I’ve stolen this from Nathaniel Higgins’ Reddit (just a disclaimer)
Party: Liberal Democrats
Political Compass: Harm-principle Liberal
Views on issues:
- The EU: Soft Eurosceptic. I would like us to have centralised policy on issues when it makes sense. The environment, immigration, terrorism etc. are all issues that cannot be dealt with independently, thus a shared EU policy makes sense. However, I am increasingly resentful of the undemocratic and bureaucratic tendencies of the organisation and how far removed it feels from the people.
- The Economy: Austerity measures are nasty but necessary to reduce the deficit we currently own. Of course, there needs to be some sort of restraint and vital services need to be kept. However, in times of economic hardship, I would prefer to advocate for higher taxation on the rich and as few cuts to public services as possible. There is no sense in suffocating spending on infrastructure, that can be as big a hindrance on the economy as a deficit. I don’t agree with George Osborne’s belief that the government should have to run a surplus at all times. The state isn’t there to make a profit on tax. Ideally, a lower-tax society would be my goal.
- Socialism, Communism, Capitalism: I’m a liberal, like it or not we live in a capitalist world and that can get ugly. Liberals tend to favour free market removed of all intervention but I think we have to shrug this ideologically pure approach and realise that real ‘free markets’ require some responsible intervention from the state, although, only when absolutely necessary.
- LGBT+: LGBT+ politics are something I’m extremely passionate about. As a gay man, I am fully behind any pro-LGBT+ equality measures whether they pertain to gay men or other areas of the community.
- Immigration: I am a committed opponent to the xenophobic trend that has swept Europe in the last few years. Immigration is good, for society and for the economy. Better yet, liberalism relies on freedom, including the freedom to move wherever you want to. I am not a big fan of heavily policed borders, they’re very much conceptual and people should be free to settle on which bit of land they choose.
- Minimum wage: I endorse the introduction of a living wage rather than a minimum wage, there is enough wealth in this nation to sate the living costs of every single person in it. Also, whilst we’re sort of on the topic, I am not anti-zero hours contracts, restrictions may be necessary but no outright ban is needed. A guaranteed basic income seems like a good way of eliminating poverty from society and I would love to see further research in to a Negative Income Tax system.
- Religion: I’m a skeptical agnostic, I’m not fond of religion but I will argue tooth and nail for everybody’s right to be religious and hold their own spirituality and personal faith. However, it is absolutely vital that although religions should be valued in a cultural sense that they are not unduly rewarded with tax breaks, theocratic legislation and peerages.
- Drug Prohibition: In fifty years, people will look back in amazement that people are imprisoned now for taking drugs. It is high time we viewed drug addiction as a health issue and not a criminal one. Those with drug addictions should be sent to rehabilitation not prison. I would also like to see the mass decriminalisation of drugs with the view to legalisation of all drugs. The state should never have autonomy over someone else’s body.
- Local democracy: In favour of devolution to the lowest most effective level. Communities need the power to change what affects them – it makes no sense to hoard power in centralised bodies just for the sake of it.
- Online censorship: Nothing should be censored.
- Television censorship: Censorship is wrong, just include warnings if it could offend.
- Net Neutrality: Absolutely crucial to persist with it.
- Free Speech: Freedom of speech is obviously a liberal concept and I support it but I find it’s one of the areas when liberalism gets a bit sticky. Where do we decide what freedom is more important; the freedom to exert opinions freely or the freedom to not be attacked and provoked? I believe in freedom of speech up to the point of stoking or inciting violence or other hostile acts. It is important that we use free speech as a counteraction to bigotry when we can. Whilst we’re here, I will say that all opinions are open to criticism and disrespect.
- Islamisation of the UK: Right-wing propaganda that is stoking Islamist extremism and British nationalist extremism. Must be effectively and publicly discredited as the myth it is.
- Lords Reform: A tricky one, hereditary peers must be scrapped immediately and viewed as an archaic assault on democracy. I’m in favour of an elected Lords, using proportional representation. It seems suitable given our nation’s hatred of elections that indirectly elected Lords based on the popular vote of the General Election could work. However, this may lessen the demand for electoral reform to the House of Commons.
- The Monarchy: Democratically no such monarchy should exist and I think I am becoming increasingly anti-monarchy as the days pass. However, as long as the royals have no legislative power, serve only as ambassadors and continue to make a net contribution to the economy, I see no reason to rush to abdicate them.
