Desert Island Mowlam's choice

WHEN POLITICIANS go on Desert Island Discs, they try to select a choice of records that reveals a more human side. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam chooses a top eight that hints at a sharper humour than some colleagues. (Tony Blair chose Bruce Springsteen's Fourth of July and Neil Kinnock opted for John Lennon's Imagine.)

Today Radio 4 listeners will hear Noel Coward's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Tom Lehrer's National Brotherhood Week, Rod Stewart's Blondes Have More Fun, and Flanders and Swann's tribute to a London bus, The Transport of Delight.

Ms Mowlam's favourite record is Frank Sinatra's Chicago, while David Byrne's Don't Fence Me In is a comfort to her, she says, whenever she feels "enclosed" by her work and the constant shadow of security guards.

Of her position in Northern Ireland she says: "It's a job that I have wanted to do, and it is real politics, because whether we succeed or not, and I still believe we can succeed, we've saved 100-plus lives this year."

Ms Mowlam goes on to describe a difficult childhood growing up in Coventry with an alcoholic father. She tells Sue Lawley: "It was difficult to do normal things because you never knew how drunk he'd be. When I went to university, my poor sister got landed with a lot more than I did."

Her view of the media seems generous despite some of their reactions following her illness. "The press only woke up at the election when I was still fat and had a wig on... When I was described in abusive terms I didn't really blame them because they didn't know."

When Ms Lawley suggests she may enjoy a "softer billet", Ms Mowlam firmly rejects the notion. "My job is the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm happy to stay there as long as I can."

Yesterday, six years after the IRA bombed Warrington, Ms Mowlam was there to launch the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Young People's Centre, in tribute to the boys who died in the atrocity.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence