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Frequently Asked Questions

In case you can’t find my position on a specific matter, here’s an FAQ to clarify some of my stances.

What are your views on Brexit / Rejoining

I voted to Remain and nothing  I have seen in recent years has demonstrated that I was wrong to do so.   I am a big believer in internationalism, and think that we as a country were far stronger as a leading member of one of the largest trading blocs in the world than we are as an isolated outlier.  I believe that we ought to Rejoin the EU as soon as practicable, and somewhere around 65% of the country now agrees with that.

However, Rejoining is not my top priority, for the simple reason that anything done can be undone the next time a Conservative government is elected, which could well be on the basis of a minority of the votes.  As such, my view is that we need to switch to Proportional Representation first, to protect our country from political madmen.

What is the most urgent political issue for the UK?

This is a really difficult one in one respect, but actually quite simple in others.  There are plenty of people who argue that getting the Tories out is paramount, but I think there is an even more urgent issue.  Not the NHS, not education, not our relationship with Europe – though all of these are both urgent and important – but how we elect our government to begin with.  After all, the system right now is designed to hand 100% of the legislative power to a party which usually doesn’t even secure a majority of the votes.  As such, we need a change to a system where power and views in Parliament are proportional to the votes actually received.

Until we have Proportional Representation, we don’t have representative democracy, and anything we do to improve the UK can be removed on a whim by an incoming government.

What do you think of the Israel-Palestine issues?

This is a subject that I have a huge amount of sympathy for, coming from Irish relatives and growing up during the Troubles.  My thoughts about the current conflict are that it is absolutely imperative that the two sides lay down their arms and bring about peace.

That isn’t to say that I support Hamas – I don’t. But I do not think the vast amount of civilian death and destruction is an acceptable consequence of war.

This also doesn’t mention my views on whether Palestine should be a state or not.  I freely admit that I don’t know enough about Palestine, but given I am a Liberal at heart, it is perhaps not surprising that I think people should have a choice of whether to collectively manage their own affairs as a state or to be subsumed into another state.  I believe that all options should be kept on the table.

Finally, this leads to a general principle, which is that I generally believe that necessary military actions should be led by third party peacekeepers.  What we have seen in this conflict is constant acts of revenge rather than any attempt to find a peaceful outcome.

My final thought on the issue is that I think it’s very clear that excessive force has been deployed in the region, and that it makes sense for an independent judicial body like the International Court of Justice to fully investigate whether there have been war crimes and for those who are found guilty to be subject to sanctions and other punishment as required by international law.  I do not believe that leaders of allied nations should be exempt from that simply because they are our allies.

What is your stance on drugs?

First of all, cards on the table, I am a “straightedge” – I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t use any recreational drugs.  So if you think that position clouds my judgement or informs my view, you might not care about the rest of this answer.

That said, I have spent time among people who partake in all three activities; drinking, smoking and drug use (though mostly it has only been cannabis use).  From an outside perspective as someone who doesn’t use any of these substances, it seems odd to me that something like cannabis is demonised whilst alcohol – responsible for countless deaths every year – is accepted.

My view is that any substance which affects judgement has the potential to be misused.  But my view is also that we as a society have taken the view that this is acceptable, that we allow everyone to have a drink because the vast majority will stick to their limits and will not put anyone else in danger by drink driving or starting a fight.  With alcohol, we have a tacit agreement as a society that if you stray from partaking of an occasional tipple into outright abuse of alcohol, there are people that can and will step in to help.  I don’t see any reason why this should be different for cannabis or nitrous oxide – if someone gets to the point where either drug is actively ruining their life and the lives of those around them, we have a moral duty to at least offer help, but it is wrong to put a blanket ban on such recreational drugs purely because a small fraction of users become abusers.

In general, I think it would be wonderful if we made a society where people didn’t have any need to drink  or use drugs to cope, but that is a long way off.  Until then, I believe that it is better to show compassion and understanding than it is to criminalise.

That absolutely isn’t to say that I support the black market in illicit drugs.  Instead I believe that we need to regulate and carefully control the products that are being bought and sold, and there is no place in that model for people who engage in criminality to take advantage of others.

What's with your outfit?

I like to wear waistcoats with bow ties or cravats. this is largely down to a choice I made a while back that I would much rather be remembered for wearing a slightly quirky outfit than for any problems I have with mobility or balance.  the fact that this is a question indicates that the plan has been somewhat successful!

No longer a candidate, so now focusing on my own projects.

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