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SkepticalVoter Questionnaire Responses

SkepticalVoter Questionnaire Responses

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Published by GlasgowSkeptics
Glasgow Skeptics will be holding a hustings event on Tuesday 19th April 2011. If you'd like to come along and put your questions to those who wish to represent you, head to http://glasgow.skepticsinthepub.org/Event.aspx/555/Scottish-Parliamentary-Election-Hustings for details.
Glasgow Skeptics will be holding a hustings event on Tuesday 19th April 2011. If you'd like to come along and put your questions to those who wish to represent you, head to http://glasgow.skepticsinthepub.org/Event.aspx/555/Scottish-Parliamentary-Election-Hustings for details.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: GlasgowSkeptics on Apr 10, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain


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Patrick Harvie (Green)Drew Smith (Lab)Andrew Morrison (Con)Katy Gordon (LDem)
1. Should Homeopathy and other forms of complementary and alternative medicinereceive funding from the Scottish NHS?PH:
I would not support a blanket rule against anything and everything labelled“complementary and alternative”. I would prefer to see all products and therapies held to areasonable standard of evidence. I have little doubt that sugar pills would fail such a test,but the phrase “complementary and alternative” covers a much wider range.
No I generally wouldn’t support that, although, where evidence
exists for benefit fromremedies which have not been developed by the
pharmaceutical industry then I wouldsupport further research and
availability when/if proven to be of benefit.
Any medical treatments which can be scientifically proven to have a beneficialmedical impact on patients should of course receive funding from the NHS. Havingprotected the NHS budget in Westminster, and campaigning to protect the NHS budgethere in Scotland with increases at least in line with inflation each year, we will ensure thereare adequate funds available to pay for any viable form of medicine which can be shown towork.
I have nothing against the use of homeopathy or other types of alternative medicine.However, I do not believe that they should be supported by public money without soundscientific evidence of their efficacy. In light of the present lack of evidence supporting theireffectiveness (in comparison with traditional medicine) I don’t think they should be fullyfunded by the NHS.
2. Scotland has declared itself GMO free – do you welcome this or do you worry itcould have an impact on our world class life sciences research?PH:
I welcome the GMO free stance, with particular reference to food production. I regardGM crops as serving the private interests of corporations, rather than the public's commoninterests in sustainable agriculture.
I believe that this has majority support in Scotland at present
and would notnecessarily argue for a change at this time. However, I
would generally like to see policy inthis area proceed carefully on the
basis of scientific evidence rather than fear.
I support the Scottish Conservatives’ plans to ensure honesty in geographicallabelling for food, to help alleviate confusing and misleading labelling. The possibility ofpurchasing genetically-modified foodstuffs totally flies in the face of the aims we are tryingto achieve here: good, honest and wholesome food, something which we can be doingwith a lot more of here in Scotland.
I believe that GM technology has a role to play in making food production moreeconomically and environmentally sustainable in the future.
Patrick Harvie (Green)Drew Smith (Lab)Andrew Morrison (Con)
The Liberal Democrats have called for all decisions on new technologies such as bio-techto be based on scientific evidence and not political dogma. Decisions on new technologiessuch as GMs should
be based on scientific advice.
Patrick Harvie (Green)Drew Smith (Lab)Andrew Morrison (Con)Katy Gordon (LDem)
3. What would you propose as a “Scottish Solution” for funding our universities?Should we take similar steps regarding fees as England and Wales? Should weintroduce a graduate tax? How can we ensure that Scotland’s Universities continueto be world class?PH:
Graduates already pay tax. Progressive income tax would mean that the more aperson earns (whether as a result of their education or any other factor) the more they payfor the provision of public services and investment.We remain fully committed to opposing tuition fees, which are turning HE south of theborder into a market commodity, as well as opposing a special graduate tax. Unlike theother parties taking this position however, we are being clear about the need to raisetaxation, as fairly and progressively as possible, to pay for Scotland’s HE institutions.
I personally do not and have never supported tuition fees. The Scottish
Labour Partyhas committed to no fees within the next term of the
Scottish Parliament, I support thisposition. In the future there may be further debate about whether graduates should
make acontribution to the cost of education such as was previously
provide by the GraduateEndowment. My personal preference would remain
for any contribution to be paid forthrough progressive taxation. On a
related issue, I remain concerned about studentsupport and believe that
arguments around fees and contributions should not obscure theneed for
real help for students who do, or are likely to, need it if they are
to have the benefitof getting to, and completing, further or higher
education. For these reasons, ScottishLabour are also committing to reform of college bursaries, a review of how institutions arefunded in the future and further investment in apprenticeships for those who are looking fortraining rather than further or higher education.
We are the only mainstream political party telling it like it is at this election. There isno such thing as a free lunch, and all we are expecting is if you are eating at the top tableas a graduate with a salary approximately twice the national minimum wage, that you paya contribution towards your education. I, in line with the majority (63%) of the Scottishpopulation, support this proposal. Not only will it mean we can retain funding for our world-class universities, and the number of placements in those universities, but it will also meanwe can put an extra £55million into bursary support for undergraduates from poorerbackgrounds.
We are determined to support our universities. We will propose reforms to ScottishHigher Education by making the Scottish degree a more flexible spine and make it easierto move between college and university (allowing many degrees to become three yearcourses). We are proud to have abolished Labour’s tuition fees in Scotland and we areresolute in keeping education free, with no tuition fees and no graduate contribution.

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