Paul Zukowskyj

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Paul Zukowskyj was the 2010 Liberal Democrat Party Parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield.

Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response

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

This is an interesting question, because the term 'unproven' is distinctly unscientific in itself. Whilst our party policy is to cut any spending on homeopathy and the like, to ban it outright ignores completely the placebo effect. If a patient was not responding to an expensive treatment and requested a cheap, homeopathic remedy, I would be inclined to allow this as the patient's belief that it would cure them may mean they get cured. This question is not as cut and dried as you make it sound and I would be loathe to disregard alternatives unless there were clear reasons to do so.

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

No.

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

I don't believe anything and anyone should be legally protected from ridicule, including politicians and pressure 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?

This depends. If the independent advisor is a military strategy advisor, expressing their views could get our soldiers killed. If they are a bioweapons advisor, they may reveal information of use to lunatics. Your statement is way too broad brush to agree with.

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

No. UK law should be what governs behaviour in our society. Should certain groups wish to extend their cultural frameworks, that is fine within their societal networks but UK law should be the final legal framework we all live under.

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

No. We should move towards a non-animal model for drug development with all possible speed. To illustrate why, I will mention two drugs. Thalidomide. Tested on animals, used on humans with awful consequences. Penicillin. Our current testing methodology would almost certainly see penicillin fail to make it to market were it discovered today as it is fatally poisonous to some rodents, a common initial animal test bed.

A non-animal based testing regime is urgently needed to make sure we don't miss the next penicillin.

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

Policy makers should question scientific evidence in the same way as scientists should. Blind faith in small groups of people, be they lobbyists or scientists is always a bad idea. Science has presented many ideas and concepts subsequently shown to be incorrect, or flawed, so a healthy scepticism is always advisable.

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

No. Politicians are the proper group to determine abortion time limits as they are best able to balance the medical drivers with the social issues. To determine them only on medical or scientific grounds is to completely ignore the society we live in.

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

Somewhat of a meaningless question, as they currently can and our party's policy is to reform the house to make it an entirely elected second chamber. Were a religious leader to be elected to that chamber they would of course be entitled to vote irrespective of their religious beliefs.

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

I certainly support reform of the law, however I'm unconvinced the 'public interest' aspect is the part that needs most attention. What needs sorting is the appalling situation where an average member of the public would need to spend upwards of three times their annual income to fight a libel suit. Having laws like the libel laws that are only available to the rich is simply not on. I'd look to change that before anything else.

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