James Hamilton was born in Widnes, Lancashire, in 1968, of Scottish and Irish stock. He was educated in Bedford and at Magdalen College, Oxford, before spending the 1990s in London. He now runs a private psychotherapy practice in Surrey and Central London, specializing in depression anxiety, panic, phobia, addiction, PTSD, IBS, emetophobia and paruresis. James is marrying Karen in the autumn. He blogs at the eponymous James Hamilton.
Why do you blog? > Psychotherapy can be lonely work. I'm an extrovert, and need the intellectual company I get from blogging.
What has been your best blogging experience? > A post on football managers won me a 'talking head' spot in a Sky One documentary on the life of Jose Mourinho; I was completely gobsmacked to discover that some people watched the programme because they were readers of my blog.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Being cited in Wikipedia's article on George W. Bush.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Link generously, accept criticism and never lose your sense of humour.
What are your favourite blogs? > Jackie Danicki, Tommy G, Blimpish and Brian Micklethwait. My politics are a world away from all of them, but the four of them combine generous personalities with an unusual gift of friendship. I'd certainly buy them all a drink given half the chance.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Dietrich Bonhoeffer - the sole survivor from my reading of Paul Johnson's Intellectuals.
What are you reading at the moment? > Sorry about this, but it's McMullin's New Handbook of Cognitive Therapy Techniques. Excellent if you like that kind of thing, which obviously I do. More action and excitement than you might think.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Father Maximilian Kolbe, Sophie and Hans Scholl.
What is your favourite poem? > Macaulay's 'Lays of Ancient Rome'.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The intellectual primacy of scientific method. Enlightenment values in general.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Cultural relativism; anything to do with either the anti-war or anti-globalization movements.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > William Stevenson's Ninety Minutes At Entebbe set my views on foreign policy and politics in stone when I was still very young. They haven't changed since.
Who are your political heroes? > Claus von Stauffenberg, Oskar Schindler, John Rabe and Raoul Wallenberg.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I'd reinstitute the 'British System' for Class A drugs. Drugs must be made a medical problem, not a criminal one. There is the potential to cut the crime rate in two and undermine gun use if only we have the courage - to say nothing of emptying the prisons.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister who would you choose? > From any walk of life? Tony Blair.
What would you do with the UN? > I'd provide the New York staffers and diplomats with side weapons, march them into Zimbabwe and topple President Mugabe's regime. All it takes is a little leadership.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The lack of faith, within the modern west, in democracy, personal freedom and universal human rights.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Human civilization peaked in and around the beginning of the twentieth century.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > It's a high jumper's adage: 'Throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow'.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Bigotry, especially in its 'acceptable' UK forms of inverted snobbery, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I'm getting really tired of the more-cockney-than-thou accent that's prevalent in my neck of the woods.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > I find the enthusiasm otherwise intelligent people have for fantasy novels and 'seasons' of SF TV series completely baffling.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd have stayed on at Oxford by hook or by crook. Leaving when I did was a defeat at the most intimate and personal level.
What would you call your autobiography? > I've always thought My Life and Loves has a ring to it. Hope it's not been used by the time I settle to my memoirs.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > I like Russell Crowe, but I'd settle for Alan Bennett. I'll get Dick Emery's ghost.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Within walking distance of Port Meadow in North Oxford. So many wonderful pubs; the river; horses; skies on autumn evenings.
What would your ideal holiday be? > I'm about to have it: a weekend in Edinburgh with Karen. The air scented by brewing and primitive chippies; the roar of tyres on cobbles beside the Heart of Midlothian; the Witchery late at night; Kay's Bar; Bell's Diner. Bliss.
Who are your sporting heroes? > There is only one: the Preston Plumber, Tom Finney. Not just a great footballer, but a great man.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > A cure for arthritis. I long for the day when it is as rare in the West as rickets.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Lillian Gish, Raoul Wallenberg (sprung forever from his Soviet gaol) and Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
[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.]