Andrew Regan was born in Ashford, Middlesex, in the long, hot summer of 1976. He has lived in Hove for a few years, and regularly commutes to the City of London, where he works as a software developer on financial systems. He set up Bloggers4Labour in 2005, and continues to guide this political blogging network with a tender hand towards a bright and ambitious future. Andrew once appeared on a daytime TV quiz, and he walked 22 miles one starry night in hired eveningwear.
Why do you blog? > Originally to promote some of my music, though politics had come to the fore by 2005. Being in a 'technical' profession, I also felt the need to reopen the creative avenue of writing. Though horribly frustrating when writing goes badly, it's very satisfying to look at a finished article, in which incoherent thoughts have been distilled into something coherent, informative and pleasant to read. The fact that some (any) have found my posts helpful is another spur, and if I can tackle bad arguments, perhaps I can leave more room for good ones to emerge. Finally, my father wrote popular military history books (albeit to his great cost), and my sister - who has posted anonymously on several blogs - is a genuine creative writer.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Meeting bloggers in real life, at Bloggers4Labour socials around the country, is always enjoyable, as has been watching the network grow to encompass over 450 blogs. Interesting and challenging comments, and decent write-ups from highly regarded bloggers also go down well.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't try to be Guido; be friendly; don't leave spam comments; posting twice a week is enough - make each one valuable; join online groups and networks; don't be afraid to read outside your political comfort zone; be open-minded.
What are your favourite blogs? > I seem to have been asked this a lot, but hopefully bloggers I've nominated in the past won't mind if I cite a different trio of fine blogs: Don Paskini; Freemania; and Wongablog.
What are you reading at the moment? > Nick Cohen's What's Left? ought to be read widely: it shows how degraded politics and ideologies can become, and challenges readers to honestly assess their own political footprint. All the same, I conked out with three chapters to go. I'm now reading Much Obliged, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (on the train), and Hamlet (at night).
Who are your cultural heroes? > Mark E. Smith; The Simpsons; Stephen Fry.
What is your favourite movie? > Woody Allen's Sleeper.
What is your favourite song? > 'King's Cross' by the Pet Shop Boys.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I no longer believe that the absence of international conflict adequately constitutes 'world peace'. I certainly seem to have thought this in 2003, if a mercifully not-posted letter is to be believed. I can't recall any major challenges to my moral attitudes, which must mean I've led a rather sheltered life.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The threat posed to honest enquiry and freedom of speech by privileged national, religious, or racial groups.
Who are your political heroes? > Tony Blair, pretty much alone in my lifetime.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I'd like to see an assault (not merely a higher tax rate that can be evaded) on inheritance, with the proceeds funding lower taxes elsewhere.
What would you do with the UN? > Something that should have been done a long time ago. Seriously, I don't know: there are many things the UN does extremely well, and the ideal is fine, but a multilateral body with an ironclad commitment to human rights, and a monopoly on the use of military power across its member states - in order to strengthen its deterrent value, and prevent unilateral action – would also be worth supporting.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Oppression of the populace within states that are protected by nuclear weapons, the niceties of diplomats and political contrarians.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > While I concede there have been points in human history when many extraordinary leaders, scientists, philosophers, composers, etc., were coincidentally at their peaks - not something I'd go so far as to say was true today - I'd probably be wasting my time, politically, if I didn't envision the liberation of humanity from ignorance, poverty, disease, oppression, and nationalism, and the opportunities for cooperation and progress that could follow.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Try to make your time, and your assets in general, a resource for your friends and those who depend upon you.
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: political differences very rarely seem important among loved ones.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Generosity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Bigotry (which is not a euphemism for being right-wing/reactionary) and closed-mindedness, which is very noticeable throughout the political blogging world.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Sudoku; home beer-making; caring for office pot plants; getting furiously angry over not being able to find a seat on a train; trying to crack those pistachios that come still sealed-up; putting up 'lost cat' posters.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd have continued my MSc search engine project, and taken on Google in 1998.
What would you call your autobiography? > I Told You I Was Alive.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > France; New York; near Telegraph Hill Park, New Cross, SE14.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Somewhere hot (and not too humid), with interesting or historical buildings, sea, restaurants and cocktail bars, and no golf courses. It could be in the UK, or the Mediterranean perhaps, but definitely not Dubai.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Tony Hancock.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Andy Murray, who impresses me more than the luckless Tim Henman could ever quite manage; Phil 'The Power' Taylor; and Matthew Le Tissier, whose short England career guaranteed his immortality on (part of) the South Coast. He's still only 38.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > I'll have to wait until August before I can end my boycott of 'Match Of The Day' and start watching Southampton FC in the top division once again.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I don't really gamble, and there are no financial assets worth mentioning in the family, so this is all moot. Apart, perhaps, from buying a space-going vessel, I can't think of any great improvement to my own life that would come about through a financial windfall. I'd have a party, though.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > George Orwell, P.G. Wodehouse and Victoria Wood. Though I'd be delighted if Gillian Anderson popped round during the afternoon to give me a hand at the supermarket and regale me with anecdotes about Bleak House or her cat allergy as we fill up the trolley.
[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.]