John Dixon

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This page is about the Liberal Democrat candidate for Cardiff North. For the Plaid Cymru candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, see John Dixon (Plaid Cymru)


John Dixon is a Liberal Democrat councillor for Adamsdown, Cardiff. He was the Liberal Democrat UK Parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North in the 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections.

Following the May 2011 Welsh Assembly election Dixon was briefly appointed as a Welsh Assembly Member for South Wales Central, however he had to step down when it emerged he was not eligible to stand because he was a member of Care Council for Wales.[1]

Dixon studied Microbiology with Genetics at University College, Cardiff. He has described himself as being "critical of anything that is not evidence-based - homeopathy, crystal healing, chiropractic, and nutritionists included"[2].

Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response

Hi - as I'm currently being pursued by the "Church of Scientology" for some innocent comments I made, and have contributed about £200 to Simon Singh's funds, I think you can safely assume I'm skeptical too.

[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]

1. Absolutely not. I've made these points as part of the Transitional Board of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board during the recent NHS reorganisation in Wales

[2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?]

2. Again no - it should be in RE, where they'll be free to teach that Pi is exactly 3.

[3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?]

3. I think religious belief should have the same protection from ridicule as political belief.

[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. Otherwise, they're not really independent.

[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]

5. I've no objection to their being used as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, but don't think they should be part of the legal system.

[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]

6. I have some issues with animal testing, being a vegetarian. However, I do realise that until there are suitable alternatives, in-vivo testing will have to remain as part of medical development, with strict controls.

[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]

7. Yes, but politicians and scientists should each be able to disagree with each other, setting out clear reasons as to why this is so, and continue treating each other with respect. There will always be differences of opinion, particularly with respect to social sciences, on the effect of policy on society.

[8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?]

8. I think that's the start of the decision, and I support the right to choose, but the final decision is not one based on purely scientific criteria. Science should be used as part of the debate, but because we're still not really able to truly define what constitutes life, the decision will only ever be partly based on science. This would be one of the instances where my answer to 7 applies.

[9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?]

9. If they were elected there, yes. Even though I'm a democrat, one of the things I do like about the Lords is that they're free to vote their conscience, and the reason that they're generally there because of what they've achieved. One way to achieve this might be to reform the upper chamber so that the elections to it were from constituencies of interest - professions recognised by charter would hold their own internal elections to elect senators for a single 11 year term (for no other reason than it's a nice prime!). That'd be long enough to ensure continuity, but because there would be no re-election of sitting senators, no-one could get too comfortable and institutionalised They could then continue to vote their conscience as they wouldn't have to worry about re-election.

[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]

10. Yes. I'd also like to see law established by statute that the way to settle scientific disagreements is by peer-reviewed publishing of research rather than in court. I also wouldn't mind seeing mandatory training for all journalists in the use of risk, statistics and scientific method, so that they understand the difference between an observational study and a well designed randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical study in medicine.

Scientology Tweet

In May 2009, while visiting London, Dixon tweeted "didn't know there was a Scientology 'church' on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off"[3]. In December 2009 a member of the Church of Scientology made a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. The ombudsman referred the complaint to Cardiff Council's Standards and Ethics Committee[4][5]. Dixon was cleared by the committee in September 2010[6][7].

References

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-14037418
  2. http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/07/meaning-of-stupidscientology.html
  3. http://twitter.com/JohnLDixon/statuses/1746848544
  4. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/07/20/councillor-faces-inquiry-over-stupid-scientologists-tweet-91466-26886933/
  5. http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/07/meaning-of-stupidscientology.html
  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/cardiff/2010/sep/28/councillor-cleared-of-breaching-code-of-conduct-after-stupid-scientology-tweet
  7. http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-post-john-dixon-on-scientology_29.html

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