miss_s_b: (Britishness: cricket)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Mark's answers are here:

1, Which of the following activities do you consider the most dangerous and why?
- taking a single ecstasy tablet
- taking an advanced motorcycle riding test
- giving birth

They all have the potential to be the most dangerous, because any risk is dependent on a range of factors, which are all variable depend upon an individual’s circumstances. So for a man, giving birth carries little risk (for instance, you might lose your partner), whereas for a woman it may carry a high-risk, dependent upon your age, health, and geographical location.

For me, as an FPC candidate, this is an interesting question because it gets to the heart of policy making; the need to make sure we consider as many angles and probabilities as possible when we discuss developing a new policy, scrapping an existing one, or opposing someone else’s.

2, What four pledges would you put on the front of the next Lib Dem manifesto?
A difficult one for me, because I’m committed to involving members more in developing our manifesto, and so wouldn’t want to gainsay what they should, or will, be saying. But, if I were to advise member with my own preferences, I would argue for:
  • Land Value Taxation, and thereby bringing sense, and fairness, to our taxation system;

  • Social Care and benefit entitlement reform – to reverse the mess that will result from what’s currently taking place;

  • Housing Reform – let’s give more security to tenants, and try and bring some sense to the way we plan and build new homes;

  • Constitutional Reform – lets’ sort out the Lords, Commons, and the constituency boundaries. I admit it’s not as popular as the others, but I’m a ‘long-termer’, and it sticks in my caw that we have such appalling democratic deficits at the heart of our political system.

  • A genie appears and tells you that you can remove one law and make one law; what would you remove from the statute book and what would you add to the statute book?

3, A genie appears and tells you that you can remove one law and make one law; what would you remove from the statute book and what would you add to the statute book?
I’m not a fan of this simplistic approach to law making, if the law is bad let’s get rid of it.

To my mind Parliament too often responds to problems by legislating, without any thought as to the impact of the legislation, either directly or in relation to the existing body of legislation.

So, slightly subverting your question, I’d ask the genie for a stop to any new laws being created, and then ask for a law to set-up a commission which would report on, and make recommendations for improving the UK’s ‘legislative body’.

4, What balance should the committee give to the views of the leadership, the parliamentary panels and the membership in setting policy priorities?
I have a very simplistic perspective on this; equal measures, so that would be a third to each; and all contained within a transparent and accessible process.

5, How would you change the party’s procedures on gathering and analysing evidence when formulating policy?
Part of the reason for my standing is that I don’t actually understand how we currently do it, and I figure that if I don’t then neither do lots of other people; in fact I have a fairly good idea that that is the case because I’ve talked to a number of members a various party events and gatherings.

So I would firstly make sure members could easily find out about our procedures, and that ensure that they could be more easily involved.

6, Which is more important - freedom from ignorance, poverty or conformity?
To my mind they are all equally important, but freedom from ignorance just pips in front of the other two, since it is the route to freedom from poverty, or conformity. Although I should add that I would not want to prevent people from conforming if that was their freely made choice, after all, where would we be without Goths.

7, Are you a member of any (S)AOs or other pressure groups which might give us an insight into your policy priorities?
I am a ‘loose’ member of the SLF, and an active member of the National Association of LINks Members, the body that supports Local Involvement Networks.

I’m also a passive member of FOE, Greenpeace, and sponsor a child through Plan International.

But I should say that these should be taken as meaning that my policy priorities are narrowly defined to those areas, I take an eclectic interest in all aspects of being human, and as a philosophy graduate (Birkbeck College, I’m very proud of my alma mater), take a special interest in how we as individuals can live singly and collectively in a manner that is fulfilling and mutual supportive and respectful.

8, Which external bodies would you like to see audit the manifesto to see if our policies are workable?
Anyone that wishes to! Our policies should be robustly tested internally and externally, and we should be happy, and proud to proclaim them as such.

9, What proposals do you have to improve the process of negotiating policy priorities for a coalition agreement in the event of another hung parliament?
We should have more people in the room, and the team should be more reflective of the wider membership. If I can be a tad idealistic, it should also engage with the membership more fully, and honestly.

10, If elected, how do you plan to engage with the wider party?
Go places, meet and speak to people, respond to people, make myself known to people, and be willing to listen to the views of all sections of the party.

I am not, nor do I have plans to be, omnipresent; but in the era of the web, and with mobile phones and Skype, I think anyone offering themselves up for election must be willing to put in the extra effort to reach out to the membership.

11, Are you standing for any other committees, if so which ones, and if elected to more than one how do you plan to divide your time?

You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
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