BusinessCar’s Paul Barker puts 13 testing questions to another victim

1. What was your first job?

I had a number of summer jobs growing up including setting up stalls at Bury market, cleaning a lino factory during the annual shutdown and working for a loan shark in Rochdale updating their ‘new’ computer system with details of all the loans outstanding. My first full-time job was as a trainee chartered accountant for Price Waterhouse.

2. What was your first company car?

Peugeot 306 S16. It had a great gearbox and cornered like it was on a Scalextrix track. It ate front tyres, though I suspect that had more to do with the driver than the inherent vehicle dynamics.

3. What did you listen to on your last car journey?

My iPod contains a pretty eclectic mix, from The Police to Green Day, via Simple Minds, U2, Big Country, The Cure and The Prodigy among others.

4. What one thing do you wish you could do better?

My daughter switches seamlessly between hands for different sports and writing and I wish I was ambidextrous. I can barely hold a pen in my left hand, never mind write legibly with it, and struggle to pass a rugby ball or hold a tennis racquet left-handed.

5. What’s your biggest achievement?

When Enzo Ferrari was asked about his favourite car, he’d always respond “the next one”. Similarly, the time for reflecting on my achievements is when my career has finished.

6. Who are your role models?

Two that stand out are Sir Frank Williams and racing driver Alex Zanardi. Both are highly driven to succeed, don’t let their disabilities get in the way, and continue to strive for ever higher achievements.

7. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done?

Pressing ‘reply’ to an e-mail rather than ‘forward’ when being less than complimentary about the original sender wasn’t a highlight of my life, particularly since the offended party had just helped me into my role with Lex.

8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting?

Changes to the company car scheme. CO2-based company car taxation may be aimed at reducing emissions, but is leading more people to consider taking up the cash option and driving a vehicle they want rather than something they are being forced into for tax purposes.

9. What’s in your garage?

Some golf clubs that haven’t been used for 15 years and a collection of children’s bikes of all sizes as my wife can’t bear to throw any of their old belongings.

10. What’s the worst thing about your job?

Loving cars there is a sense of frustration of seeing so many great new cars being manufactured now and not being able to drive them all. I imagine it’s what working in a sweetshop without being able to sample the goods would feel like

11. What one law would you make or change?

I’d simplify the personal tax regime, abolishing council tax, national insurance, inheritance tax and VAT and introduce a single income-related taxation so that there was greater transparency and fairness in the tax system.

12. What keeps you awake at night?

Life is too short to waste time worrying about what you can’t control. Making the most of the opportunities that come your way and enjoying what this brings to you is a recipe for a good night’s sleep

13. Who is your ideal celebrity date?

As an avid motorsport fan I’m sure Bernie Ecclestone’s ex could tell a few stories. Was he really involved in the Great Train Robbery? What was the truth behind the alleged £1 million bung to Tony Blair? Who tipped the papers off about Max Mosley’s ‘role-playing’?