Charlotte Gore is a 32-year-old web developer based in Halifax. She became politically active after the BNP won their first council seat in West Yorkshire on her doorstep; she telephoned the local Liberal Democrats on the same day. After failing miserably as a local campaigner, she turned her hand to blogging. She wrote originally about political communication, then in the guise of the 'Reluctant Lib Dem', and she now writes under her own name at The Charlotte Gore Blog, advocating classical liberalism and criticizing socialist thought.
Why do you blog? > I started blogging as an outlet for all the disorganized thoughts in my head. Now I blog to help other classical liberals in the Liberal Democrats feel like there's hope for them - that you can be a member of this party and be proud of your own politics.
What has been your best blogging experience? > It's realizing that blogging has helped me organize my thoughts and improved my ability to communicate those ideas to others. I've often said that before I started blogging I couldn't understand what was wrong with Dan Brown novels. That's how far I've come in the last few years.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Be honest. Nothing makes blogging harder than trying to write what you think other people want to read. Being honest, open and true to your own feelings helps the words flow easily.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > If pressed I'd probably say people like Gladstone and J.S. Mill, and I'd probably be adding Hayek to the list too.
What are you reading at the moment? > I'm actually reading The Road to Serfdom and having the odd sensation of realizing that most of the flaws in socialism I thought I'd worked out for myself have already been very well documented.
Who are your cultural heroes? > I have no cultural heroes. I feel like this is an odd thing to say. Perhaps 'heroes' is the wrong word. If you're asking if I have any role models to look up to, then the answer is no, but then I've never wanted one or looked for one.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Yes. I've always been socially liberal, but I used to be economically very leftwing. I didn't understand the price mechanism or supply and demand, and I couldn't understand why people tolerated profit which, to me, seemed like robbery. I had a radical plan of forcing businesses and corporations to be legally bound to consider the interests of their customers, their shareholders, their employees, the local communities in which they operate and the environment. Of course I then studied economics and began, grudgingly, to realize that such a plan would lead to complete economic ruin. I am now economically liberal because I believe this offers a much more proven way to take people out of poverty and improve their quality of life than redistribution or planning.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > It's classical liberalism - the principle that liberty is essential to human progress.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Collectivism. When collectives have ends, there is no level of tyranny that cannot be imposed on individuals in order to meet those ends. Only individuals should have ends, and they should be bound by morality. From collectivism springs fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism... it's a dangerous ideology but an alluring one for those not clear about what's wrong with 'The Greater Good'.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > I actually can't, no, although possibly the first A-Level study guide to Economics is up there. The Orange Book was fairly eye-opening too, making me realize that economic liberalism was something the Tories co-opted for their own ends, rather than something that belonged to them.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Abolish income tax. The amount by which this current government has increased spending since 1997 is more than the amount it currently takes in income tax. It's just wrong that people are financially punished for being employed. Seriously, morally, economically wrong.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Richard Dawkins.
What would you do with the UN? > Have it concentrate on removing trade barriers.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Trade barriers. Ultimately Protectionism by the US and the EU is a large part of what keeps the Third World backward and poor, and this is the breeding ground for war.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I worry that the lessons of the Enlightenment might be forgotten but I'm optimistic; I think human beings always find a way - it's why we're so successful as a species.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Stop worrying about what other people think. You can never know and you'll only be getting yourself neurotic, anxious and depressed. Being confident and happy in yourself makes you a far better person for other people to be around anyway.
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? > No, I could never love someone I didn't respect, and I couldn't respect someone who couldn't see what was wrong with collectivism, for example.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > The ability to face in the opposite direction from everyone else in a lift.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Worrying about what other people think.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To prevent embarrassment for someone else, or to stop myself or someone else being harrassed or abused.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I generally treat people as individuals, but I must admit to being scared by drunk people, and repulsed by people who flaunt stupidity as something to be proud of.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > I don't see anything wrong with wasting time unless someone's paying you for that time.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Populism, if you can believe that.
What is your most treasured possession? > A toy monkey.
What talent would you most like to have? > One thing I don't seem to be able to learn, no matter what I do, is the ability to communicate verbally in the same way I can in writing. There's a significant gap there.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I'd like to be able to blog full time, but sadly there's not enough money in it to do so.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I'd be thrilled if I could get some genuinely liberal policy voted for at the next Lib Dem Conference.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd be consumed with a level of guilt and concern that I'd cheated somehow.
[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.]