Alison Mills was born in Norwich. After having spent several years exiled, post-university, in Surrey, she returned to the Fine City in 2000 and has no real intention of leaving again in the foreseeable future. She works locally in IT support and, outside work, plays the violin in a number of orchestras in Norwich and Norfolk. Alison has been a member of the Labour party in a practical sense since she was old enough to vote, and in an emotional sense since she was old enough to walk. She has been blogging at A.Z. Mills since February 2006.
Why do you blog? > Initially, frustration at being, I felt, misread by a friend; it's a pressure valve, even if I don't use it. Also, there was the technical challenge of coding it all from scratch, which I enjoyed.
What are you reading at the moment? > Everything I can lay my hands on. I normally have at least five books on the go at once, which means I rarely finish anything. I've been reading The Brothers Karamazov for the last two years.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Lord of the Rings. Which isn't a novel. Not the most exciting answer, but true.
What is your favourite movie? > The Seven Samurai. Or Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
What is your favourite song? > 'Stardust' - Hoagy Carmichael.
Who is your favourite composer? > G.F. Handel.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Several. I'm no longer my hammer-sickle, Cuba, peace-sign-badge-wearing teenage self. Recently, Israel. Only a couple of years ago I could be heard repeating the de rigueur 'Zionazi' line, but having learned a bit about the history of the situation, I now find myself defending Israel, even from friends.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That, social responsibilities notwithstanding, each man and woman born alive is his/her own property. A woman is not the property of her father, brother or husband. A worker is not the property of his/her employer. And 'governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed'.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Obscurantism, which is currently much in vogue in its religious and post-modernist versions.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Of the books I've read in the last few years, Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman I'd consider one of the most important. The Hamas Covenant one of the most eye-opening.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Hanlon's Razor: 'Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Disestablish the Church of England, and repeal all existing blasphemy laws.
What would you do with the UN? > Replace Kofi Annan with Vaclav Havel? No, it's not that simple - I'm rather afraid the whole thing is now so fatally and obviously flawed that it will have to go the way of the League of Nations. Which is a shame, because I used to believe in it.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > As a secular humanist and feminist, I have to say Islamism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Possibly it has passed its best point. In the war between the Rule of Tyrants, the Rule of the Common Man, and the Rule of God, I know which I want to win. But which will? I know I won't live long enough to see the outcome, if there ever is one.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > It would depend on the person. If I believed him to be a basically good person and loved him otherwise, and he accepted that I had my own opinions and that he wasn't necessarily right about everything, then I think I could.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Honest humility.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Cruelty.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To protect a very small handful of family and friends.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Generally speaking, I don't like religions, particularly didactic, world-dominating patriarchal ones like Catholicism or Islam. Taoism seems OK though.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Standing in the street on a Saturday, trying to sell 'revolutionary socialism' to passersby. Is that commonly enjoyed?
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Personal relationships, loved ones.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > In Norwich's Cathedral Close. One of those nice Georgian houses. Or maybe one of the little cottages near the river. I'm not fussy.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Playing computer games. Reading blogs, forums, books, comic books. Films. And music, of course.
What is your most treasured possession? > My violin. I'd be lost without it.
What talent would you most like to have? > It would be nice to be able to sing (without people wincing).
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > I support Premiership founder-members Norwich City FC. Not in the Premiership at the moment, admittedly, but we live in hope (having no other choice).
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > I'm not that comfortable with strangers, even famous dead ones, so I'll have to say my friends John, Trish and Rokes, who could entertain us with his theories about The Illuminati.
What animal would you most like to be? > Homo sapiens sapiens.
[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.]