Andy Doig was the 2011 Scottish National Party Scottish Parliamentary candidate for Renfrewshire South, and a list candidate for West Scotland. In 2010 he was a UK Parliamentary candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.
Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response
My personal view on the questions posed are as follows
[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]
1. Yes, as at one time, the NHS would have been equally skeptical about other remedies such as acupuncture, which have been offered on the NHS as part of the mainstream for some time. I believe it warrants further investigation as a concept.
[2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?]
2. I think schools should be allowed, if they are faith schools, to teach about evolution from their own particular viewpoint, whilst also making it clear that there are a range of views on this subject, to do otherwise is to be in favour of a kind of philosophical fascism, where only one oethodoxy is allowed.
[3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?]
3. No, although I am a person of Christian faith, I believe very firmly in free speech, the religious faiths should be able to stand their ground in the court of public opinion without fear or favour.
[4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?]
4. Yes, if he or she feels strongly enough, but they would have to accept that it would not be ethical to express those views and still remain in the pay of that government.
[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]
5. Definately not, as I said, although I am a committed Christian from the Scottish Episcopalian tradition (Anglican), I firmly believe in the seperation of church and state, regardless of faith.
[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]
6. Not necessarily no, I am very pro-animal, as they are sentient creatures in their own right, and they bring a tremendous amount of insight and pleasure to humans. If there were other methods which were scientifically sound, but which did not test animals I would rather promote them.
[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]
7. The claims of religion are not infallible, but neither are the claims of science, for example, thialidomide was deemed safe by science in the early 1960's.
[8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?]
8. Not exclusively as I believe science has to operate, like any field of human endevour, within an ethical framework. Faith, for all its warts, has proven to be a sound basis for this framework over thousands of years.
[9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?]
9. I am in favour of church disestablishment, so no in principle, but if they are faith leaders in the Lords then all faith leaders should have an equal say. Although as a SNP candidate I have to make you aware that we do not sit in the Lords in principle, and would abolish the upper chamber in an independent Scotland.
[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]
10. Again, on a matter of principle, SNP MP's do not vote on English matters in the Commons, Welsh law would be a matter for our colleagues in Plaid Cymru.
Some additional questions which were part of an email query from a constituent:
Do you believe that we should aim to reduce carbon emissions on the basis of the current evidence regarding Climate Change?
Yes, I believe this is a crucial and fundamental challenge for all governments across the world.
In your opinion, should drugs policy be based on evidence of harm?
A qualified yes, I work in addictions and it stands as true that many currently legal drugs would not now be legalised if we evaluated their impact on society now.
What measures does your party intend to enact in order to secure private data and avoid further losses such as those involving missing NHS data?
As a party the SNP believes in Freedom of Information, and does not believe in the culture of official secrecy and surveillance which pervades Westminster.
Will your party stop the collection of DNA data by the police on people who are either cleared of all charges or, in some cases, not charged with any?
I am not aware that we have a specific policy on this, but in an individual I would refer you to my last answer, and I am firmly against any presumption of guilt prior to this being firmly and validly established in a court of law.
If elected, is your party willing to review policies involving the introduction of national ID cards, especially in light of recent claims that the data is insecure (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1204641) and the amount of money introducing them will cost the tax payer
As a party we are totally against the introduction of ID cards, and would vote to scrap any such scheme.
Where would your party stand on a policy requiring all expenses claims to be made public, including which home they are being claimed for? (without publicising the locations of said home(s))
We, as a party, are asking all SNP candidates to sign up to a national compact with the people to ensure that we will be open and transparent in all we do. In my election address I have made a pledge to put all expenses online on a monthly basis.