Melanie Phillips was born in 1951 and brought up in London. She read English at Oxford and has been a journalist all her professional life. She has written for the Guardian, Observer and Sunday Times, and is now a columnist with the Daily Mail and a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze. She is the author of All Must Have Prizes, a study of Britain's educational decline, and in May 2006 published Londonistan, an analysis of Britain's failure to confront radical Islamism. Melanie is married to the Daily Telegraph's Legal Editor Joshua Rozenberg and has two grown-up children. She blogs at melaniephillips.com.
Why do you blog? > As an outlet for issues on which, for various reasons, I am unable to write as much as I would wish in the mainstream media.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Getting thousands of hits every day from around the world.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Finding myself the unwitting host to hatred and bigotry when I allowed readers' comments on the blog in its earliest days.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Ask someone else whether they're interested in your views; if the answer is no, find another pastime.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > George Orwell, Roger Scruton, Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb (yes, I know the last two are married but they're each terrific).
What are you reading at the moment? > Someone to Run With, by David Grossman.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Shakespeare, Dickens, Philip Roth, Bob Dylan.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > EM Forster's Howard's End.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night', by Dylan Thomas.
What is your favourite movie? > The Godfather.
What is your favourite song? > 'The Boy in the Bubble', by Paul Simon.
Who is your favourite composer? > Handel.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The purported progressivism of the left.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Social justice.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Nihilism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? The Torah, which defines my moral outlook.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Abolish the Department for Education.
What would you do with the UN? > Abolish it and replace it with a United Democratic Nations.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamic terrorism.
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? > Yes.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save a life; to spare someone pain.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Men who wear white socks (apart from sporting attire).
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The well-being of my husband and children.
What would you call your autobiography? > Into the Guns.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Meeting friends.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Mel Brooks.
What animal would you most like to be? > A tortoise.
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