Anthony Wells was born in London in 1976 and, apart from three years at university in Hull, he has lived all his life in Dartford. He was an assorted bag-carrier and coffee-maker for William Hague as leader of the Conservative party, and a correspondence secretary for Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard before he escaped to do a proper job in 2005. He is currently a Consumer and Political Analyst for YouGov and a Conservative Councillor in Dartford. Anthony blogs at UK Polling Report.
Why do you blog? > I've forgotten why I started blogging in general. I blog on opinion polls because press coverage of them is in the main so dire. Newspapers tend to pretend that polls commissioned by competitors don't exist, interpret them to fit their own agenda and make the most transient blips into major headlines.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Having people I talk to at work on the phone drop in at the end of the conversation that they read the blog is always a bit of a buzz.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > I always found the best way of being noticed was to leave smart comments on other people's blogs. A lot of good blogs I've found because I clicked on the names of people who'd said interesting things on other people's blogs. Failing that, pick an argument with someone. Possibly Oliver Kamm. :)
What are you reading at the moment? > Rites of Peace by Adam Zamoyski; The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone Vs Disraeli by Richard Aldous; and dipping in out and out of the 8th Almanac of British Politics by Robert Waller and Byron Criddle.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Quincunx by Charles Palliser.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Aubade' by Philip Larkin.
What is your favourite song? > 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' by The Smiths.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Membership of the European Union. I'm not a supporter of the European Union by any stretch, but I've reluctantly come round to the idea that, awful as it presently is, it's probably in our best interests to be in it.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Anti-Americanism. Whatever its faults America remains the world's best hope for freedom and democracy.
Who are your political heroes? > Benjamin Disraeli.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Maybe not political, but 'The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.'
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamist fundamentalism, at least in how it interacts with future nuclear proliferation. We coped with the bomb for 60 years because of 'mutually assured destruction'. What happens when a nuclear device finally does wind up in the hands of a group who aren't a state actor and don't mind killing millions of civilians, or a state that really doesn't care if it is destroyed?
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Yet to come - at heart I'm an optimist.
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? > I probably am - my wife used to be a Liberal Democrat. I think she's been cured but she still insists she's not a Conservative
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Honesty.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Dishonesty.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > After the previous answers, I suppose I should give some puritanical answer, but realistically I think everyone is economical with the truth to some degree, to spare other people's feelings.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching soap operas.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Not much. Until recently I would have said nothing. Having children seems immediately to make you worry about them incessantly.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Somewhere out in the sticks, where no bugger lives - the Derbyshire dales or North Yorkshire perhaps.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Traversing the North-West passage. I don't expect to do it.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Sleeping, idling about.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Israel. My mother traced our family tree after her retirement and, if you go up three generations, every single generation is Israel Wells.
What talent would you most like to have? > Not fussy about the specifics but some sporting talent in some field would be nice given that I'm notoriously incompetent at all sports.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > None at all. As a child when such things were compulsory I think I randomly opted for Spurs.
What is your most treasured possession? > I don't really get attached to things, certainly not for sentimental reasons. It's rather wrenching when I get rid of cars, but that may just be the expense of replacing them.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Novelist.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Paul Merton.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Go and live out in the sticks, idling my days away writing things and blogging.
[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.]