liverpool’s Stipendiary Magistrate.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Past and present world political leaders and half a dozen articulate champions of neglected causes; then use the journey to try and change some minds and priorities.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Liverpool’s Yuet Ben Restaurant – with my family and friends – recapturing many happy memories accompanied by perfect meals.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Depends. Usually lunch time.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Tea during the day. Negroni sounds good for early evening.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I’m happy when I’m in good company – but need to be able to hear the conversation. In every sense, dinner parties are preferable to political parties.
Who is the most positive person you know?
Baroness Masham of Ilton. As a young woman Sue Masham broke her back in a riding accident and has spent her life confined to a wheelchair. Not once have I heard her complain and every adversity is met by gutsy good humour totally devoid of self pity.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
That would be telling. Probably best kept between me and my confessor!
What was the first bone that you broke?
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
The Christogram IHS.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I like the characteristics of the Land Rover but I guess the qualities represented by the Robin Reliant shouldn’t be sniffed at either.
Cilla Black presented “Surprise, Surprise.” Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
Not being easily deterred.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
An icon from Turkana and a bust of Mr Gladstone.
For more information about Lord Alton, go to: http://davidalton.net