- Scottish independence: It’s something I oppose but also something I wouldn’t deny Scotland if they had voted for it. I am all for self-determination if it is their own will. It really isn’t for me to decide.
- Animal rights/welfare: Animal rights are underplayed, we have no divine right over other lifeforms and they should be treated kindly and humanely at all times. I would like to see an animal policy approach based around the work of Temple Grandin.
- Voting age: Wholly in favour of the voting age being reduced to 16 for all elections. As parliament sits for five years, it is absurd we tell a 17 year old they can’t vote when a lot of that parliament’s actions will affect how they can lead their life.
- Prison/Crime: It is absolutely crucial that prison is made about rehabilitation and not about ideological punishment. That being said, it’s important from a psychological respect to know that some people are medically unable to be rehabilitated and they must be specifically managed by mental health experts. The death penalty is flawed in every aspect and has no place in any justice system. We have too many people in prison and could do with less confinement and more community service.
- Tuition fees: Another tough one, education should be free but the tuition fees system in the UK has led to some of the best universities in the world, I support the repayment plan introduced by the Coalition government but would like to see a decrease in tuition fees to no more than £6,000 and lower where possible. I could yet be convinced that scrapping tuition fees altogether is the way to go, I’ve not yet decided. However, what I’m certain about is that tuition fees should cover all academic costs of any student including books and printing.
- Euthanasia: Is a long-time coming in this country. Of course the law needs to be enacted with thorough boundaries but a person should be able to have their life ended if they choose to do so, providing they’re of sound mind.
- Trident: Scrap it. Nuclear weapons cost the bursary an obscene amount of money, and we are never going to use them. We must campaign vigorously for multilateral disarmament but I fear that we’ll be waiting forever and somebody must take the lead.
- Military spending vs. Foreign Aid spending: Again, in an ideal world I would drastically reduce military spending and redirect it elsewhere. However, given the rising threats of IS and Putin’s Russia, it’s a good idea to maintain the same spending on military. Again, I’d like to increase Foreign Aid spending as high as 1% but 0.7% is more than enough now, however we should spend it more efficiently on nations who need it most and provide their citizens with proper human rights.
- Corporation tax: Progressive but low tax rate where larger companies pay a slightly higher rate than smaller companies. Eliminate deductions and loopholes.
- Inheritance tax: Ideally, I would seek to scrap the inheritance tax, or at least reform it so the wealth of the recipient is taxed and not of the deceased. However, again this is the wrong time, the government needs money and those with the broadest shoulders should brunt the most of the shortfall.
- NHS: I think we should be careful not to be complacent over rhetoric of it being the world’s best health service, as I believe there are others that are better. The state should provide free healthcare to its citizens but we shouldn’t apply an over-zealous attachment to socialist institutions and disregard private health firms where they can improve standards and cut costs. I would prefer if we had government-paid-for health insurance.
- Sex work: Decriminalise and unionise.
- The BBC: I’m against the current system and would prefer funding for the BBC was grouped in with general taxation. However, I’m still not sold on the idea of a state-funded broadcaster, in just a year studying them at university, I remain entirely unconvinced by its effectiveness.
- Electoral reform: Additional Members System as implemented in Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly would not force a person to vote tactically against their own preferred party and would allow them at least one vote that counts without them losing a locally responsible MP. I also think it’s essential a £10,000 per person donation cap is enforced so the Tories don’t spread their message at the expense of their obscenely wealthy supporters
Issues I’m passionate about: LGBT+ rights, social justice, feminism, democracy, drug law
Why you think what you do: I’ve always had an extremely strong sense of what is right and what is wrong.
Future of UK politics: An uninspiring blend of right-wing populism, nationalism and authoritarianism unless we can inspire people to listen to our preferable liberal vision.
How have my views changed: I’ve been a Liberal for as long as I remember, I’m a very committed chap.
Favourite Politician: Paddy Ashdown, Lynne Featherstone, Nick Clegg, Norman Lamb, Maajid Nawaz, Tessa Munt, Liz Kendall, Anna Soubry, Ruth Davidson
Least Favourite Politician: Nigel Farage
Favourite commentator: n/a
- Political Compass:
Where you live: Leicester
Occupation: Student, Activist, Blogger, insufferable know-it-all