Liam Murray was born in Glasgow in 1971 and raised in Ayrshire. Having managed to secure a place at university to study commerce he spent most of his first year busking in George Square. His guitar playing improved but the second, third and fourth years didn't materialize. Since teaching guitar, blogging and writing don't actually pay the bills (in fact they generate some of their own), he works for a major outsourcing company as an analyst. Liam lives on the west coast of Scotland with his wife Nicola and three-year-old son Joseph. He blogs at Liam Murray.
Why do you blog? > It's cathartic; it helps me clarify my thoughts and it spares my family, friends and colleagues, few of whom share my interest in politics or anything else I write about.
What has been your best blogging experience? > The first time I quit, a couple of MSM journalists contacted me independently to say they were aware of the blog and urged me to press on.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Getting dragged into one of those silly blog feuds by proxy, by virtue of a very loose association I have with one of the better-known bloggers.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't chase stats or influence or comments; enjoy any of that if it comes but make sure the act of writing down your thoughts is enjoyable in itself.
What are you reading at the moment? > Byzantium by Judith Herrin.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Iris Murdoch, Robertson Davies, Vincent van Gogh, Robert Burns.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies.
What is your favourite poem? > 'To Him that was Crucified' by Walt Whitman.
What is your favourite movie? > Life is Beautiful.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Abortion. I'm not opposed to it under any circumstances but the characterization of it as a routine medical right for women is grotesque. It should be far, far less common than it is and allied to circumstances of violence or medical emergencies.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Moral Relativism. I suppose it gains a foothold because there are some moral judgements linked to social, cultural and historical circumstances, but the idea that there are no objective or universal moral truths is very dangerous.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan. Despite his being a Bush/Rove favourite in the run up to the Iraq war, its eloquence and wisdom on realpolitik in international relations is second to none.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Some sort of proportional voting system.
What would you do with the UN? > Scrap the permanent five and have all Security Council members elected on fixed terms. This would expose the pretence that it's some sort of world government (or has even the slightest prospect of ever fulfilling that role) but would at least make sure that some sort of meaningful dialogue took place.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Extremism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > My heart wants to believe it's yet to come but my head doubts it.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Hard not to be trite here, and it's not a question you should ask a man approaching 40 but... Trust your own instincts, tastes, passions, prejudices and opinions – it's no guarantee you won't be a prat but you'll be a happy one.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My son - not for any particular reason, and he gives us very few reasons to worry, but it just seems part of the parenthood experience.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Have children sooner.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A week or so with Nicola in Rome, followed by something a little more relaxing like Sorrento.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Playing guitar, usually chord-melody jazz stuff or a little fingerstyle acoustic blues.
What talent would you most like to have? > To write properly, à la Iris Murdoch, Anthony Burgess, George Orwell, etc.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Musician.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Billy Connolly.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > The return of my mother's health.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > With the day job gone I'd use some of the free time to do a little more reading, writing, guitar playing, and would probably travel a little more. Beyond that nothing.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Caravaggio, George Orwell and Hugh Laurie (because Stephen Fry's always getting asked).
[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.]