Author Archives: Duncan Stott

Opinion: we must force the Tories to follow the evidence on khat

I feel sorry for the Academic Council on the Misuse of Drugs. It’s this panel of drug experts’ task to try and inject some sense into our country’s failing drug policy. Sadly, in the latter years of New Labour’s reign, it became the default option to ignore their advice on drug classification. On magic mushrooms, then on cannabis and then again on ecstasy, Labour couldn’t resist ignoring the ACMD, opting instead for populist posturing in an attempt to appear ‘tough’.

The Labour government’s unscientific urges on drug classification were deeply frustrating to Liberal Democrats, and this led us to a 2010 …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 30 Comments

Opinion: Monetary policy is political, so where’s the democracy?

We are in extraordinary economic times, which have led to extraordinary measures from the Bank of England in its attempt to help steer us out of the storm. The Bank appears to be terrified at the prospect of deflation and the depressive effect it could have. Not only have base interest rates been pinned to a historical low of 0.5% for well over three years, the Bank has also used Quantitative Easing to pump £325 billion of newly created money into the economy.

We now know more about the effect that QE is having and it should send shivers down the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: We can’t let councils discriminate against house-sharers

With the option of becoming a first-time buyer becoming ever more elusive for young adults, increasing numbers are turning to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) for their housing. Nationally there will soon be more tenants living in the PRS than in social housing. In areas with high housing costs and in university cities with a young population, the PRS has become a major part of the housing mix.

This shift in occupancy type has led to rather rapid changes to some communities, which has …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Digital Economy Act – The fight isn’t over

It’s difficult to quantify the mess the Labour government left us in. Sure, the £158,000,000,000 annual deficit they left behind was one big quantity. But there were also the thousands of children being held in detention, our civil liberties in tatters, university finances out of control, record low levels of house building… the list seems endless.

But seemingly this wasn’t enough for Labour. In their dying breath they created yet another mess for the next government to sort. The Digital Economy Bill was forced through Parliament in its last week before recessing for the General Election campaign.

Grassroots Lib Dems made their …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Private sector tenants are disenfranchised

There has been a lively debate on Lib Dem Voice this week on housing policy. Well-argued articles from Alex Marsh, Mike Tuffrey and Stephen Gilbert have ignited equally interesting debates in the comments. All sorts of intriguing policy ideas have been proposed to address the growing crisis in housing supply.

However, a great idea is just the starting point on the long journey to create a successful policy. For a mainstream party with ambitions to form the next government, it is crucial that ideas enjoy popular support with voters. Housing development invokes strong feelings amongst the electorate, both …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 13 Comments
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  • User AvatarJulian Tisi 18th Dec - 2:58pm
    I disagree completely with the idea that scenario 3 is the worst outcome. Far from it, I think it's the best we can hope for....
  • User AvatarGlenn Andrews 18th Dec - 2:41pm
    Malcolm; Sorry for taking so long getting back to you - I was on lunch.... I can see what you're getting at there - here...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 18th Dec - 2:37pm
    All these attempts to muddy the picture are good evidence of the moral cesspool into which public discourse has fallen. No decent person, of any...
  • User Avatarandrew purches 18th Dec - 2:30pm
    Malcolm Todd: You are not quite right - Saxon England was carved up into the "Heptarchy", which could well be a historic and somewhat romantic...
  • User AvatarKerry Hutchinson 18th Dec - 2:15pm
    I think if all the commentors good and bad above had come to face with terrorists and insurgents, and their utter contempt for the sanctity...
  • User AvatarJulian Tisi 18th Dec - 2:14pm
    Genuine question - does this mean that couples who have a civil partnership can choose to convert them without going through another ceremony (a free...