Author Archives: Chris Ward

Opinion: New MSM blood donation criteria do not go far enough

Paul Burstow MP recently wrote in these pages explaining the government’s decision to lift the lifetime ban on MSM blood donations. I have tabled an amendment to my motion at Conference next week, Science Not Stigma: Ending the Blood Ban, to oppose the deferral on the MSM group.

First and foremost, I’d like to emphasise that throughout this campaign, I have avoided use of the words “discrimination”, “homophobic” and “bigoted”. I am aware that this separates me from some others who have campaigned on the matter, but I think it’s really important. I have great respect for the NHS and the fantastic people who work within it and I personally believe that the methodology and the conclusions of the review were all the product of good intentions. Attempts by others who stand on my side of the campaign to malign doctors and nurses as “homophobic” or “bigoted” detracts the argument from the priority subject – the safety of the patient – and suggests that the lifting of the ban is all about us, the gay and bisexual men. It’s not.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

If used properly and proportionately, CCTV can be a vital deterrent to criminals

I did intend to write a less controversial article after my previous contribution attracted far more attention and comments than I expected it to. Knowing that what I’m writing about now falls onto a similar strand of sensitivity, I expect I’ll fail miserably.

When I arrived at Surrey in 2002 to study, we were told it was the safest county in the country. Indeed, this was one of the attractions of studying there, as well as the very beautiful and leafy campus in one of the most unspoilt but bustling southern towns in the country. However, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

Opinion: Misinformed populists spoil the exam results debate

It’s that time of year again. (Former) sixth form students walk up to the school gates together for the last time to find out exactly how well they have done in the tedium that is the AS/A-Level examination system, prefaced by the usual yearly whinges from armchair-idiots rubbishing the entire system and associating any positive correlation with “exams getting easier” and any negative correlations with “young people getting thicker”.

I was the first year to take the AS level. “Ah, that system seems so much easier!”, the armchair-idiots chirped. This assumption was based on the one pro the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 62 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems must lead the way in improving scrutiny of council surveillance

Media coverage of the abuses by various councils regarding the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) has been very welcome. Conversely, it has unfortunately meant that (at least from my experience) whenever it is brought up at council, those who dare scrutinise the usage of this law are dismissed as bandwagon-jumpers who simply wish to capitalize on the media orgy against council surveillance.

This is why I brought a motion to Liberal Youth Conference in February that was passed unanimously to make restrictions on the legislation party policy; and Liberal Youth subsequently chose for it to go …

Posted in Big mad database, LDV campaigns, Local government and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: ‘Chris Ward likes this…’

Guildford Lib Dem Councillor and software developer Chris Ward explains why the ‘like’ button may could help win elections.

In 2007 I ran for local council. I vividly recall conveying to the campaigns meeting this incredible new craze called Facebook. Much like many online innovations, Lib Dem activists tend to proceed with caution. Today, many of those people are on Facebook themselves, justifying my initial worship for the networking site.

Back then I made a bit of a mistake. I believed that Facebook was enough in itself to get a substantial number of votes. I know …

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

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