Adloyada is the nom de blog of Judy, who lives in north London. She was habituated to mental hoarding for over 60 years before discovering that blogging enabled her to start displaying and offloading the truckloads of opinions she'd accumulated over all that time. Judy has worked in just about every sphere of organized education with the exception of the prison and armed forces education services, and has been happily living with the opprobrium of being an educational consultant and an occasional school inspector. She spent 27 years teaching and researching at a provincial university, as a result of which she knows how little she knows. Her proudest achievement is the production of a daughter, now 22 and married, who's an art student living in Cambridge.
Why do you blog? > When I was in my 20s, my dream was to have a weekly opinion column, like the ones I so much enjoyed reading - Katharine Whitehorn in The Observer, Len Jackson in the TES, Chaim Bermant in The Jewish Chronicle. I originally got into doing my own blog after enjoying reading some blogs (including normblog) which brilliantly articulated views and perspectives which chimed with my own, but were never represented in the mainstream media. And then when the merger of the AUT with NATFHE was proposed, I finally took the plunge because I wanted to campaign against it. I was convinced it would be a disaster, as UCU has indeed turned out to be. Pity I wasn't more successful. However, doing a blog is a hundred times better than the weekly opinion column, because I can do it just as often or as little as I like. The magic of linking means I can totally indulge my love of footnotes in a way that allows readers to take them or leave them. It also enables me to indulge my love of so many different types of writing: biographical recipes, confessionals, family schmoozing and of course endless fisking, political satire and opinionating. And getting linked to and commented on is really like a drug, as is seeing those times when my visitor stats start rocketing.
What has been your best blogging experience? > The post I wrote on the 2005 Paris riots which gave me my most spectacular experience of an Instalanche (and people still keep picking it up to this day). And establishing relationships with and meeting up with sympathetic bloggers from across the world.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Blog every day. Include as much visual material as possible. How I wish I followed my own excellent advice.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Natan Sharansky, for his clear-sighted and uncompromising vision of what democracy really means; and Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who stood almost alone against the tide which all but swept away Orthodox Judaism in favour of assimilationism and religious revisionism in early 19th century Germany. He was the intellectual founder of modern orthodox Judaism, writing a body of superb rationalist justifications for orthodoxy and critiques of so-called reformism, which stand to this day. He also established schools and study programmes which combined intellectually rigorous secular and religious education for all in a way which hasn't been bettered.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham; Now That You've Lost It by Joyce D. Nash; Ethics of the Fathers (sundry rabbis of Ancient Israel).
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Middlemarch by George Eliot.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Musée des Beaux Arts' by W H Auden.
What is your favourite movie? > Some Like it Hot.
What is your favourite song? > Secular: 'Madame George' by Van Morrison. Like most people, I don't really understand what it's about, but it has a wonderful yearning, elegiac quality, and it reminds me of the experience of having to come to terms with leaving a beloved place. Religious: 'Ki Keshimcha', as sung by Naftali Herstik. It's a few verses from various Psalms from the end of the most solemn bit of the Jewish High Holyday service. It's usually muttered in an undertone by the congregation. Herstik's composition and delivery do justice to the intensely moving words and turn them into an awe-inspiring, soaring musical experience, an extraordinarily poetic realization of mortality, and what it is to be accountable to the Almighty for how you live your life.
Who is your favourite composer? > Schubert.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The most significant was my rejection of Marxism as a basis for developing a better society, having thought for a period of some years in the mid-70s and early 80s that it had the answers. Ditto my rejections of anti-Zionism (a line which I espoused from the late 60s to the early 80s) and unilateral nuclear disarmament (I believed in it from the late 50s to the early 80s).
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Open Society and its Enemies by Karl Popper. Both Nazism and Marxism comprehensively nailed, plus an insight into why they're linked and so deeply rooted in Platonism, one of the nastier traditions of the Graeco-Roman heritage of European thought.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The idea that any form of totalitarian movement or government, secular or religious, is ever desirable, acceptable or worthy of support or apologetics.
Who are your political heroes? > Natan Sharansky (see above); Churchill (in wartime mode); Tony Blair - I think he was the best Prime Minister Britain has had in 50 years and maybe more.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Churchill's dictum that democracy is the worst form of government except all those others 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? > Make voting in national and local elections compulsory - partly in order to establish the philosophical and moral basis for making voting compulsory for union members in electing their representatives and on proposals for strike action and political actions such as boycotts and affiliations with non-union campaigns and organizations.
What would you do with the UN? > I'm tempted to say roll it over a cliff, but perhaps it would be more sensible to say that only democracies, as defined by Sharansky, would get voting rights.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > You alone are the person responsible for your actions.
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, indeed. I know of quite a few very happy partnerships where the partners have radically different views, though I think there are limits. I couldn't possibly be in a partnership with anyone supporting the BNP, Kach, Hamas or similar organizations.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A track record of being consistently and actively appreciative and supportive of others in personal and professional relationships.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Any form of abusiveness.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To protect from harm or bolster the self-esteem of a vulnerable person, provided it did not harm innocent others.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Anything related to football.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > I'm torn between a seafront penthouse flat in Tel-Aviv, a house in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and an hotel (in the French sense) in the Marais in Paris.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Seaside villa with all my extended family in either south-west France, Cap d'Antibes or Tel-Aviv.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Finding amazing designer and vintage outfits in charity shops; reading; listening to the radio or my mp3 collection on my sound system; netsurfing; sharing lunches and dinners with family and friends; making ice-cream and bread; doing my twice-weekly high-energy aerobics class; walking across London.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > My parents gave me a different first name from the one they used (Judy) and which I still use. The last thing I'd agree to do is change it, because I already have such hassles explaining to people that, no, I don't use the first name on my birth certificate, and no, I don't like to be called Judith, and have never been called Judith, even if it is the second name on my birth certificate. I suppose one answer is to become really famous, like Boris. Nobody ever tries to call him Alexander (except perhaps his childhood family).
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > To be paid a fortune to blog.
Who are your sporting heroes? > I liked Billie Jean King in her heyday.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Janet Malcolm, Claudia Roden, Queen Victoria (when she was my age - mid-60s).
[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.]