Julia Gasper is an English Democrat candidate for South East England in the 2014 European Parliament elections. She was previously the UKIP candidate for Oxford East in the 2010 general election. In the May 2012 local elections she stood in the Quarry And Risinghurst ward for election to Oxford City Council.
Blog post from April 2012: http://juliagasper.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/theres-no-bigot-like-green-bigot.html
Blog post from November 2010: http://juliagasper.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/why-i-think-that-gay-rights-have-gone.html
Reported in Sunday Mirror, January 2013: "As for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the subject."
Skeptical Voter Questions 2010
The ten Skeptical Voter questions were sent to Julia Gasper on 8th April 2010, along with three others which I though may be of interest. If a question has been re-phrased or added it has been marked as such and initialed. The answers are all reproduced in full and verbatim. Julia Gasper responded as below:
Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven alternative "treatments" such as homeopathy?
"As I understand it, the amount of money the NHS spends on these treatments is tiny - a few million - and in terms of the patient-satisfaction it produces, it is good value for money. Many alternatives treatments do produce results. The NHS squanders huge amounts on management and administration, or computer systems that break down. Those are the kind of costs I would seek to reduce."
Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
"The viability of the foetus is one issue. The welfare of the pregnant woman and her existing children is another. Any decision is inevitably going to be a compromise between these."
What is your view on the practice of testing on animals (within strict criteria) as a part of the development of medicines? [I rephrased this one. - LF]
"Unless we leave the EU, you are wasting your vote on any candidate who says they can change the laws on animal testing, All such policy is now decided for us by the EU, which also by the way forces thousands of extra animal experiements to be carried out each year. See the UKIP website where it refers to the EU's REACH directive."
What is your policy on the funding of so-called "blue-skies" research in areas such as physics, where economic impact is not always immediately obvious? [Added -LF]
"Education and research are more than a hunt for immediate economic benefits. I got funding for research in English Literature where no economic benefit was immediately obvious, or obvious at all."
Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
"Independent schools are of course independent and can do as they like. I believe that children should ideally be made aware of different beliefs and learn to discuss and question them freely. In a science lesson they should be encouraged to seek logical evidence for any conclusion, otherwise it would not be science. But science does not understand everything."
Should Sharia law be allowed as an alternative system within UK law?
Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
"No, or we would have to ban the works of Voltaire and all the great enlightenment philosophers! I do think that in general, it is more civilized to treat other people's beliefs with respect and sensitivity though. If nurses or other people want to wear a cross at work, I think they should be allowed to do so."
Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
"UKIP believes in reforming the House of Lords, particularly after the shocking revelations of corruption by Labour peers there. We want a house of elected senators. See our website www.ukip.org/policy"
Evidence Based Policy Making
Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?
"If he cannot, then he is not independent, is he?"
Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
"Science is not always as objective and trustworthy as you might imagine. See for the example, the Climategate E-mails which reveal that over a period of many years, dozens of top scientists all over the world have falisified their research in order to convince us there is man-made global warming, and cause an unnecessary panic. http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php"
What is your view with regard to evidence-based policy in all areas - not just those specifically mentioned above which are mostly science-based, but also wider ranging topics. Should policy always be implemented based on evidence? (As an example, should studies on the effectiveness of long prison terms be taken into policy decisions on their implementation. This is just an example - what I am asking about is *how* the policy is fashioned.) [Added -LF with apologies for lengthy question!]
"There is always a range of evidence and a range of different ways of interpreting it. Policies have to take other things into account - consistency, for example, and feasibility. And do read those Climategate E-mails! http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php"
Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law? [I edited this one. -LF]
"If laws are being abused then the loopholes need to be tightened up."
What are your views on electoral reform, such as the introduction of the alternative voting system and the introduction of a fully-elected House of Lords? [Added -LF]
"UKIP is in favour of some electoral reform (see our website). However, electoral reform is no substitute for moral reform and cannot in itself get rid of the massive corruption we have seen revealed by the cash-for-honours scandal, the expenses scandal, the party funding scandals (Ashcroft etc), the cash-for-influence scandal and so on. We need to vote out the old parties altogether and get rid of the smug, self-serving "political class"."