Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response 2010
1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
I support research into the effectiveness of all health products undertaken in a scientific way. Until there is conclusive proof that a given health product does not work, we need to follow a critical (not cynical) testing regime. Homeopathy has had mixed responses, and from a social perspective may offer some positive effects. I think there needs to be a review of all NHS spending to look at return on investment.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
Yes, all perspectives need to be considered equally and objectively, which includes creationism.
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
Yes, all views (however misguided) should be protected from ridicule and protagonists provided a forum to speak. Otherwise some political parties could well find themselves ridiculed, yet alone religious groups!
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?
Yes - that goes without saying. Lots about this in the press recently.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
Only if they follow through the legal processes that we have in place for making laws to then recognise them as alternative or equivalent systems, and have safeguards to align with our standards and freedoms.
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
To some extent, perhaps, but the issue is who defines that criteria and what is the effect on the animal. Where there are viable alternatives, animal testing should not be undertaken.
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
Nobody should trust any evidence without questioning its validity, reliability and sufficiency. People make mistakes. Research is sometimes flawed. Bad policy based on flawed data is not advisable, however it is better to make an informed decision than make no decision whatsoever.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
I think this is an emotive issue and needs further debate.
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
Yes, if they are elected to the House of Lords (see Lib Dem policy on parliamentary reform).
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
Again see Lib Dem policy in this area, we strongly advocate acting in the public interest and protecting freedoms, and want greater transparency rather than libel for the sake of protecting political reputations.