Rich Watts (also found on Twitter as @rich_w) was born in 1980 in Redditch but now lives in London. In both places, Jacqui Smith lived worryingly close by. Having eked out more years studying than most people think is reasonable, he works as a director of a disability charity. He also survived spells in local and central government and, amazingly enough, would love to go back. Rich blogs at arbitrary constant.
Why do you blog? > I think I'd burst if I didn't have the opportunity to say something about things that happen (particularly politics). Whenever my site comes up for renewal I'm convinced I'm going to stop and do something better with my time. But each time I realize I'd miss it, as well as becoming insufferable to anyone around me.
What has been your best blogging experience? > In all sincerity, being asked to do this profile. I've followed normblog pretty much from the beginning and read every single profile, so this is something of an honour for me.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > You don't have to write beautifully structured or unique posts - just blog often and aim for at least one post a day. Also: join Twitter.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > George Orwell, Richard Feynman, Peter Hennessey, Georg Cantor, Sophus Lie (a Norwegian mathematician who said: 'Without fantasy one would never become a mathematician, and what gave me a place among the mathematicians [was] the audacity of my thinking.')
What are you reading at the moment? > Team of Rivals; The Black Swan; The Book of Daniel. I like to be approximately two years behind everyone else on my reading matter.
Who are your cultural heroes? > I'm not comfortable with the idea of heroes, but I admire the work of Charles Dickens, Raymond Chandler, Thom Yorke and the artists who made up the Suprematist movement.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Today I'll go with A Tale of Two Cities, which was made better by the fact I read it whilst on honeymoon in Paris.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to think that the basic human instinct was one of being - and/or doing - good. But now I'm not so sure, because there are too many examples to suggest otherwise.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That all men are created equal.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That parties of the right care for anyone other than their own.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus. It suggests there is hope, despite everything.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing' (attributed to Burke).
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To change the view that religion or belief is the same as disability, age, gender, race or sexuality when it comes to matters of equality, be it enacted through legislation or otherwise.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Alex Ferguson. And I say that not even as a Manchester United fan.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Religion.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Neither. Though I think material progress will continue ('Hey, nice iPad'), the common denominator in any period of history is the human. I'm not convinced we're good at learning lessons sufficiently to apply them to the future. I think we're therefore stuck in a bit of a cycle.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > It doesn't have any greater meaning so just get on with whatever you want to do 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? > I'm not at the moment (at least, I don't think I am). And no, I don't think I could. It's hard enough as it is.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Ingratitude.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I wouldn't knowingly spend time with religious people if I could at all help it.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Home improvement, specifically DIY and gardening.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Everything. For example, I worry if my answers to these questions are a young man's answers.
What would you call your autobiography? > In the Absence of My Father.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > People say I look like Louis Theroux, poor chap, so I'll say him.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading and blogging.
What talent would you most like to have? > I would dearly love to be able to dance. A friend once told me the secret is to always dance with your arms above the level of your shoulders. My wife has often remarked I dance like my hips are stuck in a vice.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Professional sportsman, preferably golfer. I also happen to share a birthday with Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, so I suppose economist would also be a good option.
[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.]