Paul Evans was born in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, in 1964, just in time to be a teenage Nottingham Forest supporter during football's greatest fairy tale. He worked as a barman, streetsweeper and part-time traditional Irish musician while studying for an English degree. Taking the first jobs he was offered, he ended up selling advertising for a political magazine, working for an MEP, getting an MSc in Politics and helping to establish a web-development co-op and a few pet online projects. He is married with two children, and he lives in North London. Paul blogs at Never Trust a Hippy and occasionally at the Drink-Soaked Trots.
Why do you blog? > To find out if my odd prejudices were faulty, or if I was a victim of liberal groupthink. Also, as Flannery O'Connor said, 'I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.'
What has been your best blogging experience? > I've met lots of interesting people. And one or two people from my past have found me, which could be a bad thing, but in these cases, it wasn't.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Only pontificate about things that you know about, and don't get involved in gossipy circle-jerks about public figures.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Church Going' by Philip Larkin.
What is your favourite movie? > Miller's Crossing.
Who is your favourite composer? > Thelonious Monk.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Kautsky's democratic socialism. It seems to me that it is easily the most powerful guarantor of liberties as well as being the most sustainable way of achieving economic justice. If I can beg to promote a second thesis, it is that the UK model of Public Service Broadcasting is wonderful, and it's something we should be evangelizing about.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That representative democracy is over-rated or has failed us in some way.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > I read a lot of Orwell's collected essays and journalism in my teens. Today, as I re-read them, I find that my firmest convictions are not (as I thought) the result of my own reasoning, but were formed by Orwell's arguments.
Who are your political heroes? > In living memory, I admired the clarity and courage of Gerry Fitt and David Ervine. But in general, even my limited reading of Marx has convinced me of his genius.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > I liked a line that appeared in my comments box (about the sulky tone of public debate) saying '... philosophers have sought to understand the world. The point is to complain about it.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Decentralization. I would make local elections a lot more meaningful by handing more power to local government, and I'd take steps to encourage competent people to stand. I would create strong regional constituent assemblies comprised of local representatives to drain power away from Westminster and Whitehall. And I wouldn't hold a referendum before doing so either.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > I suppose that modesty should forbid... oh, all right, I suppose a Brian Clough administration would have been fun.
What would you do with the UN? > Make voting rights contingent upon a high standard of democratic governance.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamists and other totalitarians in the short term. Ultimately, though, capitalism will continue to entrench poverty and foster destructive tensions at every level of humanity until it is overcome.
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 am married to someone who doesn't agree with me about lots of things. She's not a Tory or anything disastrous like that, but we're cut from slightly different sticks. It's all right once you get used to it.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > I admire clever conversational people.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > There is a bureaucratic manner that I detest. I can't bear dealing with people who don't let you know where they are coming from fairly quickly. In the case of officialdom, it is often a glib talentless exercise of unearned power. I dislike it intensely.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Whenever a posh person speaks to me, I don't reply. I just repeat what they said back to them in a goofy Bertie Wooster accent.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I've still not learned to accept inevitable defeat quickly enough and it wastes a lot of my time. I'd have taken study more seriously in my teens and early 20s, and I'd have had the kids in my early 20s not my early 30s.
What would you call your autobiography? > God Loves a Tryer.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Sadly, probably Ken Stott (though he only does Scottish accents, I think).
What do you like doing in your spare time? > I'm a music bore. I like playing the guitar, tenor banjo and the tin whistle, accompanying others as well as listening to music and talking with people about music. I don't do any of this enough.
What is your most treasured possession? > At the moment, probably the tenor banjo. I expect my kids are at home breaking it right now.
What talent would you most like to have? > Fluency on those musical instruments.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Flann O'Brien or Evelyn Waugh.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. And Kenny Burns, Archie Gemmill, John McGovern, Stuart Pearce, Nigel Clough and Des Walker. But most of all, the sublime talent that was John Robertson on the edge of a penalty area.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd probably end up doing more of the stuff I do well at the moment, except without any of the caution or unnecessary compromise. I'd probably spend a bit less time on 'presenteeism'. I'm always puzzled by the belief that financial insecurity motivates us. It doesn't. It makes us all massively unproductive.
What animal would you most like to be? > A great big blubbery Blue Whale.
[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.]