I’m Andy Simpson, I’m 22 and I’m studying for a 4 year Theoretical Physics degree at Imperial College London. I was born in Birmingham and lived just outside in Halesowen for most of my life.
I went to Newfield Park Primary School from the ages of about 5 to 11, and King Edward VI Five Ways School from 11 to 18.
Politically, I’m pretty left-leaning. My fundamental belief is that all human beings deserve a inviolate minimum set of rights (the universal declaration of human rights, more or less), and equal opportunities to suceed in life. Therefore, I believe the function of the state is to protect the many from the few, and the few from the many; to prevent anybody running roughshod over the rights of others. I believe that we have a mutual interdependence – those better off have a duty to look after the weaker in society. No man is an island.
So essentially what I would espouse was bounded individual freedom – you’re free to do what you like, as long as that freedom doesn’t impinge on the freedom of others, and that the state will take measures (taxes, basically) to ensure social justice, e.g. free education and healthcare, support for the unemployed, homeless, etc. but that should be the limit of the state’s authority.
For instance, the rich should be prevented from exploiting the poor, and smoking in public places should be banned because it inflicts something that is both unpleasant and a health risk on others. However, anything that takes place in private between consenting adults is fine.
Of course, there are inevitable conflicts here – drugs, for instance – while I’d support the right of anyone to mess with their brain chemistry in private, there is the public cost of looking after an addict, or someone who has OD’d or otherwise has trouble keeping a hold on a habit. The current neo-Puritan view though, that selling tobacco and alcohol is fine, but cannabis and ectasy and terrible and illegal, is utterly weird.
Belief-wise, I’m an Atheist, and it’s a position I hold very strongly. I consider my lack of faith to be something that’s very important in my life, just as many religious people find faith to be an important factor in theirs. Just that I’m right, and they’re wrong.
Things I follow include games and tech stuff as well as Buffy, for some reason. I’m a Browncoat, if you know what that means; you know who you are, you wonderful people. I’ve got a bizarre liking for sci-fi books as my bookshelf would testify. Currently it contains Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein among others, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sartre, Camus and, stranger still, Homer (in English), for when I’m indulging in some French philosophy or ancient Greek literature. And being terribly pretentious. I’m also getting into graphic novels, e.g. Vaughan & Guerra’s Y: The Last Man & Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
I’m not a big follower of music and I buy it with frightening irregularity, but I know what I likes. Kinda. Spotify has taken over my music-listening life, so as far as I’m concerned if it’s not on Spotify, it doesn’t exist (who are these “Beatles” everyone’s always on about?).
Oh, and if I wasn’t doing a degree in Physics I’d probably be doing a Classics degree instead. I’m strange like that. When I heard that the “History of the Roman Empire” module at Imperial contained “lots of politics” I immediately said “Yay! Roman politics!”. Although, for some reason I decided to forego doing it in favour of more physics. There is something very wrong with me.