Tom Freeman was born in Cambridge in 1977. Having failed to become Conservative leader in 1995 (Labour Party members were ineligible, it turned out), he fled to Oxford to study psychology and philosophy. After stints as a postgrad, a market researcher and a layabout, he now works as a copy-editor for a charity in London. He once appeared in a production of the musical Chicago, singing and dancing in a gold lamé nappy and bonnet. Tom blogs at Freemania.
Why do you blog? > It forces me to whip my thoughts into better shape. And I like the way that it draws me into conversations with interesting people I'd never ordinarily meet.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Times when a discussion unexpectedly sprawls across several blogs. Far more richly dynamic than the Guardian letters page.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > If I've not felt inspired for a few days, I sometimes start to wonder, 'Is this it? Has my brain run out?'
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > If you just want the approval of random strangers, walk into a pub and start buying. Write about what interests you, then find others interested in the same things and link up. Don't post for the sake of posting. And remember to maintain regular exposure to daylight and human contact.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > (Not uncritically) David Hume, George Orwell, Amartya Sen.
What are you reading at the moment? > I'm about to start on Siri Hustvedt's The Enchantment of Lily Dahl.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
What is your favourite movie? > Magnolia.
What is your favourite song? > This week it's 'Ten Storey Love Song' by the Stone Roses.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I naively opposed the 1991 Iraq war, and following that I rethought my attitude to the non-self-defensive use of force. Plus I'm less keen on deeper EU integration than I used to be.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Not a particular thesis but some of the philosophical method: question assumptions; think arguments through clearly; justify your views rather than asserting them; and listen to understand rather than to identify who's with you and who's against you.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That faith in the supernatural (whether in general or of a specific brand) is particularly virtuous.
Who are your political heroes? > For very different reasons, Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair both have aspects of the (flawed, tragic) hero that I admire.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > You can only take the people with you if you first know where you want to go.
What would you do with the UN? > There are plenty of bright ideas for UN reform, but most substantial changes would be blocked by those states who'd lose out. The ideals will come to nothing if the power politics doesn't work. So I'd keep muddling through, give or take. Maybe change the name to 'United Governments' to dispel some of the illusions.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Closed minds. Pick your favourite example.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I think things will get better, but it'll be a bumpy ride.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Every so often, list the things you worry about, pick out the ones that don't really matter, and forget about them.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Not taking yourself too seriously.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Exploiting other people's goodwill.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Only for an unambiguously greater good, like getting someone into bed.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I try to suffer fools gladly. It's not their fault, so really, I try. But sometimes they make it very hard.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Reality TV, one-upmanship, 'retail therapy', prayer, bearing grudges.
What would you call your autobiography? > I Am Not A Number.
What talent would you most like to have? > I wish I could put on convincing accents.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Eddie Izzard.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd weep with joy, quit my job, buy a nice house and then see where the mood took me.
What animal would you most like to be? > A bat. Just to see what it's like.
[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.]