Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response
1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
Each NHS Board in Scotland is free to take this decision based on local needs and circumstances.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
We believe that people should be free to choose their own religion or none without fear or favour. We are a modern nation with many religions and cultures. We also believe in freedom of speech, and the rights of an individual to reasonably express his or her views. The key is fostering strong community relations and respect amongst groups and individuals across society.
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?
By definition, an independent Government adviser must be free to express their own views. A responsible elected Government will listen to independent, expert advice before coming to its own policy conclusions. Such advice should not be binding however as this would impinge on the Government’s democratic mandate.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
The Scottish Legal system has served the country well, over centuries and must be protected and maintained.
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
It is increasingly recognised that compassion towards animals is a mark of civilised society. The SNP supports a reduction in animal experimentation, and has fought for and helped introduce tough new standards across the EU regulating the use of animals in medical experimentation. These standards are based on the "3Rs": Reduction of animal use; Replacement with non-animal alternatives; and Refinement of techniques to minimise distress, that are now the core principles of the use of animals in research across the EU.
In terms of a total ban, we are of the opinion that on balance we do need to use the data from animal experimentation in the fight against human and animal disease. However, we should attach strict conditions to their use. Our work to further the ‘3Rs’ across the EU should boost the research into and use of non-animal alternatives.
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
The SNP believes in evidence based policy. For instance, our effort to introduce minimum pricing is based on overwhelming evidence that there is a direct link between the price of alcohol and consumption. Ultimately, for democratic reasons the elected Government and Parliament, on behalf of the electorate, must have the final say on what policies are pursued.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
We consider this to be a matter of social conscience and representatives have a free vote.
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
We believe the House of Lords should be abolished.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
This is up to the people of England and Wales.