Martin Booth has answered the 2010 General Election Candidate Survey
1. Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
- Yes; so-called 'alternative' medical treatments like homoeopathy have well-demonstrated benefits. Much of the efforts to discredit them come from a medical establishment which is driven by the drugs and medical supply industries. There should be public funding for a much wider range of medical treatments.
2. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
- I think that a woman's right to choose is the main criterion, subject to legal constraints.
3. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
- It certainly has been, but with sufficient investment I think we need to be moving away from this as a means of medical testing where possible. I think this whole debate has been distorted by the presence of organisations like Huntingdon Life Sciences, a private company who make money from animal testing, and which should be nationalised and placed under public control.
4. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
- Definitely not. 'Creationism' does not exist as a scientific theory: it is an aspect of several religions, including Christianity, and that is the context in which it should be placed, not the context of science.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
- Religious legal systems such is these are part of the religious practice of those who adhere to these faiths, and so cannot be 'allowed' or 'disallowed' any more than the faiths that give rise to them. They can not, of course, be used to justify any actions which conflict with the UK law.
6. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
- No, because otherwise we are heading towards censorship on grounds of belief. I do believe it should be illegal to incite hatred on religious grounds, in the way that organisations like the British National Party try to do towards Muslims.'
7. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
- No - I believe the House of Lords should be abolished altogether!
8. 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?
- Most definitely, otherwise governments will only be surrounded by 'advisers' who tell them what they want to hear.
9. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
- If a scientific subject is involved, then policy makers need to take heed of the scientists. In most cases when they don't, it is not because their advice is 'counter-intuitive' but because it may be unpopular.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
- I do, as the present situation benefits those with enough money to take the publishers to court